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Monday, July 31, 2000
The glossy report, produced by UW's office of publications, is addressed to "our graduates and friends", and includes brief items about dozens of students, researchers and achievements across the faculty. "We are in the midst of an exciting time of renewal," writes the dean of engineering, Sujeet Chaudhuri.
He expresses pride in engineering students, alumni, faculty and outside supporters, but he also mentions some of his worries:
"Ontario's new SuperBuild program is an example of a welcome infusion of new funding that will help to relieve some of the space pressures brought on by increasing enrollment and the renewal of the last few years. The provincial government has promised to provide just over $31 million for a four-part building project at Waterloo: a new five-storey Centre for Environmental and Information Technologies, a new building to house Co-operative Education and Career Services, and additions to Engineering III and the Engineering Lecture Hall.
"Waterloo will have to find $13 million in private sector money to fund this new construction, as well as about $13.5 million to provide a maintenance endowment for these new and expanded buildings. Unfortunately, the SuperBuild program does not provide much-needed operating support. Neither does it address future growth.
"That concerns us, because space is really an issue of quality. In today's knowledge-based society, a university education is becoming the minimum qualification. Universities are under pressure to produce more skilled graduates. The arithmetic is simple: try to provide education to a larger group of people without adequate space and resources, and quality will suffer.
"In 1999, for the eighth year in a row, Waterloo ranked number one in Maclean's magazine's national reputational survey, based on the opinions of high school guidance counsellors, university officials, and CEOs across the country. As our reputation as one of the foremost engineering education centres in the world grows, we must continue to build on our strength as a leading research centre. Creating new knowledge and finding new applications, essential for creating jobs and wealth today, is also our obligation to future generations. Research, too, requires space, another problem that just adding more classrooms will not resolve.
"It's a tough balancing act, but we're sure that as the new century unfolds, Waterloo will continue to distinguish itself as one of the best engineering schools in the world."
From another section of the report:
Engineering is a tough program with up to 36 hours of lectures, tutorials, and labs each week, up to 60 hours when homework is figured in. Yet Waterloo's pass rate is high, with a graduating class 80 per cent of the size of the entry class. The first-year pass rates are typically 90 to 95 per cent. Undoubtedly the quality of the students themselves partly accounts for that success. But our high first-year pass rate is also due to decades of working out a system of programs to help students make the critical transition from high school to university. One of the key components of first year is the K-section, a group of 20 to 25 students -- about the size of a high school class. Since each K-section stays together for tutorials and labs, the students soon get to know each other and develop an esprit de corps. This year 14 senior co-op students were hired to work with the K-sections, building relationships with the first-year students while conducting help sessions four to six hours a week. We also provide all of our undergraduates with the computer hardware and software they require for their classes and labs. At some universities, students are required to purchase their own computer equipment, but at Waterloo, we don't download that responsibility to our students. No wonder they do so well.
"My perception of the individual soldier has changed the most," she says. "Going through the cemeteries, reading the inscriptions, speaking with the veterans, putting faces on the names, has made it less academic, more human."
Yarascavitch also participated in D-Day ceremonies in Normandy on June 6 as part of the Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation study tour from May 25 to June 12. She was one of 12 university students from across Canada selected for the tour, based on her letter of application, university marks and letters of reference.
As part of her senior seminar on Canadian military history (History 403A) this term, Yarascavitch gave a presentation on her experience at Dieppe, and will also speak to local high school students in the air cadet group she instructs. A journal she kept of her impressions while on the tour will be used by the foundation to recruit future applicants.
Her own military career began at age 14 when Yarascavitch became a cadet. From there she became a civilian instructor in a cadet squadron, and then joined the military as an officer in a cadet instructors cadre of the reserves. "I enjoy the structure it provides, as well as the leadership training opportunities. And I love working with teenagers, taking them into the bush, showing them survival skills."
Her vision of Canada's military role is that of a "peacekeeping nation. It's not an aggressor; it tends to go in after the conflict to pick up the pieces."
As for the future, Lieutenant Yarascavitch doesn't see her role in war zones, but hopes to continue teaching cadets as "a part-time career", possibly pursuing a master's degree in history at a military college. And after her experience this summer, she's set herself another goal: "to go back to France and to become bilingual. I loved the atmosphere, the history, the people."
In the area around the battlefields she visited, "the local people hold Canadians in such regard. I'm only 23. I didn't have anything to do with the war." But when she was wearing her uniform with "Canada" printed on the epaulettes, "little old women would come up and give me a hug and a kiss. It was a very moving experience."
The concept of combining the art forms for young dancers is the brainchild of Ruth Priddle, founder of the Carousel Dance Centre at UW and now emeritus professor in the department of kinesiology. She will be presenting a workshop on integrating art, music and dance at the conference, which brings together dance professionals from around the world to share ideas about working with children and movement.
Using the themes of fire and snow which appear in Group of Seven works, the Carousel children have practised choreographing their own dances. At the conference, Priddle will invite children from other countries and cultures to join in the process as she and the Carousel dancers demonstrate techniques that facilitate the creative process.
And for the benefit of students facing exams and end-of-term assignments, the UW libraries will be open late from now through August 11: Dana Porter until 2 a.m. nightly, the Davis Centre until 3 a.m. (Hours will be much shorter on Monday, August 7, which is Civic Holiday. And there are no exams scheduled that day.)
For undergraduate students who will be on campus in the fall term, the registrar's office will start mailing class schedules this week.
And for students who won't be on campus in the fall term because they have finally completed their degree requirements, and intend to graduate at convocation in October, tomorrow is the stated deadline for submission of Intention to Graduate forms.
There's a party this afternoon to mark the retirement of Marion Murie, well-known face and voice of UW's graphics department. The reception will run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the University Club; Dianne Keller at ext. 2079 should have last-minute information.
The Shads of yesteryear -- past participants in the life-changing Shad Valley program -- are invited to a pub get-together tonight -- 7:00 and onwards, at East Side Mario's just east of campus. "Send a quick note saying you're coming," suggests third-year computer science student Peter McCurdy, who was a Shad at Sherbrooke in 1997. "You can also let me know if you want to be informed of any future WatShadPubs." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, an e-mail address that was somewhat mangled for some readers in Friday's Bulletin but is now, I hope, correct.
The latest arrivals in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre, says manager Dave Reynolds, are a number of recent graduates who are writing actuarial exams on campus this week.
And . . . it's "alumni night" this Thursday at the third round of the Tennis Masters Series at York University. Tickets for the evening, at $26, include a wine-tasting party, a "reserved green seat" for the tennis, and frills. The reservations deadline is past, I'm afraid, but there might be last-minute information available at (416) 665-9777 ext. 306.
Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
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