Monday, September 21, 1998
Day of apples and honeyToday is Rosh Hashanah -- "the head of the year", the beginning of the Jewish year 5759. L'shona tova, a good year, to all.
Senate meetingThe monthly meeting of the UW senate begins at 7:30 tonight in Needles Hall room 3001. On the agenda: course and faculty changes, routine reports, announcements of honorary degrees that will be given at fall convocation, a report on "Year 2000" progress in UW's computing systems.
UW, Queen's University and Sheridan College were the three institutions that balked at the province's rules, announced last spring, under which there would be special funding for new students in certain programs, but only if first-year enrolment were doubled from its 1997 level. Waterloo's programs in computer science and electrical and computer engineering are just too big to make doubling feasible, officials here said. Other institutions, such as McMaster, leaped at the opportunity.
"I think we'll get in," UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch said on Friday, noting that talks with the government about possible changes to the rules are still going on. He said UW isn't too worried about finding enough qualified students to fill hundreds of extra places, although there's some concern about where to find faculty members in a time of heavy demand.
In the latest issue of the faculty association newsletter Forum, association president Fred McCourt gives his support to the caution UW officials have been showing:
UW would have had to increase the number of [information technology] students, mostly in computer science and computer engineering, by roughly 2000. Such an increase represents more than 10% of the total student enrolment at Waterloo, and is significantly greater than the increase required of any other university in Ontario.
It was pointed out more than once by our Vice-President, Academic and Provost, Jim Kalbfleisch, that the doubling of the IT student body at Waterloo would require us to hire, within a very short period of time, roughly 80 new faculty members in this relatively restricted academic area. The perturbations that this would impose not only upon UW but also upon the actual disciplines themselves would be large, given that it is already difficult to hire and retain the highly qualified people required for current reaching and research in the computer science and engineering areas at UW.
In addition to the actual hiring of so many new faculty members, the University would also have to find start-up funds and research space for the faculty members, and to provide the classroom space and other facilities in which the students would learn.
The questions of maintaining the quality of our IT programs and the effect of the skewing of our student and faculty body from its present distribution must also be considered carefully before such a decision could be contemplated. . . .
UW did put forward a counter-suggestion to the Ministry in which the University would have been prepared to increase its planned first-year IT enrolment by approximately one-third (which is about all that we could comfortably accommodate). This suggestion was initially rejected on the basis of an "all or nothing" attitude on the part of the government, but rumour now has it that further discussions have been more promising.
New links between this redesigned UWELib page and the TUG Libraries Web pages have been added so that it is now much easier to navigate from one site to the other. For example, if you click on the UW button on the TUG Libraries Info page this will take you to the top level of UWELib. And if you click on the UW button on the TUG Libraries Services page, this links to UWELib's Services & Information page.Some other departments can also boast of new and improved web pages this fall, such as athletics and recreational services, with a new page -- so Java-enriched that it baffles my browser -- that offers much expanded information about both varsity and recreational sports.
Credit for the work that was done to create this new homepage as well as the revised Web Resources page and the revised Services & Information page should go to Carol Stephenson, Esther Millar, Marina Wan, and Linda Hastings. Bill Oldfield was instrumental in modifying the Search tool on the homepage to search just the UW Electronic Library Website.
And there's been a major overhaul of web pages in the faculty of environmental studies, which includes an elegant home page and a set of frames for those who click on to find out about individual units within ES. I understand the creators of the school of architecture site, in particular, are taking great pride in the way it displays student and faculty work, most of all in the "digital studios". "Photograph on front navigation page was provided by Chris Payne from her 1997 thesis project," says a page that perpetrates a rather nice pun ("Web Architecture"). "Various graphic images throughout the site were developed from photographs by Mazyar Mortazavi from his 3A studio project entitled 'a study of light and space'."
The courses come in four categories -- fitness, racquets, aquatics, healthy living -- and are open to campus recreation members, which includes current students at no charge. Off-term co-op students can buy a membership for $26.75; staff, faculty and alumni for $64.20; outside folks, for $107.
The first step in registration is to pick up a ticket tomorrow (between 8:15 and 11:30) from the "red north" corner of the Physical Activities Complex. Each ticket carries a registration time on Wednesday, and the ticket-holder should show up at that time at PAC room 2039 to register and pay the class fee. Fees vary widely -- $30 for eight squash lessons, $53.50 for a Bronze Cross lifesaving course, $12.75 for a one-shot canoe clinic, $27 for many of the three-days-a-week fitness classes. Full information about registration is available on the web or in the maroon "Incredible Guidebook" that the campus rec folks have circulated on campus this term.
Something new this year in CR is the "Cross-Canada Challenge", a simulated run across the nation and back again. You can sign up for a token that will move along the big map in the PAC trophy case (Red North hallway) each week based on how many exercise activities you report doing that week.
Robert Mann of UW's physics department will speak on "The New Physics" at noontime today at Kitchener Public Library, where the weekly "Ideas and Issues" series is under way again with speakers from UW and Wilfrid Laurier University. Last week Robert Rosehart, president of WLU, was there to open the series with a talk on "The Challenges that Face Post-Secondary Students Today", and I don't know how he fit them all in between 12:00 and 1:00.
The St. Jerome's University charity run season is under way. The annual event isn't just one weekend of circling the ring road any more, it's some three weeks of lively activities, which began a few days ago with a Volunteer Fair and Friday night's "Mystery Bar Trip". Today features a "popsicle social" at 10 p.m. in the St. Jerome's cafeteria; all week, a penny raffle will be taking place in the Student Life Centre. The first lap of the actual run begins at 12:30 on Friday. This year's charity run is in support of the local Volunteer Action Centre.
Here's a slightly unusual request, forwarded by local rower Julie Horrocks in the mathematics faculty: "You too can become a Varsity Athlete! The Varsity Rowing Team needs coxswains (that's the person who sits in the back of the boat, steers, and generally bosses everyone around). No experience is necessary -- we'll show you how. You don't have to be in top shape to do this job, but it does help to be fairly small (the seat is narrow). You will get to participate in 5 regattas, including one in Montréal and one in Ottawa. Practices are daily at 6:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m. If you are interested please call Alan Willemsen at 884-1653 or 570-8500 ext. 2718. You must be a full-time UW student and must be able to swim 100 metres."
A "resume blitz" for first-year co-op students continues today: students can drop off their resumes on the first floor of Needles Hall to have them looked over by co-op education and career services staff. Important notice: "Co-op students planning to go out on a work term this fall should pick up their master copy of their co-op record Tuesday after 10 a.m. at the paging desk, NH. Tuesday is also the day to hand in work reports for many faculties. Deadlines vary by faculties, but most are due by 4 p.m. Tuesday."
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