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Friday, June 21, 2002

  • Already above fall enrolment target
  • Your assignment: comment on quality
  • Chevron alumni mark 25 years
  • Events for a summer weekend
  • The talk of the campus
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

How to mark the summer solstice


[Flames in the dark]

Revellers from the Muskoka Club, "Waterloo's official party club", held a bonfire last weekend and had such a good time they've got another one scheduled for this Sunday, 8 p.m. to midnight on the east shore of Columbia Lake. Everyone is welcome. The club runs a spectrum of social events ("dry to wet, informal to classy") providing "opportunities to come out and meet random people". Also on its agenda: support for networking and community-building in student neighbourhoods.

Already above fall enrolment target

The yes answers are still coming in, as UW fills its September 2002 first-year class with not much short of 5,000 eager new students.

"We have experienced an increase of 9.5% confirmations," says a memo from Peter Burroughs, the director of admissions, written Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday, he was preparing to update his chart, which showed a total of 4,708 confirmed students for next fall -- already ahead of the target of 4,630. (Last year there were 4,518 first-year students when the official count was taken on September 1, after a target that was set at 4,300.)

The total of 4,708 includes 4,100 students from Ontario high schools and 608 from the "non-OSS" group, including mature students and those from other provinces.

Not surprisingly, some faculties have more students than they wanted already and some are still short, although Burroughs says there isn't much doubt that everybody will meet the goals by Labour Day. He writes: "There are some areas of possible concern with respect to admissions targets. . . . AHS and Arts are well over target. If these situations are seen to be problematic for the Faculties, the respective admission committees can take remedial action such as immediately closing admissions, enforcing confirmation deadlines and disqualifying applicants who do not meet the conditions of admission.

"Although Engineering is slightly below target, the further release of non-OSS and possibly some OSS offers should close the gap. Similarly, Mathematics should meet its admission target very soon as the non-OSS applicants confirm over the next week or so.

"Science is substantially under target and will continue to review application files and make admission decisions to non-OSS applicants until the target is realized." ("Substantially" means 611 confirmations for 690 intended spaces, a goal Burroughs said can certainly be reached.)

A feature of the admission statistics for the first time is a number of international students coming into co-op programs, something that wasn't possible until this year. At last count, Burroughs said, 37 such students have confirmed that they're coming -- 16 to engineering, 10 to mathematics and a sprinkling across the other faculties.

Ontario-wide, he said, there has been an increase of 15.3% in the number of students who have accepted some university's offer of admission, compared to last year at this time. "These increases were expected considering the 17.7% increase in overall applications this year."

Your assignment: comment on quality

"Please send your thoughts," writes Mary Thompson, statistics professor and UW's representative ("academic colleague") to the Council of Ontario Universities.

"The Academic Colleagues," she writes, "have been encouraged to tackle the 'quality of education argument' at our retreat on August 30. We will be discussing whether the standard quality indicators (as in the Maclean's survey, for example) are adequate for the purpose. I would be grateful for responses from any of you who read this (faculty, administrators, staff, students, friends) to the following questions:

(1a) How would you compare the quality of the education we offer and the quality of the student experience at UW now and (say) five years ago? Give concrete examples if possible.

(1b) Do you have a sense that it will be difficult to maintain quality in the next few years? Why or why not?

(1c) How could we enhance quality if we had the time and the money?

And that's not all, she says: "I'm also welcoming comments on the characterization of the various kinds of bachelor's degrees in the CAAT Handbook." That document describes what an "honours", "general", or "applied" degree is meant to be.

Thompson said any comments on her questions are needed by mid-August, to give her time to synthesize the responses before the COU meeting.

Chevron alumni mark 25 years

Veterans of the 1976-77 "Chevron affair" will hold a 25-year reunion at the Student Life Centre tomorrow, remembering their side of a battle over control, freedom and responsibility for what was then UW's student newspaper.

