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Friday, June 20, 2003

  • Admissions 'slightly over target'
  • Fire research centre opens today
  • Well, 31,000 kilometres is something
  • Other notes and events today
Chris Redmond

U of Guelph postage stamp issued today


Hungary's University of Debrecen will give an honorary degree tomorrow to Janos Aczél, retired from UW's department of applied mathematics but still active in his work, much of it related to functional equations. Aczél was a faculty member at Debrecen for a time before coming to Waterloo in 1965.

Admissions 'slightly over target'

"A record number of new students" will enter UW as part of the double cohort this fall, a UW media release said yesterday: "UW's number of confirmed new students from the Ontario secondary school (OSS) system as of June 18 is 4,866, which is 18.6 per cent greater than the number last year at this time. . . . This increase compares favorably with UW's target increase of 17 per cent more spaces for year-one students for the fall."

"We are very pleased with both the number and quality of our confirmed first-year students," said Peter Burroughs, director of admissions. "It looks like we planned appropriately, all things considered. We will be enrolling more first-year students than anticipated, but it will be well within our capacity to make sure they receive a quality education."

In the news release, Burroughs added that the overall quality of the students coming to UW will be "better than ever," with many Ontario Scholars among them (students with average entering grades better than 80 per cent).

The total number of confirmations received to date from all sources including non-OSS students is 5,322, which is slightly over UW's total year-one target for newly admitted students of 5,137.

Late yesterday, a memo from Burroughs broke down some of the numbers, indicating that the science faculty is far above its target while arts and engineering are both below target. Bringing in more students in those two faculties "can be addressed in the next few weeks", he said, noting that there are many applicants who haven't been heard from yet, especially from outside Ontario.

All first-year students who wanted residence accommodation will get it in traditional residence rooms -- singles, doubles or suites. There are about 4,850 first-year residence spaces. "We are currently sitting at about 95 per cent capacity, which is great," Bud Walker, the senior administrator responsible for housing, told UW's senate on Monday, minutes after the deadline for residence applications passed.

In another change from past practice, a special admissions entry for 100 new math students will begin in winter 2004. It's anticipated that it will be full, an announcement says, with 80 students already confirming.

College enrolment will be up slightly
The Council of Ontario Universities says "close to 72,000 students" have accepted offers at the province's universities -- ranging from 10,097 at Toronto to 513 at the brand-new University of Ontario Institute of Technology, based in Oshawa. Waterloo's group will be the fifth biggest, behind those at Toronto, York, Western and Guelph (including the new Guelph-Humber campus in Toronto).

"We are on track to register a normal percentage of applicants," said Ross Paul, president of the University of Windsor and a COU committee chair. COU said 81 per cent of the students who accepted an admission offer are coming to one of their top three choices, and 46 per cent got their first choice.

Jamie Mackay of the Ontario Universities Application Centre predicted that the final number of registrants at Ontario universities in November 2003 -- the point at which universities report enrolments to government -- will stand at approximately 70,000.

Dianne Cunningham, the provincial minister of universities, added her congratulations: "I also want to thank Ontario universities for their strong commitment to providing these students with a quality education. Together we have successfully reached our goal of providing every willing and qualified student with the same opportunities as their older brothers and sisters."

  • Statistical and financial information, Ontario universities, 2002-02
  • 'Education hiring spree leads jobs outlook' (Globe)
  • Revenues of Canadian universities 2001-02
  • Canadian Federation of Students comments on university funding
  • What Americans think of higher education -- new survey
  • Access: does distance matter?
  • Changes to convocation traditions (Star)
  • 12,000 librarians at convention (Star)
  • StatsCan enrolment figures 2000-01
  • Interim president at Nipissing U
  • Fire research centre opens today

    Today brings the official opening for the Waterloo Region Emergency Services Training and Research Complex (WRESTRC), and with it, the long-awaited UW "fire research centre".

    The centre is a $5 million building-within-a-building where engineers can watch how a fire behaves under controlled conditions, something just about impossible to do in real life. "The house will be a reusable structure," says mechanical engineering professor Beth Weckman, who heads the UW fire research group along with colleagues Allan Strong and Dave Johnson. It will have steel walls that will survive fires, and a roof that can be altered in shape for experiments. Sensors and other equipment will be installed through the house to test temperature, smoke and other effects of a fire.

