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Thursday, March 1, 2001

  • Grant announcement likely this month
  • Star columnist boosts education
  • Two corrections from yesterday
  • The start of a whole new month

[Hand holding clicker]
A work of art needn't be a painting: the hand is real and so is the machine. Together they form "Shitty Day Jobs" by Kelly Mark, described as "an ongoing performance in which Mark carries a numerical clicker, recording the passing of her working hours". Installations by Mark and paintings by Ben Walmsley make up "Compulsion", in the East Campus Hall art galleries. A reception in honour of the two artists will be held there today from 5 to 7 p.m.

Grant announcement likely this month

Ontario universities have another few weeks to wait before they find out how much money they'll have in the coming year -- and what support the provincial government will give for the enrolment expansion it wants.

"The announcement of operating grants to universities for the 2001-2002 fiscal year is expected in the latter half of March," says a report brought to UW's senate this week by Mary Thompson, acting dean of mathematics and UW "academic colleague" to the Council of Ontario Universities. She added: "There is expected to be a provincial budget in May."

More from Thompson's report: "The Investing in Students Task Force has filed its report with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Minister Dianne Cunningham will be meeting with COU on February 27, and is expected to summarize the report, which will be made public sometime in March. The report is expected to say that the university system runs efficiently, that more funding is needed, and that there may be savings in increased cooperation with the community colleges.

"Final five year enrolment plans have been submitted by all the institutions, and although there is little detail by program, the plans satisfy in the aggregate the projections accepted by the Ministry for undergraduate places. At the graduate level, the institutions plan to increase enrolment (assuming it is funded) by 7000 overall, while the Ministry was looking for an increase of approximately 3500. The joint Working Group on Institutional Capacity will continue to address this discrepancy. . . .

"The annual presentation by COU to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs was made on February 15. The presentation stressed the importance of investing in Ontario universities, and of making immediate efforts to acquire the faculty needed to deliver the programs and to replace retirements."

Thompson also reported on other things happening at COU, including work on admission requirements and the new high school curriculum: "A survey is being conducted of current grade nine and ten students to try to forecast more closely the numbers of university entrants to be expected in each of the next few years. Preliminary results are confirming the projections being used by the Working Group on University Capacity.

"It has become apparent that the grades of the 'senior' and 'junior' members of the double cohort, based as they will be on different curricula, will not be easily comparable. The new curriculum is more difficult, and the marks in the new courses are expected to be lower than the marks in their OAC counterparts. Admission decisions will have to be made with care over the next few years."


Star columnist boosts education

David Crane, economics editor of The Star, is a frequent booster of funding for universities (and has often singled out UW in particular for its energetic cooperation with industry). Crane returned to the topic in his column yesterday:

"There are some signs of hope that as a country we will start to take the education and skills crisis more seriously.

"Two speeches this week, one by TD Bank chairman Charles Baillie and the other by Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart, both highlight the need for action. But we will need more than speeches if Canada is to develop an action plan that ensures every young person the best possible education, equips adults lacking skills with skills, and provides the opportunity for ongoing training and lifelong learning. . . .

"Baillie highlighted the serious underfunding of universities in Canada, pointing to what he called "a shocking decline in education spending," which he termed "ill-advised thrift." . . .

"In her speech, Stewart emphasized the need for skills training and upgrading, and especially the need to provide those ill-equipped to participate in the knowledge-driven economy with higher levels of literacy and training."

Two corrections from yesterday

The first item in yesterday's Bulletin dealt with the number of first-year students UW is going to admit during the "double cohort" years of 2003 and 2004. I cited the current intake of 4,120 students a year and quoted Bob Truman, UW's director of institutional analysis and planning, who gave figures of 4,754 as the planned intake for 2003 and 4,861 for 2004. In fact, he advised me later, the latter numbers include 60 students a year who are admitted to optometry, generally after two or three years' study in science. "For comparative purposes," he said, "we should probably report 4,180 as the intake numbers for 2001 and 2002."

Also in yesterday's Bulletin, I said that an information session about engineering graduate studies was going to be held today. Sorry about that: the event is actually tomorrow, Thursday, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the University Club.

The start of a whole new month

The month is coming like a cougar, if not a lion, and bringing a few special events and activities with it. Before March is over, we'll have the St. Bede Lectures at Renison College, the Kerr-Saltsman Lecture by Linda McQuaig, the drama department production of "The Club", National Engineering Week, the season's last sports playoffs, and "course enrolment" (formerly preregistration). And in the more immediate future:

The career development workshop series continues, with sessions today on "Letter Writing" (at 1:30) and "Résumé Writing" (at 2:30). The career resource centre in Needles Hall has all the details.

Robert Birgeneau, president of the University of Toronto and also a physicist of some note, will be on campus today. He'll give a lecture for the Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute -- "Stars, Stripes, and High Temperature Superconductors" -- at 3:30 p.m. in Physics room 145.

James Diamond, UW's chair in Jewish studies as well as a professor of philosophy, will give a colloquium at 4:00 this afternoon (Humanities room 373) on "Scripture as Philosophical Discourse in Maimonides".

And speaking of the spiritual, tonight brings the first in a series of talks sponsored by the new Spiritual Heritage Education Network. At 7:00 in Math and Computer room 4021, Darrol Bryant of Renison College will speak on "Glimpses of Indian Spirituality".

[Harmer album] There's a concert in the Humanities Theatre tonight, by somebody named Sarah Harmer, a name that's new to me but one that I gather we're going to hear more often, since she's singing at the Juno Awards show on Sunday. Harmer's first album, "You Were Here", is "the year's best debut", according to a Time reviewer. Tonight's concert, "with Jim Bryson", is the first stop on a tour that will take her -- via Toronto and Dallas -- to Hollywood by the end of the month., Performance time: 8 p.m.

A note from the local Volunteer Action Centre: "Volunteers at Homer Watson House and Gallery meet interesting visitors and have the chance to view many art exhibits. You are invited to join them. Share your love of art and great people skills by volunteering Tuesdays or Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. You will greet visitors, answer basic questions about the gallery, help with mailings and answer the telephone." For more information, the VAC can be reached at 742-8610.

David Drewe, chief returning officer for the Federation of Students, says an appeal process following the recent rather tumultuous presidential election has been completed. The conclusion: Albert Nazareth, who was disqualified by the elections committee during the voting period, has been reinstated. The decision doesn't change the result of the election (Yaacov Iland will be taking office as Fed president soon) but it means the official record will show that Nazareth came second in the race. He drew 404 votes, compared to 601 for Iland and 230 for Chris DiLullo.

And rather belatedly, here are the winners of an election for student senators that was held at the same time as the Fed voting:


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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