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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

  • Government provides 'targeted' funds
  • Task force on fees and student aid
  • Where to find course materials
  • And these notes, briefly
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Government provides 'targeted' funds

There was new money for post-secondary education in yesterday's Ontario budget, as well as the loudly trumpeted tax cuts and new spending in such areas as crime prevention and children's aid. University leaders are pleased at what they've heard, and now will start trying to find out what the announcements really mean, what rules apply and how they can use the money.

"This is what we asked for in the Budget, and the government is beginning to respond," said Paul Davenport, acting chair of the Council of Ontario Universities. "The government has recognized that the foundation of a vibrant Ontario will be its universities." He didn't stress the point, which COU has made previously, that general university funding from the provincial government has dropped by 25 per cent in the past five year, for a total loss of more than $500 million.

[News photo]
Eves hands budget to Ontario premier Mike Harris. Photo from Canoe.
In his budget, treasurer Ernie Eves said there would be "$150 million over the next three years to enable twice as many students to enroll in computer science and high-demand engineering programs . . . up to 17,000 new opportunities for students each year". The government apparently intends that programs would have to double in size to share in the largesse -- a much bigger challenge than the increase of one-third that UW had previously suggested.

The treasurer said that "an additional $29 million in annual grants will recognize the contribution of Ontario universities that have increased students' access to post-secondary education, and enhanced job opportunities." New funding was also promised for graduate scholarships ($75 million over ten years) and for "research excellence" (also $75 million over ten years). In both cases, two-thirds of the money will come from government and one-third from "the private sector".

After all, it is Education Week in Ontario! (There was no mention in the budget, though, of funding for new construction or building renovation on campuses, or for a "digital library innovation" project that had been urged by COU.)

Bell project approved

Along with the budget came the first announcement of projects approved under the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund. UW and the University of Toronto are the first winners, with $7 million expected over three years to complement funding from Bell Emergis for a major research and training program in computer-related areas. Details are expected at the annual stockholders' meeting of Bell Canada later today.
Tellingly, the government said it "will announce" how the extra money will be spent. That's always the challenge the morning after a budget: to get past the generalities and total sums to find out what's really going to happen. A key question about the money for expanding the number of students, for example, is whether there's a permanent commitment, so that universities can create faculty positions and hope to attract highly qualified people to them, or whether it's a short-term activity involving only temporary jobs.

There's always so much that isn't clear at first. This morning, in fact, the Sun says total spending will drop under the new budget, while the Star says it's going up.

Among other announcements in the budget, Eves said the province "plans to create a new student assistance program which will be designed to meet the needs of Ontario students and to limit student debt. The Government will combine Ontario's share of the federal Millennium Fund with both federal and Ontario spending on student loans to create a new Canada-Ontario Millennium Fund for Students that will invest more than $9 billion in student assistance over 10 years." He didn't mention any increased spending in that repackaged student aid program.

Task force on fees and student aid

The "provost's task force on tuition and student financial support" is getting to work, and with luck it will have a report in September, says UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch. He has announced the names of the task force members and the terms of reference for the body, which he said earlier was being created to recommend general policy rather than specific figures about fees over the next few years.

The task force is being chaired, as the provost said earlier, by Gary Waller, associate provost (academic and student affairs). It includes student leaders, administrators, faculty and staff.

Here are the terms of reference:

The Task Force is to review current practice and readily available material, including particularly the University of Toronto Report of the Provost's Task Force on Tuition and Student Financial Support, and advise the Provost on the following:
Besides Waller, members of the task force will include John Heikkila, associate dean of science (graduate affairs); Michael Higgins, dean of St. Jerome's University; Dennis Huber, associate provost (general services and finance); Ken Lavigne, the registrar; Wayne Loucks, who is about to become associate dean of engineering (undergraduate); Jock MacKay of the statistics and actuarial science department; Christian Provenzano, president of the Federation of Students; Pat Rowe, dean of graduate studies; Mike Sharratt, dean of applied health sciences; Lucy Sportza, a graduate student in environmental studies; Robin Stewart, vice-president (education) of the Federation; Bob Truman, director of institutional analysis and planning, as a resource person; Ian Williams of kinesiology, chair of the senate scholarship and student aid committee; and Peter Wood, president of the Graduate Student Association.

Where to find course materials

"Buying your books" at the beginning of term involves a little more than just books these days -- "course materials" is now the preferred term. And they come from more sources than just the bookstore.

To help, the UW graphics department has announced a web site that lists all of the course materials being sold either at the bookstore or at any of the graphics retail outlets. The titles vary: "lab exercises", "selected readings", "notes", "workbook supplement", "conversations" (that one's for a French course), "overheads", "lab manual", "case study". The web page is at http://graphics/services/courseware/list.html.

The list is updated twice daily, as new packages are still arriving from professors and instructors, says Trish Mumby in graphics. She notes that the page does not include textbooks, but information for texts can be found through the bookstore's Telnet service, called Booklook.

Questions about textbooks can be directed to the bookstore at ext. 5440; questions about courseware (there's a new word for the non-book materials) can go to Mumby at ext. 3996.

The courseware list is just one part of the dramatic new graphics web site, introduced May 1, which also includes a search tool, contests, and a "what's new" page announcing specials and new services and equipment offered at graphics outlets across campus. Yvan Rodrigues, who headed the department committee that created the site, says it "exemplifies the delicate balance of structure, navigability, esthetics, speed, content and coolness necessary to be effective in our increasingly web-based world".

And these notes, briefly

Eric McCormack of St. Jerome's University speaks at noon today in the Theatre of the Arts on "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast". His talk is the annual Friends of the Library lecture for 1998, and will be accompanied by a display of work by UW authors and other creators. Everyone is welcome.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony makes a visit to campus tonight -- symphony concerts here aren't as common as they used to be -- and will play Mozart and Haydn starting at 8:00 in the Theatre of the Arts.

UW dietitian Linda Barton is one of the speakers at "Celebrating International No-Diet Day", presented by the Waterloo Region Eating Disorders Coalition, at 7:15 tonight at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

The career development series for the spring term gets going tomorrow; look for a list of events on page 2 of today's Gazette. I'll also try to mention them in this Bulletin day by day. Tomorrow's two seminars are "Resume Writing", at 10:30 a.m. in Needles Hall room 1020, and "Letter Writing", at 11:30 in the same room.

Sunday will be Mothers' Day, in case you hadn't noticed, and Graphics Express sends word of some gift possibilities: a Mothers' Day special -- T-shirts, mousepads and pillow cases 20 per cent off regular prices", today through Saturday.

Lastly, an update to the food services hours listed in yesterday's Bulletin. "Unfortunately," writes Jeannie Watt of food services, "the hours for the Village I Variety and Chip Wagon are incorrect. The hours were changed after our schedule was circulated. The correct hours are 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m," seven days a week.

CAR


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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