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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, March 19, 1998

  • A spring of brain aerobics
  • Education as 'an export commodity'
  • Wanted: student career advisors
  • The talk of the campus
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* Wyatt Earp 150

A spring of brain aerobics

Sexuality throughout the life span! (Hey, thought that would get your attention.) Backyard astronomy! The art of journal and letter writing! Humour, health and work! Advanced programming in Java!

Yes, it's UW's continuing education program for this spring, as set out in a calendar that hit my desk this week. It offers some four dozen courses for adults, and a few for children, that occupy anywhere from a single evening to ten consecutive Thursday nights, or one full weekend.

As always, the courses are grouped in categories: personal development, professional development, business communications, business writing, languages, computing skills (maybe I could finally find out what "relational databases" are), and "Just for Kids", which this term includes storytelling, web page creation, science, and the Lego Dacta workshop.

The sexuality course will be taught by Peter Naus, recently retired from the marriage, family and sexuality program at St. Jerome's. Backyard astronomy, another newcomer this term, is taught by Greg Poole of the UW observatory. Richard Holmes of philosophy will teach "Creative Thinking and Problem Solving". Peter Roe of systems design engineering will offer an introduction to Local Area Networks (LANs). And so on. Other instructors come from off campus; many of them are UW alumni.

Among the other novelties are a course on Elizabeth I, a part II to "Basic French for Work and Travel", and a one-day event called "Personal Power: A Workshop for Achieving Peak Performance". Oh, and those brain aerobics are the topic of a May 8 course on "exercising creativity".

Copies of the calendar, and more information, are available from the distance education office at 888-4002.

Education as 'an export commodity'

Sergio Marchi, the federal minister for international trade, spoke last week at a dinner honouring "internationalization" programs at Canadian universities, and told his audience that there are two aspects to internationalization.

"One," he said, "is the need for a global perspective on the part of the students we produce, and the second is the opportunity for Canada to participate in providing education for an increasingly international body of students." Said Marchi:

In today's world, education is an export commodity, and we've got to start thinking about it, and marketing it, in that way.

As I travel, I see how highly regarded Canadian graduates and Canadian schools are around the world. It's no accident that every year the Microsofts of this world come north to recruit from our universities: they know that our education system is among the best in the world. And around the globe, we find an impressive array of public and private sector leaders who have been shaped by their educational experience here in Canada.

In an increasingly interconnected world, I don't need to tell you how valuable these kinds of networks are! Or of the opportunity they afford us, as Canadians, to influence the next generation of international leaders in both politics and business.

There is also a very real economic element to all of this. Helping to educate the world is good business -- and it's big business. In 1994-95, international students contributed $2.3 billion to our economy. That's the equivalent of 21,000 jobs! That's why education has become such a big part of our Team Canada trade missions. In fact, on our latest mission, to Latin America, education was the third-largest sector represented, with 56 participants including seven university presidents. . . .

And I hardly need to remind this audience that at a time of declining domestic enrolment and shrinking university budgets, new sources of revenue must be found. Last year, there were about 95,000 international students studying in Canada -- a number we can and must increase in the years to come.

There are a variety of ways that our department is doing this, but let me just quickly mention two. The World Information Network for Exports (WIN Exports) is a huge database that matches Canadian companies with international opportunities. It is now being used to link our educational suppliers with potential markets around the globe.

We have also developed Canadian Education Marketing Centres, or CECs, through our various missions around the world, aimed at getting students in those countries interested in studying in Canada. As well as recruiting students from abroad, the CECs also help to broker government and corporate training contracts and to forge new links between Canadian educational institutions and their local counterparts. There are currently 14 of these CECs, and we hope to increase that number to 25 by the year 2000. Four new CECs were opened in Latin America during our recent trade mission.

We are also working on speeding up the process for issuing student visas. We don't want to lose students whose first educational choice is Canada to other countries that have provided them with a faster and more secure response.

Wanted: student career advisors

UW's career services department is seeking "enthusiastic student volunteers" for the 1998-99 Student Career Assistant program.

The program, started in 1986 to address the growing need for assistance with the career planning and job search process, was originally a service focussing on the regular student population -- students who aren't in co-op and sometimes felt neglected. Over the years, it has evolved to serve both regular and co-op undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni of the university.

Jayne Hayden of career services adds: "The program creates a learning situation in which volunteers assist other students and alumni in their career planning and job search by providing advice and resources. Besides helping clients in the Career Resource Centre, Student Career Assistants (SCAs) provide one-on-one assistance by appointment to those requiring help with their resumes and cover letters.

"And, recently revamped, the program now offers to those SCAs returning in subsequent years the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, such as assisting with the delivery of workshops and developing and implementing outreach projects designed to promote the Centre's services. It's a great way to acquire knowledge, develop new skills and gain valuable work experience -- all of which will be personally useful to SCAs in their own career planning and job search efforts."

If you want to apply, you should hurry. Application forms are available in the Career Resource Centre, Needles Hall room 1115, or from the Centre's web page. Deadline is this Friday.

The talk of the campus

A survey of staff members found strong support for doing something about "salary differences (if any) between UW staff and staff in similar jobs in the public or private sector". More than half of those who responded to a staff association survey in November said they "strongly agree" with giving that issue a priority. Only 28.1 per cent said they "strongly agree" with giving priority to "maintaining the number of staff positions". Another question asked, "Considering the economic situation at the University, how would you rate your compensation?" While 24.1 per cent called it "very fair" or "somewhat fair", 27.2 per cent said "fair" and 48.7 per cent said "somewhat low" or "very low". A majority of staff said they were "somewhat satisfied" or "very satisfied" with benefits.

The winter term exam schedule is now available on the web. Exams run April 13 through 25, with a note that "In the event that severe weather conditions or general emergency results in a decision to postpone all examinations on a given day or period, the examinations concerned will be held at the same time and location on April 27, 1998."

They're building a donor wall today at St. Jerome's University (that's St. Jerome's College, under its new title). Dave Augustyn at the college explains that 250 donors -- graduates, faculty, staff, patrons and friends, local businesses and churches -- "have purchased a brick in our donor wall. (Each brick is for a minimum of $450 over three years.)" Construction was to start at 8 this morning and take, Augustyn says, pretty much all day. "We also have room for another couple of walls here, and donors are coming forward to fill them."

Happening today on a wet campus:

And the talk of another campus: the K-W Record reported yesterday that Wilfrid Laurier University "is exploring the possibility of opening a campus in Brantford", a city south of Waterloo Region that has longed for a university or college for at least two decades. The paper said such a campus "could serve several hundred part-time students". It also said WLU president Bob Rosehart "has been discussing the idea since last fall, and has looked at Brantford's empty buildings, including an elegant 19th century structure that once housed the public library. The idea of a satellite campus is financially viable because of WLU's access to computerized resources, he said. . . . WLU could start with a three-year arts program -- such as communication studies with business administration courses -- and build from there."


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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