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Monday, March 18, 2002

  • Targets for first-year students
  • UW sixth in Putnam math contest
  • Coming in the next few days
Chris Redmond

March is Easter Seal month

Targets for first-year students

[Graph] Seven months and a few days from now, UW will have -- let's see -- four thousand, eight hundred and forty-five first-year students.

If that goal of 4,845 is reached exactly by Friday, November 1, it'll mean the first-year class is up by 7.2 per cent from last year's, which in turn was 4.5 per cent bigger than it was supposed to be. The goal for November 1, 2001, had been 4,322.

Double cohort information session

A "double cohort night" to provide information to students and parents -- much like the one held in November -- is scheduled for March 27, Wednesday of next week. It'll start at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. The undergraduate recruitment office is accepting on-line registrations.
The target for this fall is announced in a memo circulated last week by Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions, who stresses that 4,845 isn't really the number of first-year students UW will admit, either from high school or from other sources. Rather, it's the total number of first-year students there will be when the counting is done.

"Most of those students" will come from new admissions, says Burroughs, but some will be existing students repeating first year or transferring into a first-year program from elsewhere. The same is true of last year's figure, 4,518.

"Admissions targets" are no longer listed. UW now has enrolment targets instead, thanks to different ways of counting students, introduced through the Student Information Systems Project, Burroughs explains.

With bigger-than-ever first-year classes, as UW helps to cope with a flood tide of young people seeking to enter Ontario universities, all the faculties are increasing their targets for the coming year. Here's how the 4,845 breaks down:

Arts, 1,300; mathematics, 1,210; engineering, 820; science, 720; environmental studies, 365; applied health sciences, 325; software engineering, 100.

Says Burroughs in his memo: "These targets are the result of extensive discussion with the Faculty Deans in conjunction with appropriate individuals within their jurisdictions and administrative officers of the University, Colleges and St. Jerome's University. If there are any significant modifications to these data, an updated document will be distributed."

UW sixth in Putnam math contest

UW's team ranked sixth in the most recent William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, whose results were just released. Math students from 453 North American colleges and universities wrote the test in December.

"The Putnam competition is the university championship of college mathematics in North America," said Christopher Small, of UW's statistics and actuarial science department. To be among the top ten universities in North America is an excellent achievement, he said, "but Waterloo has added to a list of Putnam successes that is already impressive. Over the last 14 years, Waterloo has had a top ten showing 13 times," said Small. "The only year we missed over that period was 1995, when Waterloo came 12th."

That is a record that few universities can match. Waterloo's ranking among competing universities is based upon the performance of three pre-selected team members. Waterloo's team for the 2001 competition was Byung Kyu Chun, David Nicholson and Shu Niu.

Also placing well in the competition were Carl Johan Ragnarsson and Vaughn Climenhaga, who ranked 66th and 93rd respectively. Although other Waterloo students could not represent Waterloo as part of its team, they were able to write the Putnam contest as individuals. "Altogether there were 27 Waterloo students who wrote the Putnam," said Small. "Nine of those students were ranked among the top 200. Since there were 2,954 students in Canada and the U.S. who wrote the contest, that is a strong result."

Certainly it was good enough for Small and the other Putnam coach, Ian VanderBurgh, to breathe a sigh of relief. "It is not easy to compete against the top universities in the U.S., said Small. "Many of these institutions have large endowments that help in attracting top students."

This year Harvard University took first place, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford rounding out the list. Of these five, only Berkeley is a public institution. "I am pleased with the achievements of all of our students against universities with such reputations," VanderBurgh said. VanderBurgh, a former top Putnam student himself, described the results: "A very solid performance from everyone. The contestants should be very proud."

Nevertheless, the coaches say, competing against the American universities will continue to be an uphill battle. "For example, two of the top Putnam students this year, David Arthur and David Pritchard, who ranked in the top 25, are Canadian. However, both students represented American universities, where they study at present.

"We work hard to encourage these students at Canadian high schools," said Small. "We wish them well when they go to places like Harvard and MIT to study. But we hope they will come back home."

Imprint reports bar fights

Friday's Imprint reported that a series of incidents has led the management of Federation Hall and the Bombshelter, both owned by the Federation of Students, to ban members of the Warrior football team from both pubs. The paper says the scuffling at Fed Hall on Thursday night (March 7) brought in the Waterloo Regional Police as well as UW police; there were three arrests and one injury. Then March 9 at the Bomber, "witnesses described some football players flipping over chairs, ripping off their clothes and wrestling one another to the ground. Once again Waterloo Regional Police were called . . . charges may be laid against six individuals." The same issue of Imprint included a colourful letter to the editor from "Name withheld", complaining that some members of the football team "strut around this campus like a gang".

Coming in the next few days

Philip Daly of the UW Photography Club sends word that the club is putting on a photography exhibit in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre, which began late last week and continues through this Wednesday. "We are," he writes, "showing off work by UW students, staff and faculty. All are encouraged to drop by and check out the exhibit."

Scheduled for today in the Humanities Theatre: the children's show "Jillian Jiggs", by the Touring Players, at 10:00, 11:45 and 1:30.

James Diamond, UW's chair in Jewish studies, will speak tonight under the title "The Sage Is Greater Than the Prophet: Judaism as a Religion of Freedom and Responsibility". He writes: "The Rabbis perceived their role and their engagement with Jewish texts as advancing the very process of revelation. Their displacement of the prophet, and at times of God himself, was an expression of the ultimate freedom and responsibility man must bear for his own moral and ethical destiny." His talk starts at 7:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University. Admission is free.

Also at 7:30, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs presents Ramesh Thakur of the United Nations University, speaking on "The International Commission on State Sovereignty", at the University Club. Information: ext. 2765.

Scheduled for tomorrow:

And Wednesday: And the week continues with events of interest. Thursday, it'll be Cultural Caravan, with entertainment, displays and food from the nations of the world, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Life Centre.

Thursday, Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's magazine, gives the Kerr-Saltsman Lecture on "An Audible Silence: The Media's War Against Dissent", at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre.

Friday, Renison College will break ground for its new residence wing, in a ceremony at 12 noon.

Saturday and Sunday, the tenth annual UW Juggling Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Life Centre.

Saturday night, Stephen Lewis speaks in an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Project Ploughshares. It starts at 7:30 at The Cedars on Beechwood Drive, and I understand that all the tickets are now spoken for.



March 18, 1965: The Chemistry and Biology Building (later to be Biology I and Earth Sciences and Chemistry) is officially opened by William G. Davis, minister of university affairs.

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