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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

  • Employers told about enterprise co-op
  • Universities claim national support
  • Historian and former MP profiled
  • Smoke and blood, and more
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius


[Attentive audience in sweats]

Amid the treadmills, Federation of Students president Chris Edey says a few words at last week's official opening of the Columbia Icefield expansion. New facilities at the Icefield and at the Student Life Centre will be a highlight of Edey's 2003-04 year in office. His successor will be chosen in elections next month; nominations for the 2004-05 Federation executive are due January 27.

Employers told about enterprise co-op

"What's E Co-op?" asks a headline in the new issue of the UW Recruiter newsletter, distributed once a term to employers of UW co-op students. Here's the answer provided, in full.

"Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op for short) is a CECS program that assists a select group of UW co-op students in launching their own business ventures on co-op work terms rather than working for someone else. Since its inception, Enterprise Co-op has approved start-up funding for 40 enterprising ventures. One of these was Charles Michael's now full-time e-business Wired2000.

"Charles graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2002 with a joint Honours degree in Computer Science and Combinatorics & Optimization. His company, Wired2000, specializes in search engine optimization -- a process of manipulating algorithms to direct traffic to certain Web sites. Charles's customers, who range from banks to casinos, come to him to increase the odds that their names will be listed first when key words that relate to their companies are typed into a search engine such as Google.

"Charles had already been running his business as a side project when he first approached Enterprise Co-op, but in order to fulfill the requirements of the program he had to attend an information boot camp, complete a guided self-assessment, develop a feasibility plan and present it to an assessment team, build a business plan for approval, and find a member of the community to act as his 'business sounding board'.

Foundation helps with funding

From UW's 2002-03 donor report: "Over the past two years, grants totalling $325,000 from The John Dobson Foundation have provided start-up funding and ongoing support for the Enterprise Co-op program. . . . Students, working individually or as as group, apply to the Dobson Foundation fund to provide part of the seed money to fund their business planning or start-up venture. . . . Based in Montreal, The John Dobson Foundation is dedicated to educating the public with regard to the free enterprise system and entrepreneurial activities in Canada, and the financing of emerging companies."
"Because Charles had already started to see profits from his business, he admits that at first the process seemed like a hassle. However, he now concedes that being required to write a detailed business plan helped him so much that, 'I probably wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gone through that process.'

"Charles is particularly grateful to Jim Basillie of RIM, who, as Charles' 'business sounding board', gave him useful advice on developing a long-term business plan, bringing back customers, and keeping a customer base. A 'business sounding board' is someone who works in the same business field as the student's business. This individual reviews a student's business plan, makes suggestions, gives advice on how to improve the business, and evaluates the student at the end of the co-op term.

"Accountants, lawyers and marketing professionals who have experience or interest in starting up businesses can also get involved in E Co-op by donating their time (either in person or through email) to teach students to budget, sort out legal concerns, and promote their businesses. In addition to gaining the satisfaction of helping out the next generation of entrepreneurs, professionals who have volunteered their time to E Co-op in the past have benefited from continued relationships with these students after graduation. Charles Michael, for example, still uses the same accountant who helped him with his budgeting back in university."

The newsletter notes that anyone interested in getting involved in Enterprise Co-op, "through being a business sounding board, volunteering, or even donating to help fund the E Co-op student boot camp", can visit the UW Innovate web site for more information.

Universities claim national support -- a news release from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

A large majority of Canadians see the benefits of a university education and believe government should do more to ensure there's a spot for every qualified student, according to a recent poll by Ekos Research Associates.

At least three-quarters of Canadians say a university degree greatly improves one's chances of getting a job and has a big impact on a person's quality of life and personal growth. An even larger number, 82 percent, believe a degree positively affects lifetime earnings and career advancement opportunities.

However, when asked if they thought universities have enough room for all qualified students who want to go, two-thirds of Canadians said no.

This is not an idle concern. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada estimates that rising demand will push enrolment up at Canadian universities by at least 30 percent, or 200,000 additional full-time students, in the decade ending in 2011. And this estimate may actually be too conservative. As of fall 2003, following the two largest year-over-year enrolment increases ever seen in Canada, full-time enrolment has already risen by nearly 100,000 students -- half way to the total enrolment growth predicted in the 30-percent growth scenario.

This sort of enrolment growth is not sustainable if universities don't receive additional funding to hire more staff and expand their physical and technological infrastructure to meet student demand, says Robert J. Giroux, president of the AUCC. "Without adequate government investment in universities' institutional capacity, either access or educational quality -- or both -- will suffer."

Also: AUCC and other associations call on the prime minister to make post-secondary education a national priority
The public is firmly behind increased funding, with nearly four-fifths of Canadians supporting additional government grants to universities to expand their capacity. As well, 85 percent say it's time for the federal government to invest more in support of university education. An overwhelming 89 percent -- nearly nine out of 10 Canadians -- see this spending as a good long-term investment for the country.

An equal number (89 percent) also support university research and its benefits to Canadians and Canadian society. In addition, there is strong support for preparing students for a global future, with 85 percent of Canadians agreeing that knowledge of other cultures and an understanding of the world are increasingly important qualities for employees to have in today's labour market.

