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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

  • Keystone party is moving indoors
  • Study will explore how co-op works
  • Prof plays key role in telescope project
Chris Redmond

Stroke Awareness Month

  • Members of Ontario's post-secondary education review | News release | Student group comments
  • 'PhD-centred culture' at Google
  • Mediaeval class at Augsburg College
  • Student group praises Martin's comments on education funding
  • Canada drawing foreign students away from Buffalo
  • Professors' call for more funding (report by CP)
  • Keystone party is moving indoors

    With thunderstorms in today's weather forecast, the noontime "Ulympics" celebration of the Keystone Campaign is moving indoors, and will be held in the Student Life Centre from 11:30 to 1:30.

    "I'm sure that the fun and level of enjoyment will still be high," said Pat Cunningham, the volunteer chair of the event, early this morning. The annual Keystone celebration for faculty, staff and retirees had been scheduled for the lawns outside the Columbia Icefield.

    [Torch] More than 200 volunteers stand behind Keystone, the employee segment of Campaign Waterloo, and today's party, like the rest of the campaign, is organized by a multitude of them. Volunteer achievements include the past two summer Keystone celebrations, monthly donor profiles, semi-annual newsletters, the June and year-end appeals, liaison work of departmental reps, recruiting sponsors, treat-a-grams, creating departmental donor participations certificates, organizing monthly donor draws, and so on.

    Today's event will start with a parade of gold, as participants can show their UW pride by wearing gold clothing and joining the parade along the ring road to the SLC. The parade will start at South Campus Hall at 11:30 a.m. and will move in both directions up the ring road. A torch or flag will be passed through each group that joins the parade.

    A highlight of the day will be the much-hyped "Try"athlon. Otherwise, the picnic promises good food, drink, music, and entertainment, plus door prizes based on coupons that went out with the individual invitations. (Bring your invitation with you, is the advice to everybody who's coming.)

    Working the barbecues and costumed in white aprons and hats will be a number of "celebrity chefs" including several of the deans, former provost Jim Kalbfleisch, and university librarian Mark Haslett.

    The Keystone Campaign has come a great distance over the past year, organizers say. At the time of the 2003 Keystone event, $2.2 million had been raised (49 per cent of the campaign goal). The campaign has now reached 86 percent of its $4.5 million goal, with 1,500 donors pledging $3.89 million. More information on the campaign was printed in the "It's Our Waterloo" spring newsletter mailed across campus last month.

    Carbon Copy (in the CEIT building) and Express Copy (in the Dana Porter Library) will be closed from noon to 1 p.m.
    Says a memo from UW's president about today's party: "I encourage all members of the UW campus community to attend. Recognizing the importance of this initiative, we have designated the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. period as paid work time for all UW staff and faculty to participate in the annual event.

    "For those departments providing essential services and thus obligated to remain open during this 2 hour period, please try to make arrangements so that everyone has an opportunity to participate. . . .

    "It's our Waterloo -- I hope to see you there!"

    Summer book sale, through tomorrow, South Campus Hall concourse.

    Career workshops: "Career Decision-Making", 10:30, "Mastering the Personal Statement", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Federal election voters' list revision: 11:30 to 3:30 at the Student Life Centre and Carl Pollock Hall; 4:30 to 8:30, Dana Porter Library.

    Traces Steel Drum Band free concert at Student Life Centre, 12 noon. Tropical lunch specials available at Bombshelter.

    Board of governors summer meeting, 2:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

    Three-pitch baseball organized by UW Recreation Committee for all employee groups, 6:15, Columbia Fields.

    'Studio Virgins' CD release party sponsored by CKMS radio, four local bands, 7 p.m., Starlight Lounge, King Street North.

    Bombshelter golf party starts 9 p.m.

    Math alumni golf tournament Thursday, Grey Silo Golf Course, Waterloo.

    Power shutoff Thursday 5 to 7 a.m. at Columbia Icefield and north campus houses.

    Informatics seminar, "Clinical and Objective Measurement of Aspects of Ocular Appearance", Trefford Simpson, optometry, Thursday 11:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

    Electrical and computer engineering brown-bag seminar, Manoj Sachdev, on current challenges in VLSI technology, Thursday noon, CEIT room 3142.

    Memorial service for mechanical engineering professor Rob Macdonald, Thursday, tree-planting 2:30 near Engineering II, service 3:00, Theatre of the Arts.

    Swing and Social Dance Club, "Swingin' at the Loo", Thursday 8 p.m. to midnight, Bombshelter pub, "no partner or experience necessary," $5.

