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Tuesday, May 15, 2001

  • I found some sites to see
  • 'Partnership' in software training
  • Dispute over medical school cost
  • Notes on Canada's census day

[Gerhardstein]

Scholarship honours English prof

Retired as of May 1 is Mary Gerhardstein, professor of English at UW since 1964 and associate dean in the faculty of arts 1995-2001. In her honour, a Mary Gerhardstein Entrance Scholarship is being created, for a first-year student in an arts regular program each year. Donations can be made through the UW development office.

I found some sites to see

Yesterday, sunny but cool, was a fine day for a lunchtime walk around the central campus area. It was a busy place, and polyglot too, as I overheard conversations in French, Chinese, and something that may have been Czech, as well as English.

A summer student on the plant operations crew was painting the stair railings outside the Physical Activities Complex; an engineering student strode along briskly just ahead of me, with three fuzzy critters peeking out of her knapsack; a straggly pile of concrete samples behind Engineering III showed that Carolyn Hansson's laboratory is busy at work.

And the range of flowers I spotted was remarkable, from sun-reflecting dandelions in the grass beside Laurel Creek all the way to specimens carefully planted in beds. There were, as well, the mourning roses left beside the Aileen Proudfoot memorial maple tree in the engineering area.

Mostly, though, my walk was meant to be an inspection of the building boom that's hit campus this summer. I got to only four of the six current construction sites, but for the record, let me list all six of the projects:

There are probably other, smaller projects that I've forgotten to note. Besides the repairs at South Campus Hall, of course.

Tech talk at breakfast

The Education Program for Software Professionals will be in the spotlight again tomorrow, at a breakfast jointly sponsored by UW and Communitech for "information technology leaders". The event starts at 7:30 at the Waterloo Inn, and tickets are $20 (call 888-4511).

UW president David Johnston will speak on "The E-Learning Evolution" and Don Cowan, founder of EPSP, will talk about "RE-volution in Education for the Knowledge Worker".

'Partnership' in software training

A "partnership" between UW and a private training institution, the Institute for Computer Studies, will be cemented today with an announcement at the ICS headquarters on Bloor Street in Toronto.

The arrangement will allow students enrolled at the Institute to pursue a diploma from UW's Education Program for Software Professionals.

"We are delighted to be working with the University of Waterloo," said Lorenzo Santini, president of the ICS. "It provides a fantastic vehicle for our students to pursue their software careers with North America's best IT university."

Don Cowan, founder of the EPSP and professor emeritus in the computer science department, returns the compliment: "We were very impressed with the Institute's consistent delivery of quality education over the last 20 years. We expect this partnership to benefit both institutions."

EPSP is a part-time university-level diploma program designed for information technology professionals who want to update their skills. The program is directed toward addressing what a news release calls "the current critical shortage of professionals in the knowledge industry".

It was founded in 1995 and has served more than 500 students. To broaden access to high-quality professional education, EPSP has formed "alliances" with several partners, including the University of Regina, Broadleaf Technology Solutions in Halifax, and IBS-DAC in Copenhagen, Denmark. EPSP also serves corporate clients, including the Bank of Montreal and the federal government, and is entirely available by distance.

Cowan explains that in a partnership arrangement, UW provides the curriculum and teaching materials, and the partner institution finds instructors, "which we certify. We also create the final exams and mark them here at Waterloo." Then the students, although based at ICS or in Denmark, receive a UW EPSP diploma, "just as if we had taught the course". UW's own instructors do offer EPSP courses in Waterloo, Ottawa and Toronto, mostly to groups of professionals from a particular corporation, he said.

The ICS was founded in 1981 as the Honeywell Institute. It now has five campuses, in Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Calgary and Ottawa, and will open a campus in Edmonton this year. In addition to UW, the Institute has strategic training alliances with major companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. The Institute has also recently commenced a new e-learning program with Magellan University of Tucson, Arizona.

Today's announcement will be made by Santini of ICS and UW president David Johnston. Raminder Gill, parliamentary assistant to the minister of training, colleges and universities, is expected to be a guest at the event.

Dispute over medical school cost

Eligible students hoping to become doctors can be assured that there will always be a place for them in medical school, no matter what their financial background may be, University of Western Ontario officials say.

"We want to make sure that people who have restricted family incomes know that we have support available for them to study," says Roma Harris, vice-provost and registrar at Western, in an article by Terry Rice published in the newspaper WesternNews. The reassurance comes after the student group Medical Education Task Force on Tuition and Accessibility raised recent concerns over tuition fees and the demographic make-up of Western's medical school. METTA suggests people from lower-income families are being denied access to medical education.

Says the article: "The University has taken these concerns seriously and has conducted a survey using postal code information that identifies where students lived when they first applied to university. These postal codes were then compared to Statistics Canada census information about family incomes for the enumeration areas that correspond to each postal code. 'What we've found is that over the last four years there's been no change in the family household incomes based on those census data,' says Harris.

"While there appears to be no concrete evidence to suggest that low-income families are being denied access to Western's medical program, Harris says the University will not be complacent on this issue and will continue to closely monitor the situation. . . .

"Medical school tuition at Western has been frozen for the last three years. The University is proposing that entry-year tuition fees in the medical program be increased from $10,000 to $14,000 in 2001-2002; tuition for students progressing to years two through four would increase by five per cent to $10,500. . . .

"'Students from low and middle-income families are being shut out from a career in medicine,' says Danielle Martin, a second-year medical student at Western. 'If this trend continues, medical school will become a place only for the rich.'

"The University maintains that a tuition increase is necessary to avoid compromising the level of program quality Western students deserve. 'When tuition goes up like that, a good portion of that money will go directly to support program quality enhancements,' says Harris. . . .

"For its part, the government is suggesting that support of Ontario's medical students is already substantial. 'Of all professions that the taxpayers subsidize we probably put more into subsidizing medical students' tuition -- certainly (more) than arts students or educational students or most of the university programs,' says Premier Mike Harris. Premier Harris also says that upon graduating, medical students in Ontario will have many opportunities for 'very, very good paying jobs.'

"Employment rates and OSAP default rates of Western medical graduates suggest they are well equipped to pay back their student debt. Their employment rate six months after graduation is 100 per cent and OSAP default rates are zero per cent."

Notes on Canada's census day

First of all, yes, today's the day to fill out that form to put your existence on record for posterity, and mail it off to Statistics Canada in its yellow envelope. The 2001 census is expected to cover more than 31 million people in an estimated 11.8 million households across Canada -- not to mention several hundred residence rooms here on campus, where the dons are making sure that Villagers do their paperwork. Eighty per cent of Canadians get the seven-question short form of the census, while the remaining one in five gets a long form with 59 questions. Among them are some about education. StatsCan explains:
Respondents will be asked for their level of schooling, school attendance and major field of study to obtain information on the educational skills and requirements of the population. The data are used by various levels of government and by employers to determine whether enough people have the education, training and skills required for certain industries. The government and employers can then determine whether training programs will be needed to meet the expanded demands for labour. Information on school attendance is used for planning and funding post-secondary and adult education programs under the federal Student Loans Act.
Questions about the census: the number to call is (800) 591-2001.

Also of note today:

Central stores will hold one of its regular surplus sales of UW property tomorrow from 11:30 to 1:30 at East Campus Hall, off Phillip Street.

CAR


[UW logo] 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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