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Tuesday, May 2, 2000

  • Stats consulting service now free
  • More employers hold special sessions
  • Water, racing cars, and more

[Boys on rock]
The rock garden north of UW's science buildings is a popular spot for youngsters visiting campus -- including frequent school tours led by curator emeritus Peter Russell, for whom the garden is now named.

Stats consulting service now free

Faculty members and graduate students can now use the Statistical Consulting Service free, says an announcement from its director, Jeanette O'Hara Hines.

Says a memo this week: "After a trial period of three years of a voluntary charge to UW researchers, it has been concluded that charging faculty members for statistical advice has been somewhat detrimental to the research of their graduate students. The members of the SCS have noticed that many graduate students have been reluctant to return for additional advice after the first (free) hour, despite being assured that they should return for further help even when their supervisor cannot afford to pay for our services.

"In consultation with the university administration, it has been decided that, as of May 1, 2000, the SCS will no longer be charging UW faculty or graduate students for statistical advice."

Advice given to undergraduates has always been free of charge.

She said the SCS will still charge the $50-an-hour rate for "any analyses that we carry out", and UW administrative departments will still have to pay for service -- $35 an hour, with the first hour free.

"As well, to help meet its expenses, the unit will continue to be involved in projects associated with the Survey Research Centre and external projects."

The SCS is a unit in the department of statistics and actuarial science that provides statistical advice to individuals or groups who need assistance with studies of all kinds. "Incorporating statistical principles into the design of any study," says O'Hara Hines, "may well save time and money, and ultimately lead to much more clearly-defined conclusions. . . . Delaying until after the data have been gathered often means coming up with ambiguous results, despite last-minute salvage operations."

Besides the director, the SCS has two full-time consultants, Erin Harvey and Pat Newcombe Welch. (Jock MacKay will take over as interim director from September 1 this year until August 31, 2001, while O'Hara Hines is on sabbatical leave.) "Collectively," she says, "the practical experience of the unit in statistical design and analysis is extensive. In addition, the unit has ready access to the largest group of statistics and actuarial professionals in any academic institution in Canada."

Ontario budget today

Ontario treasurer Ernie Eves will bring down this year's provincial budget at 4:00 today in the legislature. University leaders are hoping it will include some information about funding for expansion of enrolment both in the short term and when the "double cohort" hits campuses in the fall of 2003.

More employers hold special sessions

Special "information sessions" by employers, almost unknown on campus three years ago, have become a booming business in the department of co-op education and career services.

There were 106 employer sessions during 1999, up from 93 in 1998, says Olaf Naese of the CECS department, who adds that 51 sessions were held during the winter term this year. The events aren't a big feature of the spring term, but what's planned for this fall will add up to breaking last year's record.

"Employers place great importance on attracting candidates to these sessions," says Naese, "since they see this as their way of selling our students and grads on the merits of the company. It is an important marketing tool for employers."

He points out that a goal of his department is to foster the exposure of all UW students to the various employment opportunities available to them. "In doing so, CECS also wants to make it easier for organizations to recruit students at UW. In 1997 it was determined that employers arranged approximately 35 information sessions at UW each fall and winter term. Like other universities, UW had no services in place to aid employers in the organization of these sessions. Employers were on their own to book locations, food, technical equipment, and to inform UW students of the event.

"Since this was a very time consuming process, CECS suggested that more employers might be persuaded to offer information sessions at UW if a type of 'one stop shopping' package was offered.

"So, in 1998 it was decided that CECS would offer a coordinated package to employers wishing to hold information sessions. CECS now handles all the components of the sessions, making the process much less complicated for employers. Staff work in collaboration with Food Services, Audio Visual, and the Federation of Students, all of whom have played an integral role in the success of the sessions. Faculty members have also been very helpful in the promotion of these sessions by making class announcements informing students about the companies who are visiting the campus."

Says Naese: "In the two years since the winter term of 1998, the number of employer information sessions has grown substantially. The winter 2000 term showed an increase of 55% over the number of sessions held during the same term in 1998."

The employer information sessions are advertised on computer newsgroups, on posters, in a weekly Imprint ad, and on the CECS web site.

Water, racing cars, and more

The rain came down and the floods came up, as the old song says; so there was rather a lot of water on campus yesterday. One of the floods was in the vicinity of the Student Life Centre, where a water pipe broke during the weekend. Emergency arrangements were made so the Women Alive conference wouldn't be disrupted, and then yesterday the crew moved in to make the repair, closing the ring road for some hours in the process. Meanwhile, across campus there was considerable water in some work and storage areas of the Dana Porter Library, the result of another broken pipe in the course of the weekend; cleanup work continues there.

In yesterday's Bulletin I may have given the impression that this week's "Advances in Extraction Technologies" conference, sponsored by the chemistry department, was taking place at Ron Eydt Village. That's where many delegates are staying, of course, at UW's conference centre, but the working sessions are scheduled in the Davis Centre.

The engineering alumni office is offering "a unique opportunity to drive a real race car" later this week or next, and I've been trying to decide whether I think the image of an engineering grad behind the wheel of a Reynard Formula 2000 is incongruous or absolutely perfect. Maybe I should get down to Cayuga, south of Hamilton, where the "executive racing" takes place, and see what it's all about. "We have a few spaces left to fill on May 4, 5 and 12," writes Jeff Weller of the dean of engineering office, who's been organizing the outing as an engineering alumni activity. What you get for your fee of $275 plus tax: training, race suit and helmet, lunch, and three sessions of 15 laps around the track. Anyone interested should call Martha Ferguson in the dean's office, ext. 6838.

Co-op students returning from the winter work term will attend return-to-campus interviews with their field coordinators today through Friday in Needles Hall. Interview times and dates are posted on the first-floor bulletin boards in NH, and on co-op boards in Engineering Lecture and the Math and Computer building. Enjoy the on-campus term while you can: posting #1 for fall term jobs will go up next Wednesday, May 10.

Scheduled tonight at the Beaverdale Golf Club is the official launch of Leave a Legacy, described as "a community-based public awareness campaign to encourage people from all walks of life to make planned gifts, usually from their estates, to the charitable organizations of their choice. . . . Most people who have a will have not included a gift to charity. When asked, however, thirty-four percent of Canadians state they would consider making a charitable bequest if they were asked and if they were made aware of the benefits to them and to the community." Organizations from churches to, well, universities are joining through Leave a Legacy to make sure those Canadians get asked. "UW is a 'bronze' sponsor of this initiative as part of the planned giving program," says Pat Cunningham of the development office, who'll be at tonight's opening reception. "I hope to sponsor a lunchtime session in May on campus," she adds.

A note from the local Volunteer Action Centre: "Be a preschool pal! Volunteers with the Notre Dame of St. Agatha Preschool Pal program make a difference in the life of a child every day. They spend three hours a week in day care settings throughout Waterloo Region with young children who are having difficulties in social, emotional and/or behavioural development. Volunteers receive training and support and must be 18 years of age or older. Reach out to a young child in your neighbourhood today." For more information, the VAC can be reached at 742-8610.


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
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