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Monday, June 19, 2000

  • Enrolment 'comfortably under target'
  • Bachelor of Software Engineering
  • Radio station seeks to raise $7,000
  • Today's events and other notes

Appointments come to senate

UW's senate holds its monthly meeting this afternoon, and is expected to consider the appointment of two top officials: the dean of science and the vice-president (university research).

A new dean is needed July 1, 2001, and a new VP January 1, 2001. Reports from the nominating committees for the two positions are on the senate's agenda in closed session at the end of tonight's meeting.

Appointments of deans and vice-presidents also need board of governors approval. The board's executive committee will hold a special meeting in closed session tomorrow morning at 9:30, the university secretariat says.

On the agenda for the open portion of tonight's senate meeting, which starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001, are the proposed Bachelor of Software Engineering program, as described elsewhere in this Bulletin, and an honours program in "computational science" with options in chemistry, biochemistry, earth sciences or physics. There's also a proposal to move from letter grades to numerical grades in all UW's faculties, starting next year.

Enrolment 'comfortably under target'

Almost 4,000 students have already told UW that they'll be here in September to begin first-year studies, says a memo from Peter Burroughs, the university's director of admissions.

"Overall," says Burroughs, "we are 'comfortably' under our November 1 targets." He adds that "with very few exceptions our targets should be attained by mid summer", bringing UW a full-time first-year class of 4,120 students this fall.

Last year's target was 4,060 students, but Waterloo ended up with 4,600 in first year as more people accepted their offers than the admissions office expected. Burroughs is hoping not to repeat that experience this September.

Most offers of admission went out on May 29, and students were given until June 7 to accept them. By June 14, 3,825 acceptances to UW had arrived at the Ontario Universities Application Centre. More are coming in day by day, Burroughs said, adding that "immediate action is being considered to increase the number of offers . . . to particular programs that are below our expected confirmation totals."

Those programs would be concentrated in the faculties of science (which had reached 80 per cent of its target by June 14) and arts (86 per cent). The other four faculties either had reached their targets or were getting close by last week.

Total acceptances, counting both Ontario high school students and "non-OSS" applicants from other provinces or educational backgrounds: applied health sciences, 289 (the enrolment target is 277); arts, 959 (target 1117); engineering, 819 (target 840); environmental studies, 271 (target 281); mathematics, 1006 (target 1000); science, 480 (target 600).

Says Burroughs: "Universities, including our own in most programs, which are continuing to make offers to non OSS applicants will experience a steady but slow increase in confirmations until no further offers are made."

Bachelor of Software Engineering

UW's senate will be asked to give approval today for a new honours program leading to a new degree: Bachelor of Software Engineering.

The joint proposal by the departments of computer science and electrical and computer engineering has been making its way through levels of approval at UW for more than a year. In November, Scotiabank pledged $2.5 million to help create the co-op degree program by funding the establishment of a lab, two research chairs, and a scholarship endowment.

Students in the SE program would start out taking chiefly math courses and "Introduction to Methods of Software Engineering", then move into a core of SE courses and also take some material from the E&CE department, as well as electives.

From the material that's being presented to senate today:

Complex software systems have become a key part of many mission critical systems such as banking, communications, manufacturing, medical, power and transportation systems. Progress in computer science and accumulated experience with industrial production of software have led to the emergence of software engineering as a separate discipline. The software engineering discipline has been defined as "the application of systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approaches to the development, operation and maintenance of software;" that is, the application of engineering to software. The software engineer must apply well-defined techniques, methods and tools to ensure the correctness, reliability, performance, maintainability and usability of the software systems being developed.

There has been a surge in demand for software professionals, in particular software engineers, as a consequence of the rapid growth in computing power and in the application of computers. The technical requirements of these software engineers include a strong foundation in mathematics, natural sciences and computer science, a broad education in software engineering and design, and understanding of computers and networks, a better appreciation for all aspects of the software engineering life cycle and use of methodologies and tools. The curriculum requirements are not all technical. Industry is also asking for graduates who have facility across several disciplines. Software engineering graduates need to have substantial communications, business, and reasoning skills.

The honours software engineering program leading to a Bachelor of Software Engineering degree has been developed to educate professionals capable of meeting these challenges. The software engineering program has been designed to be accreditable by the Computer Sciences Accreditation Council and the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board Accreditation will be sought at the first opportunity.

The program won't actually be accredited until the first students are about to graduate, says Prabhakar Ragde, associate chair (curriculum) in the CS department. But, he says, "we have developed a program to satisfy most written criteria of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board." The only outstanding matters involve the natural science requirements of the CEAB, said Ragde. "This is the first branch of engineering not producing any physical artifacts. We're arguing that not as much natural science is relevant, and are hoping the criteria will be changed."

Radio station seeks to raise $7,000

CKMS, UW's student-run radio station, launches its annual "Spring for Radio" funding drive today, this year with the goal of raising $7,000 for a new mixing board for the on-air studio.

"We ask for financial support from the public at large once every year, as we do not play commercials or advertising," explains Heather Houghton, president of Radio Waterloo Inc., which operates CKMS.

"We bought our current on-air studio mixing board in 1990," CKMS volunteers explain. "At that time it was already 14 years old! For the past ten years we've coddled it, cajoled it, and occasionally kicked it. . . . It has served us well, but as time goes on it takes more and more work just to keep it operating."

So the station is holding a series of concerts and other events this week, and sending live DJs to the Student Life Centre great hall from 11:30 to 1:00 Monday through Friday, to bring in gifts and pledges.

Today's events and other notes

[Davison] Today's an important day for Sydney Davison of the department of applied mathematics. Davison (right) has been awarded the Gold Medal of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and it's being presented there as the 20th International Seminar in Surface Physics opens. Davison, who was founding editor of the journal Progress in Surface Science and was one of the organizers of the Surface Canada conference at UW in 1995, is being honoured "for distinction in surface science", a field that touches on mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering. Wroclaw is hosting the conference as part of its 300th anniversary celebrations.

Tomorrow will be job ranking day for co-op students -- time to list preferences for fall term jobs -- but it should be possible to get a preview of ranking information today through the Access computer system. Ranking forms will be available tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Needles Hall, and are due back at 4 p.m.

The Matthews Golf Classic is taking place this afternoon, which means that some dozens of people will be away from campus for the day. The annual event, this year at the Grand Valley Golf Course, is one of UW's traditional social events, bringing out social as well as serious golfers among staff, faculty and retirees and their friends, and honouring former UW president Burt Matthews.

The Hindi Movie Club is back in action, with a showing of "Akele Hum, Akele Tum" at 9:20 tonight in Davis Centre room 1304. Admission is $2.

Opening today and based in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre is Year 2000 Adventure Camp, a four-week program that's bringing some 50 senior high school students from Hong Kong to Canada. The students will spend two weeks in an English as a Second Language program at Renison College and then a week in Engineering Science Quest before touring parts of Ontario and Québec. The program will be repeated starting in late July.

The Waterloo-based Academy of Dance will hold its spring performance in the Humanities Theatre tonight (and again tomorrow night) at 6:30.

And finally . . . Canadian universities will be allowed to give out more in athletic scholarships than has been lawful in the past, following a decision on the weekend by the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union. Scholarships have been limited to $1,500 a year in the past; the CIAU voted to raise the limit to equal the year's tuition fees. The CIAU also approved "a five-year plan to ensure the equitable allotment of athletic awards to male and female student-athletes". (How Canadian Press reported it.)


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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