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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

  • Athletes greet Campus Day visitors
  • Education pays off, says Stats Canada
  • What's happening around campus
  • Pixels in the big picture
Chris Redmond

Sportsmen's Show opens at the Ex

[In front of pink tie]

Can't have Campus Day without balloons! Science-and-business student Rachel Kumar was among the volunteers wielding them yesterday.

Athletes greet Campus Day visitors

As Campus Day II gets rolling, a number of Warrior athletes are among those turning out to greet thousands of potential students and their parents.

"UW athletes are eager not only to promote their teams to potential recruits, but to encourage students to think about joining teams if they're not already," Kerry O'Brien writes from the department of athletics and recreational services.

He quotes one athlete, Robin Leslie, a veteran of the field hockey team: "Some students have no idea how easy it is to become a varsity athlete or all of the enormous benefits that this status has to offer. We hope to provide these students with positive role models of students that have been here for four years, played varsity sports and loved every minute of it." Also on hand for Campus Day are such veterans as Kurt Rohmann of the swimming team and Matt Armstrong of the football Warriors.

The athletes "will be available at different times", says O'Brien, "to meet and greet with both students and parents to inform them about anything from individual teams to the athletics department as a whole. With the double cohort looming, there is also an increased talent pool to draw from, and Leslie wants to make sure that prospective frosh know that athletics can be an extremely rewarding aspect of the university experience."

She says: "Being a varsity athlete is a realistic possibility and something that every student entering UW in the fall should consider. If only one student considers trying out for a team that wasn't planning on it before, we have achieved our goal by encouraging and promoting varsity athletics." Many students, O'Brien adds, are unaware of the vast array of competitive varsity sports in the OUA -- the league in which Warrior teams play -- "and don't realize that there could very well be a team for them, even if they didn't play through high school."

Today is the second day of Campus Day, as visitors have an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, campus life and student services. There are special presentations in the Student Life Centre or the Humanities Theatre about financing, co-op education and the prospects for students who plan to apply in 2004 or later.

Heather MacKenzie, manager of the UW visitors centre, says students "tell us that visiting the campus was the best way to see for themselves what the University of Waterloo has to offer." She said visitors can pick up a Campus Day brochure when they arrive arrive at South Campus Hall or the SLC. At both locations, they can also visit information booths before taking a walking tour of the campus. Residences and other student services departments are offering tours or drop-in visits all day. UW's six faculties are each holding program-specific activities, tours and sessions, as are the church colleges.

Some visitors yesterday got a little extra as they arrived: a "Did You Know?" flyer denouncing some recent developments on campus, including the closing of the Federation Hall and Bombshelter pubs. "The University," it charged, "has routinely increased tuition without subsequent increases in spending on more professors, or larger classrooms for students." The flyer didn't indicate what group had produced it.

Education pays off, says Stats Canada

"University education and experience pay off in higher earnings," Statistics Canada said yesterday in a report on employment income, based on the 2001 census. It reports "phenomenal growth" in Canadians' education since the census of 1981:

"The 7.3% gain in average earnings during the past decade was the result of three factors: the demand for highly skilled workers in the face of advancing technologies and globalization; an aging workforce of baby boomers who experienced substantial gains in earnings during the decade; and more working people with university education.

  • Earnings of Canadians: Making a Living in the New Economy

  • Education in Canada: Raising the Standard

  • Individual community data
  • "The census showed clearly that higher education is a gateway to higher earnings. More than 60% of people in the lowest earnings category did not have more than a high school education in 2000, while more than 60% of those in the top category had a university degree.

    "But the census also shows that it is older groups with higher education and more work experience who made the most significant earnings gains. A clear generational divide has opened up in the labour market with younger groups on a lower earnings track than older, more experienced groups.

    "The hallmark of the 1990s was the tremendous growth in the number of Canadians with a college or university education, a trend that began at the end of the Second World War. Three developments set the stage for advances in education between 1991 and 2001: first, a labour market preference for skilled workers to compete in a global and technologically advanced economy; second, immigration rules designed to attract highly skilled immigrants; and third, the recession of the early 1990s that was particularly difficult for Canadian youth.

    "The increases in education were dramatically apparent for those aged 25 to 34. People from this generation were aged 15 to 24 when the recession of the 1990s hit. Many of them may have opted to stay in school rather than face uncertain prospects in the labour market.

    "From 1991 to 2001, the proportion of adults with university credentials grew from 15% to 20%. Another 16% had a college diploma in 2001, up from 12% a decade earlier. The proportion with a trade certificate remained stable at 12%.

    "In 2001, 1.1 million people in the working-age population (25 to 64) had doctorates, master's degrees or other qualifications above the bachelor level, such as degrees in law, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science. This was a 50% increase from 750,000 in 1991.

    "In terms of field of study, changes during the decade reflect increasing numbers of students choosing technology and business fields. Of the 1.2 million increase in university graduates from 1991 to 2001, about 12% or 154,000 had graduated in business and commerce. Another 11% or 133,000 had studied engineering."

    Positions available

    Three positions are listed on the weekly circular from UW's human resources department showing staff jobs for which applications are being accepted.

    Here are the opportunities included in today's list:

  • Project manager, Centre for Core Area Research and Design, environmental studies, USG 7

  • Financial aid assistant, office of the registrar, USG 5-6

  • Stationary engineer third class, plant operations (temporary position)

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site. As always: "The University welcomes and encourages applications from the designated employment equity groups: visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal people."

