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Thursday, April 4, 2002

  • Halfway to foreign student goal
  • Johnston comments on Conestoga degrees
  • On the last day of classes
  • The talk of the campus
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

60th anniversary year for Carleton


[Johnston leans back to listen]

Nortel support for the new UW Innovate Inc. was delivered Tuesday by Greg Mumford, chief technology officer for Nortel and a member of UW's board of governors, during celebrations for the launch of Innovate. David Johnston, president of UW, listens during Mumford's remarks at the University Club. "Transforming innovation into new products and services and fostering entrepreneurship are key to Canada's future economic prosperity," Mumford said.

Halfway to foreign student goal

With a target of 500 international students in undergraduate programs and another 450 at the graduate level, "we're about half way there," Bruce Mitchell, associate vice-president (academic), told the board of governors on Tuesday.

He gave the board the same report he'd given to the UW senate a week earlier, a report on "internationalization" at Waterloo and progress on the "Beyond Borders" goals set in 1999.

"We've given ourselves a five or six year time-line to get there, so I think we're on track," said Mitchell, reporting that UW now has about 275 foreign undergrads (as well as 270 students on short-term exchange programs) and 353 graduate students from other lands. The largest group are from China, but some 80 countries are now represented, he said.

"Even if we move forward, we're getting behind some of our competitors," said Mitchell, noting that there's hardly a university in all of Canada that doesn't have internationalization as one of its goals right now. The reasons are various: cultural riches, a chance to expose students to international trade and politics, and new connections that could lead to research opportunities around the world.

And then there's the fact that international students pay their own way and then some, with five-figure tuition fees that actually help subsidize places at the university for Canadian students. "There's great sensitivity" about recruitment of international students at a time when a "double cohort" of home-grown students are competing for university places, Mitchell said. "Given the sensitivity, UW needs to be clear and consistent regarding the rationale for, and benefits of, internationalization."

He told the board that UW has a powerful tool for attracting overseas students: the co-op programs. Traditionally international students have not been admitted to co-op, but a formal decision to change that policy has now been made. "We haven't even admitted students yet under the new policy," Mitchell said, but he's anticipating keen interest.

Among the problems, both in attracting students and in making them part of the university when they do come: housing (in short supply to the point that UW can't even guarantee residence rooms to all students who come on exchange programs), financial support (to make sure that it isn't just rich foreign students who can attend Waterloo), English language support, inadequate information on the web to explain UW to people on the other side of the world, and a need for better coordination.

"The full benefits of having international students at UW are not always realized," says Mitchell's report, "as too often international students do not integrate with their Canadian class mates. More attention to processes and mechanisms to facilitate such interaction would be helpful. Placing many international students in one residence area does not encourage the type of mixing viewed as desirable."

The student services fee

I managed to say in yesterday's Bulletin that the student services fee would be $80 in the coming year -- quite a drop from the current year's level of $110.64. In fact, the $80 figure is for graduate students (who typically pay the fee three terms a year, and who have been paying $83.54 this year). For full-time undergraduates the fee will be $106 per term, starting this spring.

Johnston comments on Conestoga degrees

UW president David Johnston sounded congratulatory but concerned in brief comments on Tuesday about the long-awaited announcement that several community colleges, including Kitchener-Waterloo's Conestoga College, are to be allowed to grant degrees.

"We welcome diversity in higher education," Johnston told the UW board of governors when he touched on the subject during his report at Tuesday's meeting.

But, he asked, "where is that money coming from? Wouldn't it make more sense to provide full average funding" for students who are already in degree programs at the universities? Colleges get an average of about $3,500 per student in annual government funding, he said, and even if that's increased somewhat under the new system, how will colleges reach the quality that universities are scraping to maintain at $6,000 per student?

The government said in late March that nine of the province's colleges will be allowed to grant degrees in a total of 12 academic programs. It's no surprise: the Ontario government said almost two years ago that colleges would be allowed to apply for degree-granting powers in some fields.

[Brick and concrete]

The Kitchener campus of Conestoga College. Conestoga has the lowest default rate on student loans of any Ontario college -- considered a measure of graduates' employability -- and boasts that it ranks #1 in surveys of satisfaction.

Conestoga, which can be seen as the gem of the province's college system, was quick to apply. Last fall it appointed a former UW dean, David Burns of engineering, to be its vice-president (academic) and steer the college into degree-granting waters along with its ambitious president, John Tibbits.

"This is wonderful news for our region," said Tibbits after the government's announcement last week. "Applied degrees clearly set Conestoga apart as a quality institution, committed to excellence and achievement for the benefit of our students and community."

The college will admit students to Bachelor of Applied Technology programs in two fields -- "integrated advanced manufacturing technologies" and "integrated telecommunication and computer technologies" -- starting in September 2003. Each program will admit 30 students a year and will be run on the co-op model, the college said.

Tibbits added: "Applied degree programs open up opportunities for young people to stay in the community, gain valuable co-op work experience, earn internationally recognized educational credentials, consider postgraduate studies, and grow with the companies that employ them or the companies they start." And he said Conestoga "intends to develop more applied degree programs in the future, as well as pursue the goal of becoming a polytechnic institute".