A news release from organizers of the Free Chevron reunion talks about "a nine-month freedom of the press battle" and the "victory" they won:

From September 24, 1976 to June 26, 1977, student journalists at the University of Waterloo's student newspaper, The Chevron, battled to have their newspaper reinstated after it was closed in a secret meeting of the Federation of Students executive. The Federation of Students president and executive board charged that the paper was being influenced by students involved with a radical campus group, the Anti-Imperialist Alliance.

[Free Chevron logo] With the assistance of hundreds of students on the University of Waterloo campus and student journalists from dozens of papers on campuses across the country, the staff of The Chevron occupied their own office and continued to fund and publish The Free Chevron. At the same time they put forward a simple democratic demand: Reinstate the paper and investigate how and why it was closed by the Federation of Students.

In the ensuing nine months the issue became a political, legal and sometimes physical battle that polarized the University of Waterloo campus and spilled over into provincial and national student organizations. The University of Waterloo student federation president was recalled by a mass petition of 2,300 students. Free Chevron staff members defied an eviction order and were summoned before the Ontario Supreme Court, where they won their case against eviction. Free Chevron staff members maintaining a constant occupation of the office were assaulted and dragged from the office. An executive member of the Federation of Students threw a boulder through The Free Chevron's window and was caught by a campus security guard.

On June 26, 1977, The Free Chevron staff won their fight and the paper was reinstated.

As the Gazette reported at the time: "The dispute took more and more time, attention and money from the Federation. It led to the recall of [president Shane] Roberts, and became a serious drain on the energy of interim president Dave McLellan, new president Doug Thompson and other Federation officials. . . . The settlement finally reached was 'a move of desperation' to let the Federation get on to other matters, vice-president Ron Hipfner said. The Chevron expressed jubilation."

Former Free Chevron staffer Chris Bannon recalls: "I did just about everything except go to class. I learned more that year than any other year I can remember."

Tomorrow's reunion is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. at the SLC, and includes a visit to the offices that were occupied through 1976-77 -- now the home of Imprint, which succeeded the Chevron as UW's official student newspaper in the aftermath of the great controversy.

Of the 110 recorded staff members of The Free Chevron in 1976-77, organizers say they've been able to contact about 45 people, and about 25 are expected at the reunion, coming from as far away as the United States and British Columbia.

Events for a summer weekend

UW's health research conference, "From Cell to Society", concludes this morning in the Lyle Hallman Institute. There are sessions at 9:30 on "Opportunities for Health Research at UW", and a wrap-up at 11:00 with words from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and from John Thompson, associate vice-president (university research), on "The Future of Health Research at UW".

[Gross] Alan Gross (right), professor of rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, speaks today on "Visual Communication in Science", 2 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1350. He'll be talking about research from his most recent book, Communicating Science: The Scientific Article from the 17th Century to the Present. "Professor Gross will argue, from contemporary examples and the historical record," a flyer says, "that words are not the primary communicative matter of science. Visuals are." Randy Harris of UW's English department notes that "his work on the book has occasioned both a physical and a virtual exhibit of materials from the history of scientific writing."

Over the weekend, the Contemporary School of Dance has recitals in the Humanities Theatre (Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. . . . Some 80 participants in the Waterloo International Soccer Tournament will be staying in the UW conference centre in the Villages. . . . UW is co-sponsoring the 10th Ontario Symposium on Culture and Social Behaviour, being held at the University of Western Ontario. . . . Renison College will hold its annual alumni-and-family picnic on Sunday afternoon. . . .

And here's a note from Chandrika Anjaria in UW's information systems and technology department: "Every summer for the last 34 years this community has celebrated ethnic diversity and all its wonders. On Saturday and Sunday the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival will celebrate its 35th Year at Victoria Park by the clock tower. Lots of cultural dances, food booths, craft Island and many more fun loving activities for children and adults." Anjaria is first vice-president of the K-W Multicultural Centre, which organizes the festival, and Vera Golini of the department of Italian at St. Jerome's University is on the board of directors, along with retired library staff member John Penteker.

