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Friday, March 3, 2000

  • Alumni program has 11 objectives
  • 'Remarkable' employment rate in co-op
  • Profs ready to write to Chrétien
  • Engineers compete this weekend
  • Parenting talk tonight, and more

Complaints received lately

  • Wednesday: "National Pig Day? I trust that you will not turn the Bulletin green on March 17 or even mention St. Patrick, since you completely ignored St. David."
  • Thursday: "I don't know who sent you the press release for the lecture tonight, but if it was someone from Architecture, they should have their hands slapped for not knowing that the gallery in Ottawa, designed by Safdie, is the National Gallery of Canada, not the National Gallery of Art."
  • Alumni program has 11 objectives

    There is "an unprecedented opportunity" for UW to develop closer links with its 100,000 alumni, provide more services for them and get more benefit from what they have to offer, says a five-year "strategic plan" from the alumni affairs office.

    "Many other colleges and universities have demonstrated the numerous advantages which come from fostering productive, long-term interaction with alumni," says the report, done by alumni affairs manager Gwen Graper. "The University of Waterloo is now in an excellent position to expand upon its existing relationship with a large, growing, and very successful alumni constituency already demonstrating a high level of interest in and support of this institution."

    It will take work, she says, noting that some things have been done already. A survey was sent to 13,000 alumni in 1998-99, for example, and drew a 20 per cent response rate. "Key themes reflected in the survey responses include: strongest connection with each other compared to with the Institution, Faculty or Department; alumni prefer activities which provide networking opportunities, a professional/personal development component and opportunities to interact with each other."

    This winter a UW Alumni Council was organized and had its first meeting, and a new alumni web site, including what's described as an "e-community", was launched. By this week more than 3,100 alumni had signed up to take part in the on-line "community", the alumni office says.

    The strategic plan lists 11 objectives and summarizes what will be done to work towards each of them between now and 2004. These are the objectives:

    Plans for reaching the objectives range from involving alumni in high school visits to starting local alumni groups in several communities where a number of UW graduates live.

    The alumni office knows of 80,844 UW alumni living in Canada (including 24,717 in greater Toronto, 13,850 in Waterloo Region and 75 in Prince Edward Island) and 7,576 in the United States and other countries (including 752 in California and 96 in India).

    'Remarkable' employment rate in co-op

    With some 350 more co-op students looking for jobs in the winter work term this year, compared to last January, the employment rate has held firm at just under 98 per cent.

    "This is a remarkable accomplishment and a credit to our partner employers and our own CECS co-ordinators," says co-op and career services director Bruce Lumsden, who adds "there is still a long way to go" in the area of job development. "All of us in the UW community need to work with our employer contacts to maintain and expand our employer base."

    The employment rate as of February 25 stood at 100 per cent for co-op students in the faculties of applied health sciences and accounting, with student teachers were also fully employed. School of architecture students weighed in with an employment rate of 99.27, with engineering at 98.86, science at 97.40, and arts at 97.10. Some 96.23 per cent of co-op students in environment and resource studies, geography and planning, and 96 per cent of math students found jobs.

    A total of 4,251 (97.93 per cent) co-op students are working this term, with 88 unemployed. Last winter, 3903 students (98.16 per cent) were working, with 72 still looking for jobs.

    For the spring term, job matches will be posted by 3 p.m. Monday, and the "continuous phase" postings, for students who haven't had interviews or nibbles yet, have already begun.

    Architecture students travel en masse to Toronto today, for a one-day blitz of interviews. The bus trip is a now traditional event, arranged largely for employers' convenience and to keep from disrupting life in the architecture school too much. Some two-thirds of architecture co-op jobs are in the Toronto area; about two dozen firms will be interviewing today.

    Profs ready to write to Chrétien

    UW professors are being urged to join in sending a letter to the prime minister "expressing deep concern about the potential implications that could arise" if the government follows the advice of an Expert Panel on the Commercialization of University Research.

    "This report," says Fred McCourt, president of the UW faculty association, "strongly advocates not only giving priority to research that interests the private sector but also advocates the transfer of ownership of intellectual property to the universities so that they can in turn transfer it freely to the private sector.

    "While lobbying activities by the CAUT and other concerned organizations have heightened awareness of problems with the report, their activities have been countered by a concerted effort by Industry Canada and some segments of the business community to have the government press ahead with implementation of the report's recommendations."

    He is distributing a letter to prime minister Jean Chrétien that has already been signed by faculty members across Canada -- including McCourt himself, as well as such prominent names as John Polanyi and David Suzuki.

    "As researchers and scientists from across Canada," it says, "we are deeply concerned about the growing commercialization of university research.

    "There is overwhelming historical evidence that the best model of research is one guided by the vision of scientists and conducted with a level of public funding equal to the highest standards in the world. Such a model frees our researchers to be opportunistic, making discoveries where nature allows rather than where a business plan may dictate. Only this will assure Canada a place at the leading edge of discovery.

