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Tuesday, May 9, 2000

  • UW job rates above Ontario average
  • Celebrating 25 years at Waterloo
  • Decoding ourselves: the genome project
  • And now, the rest of the story

[Pink tree]
Pale pink petals overhang the Modern Languages patio this week as the flowering crabapple trees are joining in the riot of early spring. Photo by Barbara Elve.

UW job rates above Ontario average

The overall employment rate for UW graduates is 94.8 per cent six months after graduation and 97.1 per cent two years after graduation, the office of institutional analysis and planning said yesterday.

Figures were made public by UW and other Ontario universities as scheduled. Earlier, province-wide rates had been announced: 93.1 per cent after six months, 96.4 per cent after two years. So UW is a little ahead of average on both measures.

The employment rate, yesterday's announcement said, "is the number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of those persons who were employed, or unemployed but looking for work". The figures are based on a survey of 1997 graduates.

A chart of the employment rates for graduates of various UW programs shows some oddities. For example, 100 per cent of computer science graduates have jobs six months after leaving the university -- but at the two-year point, that number is down to 93.5 per cent, the lowest for any program.

Employment rates two years after graduation are 100 per cent for optometry, fine arts, "business and commerce" and physical science; 98.0 per cent for mathematics; 97.2 per cent for engineering; 98.4 per cent for humanities; 95.7 per cent for social sciences.

Celebrating 25 years at Waterloo

Also in 1975

  • War ends, SNL premieres
  • UW acquires Henry Crapo dance collection
  • Top 40 in pop music
  • It seems like only yesterday to some of us, the summer when Harry Chapin was singing "Cat's in the Cradle" (right) and people were watching that new TV show "Wheel of Fortune". But suddenly the summer of 1975 is a quarter of a century in the past, and the news of those days (the fall of Vietnam, the rise of Margaret Thatcher) seems as ancient as the idea of a 15 per cent pay increase, which UW staff received July 1, 1975.

    It was the heyday of the great Canadian inflation, which pushed the price of doughnuts up from a dime to 15 cents at the Math C&D stand and saw UW's budget swell to an incredible $48 million for the year. Then in October, prime minister Pierre Trudeau suddenly announced a wage-price freeze and the appointment of an Anti-Inflation Board.

    That's what life was like in 1975, the year that saw the deaths of Warrior superstar Mike Moser and baseball legend Casey Stengel. It was the year somebody bashed a hole in the red "worm" sculpture that stood outside the Physics building.

    It was the year Doug Dudycha came to UW to teach geography, the year Frank Zorzitto started teaching mathematics, the year Maureen Kama began a job in the cataloguing department of the UW library. They're among the 47 people who joined the staff or faculty that year and are still around, a quarter of a century later, to join UW's 25-Year Club at a reception tonight.

    Also to be honoured are 15 people whose presence dates from 1965; they joined the 25-Year Club ten years ago and are still around, now able to tell stories of how much the university has changed in their 35-year experience.

    Even 25 years is a long time. Still in the future in 1975 was East Campus Hall -- Bob Tattrie, joining the central stores crew, worked from the General Services Complex, squeezed in next to plant operations shops, and Jo Ann Chesher of the finance office (then called "financial services") was in Matthews Hall. Even further in the future was the Davis Centre: electrical engineers like new arrival Douglas Wismer worked in Engineering II.

    And Chris Farley, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Vince Carter hadn't even been born yet.

    At tonight's event -- which begins at 6 p.m. at Federation Hall -- the arrivals of 1975 and 1965 will be honoured with UW jewellery and many a handshake, and they'll trade memories with staff and faculty who got here before they did and were inducted into the 25-Year Club in previous years. (The annual reception was inaugurated in 1982, when UW itself reached its 25th anniversary.)

    Memories of 1975 will almost certainly include the aftermath of the "Renison College" controversy, spilling over from the last weeks of 1974 and leading to a sit-in at the dean's office in the Modern Languages building. They might also include a stunning snowstorm during April exams, the national championship won by the Warriors even without the much-lamented Moser, and the advent of the first co-op program in the faculty of arts. And then there will be the stories that can only be told in confidence . . . at least for now.

    Decoding ourselves: the genome project -- by Avvey Peters

    May is Huntington Disease Awareness Month, and while the Huntington Society of Canada is working hard to raise public awareness, it's also celebrating the progress of the international Human Genome Project. For genetically controlled diseases like HD, the Human Genome Project could have a profound impact on how scientists go about finding a cure.

