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Thursday, March 9, 2000

  • A springlike season of suspense
  • Higher rate of co-op placement
  • Ozone satellite goes up in 2002
  • Under a gray but benign sky

A springlike season of suspense

It's a busy time of year at an extraordinarily busy university. "Don't expect a quick response," a colleague in another UW department told me in response to a request for something this week. "It's performance review week for me." Managers are putting in long hours writing and refining those annual appraisals for staff members; the human resources department says the deadline for them is March 15.

Meanwhile, both faculty members and staff members are expecting annual pay adjustments on May 1. But it's hard to make much headway in salary negotiations when there's been no hint from the Ontario government about the level of grants for the new year or the restrictions on tuition fees.

And fees for spring term students are due by Monday, May 1, the day the term starts -- but since the government hasn't set the rules, UW hasn't been able to tell students the level of fees it will be charging.

High schoolers who are hoping to enter university this fall have filed their applications by now, and are waiting to hear whether they're admitted to the institutions and programs they chose. Most UW offers of admission will be mailed May 29, the registrar's office says. Several thousand of the would-be students will be visiting UW for Campus Day next Tuesday. Next comes the equal and opposite suspense, as UW waits to see whether too many students or too few will accept the offers and fill the first-year classes in September.

Public universities -- the only kind Ontario has had in the last couple of generations -- are also wondering what it would be like if they had private-sector competition. Ontario premier Mike Harris has hinted a number of times that he's looking at allowing such institutions (the American-based University of Phoenix is particularly interested in establishing a beachhead here), and on Tuesday he was explicit about it: "We would like to look at the benefits. . . . If some of these private universities wish to provide opportunities here in Ontario at no cost to the taxpayer, why wouldn't we look at that?"

In short, we live in interesting times, times of anticipation and uncertainty. And of course the mild weather this week hasn't made it any easier for anybody to concentrate.

Maybe I can blame spring fever for the more than an acceptable number of mistakes I've made in the Bulletin in the past couple of days -- for which you have my apologies. Yesterday alone, for instance . . .

[Partly cloudy] Finally, and speaking of spring fever, the UW weather station announced the winners yesterday in its contest to predict when the temperature would first reach 20 Celsius. The end of the contest came "a little bit earlier than we had expected", organizers said. "The station recorded a temperature of 20.2 C on March 8, 2000 at 12:00. First prize goes to Charles Bergeron and second prize goes to Mike Crabb." By midafternoon, the station (on the north campus beside Columbia Lake) was reporting a temperature of 23.8. No wonder the Graduate House is advertising that its patio is open for morning coffee and for lunch.

Higher rate of co-op placement

The co-op and career service has announced an increase in the number of students who have been matched with spring term jobs nearly two months before the spring term begins.

As of March 3, the department says, some 3,579 co-op students were scheduled to be on a work term for May through August. Of these, 927 students had indicated that they were either returning to a previous employer or arranging their own job.

After the computer match for the initial round of interviews (which ended February 25), 1,437 students achieved employment. This means that 64.32 per cent of all co-op students scheduled to be on a work term for the spring now have jobs. Last year at the same time the number employed was 59.95 per cent.

For the 1,217 students still without employment, "the Continuous Phase holds additional opportunities," says Olaf Naese in Needles Hall. Job postings began last week and will continue until the end of March. Employer interviews begin again on Monday.

He notes that the figures do not include architecture students, whose initial round of interviews are taking place this week. The match results for architecture students will be posted on March 16.

Ozone satellite goes up in 2002 -- from the UW news bureau

Federal industry minister John Manley, who is responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, has announced contracts totalling $13 million to build a science satellite for a mission headed by a UW professor to study ozone depletion in the atmosphere.

Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg will build SCISAT-1, Canada's first science satellite since 1971, scheduled for launch in 2002, Manley said yesterday.

Mission scientist for the project, announced earlier as the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE), is Peter Bernath, a faculty member in UW's chemistry and physics departments. He will lead a research team that includes scientists from across Canada and the United States, Japan, France, Sweden and Belgium.

  • 1999 release on Bernath's research
  • Another UW-based ozone depletion study
  • The principal goal of the mission is to measure and understand the chemical and dynamical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the stratosphere.

