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Tuesday, February 13, 2001

  • Average average sets a record
  • Engineers sweep the province
  • To central America, or the Baltic
  • Sale correction, and other notes

Average average sets a record

Students admitted to UW last fall had an average high school mark of 84.2, says the director of admissions -- "the highest average in the last ten years and likely beyond". The previous year, the figure was 83.7.

Admissions director Peter Burroughs provided the figures in a report sent to the university's board of governors last week. It describes the process of turning 24,000 applications into 4,200 first-year students when the count was made on November 1. That's slightly more than the target, but nothing like the flood of students who arrived in the fall of 1999, Burroughs says. He told the board that "given the complexities and variables involved in accurately predicting the ratio of admission offers to confirmations", an outcome that's 102 per cent of the target is "a success".

[Graph, women and men]
His figures show (left) that more men than women applied to UW, but more of the women were offered admission -- 66 per cent of them, compared to 51 per cent of the men. However, more of the men accepted the offers they received, and the first-year class ended up being 55 per cent male. The breakdown is based on a total of 4,296 students who "confirmed" their registration in September: Applied health sciences and arts have about twice as many women as men, while engineering and math have about three times as many men as women.

Says Burroughs: "Fewer offers were made in 2000 given our mandate to meet but not exceed our targets." He says 86 per cent of the offers of admission went to students from Ontario high schools.

"The standards used for admission in 2000 remained very high. . . . The number of Ontario Scholars . . . as a percentage of the total is 74.9, up from 74.1. Although provincial data is not available as yet for 2000, last year's data placed Waterloo second in the Province with respect to the percentage of Ontario Scholars."

And he points to that record-high "median average" from high school. "Of particular note is the median average for the Faculty of Arts which remained at a relatively high 80.0% despite the significant increase in the year one target and confirmations. Also of note is the continued increase in the median averages for both Engineering and Mathematics."

Engineers sweep the province

UW engineering students turned in an "outstanding performance," winning most of the top prizes in the Ontario Engineering Competition last weekend at the University of Guelph.

According to UW team advisor and systems design engineering professor Fakhri Karray, the excellent results included a first for the competition -- a sweep of all three top spots in the entrepreneurial design category -- despite competition from strong teams representing the University of Toronto, McMaster University, the University of Western Ontario, and others.

Waterloo made its mark in another way, as well, through a new award, the International Development Award, awarded to the team that best demonstrates a design for dealing with issues of the developing world. The prize was initiated by Engineers Without Borders, an organization founded by two former OEC competitors on the UW team, Parker Mitchell and George Roter.

The first and second place winners in each category will advance to the national competition, which will be held in Victoria starting Thursday.

Winners at OEC 2001:

Entrepreneurial Design: First place, Efficient Hardware Elliptic Curve Cryptography -- Keith Robertson (electrical engineering), Ben Klassen (computer), Donny Cheung (combinatorics and optimization), UW. Second place, Hydra Polychrome Contact Lenses -- Aisha Lalji, Stephanie Gomes, Zaileen Alibhai, all chemical engineering, UW. Third place, Davin Sufer (systems design, UW), partnered with Oren Gabbay, Concordia University.

Corporate Design: First place: Dynamic Infrared Photoretinoscopy -- Sheldon Fernandez (computer), Alim Somani (electrical), UW. Second place: Laser Guided Robotic Arm -- Stanley Fok, David Huynh, David Lau, Duke Lu, all computer engineering, UW. Third place, Western.

Technical Excellence Award: Laser Guided Robotic Arm -- Stanley Fok, David Huynh, David Lau, Duke Lu, all computer engineering, UW.

Editorial Communication: First place, Western. Second place, Calling All Engineers -- Laura Naismith, systems design, UW. Third place, Toronto.

Explanatory Communication: First place: Western. Second place: Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing -- Theresa Cooke, systems design, UW. Third place: Ottawa.

Parliamentary Debate: First place, McMaster. Second place, Arthur Law and Stu Doherty, systems design, UW. Third place: Timothy Burns and Alex Pak systems design, UW, and a Toronto entry.

Social Awareness and International Development Award: Toronto.

Team Design: First place, Queen's. Second place, Carleton. Third place, Toronto.

Virus alert

The latest computer virus to hit the wired world didn't spare UW yesterday. Marj Kohli of the information systems and technology department reported that a number of people on campus received the "Anna Kournikova" virus, known to the in-crowd as VBS/SST.