    Patricia Schulte of UW's biology department teaches a course that discusses aspects of the Human Genome Project. She says the project has enormous significance because it will give scientists an understanding of the basis of human disease, and help them identify those genes that are involved in particular diseases.

    "The human genome is the code that's spelled out in our DNA that gives the instructions for making a human being," explains Schulte. "It's a bit like a whole bunch of tablets that are written in ancient Egyptian. Scientists are trying to translate the tablets, but we don't yet understand that ancient Egyptian."

    Right now, scientists are writing down the symbols that represent the different chemicals present in DNA, and trying to find the order in all of them. Schulte says that over the next five to 25 years, scientists will be very busy trying to make sense of this code.

    John Hepburn of UW's chemistry department will give the annual Friends of the Library lecture tomorrow, under the title "Scientific Explorations: Follow the Chart or Random Walk?" (12 noon, Theatre of the Arts).
    The work is enormously expensive -- currently only two universities in Canada are doing research directly related to the project: British Columbia and Toronto. However, as part of February's federal budget, finance minister Paul Martin promised $160 million to create "Genome Canada" -- a project that will focus on DNA research. "Understanding how genes function opens the door to substantial progress in advancing the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases," said Martin in his budget speech.

    Schulte's course is Biology 434 -- Human Molecular Genetics. Her students discuss both the technical and ethical aspects of the Human Genome Project, and the methods biologists use to find specific genes related to diseases. Related work on campus is being done by Trevor Charles, also in biology, who conducts bacterial genome research.

    And now, the rest of the story

    I'd better start with a correction, drawn to my attention in quick e-mail by a dozen or so readers of yesterday's Bulletin. It is by no means true that spring convocation this year is being held in June rather than May "for the first time in several decades". It was last year that the traditional May date was shifted to June, because of changes in university admission dates and other features of the annual cycle. So this year's 80th Convocation, scheduled for June 14-17, is setting no precedent.

    Co-op students who just got back to campus, but will soon be starting job interviews with an eye to going back out to work in the fall term, should pick up the master copy of their co-op record today in Needles Hall. The documents will be available starting at 10 a.m. at the paging desk on the first floor of NH. The first posting of fall term jobs will go up at noon tomorrow on bulletin boards and the computerized Access system. And most students who just got back from work term should be polishing up their work reports, which are due by 4 p.m. today (some faculties have different deadlines).

    The Golden Triangle Rotary Clubs' Camp Enterprise, to give selected high school students an insight into the business world, opens today at the Ron Eydt Conference Centre. About 50 Grade 12 students from area high schools were selected by nine Rotary clubs in Kitchener, Cambridge, Fergus and Guelph for the camp, which continues through Thursday. The camp will give the students an "opportunity to meet with successful business and community leaders to explore the nature, development and opportunities of the free-enterprise system," said Iain Muir, camp chairman. There will be a series of panel discussions and team presentations on business and private enterprise.

    New graduate students and temporary and casual employees are asked to come to a sign-up session today (2 to 3 p.m.) or tomorrow (10 to 11 a.m.) in Davis Centre room 1302. "They should bring Social Insurance Number and bank account information," says a note from the human resources department.

    [Mustard] Prominent researcher Fraser Mustard (left) will speak this afternoon to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of UW's Centre for Applied Health Research. His topic: "The Effect of the Early Years on Health, Learning and Behaviour Throughout the Life Cycle". Mustard was founding dean of McMaster University's unusual medical school, and later founded and headed the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He was at UW in January to speak on "Social Evolution and Technological Change". Today's talk will be given at 3:15 in the Clarica Auditorium of the Lyle Hallman Institute (west wing of Matthews Hall).

    The arts faculty council will meet at 3:30 today (Humanities room 373); on the agenda is a presentation on "Internationalization at the University of Waterloo" by Bruce Mitchell, associate vice-president (academic).

    Two fine arts faculty members are among contemporary ceramists whose work will be on display in a new show at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in downtown Waterloo. "Drawing on the Figure", which runs through October 1, opens tonight with a reception at 7:30. "Works have been gathered from across Canada," a news release says; the artists include Waterloo's Virgil Burnett and Ann Roberts.

    And . . . Sunday will be Mother's Day. Iris Strickler of UW's graphics department has a suggestion: "Let Mom feel young again. Put a baby picture of your Mom on a T-shirt. Select a caption or provide your own." Shirts are $12.99 this week at Graphics Express, on the main floor of the Dana Porter Library. "We also have pillow cases, mouse pads and totes," Strickler adds.


    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 | Friday's Bulletin
    Copyright © 2000 University of Waterloo