The talk of the campus

Architecture professors Dereck Revington and Philip Beesley have received Dora Mavor Moore Awards for set design and lighting design for the opera "The Girl with No Door in her Mouth", which was conceived and performed by Fides Krucker with direction by Mark Christmann. The opera was staged at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto last winter. The awards were presented Monday at a gala ceremony in Toronto.

Much information about UW's coming Campaign Waterloo ("Building a Talent Trust") is now available on a new web site at www.campaign.uwaterloo.ca. The fund-raising effort has not yet been publicly launched, though faculty, staff and retirees got a pretty good preview yesterday with the kickoff of the on-campus Keystone Campaign. Overall, the campaign is to wrap up in 2007, the university's 50th anniversary year.

Here's a note of interest from the annual report of the pension and benefits committee, distributed this week: "In the spring of 2001, prompted by concerns expressed by some Plan members, the Committee discussed socially responsible investing, a topic that has arisen occasionally in the Committee since 1986. During its deliberations, the Committee considered, among other things, a leading UK case which effectively states that one's own personal interests and views need to be set aside and that the financial interests of the Plan members and beneficiaries must be placed ahead. If the selection process and the scope of managers to invest is limited, there is a greater possibility of lower returns and more volatility in the Fund. In conclusion, the Committee decided that it was not in the best interests of the members and beneficiaries to restrict UW's investment managers, and that doing so would be counter to its fiduciary obligations to the Pension Fund."

And more from the P&B committee: "Each year membership data is provided to Committee, which includes those individuals who left Waterloo, but choose to defer their pension (i.e., 'deferred pensioners'). Given the time between leaving Waterloo and their being able to take a pension (i.e., age 65), some deferred pensioners forget that they have a Waterloo pension coming to them and/or forget to keep Waterloo informed of their whereabouts. As the University must keep these deferred pensions on the books forever (or until they are paid out), it is important that these individuals be found. In Fall of 2001, the University hired a locator service to search for its deferred pensioners so Human Resources can deliver their pensions. This was a highly successful exercise which resulted in finding more than 20 individuals."

A note from the information systems and technology department: "The campus general Internet bandwidth was upgraded from 14 to 17 Mbps [Tuesday] afternoon. The CA*net bandwidth remains unchanged at 7 Mbps."

The Canadian Northern Studies Trust has selected Ngan Diep, a student entering UW's doctoral program in biology, for a Canadian northern studies award. She will receive one of the Support Opportunities in Arctic Environmental Studies awards. The award, valued at as much as $45,000, allows Diep to spend up to 12 months conducting research at Eureka on Ellesmere Island, a Canadian High Arctic weather station.

Susan Bellingham, UW's special collections librarian, was honoured by the Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation earlier this month. She's the recipient of the Sally Thorsen Award for "special achievement" for this year.

A brief announcement came out from staff association president Steve Breen the other day: "It is with regret that I announce the resignation of Ed Chrzanowski from the UW Staff Association Executive Committee. In place of Ed the Executive has appointed Anne Jenson to serve as Past President."

The human resources department notes that the July-August 2002 Skills for the Electronic Workplace (SEW) brochure has been sent out. Courses offered include Using Your Home Computer for Work, Adobe Acrobat, Getting Ready for Windows 2000 and Office XP, HTML Level 1, Web Management Using Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver Advanced Features, and Dreamweaver Advanced Site Management. People interested in registering for courses can send their registration form to HR in General Services Complex or call Carolyn Vincent at ext. 2078.

And a reminder that as of this week, UW's neighbour to the northeast, Research In Motion Ltd, is getting protective of its parking lots and will issue tickets, starting at $15, to vehicles parked there without RIM-issued permits.

CAR

TODAY IN UW HISTORY

June 21, 1974: Staff in the food services department vote to be represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which already represents plant operations staff.

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