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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, March 17, 1998

  • Thousands of visitors are here
  • No differential fees this year
  • Distinguished teachers are named
  • UW does well in Putnam
  • A day to think of Ireland; and more
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* St. Patrick's Day

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Thousands of visitors are here

Today's the day: Tuesday of March break week, and for once it's sunny for UW's annual Campus Day. High school students and their parents are pouring in by the thousands, eager to see this place that might just be a part of their future.

Activities run for most of the day in the faculties, academic departments, colleges and residences. There are tours of the campus (not "touts" as I managed to say in yesterday's Bulletin, and no smart remarks about that one, please). UW's new promotional video, which was shown to the university senate last night, will be running continuously in South Campus Hall, which is Campus Day headquarters, with displays and information tables from many UW departments. There's even free coffee at various spots around campus.

Many of today's visitors are presumably among the people who have submitted 16,819 admissions for application to UW so far this spring. "The good news continues," said registrar Ken Lavigne, reporting to the senate last night. Last month it became clear that applications to UW from Ontario high school students were sharply up -- by 12.8 per cent over all -- and yesterday a new batch of figures arrived from the Ontario Universities Application Centre.

The new numbers are mostly about the "non-OSS" crowd of applicants: people from other provinces, from other countries, currently in jobs or in community colleges or at home. They too are choosing UW in higher numbers than last year. Arts applications in the non-OSS category are up by 10.2 per cent at UW (and down by 7.6 per cent across Ontario); in science, up 7.9 per cent at UW (and down by 1.4 per cent across Ontario). Overall, the increase from last year is 9.0 per cent, while the Ontario system as a whole is seeing a 6.2 per cent drop.

UW faces "some challenges" here and there, Lavigne said; applications are a little weak to geography and environment and resource studies, for instance. But overall, "we continue very strong," he said. The faculty of engineering, where applications are up by more than 20 per cent, has a different kind of problem: "it will be a challenge," the registrar said, to get all the applications read and assessed before decisions have to made. Universities can send out the yes-or-no letters on June 10.

No differential fees this year

All UW's tuition fees will be raised by 10 per cent for 1998-99, provost Jim Kalbfleisch told the university senate last night. At least, that's the proposal he intends to bring to the board of governors when it meets April 7. Kalbfleisch said he will present fee levels "which do not involve differential increases".

Earlier yesterday, it was announced that the finance committee meeting that had been scheduled for this Friday is being cancelled because "There has still been no clarification of December's grant and tuition announcement, and it has not been possible to develop a budget proposal."

The Ontario government said in December that university grants were being frozen this year and that institutions could raise their fees by up to 10 per cent -- or more in "professional" programs, not defined. The rules governing those "differential" increases are still not available. "This is all rather cloudy," Kalbfleisch said last night.

In answer to a question, he called it "most unlikely" that there would be another fee increase later in the year for some programs, once the rules are set out.

He warned that the 10 per cent increase for all students, both graduate and undergraduate, "will only cover about half" of the multi-million-dollar shortfall facing UW in the coming budget year, and that "further budget cuts" are likely.

The provost noted that a report has been issued at the University of Toronto calling for new policies on student fees, including a guarantee that U of T will find enough financial aid to make sure that no one has to drop out for financial reasons. "I intend," he said, "to establish a group to review the University of Toronto report and see how we might borrow or adapt from it."

Distinguished teachers are named

This year's winners of the Distinguished Teacher Awards were announced last night: The awards are given each year at this time, "in recognition of a continued record of excellence in teaching at the University of Waterloo. It is open to all those who teach students at the University of Waterloo and is not limited just to those holding faculty appointments. The Selection Committee will look for intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter. The teacher's human quality and concern for and sensitivity to the needs of students is an obvious criterion. The Selection Committee will look for a clear indication that the nominee has favourable and lasting influence on students. Evidence of successful innovation in teaching would support a nomination, but it is also clear that excellence in teaching does not necessarily require innovation. . . .

"The Distinguished Teacher Award Consists of: A citation and presentation at Convocation; A designation in the University of Waterloo Calendar after the recipient's listing. This designation (Recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award) becomes a permanent part of the recipient's Calendar listing; An amount of $1,500 placed in a University discretionary account, under the recipient's control, to be used in support of any teaching activities."

There were 24 nominations this year, many of them "very strong", said provost Jim Kalbfleisch in announcing the award winners.

UW does well in Putnam

UW's team earned an honourable mention in the international 1997 William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, Christopher Small of the statistics department said yesterday after receiving the official results.