  • What's happening around campus

    The LT3 technology centre holds a noontime session today under the title "A Change of Focus: From Building Learning Objects to Collaborative Learning Development Through Understanding Needs of Students and Faculty". The leader is Carl Berger of the University of Michigan, who "sees learning technologies in a transformative role" and will demonstrate some of what UMich is doing, including the Visible Human Project. The session starts at 12:00 in the Flex lab in the Dana Porter Library; registration is online.

    Today's the deadline for "applications and nominations" for one of UW's top positions, associate provost (academic and student affairs). . . . A group from the UW retirees' association is off to Toronto today for opening day of the Canada Blooms garden show. . . . A reception for UW alumni in Boston, cancelled last month thanks to a snowstorm, is being held tonight at the Wyndham Boston Hotel. . . .

    Today is "the last UW Shop Ring Day before spring convocation", with discounts on rings ordered in the shop between 11:00 and 3:00. . . . "The Healing Garden" is the title of Wilfrid Laurier University's annual health fair, being held today from 10:00 to 3:00 in the WLU concourse. . . . "New Canadian Vocal Music", provided by soprano Stacie Robinson and pianist Kong Kie Njo, is promised at the 12:30 free concert in the Conrad Grebel University College chapel. . . .

    The Pure Math, Applied Math and Combinatorics and Optimization Club will hold a session of its "short attention span math seminars" from 3:30 to 9:00 today (Math and Computer room 5158), with a succession of 20-minute talks by students. "Also, there will be three sock puppet shows as a break from all the math," promises organizer Mark MacDonald. More talks are scheduled for tomorrow, same time and place.

    Lesley Millard, a former model in life drawing classes at UW, and now a writer, will read one of her stories at 3:45 this afternoon in a drawing class in the fine arts department (East Campus Hall room 1218). Students are being invited to "listen, draw, and consider the human story behind the model", and visitors are welcome.

    A talk about "socially responsible investing" starts at 7:00 tonight in Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 302. It's sponsored by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group; the speaker is financial planner Tim Johnson, past president of the Social Investment Organization.

    Tonight's dialogue at UW's downtown Kitchener outpost deals with "Planning Parks and Protected Areas in an Era of Climatic Change". The conversation, led by "recent graduate student" Chris Lemieux, starts at 7:30 p.m. at 70 King Street East, and is sponsored by the Civics Research Group.

    Water will be shut off in Needles Hall from 7:30 to 10:00 tomorrow morning. . . . A workshop on academic publishing, aimed mostly at graduate students, will be held tomorrow at noon, sponsored by the teaching resource office. . . . The annual Rainbow Reels "queer film festival" will be held Thursday through Sunday, with some of its events at UW. . . . The Philosophy Graduate Students Association holds its annual two-day conference Thursday and Friday, with talks on subjects that range from political philosophy to evolutionary psychology. . . .

    Pixels in the big picture

    A survey has gone to department heads across campus, asking what they think about UW's Guidelines for Emergency Leave for staff members. "Are you familiar with the UW Guidelines?" asks the survey, sent on behalf of the staff relations committee. "Are the guidelines helping you resolve requests for personal leave, e.g. sick kids, elderly care?" It also asks what percentage of staff use "emergency leave" time in the course of a year. The topic came up in the recent staff association "climate" survey. "Comments indicated," says a memo, "that the guidelines were being overused by some staff and that it would be more equitable to eliminate the emergency leave guidelines and give every staff member a certain number of personal leave days per year." So the staff relations committee is looking at the topic, and decided it would start by gathering information about how things are working, according to David Dietrich, director of pension and benefits in the human resources department.

    The second-year computer engineering class, otherwise known as HardBOOTy, is pretty proud of classmate Sonya Konzak, who came home with a top prize from the 2003 Canadian Engineering Competition. It was held at Memorial University in St. John's on the last weekend of February. Konzak, a second-year computer engineering student who had previously triumphed in the Ontario Engineering Competition, won the CEC Environmental Awareness Award for her presentation on oil extraction in Northern Alberta. "This award," the rules say, "recognizes the team, from any of the categories, that best exemplifies environmental consciousness. The project must increase environmental awareness, prevent environmental damage or solve an environmental problem that already exists. Entries will be judged based on environmental concern, research quality, project impact and practicality." John Thistle, faculty advisor to UW's CEC entrants, says Konzak "is already mulling over prospective topics for an entry into next year's OEC."

    "Want to let everyone know," says a breezy note from bookstore manager Chris Read, "we're beginning the process of returning textbook overstock to publishers beginning March 17. If you haven't bought your books for this term, the clock is ticking! The bookstore will also be making some layout changes shortly. More details to follow, but we're creating more space to help serve our growing customer base."

    Waterloo's chapter of Engineers Without Borders is looking for "one exceptional candidate" to go overseas as part of the national Operation 21 project. "Operation 21," a news release explains, "is a new endeavour to send 21 interns overseas to work on 21 different international development projects. . . . The mission's focus is two-fold: first, to have positive impact on developing communities by providing appropriate solutions to technological problems, and second, to benefit the chapter by transferring the development knowledge that the successful candidates acquire overseas back to the chapter on their return." Applications are due "by 11:59 p.m." tonight; more information is available from Sumit Kundu, s2kundu@engmail. (So far, a news release adds, Waterloo's EWB chapter has sent eight interns overseas -- to Cameroon, Peru, Nepal, India, Guinea and Chile.)

    The Employee Assistance Program has an event next week to assist employees who can't wait for spring. "Complementary Planting in the Perennial Garden" is the topic, Lenore Ross of the University of Guelph arboretum is the speaker, Wednesday is the date, and here's the bad news: from responses to the green flyer that was distributed on campus a few days ago, organizers say there's no more space available.


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