The poll results, part of the Rethinking Government Study by Ekos, are based on 1,550 telephone interviews with a random sampling of Canadians aged 16 and over between Dec. 3-16. The results are considered accurate plus or minus 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Historian and former MP profiled

One of UW's best-known faculty members is also a supporter of the Keystone Campaign, according to a profile ad that appeared in the Gazette just before the Christmas holiday. It's one in a series of ads about Keystone donors who are helping the campaign toward its goal of $4.5 million for UW from staff, faculty and retirees.

[English] This profile looks at history professor John English (left), "recognized on campus and locally for his popular history and political science classes, for several books about Waterloo Region, and for his term as MP for Kitchener (1993-97). John is also known across Canada for many political, literary, and international contributions, including his role as executive director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation," among other activities.

It goes on: "John was recently asked to write the official biography of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. For his many contributions, John has received the Order of Canada and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. John and his wife Hilde are also co-chairs of The Next-Generation Library Campaign at UW."

Then come the questions and answers:

As an historian, what do you like most about UW's beginning? "Waterloo's history is an exciting story that begins with the fathers of Waterloo making education relevant to the times. They were visionaries who saw a need and created an institution to fill that need -- and now the co-operative system of study defines education in Canada."

To what projects have you designated your gifts? "I've targeted my gifts to the Arts Faculty Scholarship Fund, the St. Jerome's University Sweeney Residence Fund, and the Dana Porter Library Rare Books Collection Fund."

Who among the many interesting people you've met through your academic and political associations has had the most impact on you? "Paul Martin Sr. was a mentor. He was kind to me when I was a young scholar. When he was the High Commissioner of England for Canada, he invited me to stay with him when I did research in Britain. Whenever he came to Waterloo, he would stay with my family. I was pleased to help him get started on his own memoirs."

WHEN AND WHERE
Club Days conclude, 9 to 4, Student Life Centre.

'The Science in Science Fiction', talk by Hugo Award winner Robert J. Sawyer, 11:30, Physics room 145.

Teaching Large Classes, workshop sponsored by teaching resources office, 12 noon, information ext. 3132.

Café-rencontre, department of French, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218: "Paul Socken y parlera de la mythocritique."

'English Degree': "Many opportunities -- what fits you best?" Panel, 6:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Climate change coffee house, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Bombshelter pub.

Volunteer Fair, Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre

Classical piano, Philip Thomson, Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

Smoke and blood, and more

National Non-Smoking Week continues. "The second stage in the change process," says a step-by-step description from the occupational health folks in health services, "is Contemplation. At this stage you may be thinking about quitting but not quite ready to make the change. You are acknowledging the dangers of smoking and are considering the benefits of a smoke-free life. . . . While many people avoid quitting because of the fear of failure, remember that there are lots of resources available to help you quit and stay smoke-free!" Some of them can be found on the Canadian Lung Association web site.

Also continuing is a blood donor clinic in the Student Life Centre, and apparently yesterday's first few hours saw a few problems surmounted. A letter from Sharron Cairns of Canadian Blood Services sends thanks to those who were trying to give blood, "for their patience while we worked out a little glitch in our new computer system. For those donors we were unable to accommodate, we appreciate your understanding. We would also like to thank everyone who was able to rebook an appointment for later on in the week. A special thank you goes out to President Johnston as well as the IT-trained donors -- Aaron Stauch, Michael Chong and Jonathan Musser -- who happened to be at the clinic. UW is certainly the place to be if you run into computer trouble!" The blood donor clinic continues today through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Says Cairns: "If you haven't already, feel free to stop by the Multi-Purpose Room in the SLC during those hours to book your appointment to donate."

Tomorrow brings a symposium of design projects by fourth-year electrical and computer engineering students, whose work will be on display for judging all day in the Davis Centre lobby. An open house follows in the evening. I'll be saying more about this event tomorrow morning.

Here's a last-minute reminder that the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference, largely organized by UW students, starts Thursday in Toronto. It's three days bringing students into close contact with the titans of high-tech industry, this year including Frank Clegg of Microsoft Canada. Basic registration fee for CUTC is $125, but there are subsidies for students from many UW departments -- the web site leads to details.

A note from the plant operations department: "The centre stairwell in Physics will be closed for repairs starting Tuesday."

Finally, this from Wish Leonard in the library's user services department: "A recent TRELLIS upgrade introduced new functionality called 'accrued fines' -- the ability to show patrons what their 'real' outstanding fine amount is, instead of showing only the outstanding fines for items that have been either returned or have entered into a replacement stage. Accrued fines appear in the patron's record under Fines. The 'Fee/Posting Type' is noted as 'Accrued Fine.' Items that were returned late are noted as 'Overdue.' Accrued fines are part of the calculation that blocks a patron when they reach their maximum fines amount -- currently $30. . . . Accrued fines cannot be paid. The material must be returned first. When an item is long overdue and reaches the point where it is marked as 'Lost', replacement charges are posted to the patron's account and the accrued fine disappears."

CAR


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