In addition to the UW team result, Waterloo students writing the competition as individuals obtained "some of the best results for Waterloo in almost a decade", said Small, who coached the team along with Ian Goulden of the combinatorics and optimization department.

Written simultaneously by 2,510 of the top undergraduate students at 419 colleges and universities in Canada and the United States, the 1997 Putnam Competition was held on the first Saturday in December over a six-hour period. The exam is well known for its difficulty: although only the top math students in North America wrote it, fifty percent of all students across the continent scored only zero or one mark out of a total of 120.

Waterloo was represented by team members Donny Cheung, Richard Hoshino and Derek Kisman, who obtained a ranking of 10th place, good enough for an honourable mention (awarded to teams finishing in 6th through 10th places). First place was won by Harvard University. Duke and Princeton Universities took second and third places. The University of Toronto was the other Canadian university to be ranked in the top ten.

In addition to the team results, all students write the competition as individuals. Each year, the top five or six individuals in the competition are awarded Putnam Fellowships. This year, Sabin Cautis, a first year Waterloo student, missed the cutoff for a Putnam Fellowship by only six marks. His result was still good enough to place him within the top ten among all individual students, says Small, and he wins an award of $1,000 U.S.

Also placing high in the competition was Frederic Latour, who ranked in the top 25, winning $250 U.S. Two Waterloo students, Derek Kisman and Kevin Purbhoo, were in this year's list of honourable mentions, awarded to those ranked 26th to 58th. In all, nine University of Waterloo students were in the top 100, including Byung Kyu Chun, Richard Hoshino, Joel Kamnitzer, Ondrej Lhotak and Soroosh Yazdani.

A day to think of Ireland

So it's St. Patrick's Day, and if you show up dressed in green, you'll get a 10 per cent discount at Graphics Express in South Campus Hall. And the Graduate House is promising green beer tonight. And it seems to me I saw a poster talking about Irish festivities at the Bombshelter pub this evening.

More seriously, though, on this day remembering Ireland's patron saint, it's worth thinking of Ireland itself, says Tatum Mathers, a representative of the newly-organized Irish Students Union on this campus:

On St. Patrick's Day, the UW Irish Students Union is selling postcards for peace in Northern Ireland. Internationally, the goal is to collect 1 million postcards from around the world, to demonstrate how great the desire for peace is in Northern Ireland. A couple from Bangor, County Down, with no political affiliations have organized the campaign called No More Violence. Our club wishes to support this by having a booth on Tuesday where people can purchase a postcard with UW images on them for 50 cents. (It was originally $1, but we have received support from the Feds and various Student Societies to cover the balance of mailing costs)

We are doing it because we are in our first year as a club and would like to draw attention to the fact that we are committed to our roots, in addition to organizing fun events for ourselves. We feel it is a way to effectively show the desire for peace. The goal is to continue with the campaign until we sell all the postcards donated by the University. Details are available from myself as to where people can support this after Tuesday.

He says the ISU began in September 1997, organized by Mike Rooney, a fourth year history major. "So far we have about 20 members (mostly male) and have done events like a trip to Toronto, various pub nights, attended a ceili, movie nights, established contact with Western and Laurier clubs, and now the postcard campaign. We are always looking for new members and also non-members to come join our special events."

A few other brief notes

The co-op department says architecture students should pick up their job ranking forms after 11:00 this morning; forms are due back by 4 p.m., and students will get their job matches for the spring term on Thursday.

The peace and conflict studies program presents a talk about the Mennonite Central Committee preschool program in the west African land of Burkina Faso, at 12:30 today in the board room of Conrad Grebel College. The speaker is intern Shannon Clayton.

An hour-long training session about the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System starts at 2:00 this afternoon in Davis Centre room 1304. Information is available from the safety office, ext. 6359.

The St. Bede Lecture series continues at Renison College. Tonight: Rev. Neil Carver talks (7:30, at the Renison chapel) about the ecclesiastical issue of full communion between Anglican and Lutheran churches.

In the career development seminar series, tomorrow brings a session on "Networking", at 10:30 a.m. in Needles Hall room 1020.

Finally . . . they're feeling proud in the UW bookstore, which was presented last night with a Vendor Quality Award by the Mutual Group, one of Waterloo's major businesses. Mutual has been doing its special ordering of books through the UW store for the past nine years; the award is given to vendors who "excelled in performance" from Mutual's point of view.


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