On the last day of classes

The Graduate Student Research Conference continues today, with presentations on such topics as blood flow in the optic nerve, "environmentally friendly airport geotechnical design", and "the role of computer algebra in mathematical discovery". Today's keynote speaker is Murray Moo-Young of the department of chemical engineering, talking about "Biomanufacturing and Bioremediation: Systems for Drugs, Food and the Environment" (1 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302).

Coinciding with the grad conference, the school of optometry has a special speaker today: Gilbert Feke of Boston's Schepens Retina Associates Foundation, speaks on "The Retinal Laser Doppler Technique and Its Application to Circulatory Physiology" (Optometry room 347, 4:30 p.m.).

Today's the day for "Camping Out for the Cause", as a group of volunteers organizes a fund-raising good time, all over campus but especially in the Student Life Centre. "Different UW clubs and societies will be doing fund-raising activities," explains Melissa Alvares, one of the organizers. "From bake sales to raffles, they'll be competing to see who can raise the most money for Amnesty International. During the day there will also be outdoor entertainment provided by our own UW students and alumni. Cultural dancers, bands, singers and even the UW Breakers will be performing. Outdoor entertainment will take place on an extended (non-licensed) Bomber Patio."

The music department at Conrad Grebel University Colleges offers a free concert at 12:30 today in the Grebel chapel: "Good things come in small packages", a series of works by instrumental chamber ensembles.

The school of architecture lecture series, nearing its end, presents Lloyd Hunt at 7:00 tonight in Environmental Studies II room 380. Topic: "9 1/2 Years, 9 1/2 Days, A Narrative".

"Waiting Room" is under way in the East Campus Hall galleries this week -- a performance art piece by students Aaron Bamford, Garner Beckett, Vincent Perez, Howard Tsui. "We will isolate ourselves within the gallery space for three days," their web page says. "During this time we will have no direct stimulus from the external environment. In our isolation we will provide ourselves with food and water, sleeping mats and toilet. The purpose of this action is to refine our experience of time, space and each other." The web page also provides a webcam view of them, somewhere in the dimness.

Note from the plant operations department: there will be no chilled water in the Humanities building all day tomorrow, as work is done on the air conditioning system in preparation for the summer that's surely going to come.

Friday night, sociologist of religion Reginald Bibby will speak at St. Jerome's University (7:30 p.m., free) to introduce a weekend forum on "Catholics in Public Life". I'll be saying quite a bit more about this two-day event in tomorrow's Bulletin.

The talk of the campus

In yesterday's Bulletin, I asked, "If a Daily Bulletin audio summary were available by telephone, would you listen to it?" A trend was clear from about 9:03, and by midafternoon I stopped counting the votes. By then the results looked like this:
Yes, daily or even oftener, 13
Sometimes, 21
Not likely, 465
So much for that idea. . . .

The per-term fee that students pay for Imprint, the student newspaper, is slated to go down, but not just yet. As the board of governors gave its okay this week to 2002-2003 fees, including those for various student organizations, the Imprint fee was still listed at $4.10 per term. Members and directors of Imprint Publications voted recently to ask for a reduction to $3.30 per term, because the organization has a largish surplus on hand.

At the recent triennial conference of Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, held in Tokyo, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, principal of UW's Renison College, was elected chair of the board of trustees for a three-year term. Other representatives to the board come from Australia, England, India, Japan, Uganda, and the United States. Founded in 1993, CUAC is an international organization representing more than 100 institutions of higher learning associated by history and tradition with the Anglican churches. CUAC has sponsored several international service-learning programs that combine academic study, cross-cultural learning, and supervised volunteer work in community settings. Two of these programs have been hosted by Renison.

The current issue of the magazine Canadian Living, available now at your supermarket checkout, has a feature about libraries (not just books any more, can you believe it?) and points to a section of its web site with more information. Among the items there is a letter from Jane Forgay, of the UW library, under the title "Making Disabilities Disappear". She describes the describing the Adaptive Technology Centre in the Dana Porter Library, which has, for example, magnifiers, scanners, braillers and dictation software -- and "some low-tech solutions as well, such as tables with adjustable height".

The French-language regional school board announced recently that it will open the first (public) French-language elementary school in Kitchener-Waterloo, taking over the building of the soon-to-close Harold Wagner Public School in central Waterloo. Among those who are delighted is Robert André of UW's pure mathematics department, who had been lobbying for such a development. "My wife and I were very concerned," he notes, "by the fact that if we wanted to send our children to a French school, it would have to be a Catholic one, a choice which appealed to neither of us." Their daughter has been travelling by bus to a French school in Guelph, but that will now change. "Opening of this school," he says, "will definitely make the area more attractive to francophones and immigrants who are considering employment in the area."

As a new term approaches, the UW bookstore is encouraging students to order their textbooks on-line through the ExpressBooks service. Although there's no longer a price discount, the convenience factor is still significant, says store manager Chris Read. "We opened the ExpressBooks site on the weekend," he was saying on Tuesday, "and already have over 50 orders!"

CAR

TODAY IN UW HISTORY

April 4, 1956: Waterloo College Associate Faculties becomes a legal entity.

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