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Tuesday, January 16, 2001

  • Steps to attract foreign grad students
  • Seven students win volunteer awards
  • Fields Institute prize for retired prof
  • Other notes and announcements

Steps to attract foreign grad students

UW is hoping to develop "a list of target countries" where it will concentrate its recruiting of overseas students, especially graduate students, Bruce Mitchell, associate vice-president (academic), told the senate last night.

Mitchell was answering a question as the senate discussed what progress UW has made on the recommendations of the 1997 "Building on Accomplishment" planning report.

One emphasis in "Building on Accomplishment" is the need to increase graduate enrolment and the number of foreign students at Waterloo. During last night's discussion Jake Sivak, the dean of graduate studies, reminded the senate that the ratio of grad students to undergraduates at Waterloo is only about 13 per cent. He'd like it to be 20 per cent at least.

The president gave the senate a progress report, commenting on each "Building on Accomplishment" recommendation in turn, and drawing attention to some areas where not enough has happened yet -- including overseas recruitment and other efforts to build up the graduate programs. Said that document: "International student applications for graduate studies increased significantly between 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 (e.g., applications from China increased from 540 to 985, India from 69 to 94)."

[Flag of India] Peter Roe, of the systems design engineering department, commented that China is producing ten times as many grad applications to Waterloo as India -- "the world's largest democracy", an English-speaking land and a country with a well developed system of engineering schools and other universities.

"There are some really fine institutions there," agreed Mitchell, who as associate VP is responsible for UW's international activities. One other advantage of India as a target for Canadian recruitment: "There's a middle class that has the funding." He said India might well rank high on the proposed list of "target" countries where UW will concentrate its efforts, such as taking part in international education fairs to make potential students aware of Waterloo.

The "Building on Accomplishment" progress report also mentioned that the international student office, formerly part of counselling services, now reports to Mitchell's office.

Seven students win volunteer awards

Seven students will be honoured tonight as this year's winners of the President's Circle Awards for Volunteerism.

They were actually chosen by a selection committee in November, says Dianne Scheifele of the university secretariat. The winners will dine tonight at the University Club with some of the members of the President's Circle -- major donors to the university, from both on and off campus. The Circle launched the awards program three years ago to honour students who contribute to community and campus, often in ways that don't draw much publicity.

The award brings a $250 cheque as well as congratulations and warm feelings.

This year's recipients of the President's Circle Awards for Volunteerism:

Citations about the students' volunteer work should be appearing in next week's Gazette.

Fields Institute prize for retired prof

Bill Tutte, one of UW's prominent early faculty member and now distinguished professor emeritus from the department of combinatorics and optimization, has another award to add to his gallery, as he's been named this year's recipient of the CRM-Fields Institute Prize.

Awarded by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, which was temporarily based at UW before moving to the University of Toronto in 1994, the prize honours Tutte's accomplishments as "the leading world figure in graph and matroid theories."

In a letter of nomination suggesting Tutte for the award, combinatorics and optimization chair Bill Cunningham and professor Daniel Younger cite Tutte's work in both areas: "In graph theory he established fundamental results for matching, connectivity, symmetry in graphs, reconstruction, colouring, Hamiltonian circuits, graphs on higher surfaces, graph enumeration and graph polynomials. In matroid theory, he is the single most important pioneer. One deep result is his characterization of regular matroids in terms of excluded minors. Another is his characterization of graphic matroids. These have provided the foundation for substantial structural work in this area."

Born in England, Tutte was educated at Cambridge University. After receiving his PhD in 1948, he came to Canada to join the faculty of the University of Toronto. Tutte moved to UW in 1962, just five years after its founding.

"He has contributed greatly to creating its character and establishing its reputation in combinatorial mathematics," Cunningham and Younger note in their letter. "He was an important ingredient in the recipe that produced the Faculty of Mathematics in 1967. He was named Honorary Director of the Centre for Cryptographic Research in 1998. He continues to be a vital part of this University's life."

Tutte served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory in its early years, and as a member of editorial boards of a number of other research journals. He is a Fellow both of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Royal Society of London.

Tutte, who was honoured with a symposium here on his 80th birthday in 1997, will present a lecture at the Fields Institute this year.

Other notes and announcements

The cycle is starting again for co-op students: those who are going through interviews this term should pick up the "master copy of the student co-op record" starting at 10:00 this morning in Needles Hall. Then the first job posting for spring term jobs will go up at noontime tomorrow. Meanwhile, for students just back from a work term, work reports are, in most cases, due at 4 p.m. ("some faculties differ").

The student Math Society is holding an election today for the position of vice-president (academic). There are two candidates, Liam McHugh-Russell and Nick Page. All undergraduate math students are eligible vote, at polling stations on the third floor of the Math and Computer building.

A seminar on "Local Resources Available for Entrepreneurs" will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. today, "with networking session afterwards", in Davis Centre room 1302. It's sponsored by a student club called ACE-Waterloo, as well as the co-op and career services department.

The 40-minute video "Light in the Darkness", about the work of Amnesty International, will be shown at 7:00 tonight in Student Life Centre room 2139, the home of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group. "There will also be a talk about the history, principles and mandate of Amnesty, so we should be done by 8:30," says a note from the AI group on campus, which operates as part of WPIRG.

Tomorrow brings the next in the noon-hour series of intellectual property forums, a talk on "Disclosure: Who Wins, Who Loses?" at 12 noon in Needles Hall room 3001.

Also tomorrow, central stores will hold a surplus sale -- for the first time, such sales are being held twice a month, on the third Wednesday as well as the first Wednesday. It'll run from 11:30 to 1:30, at East Campus Hall, off Phillip Street.

Thursday, the teaching resources and continuing education office will give a workshop on "Facilitating Effective Discussions" (12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158). Registration: phone ext. 3132.

Friday night brings a talk at St. Jerome's University under the title "When Worlds Collide: Faith vs. Popular Culture". The speaker is Kathy Shaidle, "columnist and pundit", and apparently the posters announcing her talk have raised some eyebrows, what with references to "God the slob" and "dung-spattered Virgins". I'll say a little more about her and her talk later in the week.

Saturday afternoon is "Fantastic Alumni & Staff Day" in the gym, with special promotions surrounding the Warrior basketball games against Laurier (women at 12 noon, men at 2 p.m.). Free tickets are available from the athletics department, phone ext. 5694 -- again, the Bulletin will say more as the date grows closer.

And here's advance word of a four-week program on "Eating for Energy: Working Towards a Healthy Weight in 2001". Led by several folks from the health services department, it'll run on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., starting January 24. Linda Brogden at ext. 3544 can provide more information.


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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