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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, June 29, 1998

  • UW pays tribute to body donors
  • PCBs cleared off campus
  • TOEFL (the rest of the story)
  • WLU in Brantford; and more
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UW pays tribute to body donors -- reported by Barbara Elve

In spite of the best cybersimulations, "computers will never replace cadavers," predicts Don Ranney, who heads UW's anatomy school. That's why students in several departments still encounter human bodies as teaching aids. A memorial service was held Friday to honour two people whose bodies were used in that way in the past year.

Ranney, who is a professor emeritus in the kinesiology department, says he has yet to find anything to replicate the experience of using cadavers to "teach students to work in the real world as scientists. Even the best 3-D picture is only a picture, not the real thing.

"In the anatomy lab, students move things apart, look underneath, become involved . . . and they remember what they learned better because they see it and are involved in the process."

There is no shortage of people willing to donate their bodies to science. Some, said Ranney, make the decision based on a special feeling they have for the university. A staff member who has worked at UW for most of her life told him she would like to help the university in her death. "Others just want to make the world a better place."

Friday's memorial service at Parkview Cemetery in Waterloo recognized two of those whose bodies had served as learning aids for the next generation of orthopedic surgeons, optometrists, physiotherapists, and others in a variety of medical careers. Relatives and friends who had mourned their passing, as much as a year or two before, gathered again for the final interment, attended as well by the teachers, researchers, and lab demonstrators who had worked with the cadavers at the university.

In a shady grove under a linden tree at the cemetery, a large memorial stone pays tribute to the generosity of both the deceased and their families: "The greatest gift of all is to give oneself for others. We here commemorate such gifts to all mankind through the advancement of science."

Ranney, who established the school of anatomy for students in kinesiology and optometry in 1978, is stepping down as head of the anatomy school on July 1. He will be replaced by kinesiology department chair Jim Frank.

PCBs cleared off campus

The campus is virtually PCB free, nearly two years ahead of a deadline set for the cleanup by a government agreement.

Leaf flag]

Our home and networked land

Canada Day comes on Wednesday, with celebrations on UW's north campus from 2 p.m. until the fireworks are over, and much talk all week of this strong, free, and northern land. For those whose favourite interface with reality is the World Wide Web, here's my own top-ten list of web sites about Canada. (What does it say about our country that the #1 site on the list is based in the United States?)

-- Canadiana: The Canadian Resource Page
-- Oh Canada!
-- Hugo Fernbom's Canadian Page
-- Government of Canada InfoCan site
-- Government of Canada Primary Internet Site
-- Canadian Information by Subject
-- The Canajun Notebook
-- Canadian Universities
-- www.canada.com search and news
-- Yahoo! Canada

Under the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem, 90 per cent of high-level PCBs are supposed to be decommissioned and 50 per cent destroyed by the Year 2000. To date at UW, some 95 to 99 per cent have been decommissioned and 95 per cent destroyed, environmental safety coordinator Ian Fraser says.

Polychlorinated biphenyls have been drained and flushed from transformers and capacitors -- the main habitat of the chemicals, which are suspected carcinogens -- by contractors specializing in PCB decontamination, said Dave Churchill, technical services director for plant operations. The oil in transformers has been changed to non-PCB insulating oil, and non-PCB capacitors have replaced the old ones.

"The work is done. Our electrical switch gear is free of PCBs," he said. The project, which took a couple of years to complete, ended with the shipment of PCB-contaminated oil from its Bauer Warehouse storage site to a Swan Hills, Alberta, high-temperature incinerator this spring.

Traces of PCBs still exist on campus in scientific equipment and fluorescent light ballasts which date back to before the early 1970s, when use of PCBs was banned, said Fraser. As older equipment is decommissioned, it is tested for PCBs, which have recently been found in an obsolete X-ray machine and in the fluorescent light ballasts removed during the Village I renovations. Such PCB applications pose no hazards for users, he said.

TOEFL (the rest of the story)

Students applying for admission to Waterloo are being given a hint that they shouldn't be put off by the high scores required for TOEFL and other tests of English as a foreign language.

That was the message UW senate conveyed in an amendment attached to the new test requirements that were approved this month (as reported in this Bulletin last Thursday). Minimum acceptable test scores are on the record (TOEFL 600, IELTS 7.5, MELAB 90), but the amendment states that "the faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Mathematics and Science will consider, on an individual basis", applicants with lower scores -- 580 on TOEFL, 7.0 on IELTS, 85 on MELAB.

"Students who do not meet these requirements may still be eligible for admission," the amendment adds, since "talented applicants" in those three faculties may be allowed to enrol in the English Language for Academic Studies program administered by UW in conjunction with Conestoga College.

UW's requirements are, in fact, "the highest in the country and perhaps the continent", says Jack Kalbfleisch, dean of mathematics. He expressed concern that "our published very high requirements may be discouraging to new Canadians and international students and we may miss some very strong students who may otherwise apply."

WLU in Brantford; and more

Wilfrid Laurier University will make an announcement today at 2:00 about "the opening of Laurier's Brant Campus". The president of WLU, the mayor of Brantford and the head of something called the Grand Valley Education Society, which has been trying to bring university-level education to Brantford, "will unveil plans to provide the citizens of Brantford and surrounding area with an opportunity to complete a Bachelor-level degree on a full-time basis in their home community". The announcement will come at Brantford city hall.

Michele Grondin of the WatCard office sends word that this Thursday and Friday, July 2-3, the office "will be closed for our big move. We will be open for business as usual on Monday, July 6, in our new home, in the basement of the Student Life Centre. If any one needs to deactivate a lost card or wishes to add money to their account, this can be done at any Food Service or Graphics Copy Centre. The Graphics Copy Centres will accept Interac or credit cards as well as cash or cheque to add value. Food Services accepts cash or cheque when adding value. If you require a replacement card, a temporary WatCard will be issued at any Food Services location, valid until July 6."

Visitors keep coming and going at the Ron Eydt Village conference centre. A couple of Ontario Hockey Association groups are in just now, and the True North Lacrosse Camp runs from today through Friday, with 120 participants.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Friday's Bulletin
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