    Ozone declines have been measured over much of Canada, using ground-based instruments over the past 20 years, sparking fears that atmospheric and climatic changes could threaten human health and safety. "Human activities are altering our atmosphere, and the ACE mission will try to measure and understand these changes," Bernath said at a Winnipeg news conference.

    "The ACE mission will monitor the earth's atmosphere from low earth orbit. As the sun rises and sets, the infrared absorption of sunlight by the earth's atmosphere will be measured. The absorption and scattering of sunlight will allow the composition of our atmosphere to be studied," he said.

    The satellite launch is anticipated for June 2002 from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California, Bernath said. A Lockheed L-1011 jet will launch the Pegasus rocket and as the second and third stages of the rocket ignite, the spinning satellite will deploy.

    Then the satellite will begin monitoring the absorption of atmospheric molecules such as ozone. "Ultimately this data will be transmitted to ground and will end up at the ACE Science Data Centre at the University of Waterloo," Bernath said.

    "SCISAT-1 will improve our understanding of the chemical processes involved in the depletion of the ozone layer, with particular emphasis on the processes occurring over Canada and the Arctic," Manley said.

    Under a gray but benign sky

    The Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference gets going today, an event organized by UW students and being attended by students from coast to coast. The list of free events has been somewhat expanded from the last time it was issued; today, in particular, here is what's on offer: And other things, big and small, are also happening today at Waterloo:

    The elevator in the Earth Sciences and Chemistry building is in need of repair, and will be out of commission as of 8:00 this morning. The plant operations department says it'll be back in use by end of the day March 23.

    The computer science department presents a seminar this morning by Gladimir Baranoski of the University of Calgary, on "Realistic Rendering of Natural Scenes". He'll speak at 10:30 in Math and Computer room 5158.

    There's a talk at 11:30 this morning by Gary Kramer, a UW graduate in civil who has been working with the consulting firm of Hatch Mott MacDonald and recently received the American Society of Civil Engineers' John O. Bickel Award for tunnelling. He spent five years working on an extension of the Los Angeles subway -- a project that "experienced both good and bad engineering, political intrigue, controversy, success and failure that had all of the makings of a Hollywood movie script" -- and will speak about his experiences. Location: Carl Pollock Hall room 3385.

    Says Jason MacIntyre of retail services: "Altiris, a PC management company, will be on campus to demonstrate their software called 'Vision', which gives instructors full control of the PCs in their classroom. With Altiris Vision, instructors can remotely monitor, evaluate, demonstrate, control, or lock-down one or several student PCs in a classroom environment." The event, hosted by the Computer Store, will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Math and Computer room 2009.

    In a statistics and actuarial science seminar, Jiahua Chen, a faculty member for the past nine years, will speak on "Information Criteria and Change Point Problem for Regular Models" (3:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158).

    This afternoon brings something called "Reality Check" to the Student Life Centre, sponsored by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group. It's a forum theatre performance about youth poverty, involving some 17 young people from the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Audience members will be invited to help the actors decide how to resolve the situations they perform. The free show will begin at 4 p.m.

    The Computing Help and Information Place (CHIP) will close early today -- at 4:30 p.m. -- so that staff can attend a departmental function.

    An interfaith panel -- Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist -- will discuss "The Manifestation of Evil: Roots, Reality, Response", at 7:00 tonight in Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Everyone is welcome; the event is sponsored by Huron Campus Ministry and the UW chaplains' association.

    The Arriscraft Lecture series in UW's school of architecture continues, with a talk tonight by Steven Teeple, UW graduate and Toronto practitioner. Nearly everyone on campus is familiar with one example of his work, the redesign of the east front of South Campus Hall, and he also designed the as-yet-unbuilt Centre for Environmental and Information Technologies. Teeple will speak at 7:00 this evening in Environmental Studies II room 286.

    International Women's Week continues. There will be another noontime craft session in the Student Life Centre, and the film "Muriel's Wedding" will be shown in the SLC at 6:00.

    March 21 is to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. To mark the occasion, some members of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group are producing "a small publication on racism and anti-racism", and are inviting essays, artwork, photos, articles and so on, with a deadline of tomorrow at 4:30. Submissions can be dropped off at the WPIRG office in the Student Life Centre, or E-mailed to wpirg@watserv1.

    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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