    Stress management seminar sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Monday, June 14, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 302, reservations to Johan Reis, health services.

    Study will explore how co-op works -- by Patricia Bow

    A new research study led by St. Jerome's University psychology professor Maureen Drysdale will take a long, hard look at co-operative education to examine its impact on students entering the labour market. "A premise of co-operative education is that it better prepares students for the transition to the workplace," Drysdale says. "But how can we prove that co-op does it better than traditional programs?"

    A bachelor's degree is not the passport to a job that it once was, Drysdale points out. "Today the labour market is extremely competitive for new graduates." Many more skills are required of grads as they enter the workforce, where technology is omnipresent and constantly changing. And many employers do not want to spend time and resources training new graduates: they want them to arrive with the necessary skills and work-experience already in their resumes. Co-op is widely seen as one way of achieving that result.

    Co-op has enjoyed great success in Canada since it was launched at Waterloo in 1957. "At conferences, the participants from other countries look to Canada as an example of how it's done, and done well," Drysdale says. Co-op programs are now offered in more than 80 Canadian post-secondary institutions to some 80,000 students. Yet there have been few scholarly research studies on the long-term outcomes of such programs.

    Starting in mid-June, Drysdale and her team will compare co-op students from across Canada to non-co-op students on a number of variables. The first main question will be to find out if there are significant differences between students entering co-op and those entering traditional programs. Another will be to compare the impact of the entering characteristics on the students' success in university or college. A third will look at the impact of the students' post-secondary experience on their transition to and success in the labour market.

    Drysdale herself is particularly interested in the psychosocial variables: "for example, self-concept and self-efficacy, both of which influence success in school and work," she says. "Conversely, work experience can influence perceived confidence in a specific domain, hence influencing self-concept and self-efficacy."

    The study, "The Transition from Post-Secondary Education to the Labour Market: the Role of Co-operative Education," has received $58,150 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Education Statistics Council. It will be the most extensive longitudinal research study yet on the effectiveness of co-op, drawing on two massive Statistics Canada databases: the Youth In Transition Survey and the National Graduate Survey. Both surveys follow cohorts of young people over several years, recording key facts about their schooling and work.

    Drysdale, the principal investigator, has a specific research interest in the psychological aspects and learning outcomes of a co-op education. Her colleagues in the study are James Downey, former UW president, professor of English and now director of the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education; Pat Rowe, psychology professor emerita, and a well-known specialist in research on the benefits of co-op; and John Goyder of sociology, the group's research methodology and modelling expert. Also involved is Mark Baetz, a business professor at Wilfrid Laurier University with a particular interest in the relationship between co-op and "service-learning," a mode of learning similar to co-op except that it lets students exercise their academic skills in volunteer community service projects.

    Prof plays key role in telescope project

    "Looking into the night sky is going to become considerably more interesting," says an article in today's Gazette describing work by Mike Fich of UW's department of physics.

    Says the article, written by Jude Doble: "Fich, who is a member of UW's Astronomy/Gravity Research Group, is lead researcher for a Canadian consortium of astronomers who are building the most powerful submillimetre camera in the world, known as SCUBA-2. This camera will allow astronomers to peel back the mysteries of distance and light and provide concrete answers about the origins of the Universe."

    [Standing at lectern, arm raised]

    Physics professor Mike Fich at the launch of the SCUBA-2 project in UW's CEIT building last September.

    It notes that the first SCUBA -- the Submillimetre Common User Bolometer Array -- is mounted on the world's largest submillimetre telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. In May 2006, SCUBA-2 will replace its predecessor and begin deep cosmology surveys to explore the Milky Way and other developing galaxies.

    As part of an international space collaboration, Fich and his team of Canadian university colleagues have received funding of $13.2 million for research and development of SCUBA-2. This extremely sensitive camera, or detector, will allow researchers to look at larger regions of the sky, view in finer detail and in less time than any other submillimetre instrument in existence. The SCUBA-2 team will perform extragalactic and Milky Way galaxy surveys, observe star and planetary system formations, research the origins of interstellar dust and map magnetic fields.

    Fich states that "SCUBA-2's results will allow astronomers to discover exciting objects that others want to know about and we will be able to draw conclusions about the beginnings of the universe," which is a main thrust of current astronomical research throughout the world.

    SCUBA-2 will provide unprecedented sensitivity and imaging power, mapping large areas of sky, up to 1,000 times faster than the current SCUBA. According to Fich, "the ultimate goal is to get as much good science out of the instruments as possible and to grant other Canadian astronomers access to SCUBA-2, to benefit their own research."


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