    "This model is under threat by the recommendations contained in the Report of the Expert Panel on the Commercialization of University Research. The report, now being considered by your government, recommends tying university research closer to immediate corporate priorities.

    "The Panel's recommendations would impede the development of genuinely new knowledge and products. The distinctive contributions of university research -- with its breadth of knowledge, far time horizons and independent voice -- would be at risk. Important research questions that lack the promise of short-term commercial profits would be marginalized. . . .

    "The Expert Panel's report does not address the real problem. Science at Canadian universities is in crisis. Inadequate core funding has resulted in the decay of university infrastructure, the reduction of faculty numbers, diminished library resources and decreased technical support for research. . . . We urge the Federal Government to reject the Report of the Expert Panel and to set up a new and properly balanced investigation to consider these very important issues."

    The Canadian Association of University Teachers is collecting signatures for the letter until March 7, McCourt says.

    Engineers compete this weekend

    UW will be represented by a 28-member student team at the annual Ontario Engineering Competition this weekend in Toronto.

    "This is one of the largest teams UW has ever assembled for the competition," said Fakhri Karray of systems design engineering, the team's faculty advisor. "UW has always done very well in the Ontario competition and its national counterpart."

    The goals of the competition are to provide undergraduate engineering students with an opportunity to test and develop their skills in practical problem solving, design and communication, as well as to promote a better understanding of the engineering profession among students and the public. Students will compete in categories such as entrepreneurial design, technical excellence, corporate design, explanatory communication and social awareness.

    This year, the provincial competition will be held at the University of Toronto. A week later, the national competition with competitors from around the country will be held at the University of Western Ontario in London.

    Students winning first and second places in each of the categories at the provincial level will qualify to compete at the national competition. "Our hopes are very high this year and we expect to maintain the reputation UW has accomplished in this type of competition," Karray said, adding that preparation for the event started nine months ago.

    Parenting talk tonight, and more

    According to some sociologists, the contemporary parent-child relationship is the most uneven power balance around. Why, then, do most parents feel so powerless? In "Parenting and Power: An Analytic Story About Power and Powerlessness", Kieran Bonner, dean of St. Jerome's University, will discuss this apparent contradiction in a lecture tonight.

    The talk -- beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's -- is part for the 1999-2000 season of the St. Jerome's Centre for Catholic Experience. It's free and open to all. Bonner, who came to St. Jerome's as dean last year, is also a professor of sociology with a special interest in parent-child relations and in contemporary social theory. Using selections from his book Power and Parenting: a Hermeneutic of the Human Condition, he will discuss the idea that "power means recognizing not only what one can do but also what one cannot do. The parenting situation provides a particularly vivid way of illustrating that point. In light of this, my idea of power requires that effectiveness, ethicality and wisdom be integrated, reviving the relevance of Aristotle for our modern situation and our modern social theory."

    He describes his approach to the topic as a kind of radical interpretive sociology, as opposed to a more statistical approach. "Sociology should be close to lived experience," he says. "The closer you are to the phenomena, the more intimate you are with the situation, the better you are able to unfold the knowledge needed to understand it." Bonner himself has three children, and comes from a family of 13.

    Other things are also happening today and over the weekend:

    It's Two for Blue Day today in support of research into juvenile arthritis. Michelle Banic in UW's office of institutional analysis and planning (phone ext. 5042) would be glad to receive any $2 donations for the cause.

    There will be some inconvenience in the Doug Wright Engineering Building (Engineering I) from 1 p.m. today until about noon on Monday. The corridor on the west side of the building, first floor, will be closed "for the installation of conduits (raceway system) in the ceiling areas", the plant operations department says. Several rooms and a stairwell won't be available for use.

    The physics department presents a talk today by Harry Ruda of the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations, on "Research and Career Opportunities in Photonics". He'll speak at 2:30 in Physics room 150.

    [Mercedes Five and Dime] The big music event of the weekend comes Saturday night at Federation Hall, when the Juno award nominated band Moist will play. Doors open at 8 p.m.; tickets, if there are any left, are available at the Federation of Students office in the Student Life Centre.

    Tonight, meanwhile, brings "an impressive spectacle of singing, dancing, theatre and magic", including a demonstration by the UW Swing Dance and Social Club. It's a variety show fundraiser -- in support of something called the Royal Medieval Faire -- tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m., at the K-W Little Theatre, 9 Princess Street East.

    Interuniversity sports are, suddenly, just about at an end for the year. UW's track and field team will travel to Windsor for the OUA championship meet this weekend, and that's all the action there is. At the campus recreation level, the curling club will hold its bonspiel tomorrow at the Listowel Curling Club.

    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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