    Funded by governments and industry, the big red lab is part of a larger training complex sponsored by local fire departments and other emergency services, located at the regional landfill site off Erb Street West. The complex includes an administration building, the fire training structure, a driver training track and various other facilities to provide up-to-date field and classroom training that can be tailored to the evolving emergency services needs. The official address is 1001 Erb's Road (Gate 3 to the landfill).

    Emergency vehicles will take part in the official ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 this morning. An open house for the general public is scheduled at the site tomorrow (Saturday), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Well, 31,000 kilometres is something

    In the recent Commuter Challenge wager with Wilfrid Laurier University, it looks as though UW came in . . . uh . . . second.

    That's despite a report in the Record, as the Challenge was winding up two weeks ago, that WLU president Bob Rosehart "will be wearing Waterloo colours" at a Laurier-Waterloo football game next fall. That was the idea: the president of the losing institution wears the winning institution's colours.

    UW looked good in raw numbers, but it's a much bigger institution than WLU and the participation rate turned out to be lower, says Patti Cook, UW's waste management coordinator, whose office coordinated involvement in the Commuter Challenge as a move towards reducing pollution and traffic jams.

    "Although UW did very well in the total kilometres travelled," says Cook, "the final rankings are based on the number of people who participated as a percentage of the entire population. Preliminary results are that WLU had a 12% participation rate, while UW had an 8% participation rate -- which is quite an improvement on our 2.7% participation rate from last year.

    "Unfortunately the number of people participating was not as many as I had hoped; UW had 240 staff and faculty sign up, and WLU had 127 people sign up, including Dr. Rosehart."

    Official rankings put UW fourth among workplaces taking part in the Challenge this year. WLU was third, the Waterloo Regional government was second, and first place honours went to Sun Life Financial (Clarica).

    That's fourth place in pretty elite company, by the way, as Waterloo Region ranked top in Ontario in the 2003 Challenge.

    Cook says the reported distance that WLU people travelled by foot, skateboard, bicycle, bus and so on was 5,048 kilometres, while UW faculty and staff scored 14,592 kilometres. UW students, meanwhile, contributed 18,654 km to the Challenge.

    She reiterates: "WLU wins based on participation. But if you were to base the competition on contribution to the reduction of air emissions, UW is the winner!"

    Other notes and events today

    I managed to misspell the name of the person who took the photo at the head of yesterday's Daily Bulletin. The Keystone beach party picture was taken by Pui Yan Sy, web developer in the undergraduate recruitment office.

    The cycle rolls on in the Tatham Centre. Co-op students search of fall term jobs will see the results of the job match process on Monday morning, and meanwhile, the first posting in the "continuous" interview phase will go up today (at 6 a.m. online, by noon on the bulletin boards).

    A reunion of Imprint staff from the past 25 years gets going this afternoon and continues all weekend. . . . The Contemporary School of Dance performs "Alice in Wonderland" in the Humanities Theatre Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. . . . The Waterloo Invitational International Soccer Tournament, for players 10 to 19, is under way in town this weekend, with many of the participants staying in Ron Eydt Village. . . .

    [Poster] A number of UW people will be involved in the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival, being held Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., in Kitchener's Victoria Park. There's free admission, and it's a family event, with children's activities, "international foods and delicacies", music and dance from around the world, local artisans and an international marketplace. "Come see the world in Victoria Park," organizers urge.

    It's also the weekend for Lake Alive, an ambitious environmental project for the restoration of Puslinch Lake near Cambridge. UW graphic designer Melissa Smith is among the organizers, who have pulled in some big names -- Blue Rodeo, Randy Bachman, Natalie MacMaster -- to help with their cause. The result is a two-day festival with an artisan pavilion, boat tours, water ski shows, a children's area with entertainers, beer and wine garden, a variety of food, an auction, a boat parade of lights on the lake, followed by a dazzling display of fireworks to welcome the first day of summer. Smith, who has lived on the shores of the lake for the past seven years, did her part by designing the promotional poster (right) with the support of UW Graphics and IBM Printing Systems Division. With funds raised through Lakealive, the Puslinch Lake Restoration Project plans to remove sediment and an overgrowth of weeds from the lake, enhancing the habitat for fish and restoring water quality in what is described as "the largest kettle lake in Canada".


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