Like most recent e-mail viruses or "worms", this one lives in the Microsoft Outlook mail program. It carries a file called "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs", which -- if it's opened -- starts sending copies to other people listed in the Outlook address book.

The virus arrives as e-mail with a subject line of "Here you have, ;o)" or something similar.

Kohli suggests that I "warn people again about not opening attachments, especially this one or any others that have extensions of .exe or .vbs". There's more information about virus protection on her web site.

To central America, or the Baltic

An introduction to the "complex dynamics of life in Central America from the perspectives of Christian communities and liberation theology," is the focus of a travel seminar this April: Latin American Theology in Central America.

Led by St. Paul's United College religious studies professor Peter Frick, the tour can be used toward a half-credit course in religious studies (RS 369B). As seminar coordinator, Frick draws on his extensive experience in Central America as a visitor, relief worker and academic.

From April 17 to 28, participants will tour Guatemala and Costa Rica, where they will learn about "different ideological, theological, ecclesiastical and political perspectives that shape life in Central America." Part of that process will include courses (in English) at Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana in San Jos&eaacute;, Costa Rica.

Taught by theologians Victorio Araya and Elsa Tamez, the courses will provide historical and current interpretations of liberation theology and a re-reading of the Bible from the perspective of the poor.

The cost for food, accommodation, local transport and study is $1,295, not including air fare. A $500 deposit must be made immediately to book a space, and reservations can be arranged by contacting Frick at St. Paul's at pfrick@uwaterloo.ca or 885-1465 ext. 214.

[Baltic Sea map] From the explorations of the Vikings and the travels of the Teutonic Knights, through the battles of Napoleon, the Russian Revolution to the fall of Communism, the Baltic Sea has been site of significant dramas over the centuries.

Tracing the story of Europe's great inland sea this summer -- from prehistory and antiquity to the present -- is The Grand Tour of the Baltic, a travel-study program sponsored by the faculty of arts and the office of continuing education.

Led by Jacques Pauwels, who holds a history degree from the University of Ghent in Belgium, a PhD in history from York University, and a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto, the trip will consist of lectures and informal discussions, as well as visits to historic sites.

Participants can earn a half credit -- Arts 390 (Special Topics) -- or just enjoy the tour as an informal learning experience. The tour runs from August 12 to 30. Stops are scheduled in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and Finland, with accommodation in first-class hotels, overland coach transport, and Baltic Sea passage on the Silja Line. The cost is $4,395 from Toronto, $4,695 from Vancouver. To learn more or to book a reservation, phone continuing education at ext. 4002.

Sale correction, and other notes

Between us, I and Jason MacIntyre of the retail services department managed to make a mess of yesterday's announcements about a couple of special events this week. Here's what's really happening when: Both stores are in South Campus Hall, facing the bookstore across the concourse.

Ken Lukowiak of the University of Calgary faculty of medicine is on campus today, and will give two talks. First, at 11:30, he'll speak about Calgary's involvement in creating a medical program in Nepal (Matthews Hall room 1005). Then, at 3:30, he gives a talk (Matthews Hall room 1621) under the title "The Headless Horseman Has Problems Forgetting Learned Events: Lessons in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory".

A workshop on "Conflict Management for Instructors", sponsored by the teaching resources and continuing education office, is scheduled for 12 noon. It's probably full to capacity -- most TRACE workshops this year have been -- but last-minute information should be available at ext. 3132.

Dave Revell, a senior-vice president of the Bank of Montreal who's a UW graduate (electrical engineering), will speak at 1:00 this afternoon in Davis Centre room 1302. Promised is "an overview of the emerging wireless marketspace, and the bank's "offerings and underlying technology".

A session by the "iWeb" group for course web developers, sponsored by the LT3 learning centre, is scheduled for 1:00 today in the "Flex lab", Dana Porter Library room 329. Topic: "Design for Wireless Devices".

Dianne Whitehouse, a painter from Winnipeg, is visiting the fine arts department for three days, and will give a talk about her work at 1:30 in East Campus Hall room 1219.

A political science colloquium starts at 2:30 in Humanities room 345. The speaker: Bob Williams, of UW's poli sci department, on "Canadian International Cultural Activities: A Study in Frustration".


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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