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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, April 13, 1999

  • Editor assesses state of UW
  • Work continues on enrolment expansion
  • When the Internet disappeared
  • No smoking, no water, et cetera
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Editor assesses state of UW

After three months away from campus, I returned to my desk a few days ago and tried to catch up on what's been happening at this very busy university. Headline news seems to have included a stabbing, a concrete toboggan race, a cancelled "rave", the election of new student leaders, the celebration of World Wetlands Day, a lecture by Mordecai Richler, and the introduction of "differential" tuition fees, among other things.

'Partnering for 2000'

Communitech and UW are hosting a workshop this morning on the opportunities provided by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund. It starts with breakfast in Federation Hall, from 7:30 to 9:30, for people from local high-tech companies. Then at 9:45 comes a general meeting with UW and area researchers, and then a "Meet the Media" session starting at 11:10 a.m. Among the officials taking part will be Cal Stiller, chair of the ORDCF board of directors, and Ken Knox, deputy minister of the Ontario ministry of energy, science and technology. The fund is providing $500 million over 10 years to support research partnerships between universities and colleges and Ontario businesses and industries. In the first group of awards, UW will receive funding for five projects worth $36 million and having 14 companies as partners.
Also, I learned, the Alzheimer Research and Education Project is now the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Project, in honour of its founding donor. I believe this announcement was made in the Mutual Auditorium in Matthews Hall, presumably to be the Clarica Auditorium as soon as the name-change for the Mutual Group is approved. (Stay tuned for more news from Mike Sharratt, who one of these days will be be identifying himself as the Norman Dean of the Kenyon Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.)

And I see that the multi-million-dollar Bell Emergis project, previously announced in October, February, May and December, was announced again, with the Ontario government pitching in to the tune of $19.5 million. In fact the funds just keep flowing in -- for research, at least, if not for university operations in general: $220,000 from Ottawa for "residential energy efficiency", $10.3 million for the Nortel Networks Institute for Advanced Information Technology, $5 million for six "infrastructure projects" from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and $2.5 million from local business leader Lyle Hallman for a new institute and professorship "aimed at improving the health and lives of Canadians, as well as curbing future health-care costs".

C. Redmond (may not be exactly as pictured)
Actually, I knew most of these developments even before setting foot on campus, since I've been following the news through the Daily Bulletin whenever I was able. I want to thank my colleague Barbara Elve, who has written the Bulletin in my absence and drawn much well-deserved praise for her work. Even now that I'm back, her words will be appearing frequently in this space.

I also want to thank many Bulletin readers for their cheerful messages, wise advice, prayers, cards and good will during my surgery and recuperation. How am I doing now? Much better than I was, thank you, and a little stronger almost every day.

Now, back to the question of how UW is doing, in these weeks as we await the June 1 arrival of a new president, David Johnston. (I get the feeling that everybody on campus thinks he, she or it knows what Johnston's agenda will be, and is counting on being part of it.)

Work continues on enrolment expansion

Probably the biggest news at UW for all of 1999 is the growth that's coming in high-technology fields of study thanks to the provincial Access to Opportunities program.

UW faces a deadline this Thursday -- it must tell the Ontario government how it plans to match the $9.6 million in one-time funding that the province is offering to help prepare for additional students in computer science and electrical and computer engineering. The matching funds are to come from industry, in forms as varied as computer equipment, co-op placements, scholarships (see the Nortel Networks Institute, above), and hard cash.

In addition, there's extra per-student funding from the province each year to pay for teaching the larger crowds. Starting this fall, first-year CS enrolment at UW will be 600, up from the original target of 435. First-year E&CE enrolment will be 355, up from 255.

Waterloo is reporting a boom in applications for admission this year, and ATOP means that UW will be able to accommodate some of those extra applicants. But the number of first-year students this fall may be no more, in total, than the number in September 1998, when an unexpectedly large number of admitted applicants said yes, and Waterloo ended up with 106 per cent of its target first-year enrolment.

Planning continues on other fronts too, including the hiring of new teachers and, shortly, construction work on some new classrooms.

Enrolment growth thanks to ATOP may be a foretaste of the future, as universities, including UW, start to plan for the real boom in 2003. "The provincial government seems to have discovered the double cohort," one keen observer told me last week. The "double cohort" is the crowd of students, now in grades 8 and 9, who will all be eyeing university at the same time four springs from now, thanks to a high school curriculum overhaul. The Council of Ontario Universities has just issued a major study of the demands that the double cohort, as well as other developments, will place on campuses over the next decade.

Back at the ranch, provost Jim Kalbfleisch still has a $2 million deficit in the 1999-2000 budget he'll be submitting to the UW senate for approval on Monday night. "Enrolment is especially uncertain this year," he points out, not just because of ATOP but because applications are being handled in a new way with various deadlines at various Ontario universities. The result: UW's income level won't be definite until the fall, and he won't finish balancing the budget until then.

When the Internet disappeared

Staff in UW's information systems and technology department are still trying to find out exactly why Waterloo was cut off from the Internet for some ten hours on Saturday.

A router -- the machine that tells UW computers how to find the world, and receives incoming e-mail and other Internet traffic -- failed in early afternoon, IST says. By 1:30 p.m. the University of Toronto was reporting that it couldn't reach Waterloo. For the rest of that day, traffic that was interrupted ranged from e-mail to the Web. And the Tri-Universities Group of libraries was split in half: the Trellis database at UW wasn't accessible from Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier, while the journal indexes at Guelph couldn't be reached from UW.

"The router was replaced and back in operation by approximately 23:00 Saturday," said a memo early Sunday from Doug Payne of IST. And yesterday morning Roger Watt, director of systems for IST, said that IST will "post a follow-up as soon as we've had a chance to do a post-mortem analysis."

No smoking, no water, et cetera

Smokers may huddle no longer at the front and rear doors of Needles Hall. NH is to be "a test site" for plans to get the smell of smoke away from building entrances at UW, says a memo from provost Jim Kalbfleisch, dated Friday. UW's joint health and safety committee recommended the action, "based on the Smoking in the Workplace Act and on a variety of concerns brought to the Committee, particularly complaints with respect to the entrances to Needles Hall". It's recommending a plan to label some "Designated Non-Smoking Entrances" to UW buildings and take away the ashtrays. "Suggested alternative locations for smokers," says Kalbfleisch's memo, include the third-floor patio (where he's been spotted with a cigarette himself on occasion), the parking garage, and the ground-level side entrance facing Modern Languages.

Water will be shut off on the first floor of South Campus Hall this morning, from 8 to 11 a.m., as plumbing work is done for the new coffee shop that will replace the now-defunct Double U's.

A kiddie show, "Much More Munsch", is scheduled for the Humanities Theatre today and again tomorrow, with performances at 10:00, 11:45 and 1:30. Watch for endless rows of yellow buses on the ring road.

The Graduate Student Association is looking for help: "graduate students with bar or kitchen experience to work on a part-time basis at the Grad House. Applications will be available at the Grad House." More information: Rose Vogt, ext. 6015.

Take a look at your supermarket checkout this week: People magazine has discovered the problem of eating disorders on campus, and offers a cover story with horrors from "a large northeastern university" and comments from an eating disorders treatment program at Dartmouth College.


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 | Yesterday's Bulletin
Copyright © 1999 University of Waterloo