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Monday, June 14, 2004

  • Federal candidates hit campus
  • Deadline to say yes to Waterloo
  • Prof receives heritage award
  • City council meets; other notes
Chris Redmond

UNIVAC put in operation, 1951

Federal candidates hit campus

Candidates in the June 28 federal election will meet some of the voters today in UW's Student Life Centre. An all-candidates' meeting presents the candidates for Kitchener-Waterloo riding: Frank Ellis (Christian Heritage Party), Edwin Laryea (NDP), Ciprian Mihalcea (independent), Pauline Richards (Green), Stephen Strauss (Conservative), and incumbent Andrew Telegdi (Liberal).

The all-candidates' meeting starts at 12 noon and is sponsored by the Federation of Students, the Graduate Student Association, and the Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union. "The debate will focus on issues surrounding post-secondary education," says Feds' vice-president (education) Jeff Henry.

Elections Canada officials will be in the Student Life Centre to add names to the voters' list, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mainstream media seem to be saying that the number one issue in the election campaign is health care, with such matters as taxes, foreign policy, abortion and integrity following along. But leaders of Canadian universities are also hoping to make post-secondary education an issue, noting that Ottawa plays a major role in student aid funding and research support, and influences education funding through its transfer payments to provincial governments.

In a news release late last week, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada called on the leaders of the four main federal political parties "to highlight the role that higher education and university research play in building a prosperous, healthy and forward-looking country".

AUCC issued an open letter, with signers who represent universities in every region of the country. AUCC is the national organization for 93 university and university-degree level colleges across the country, including UW and St. Jerome's University.

"The key to a healthy, productive and innovative society is a well-educated population," reads the letter. "Access to a high-quality, internationally relevant education fuelled by first-class research is central to the prosperity and quality of life of Canadians in the 21st century. Universities contribute to every part of our society through the knowledge and skills they instill in their graduates and through the ideas and innovations that they create from their scholarly and research activities."

Claire Morris, president of AUCC, stresses that for universities to maximize their contributions to Canadian society, "they must have available to them resources for education and research which are competitive with those available to their counterparts in Western Europe, Asia and the United States."

Said AUCC: "The university heads look to each party leader to engage Canadians in a serious discussion about the role of higher education and university research in building the kind of country Canadians desire. They urge the party leaders to share their perspectives on this issue so that voters can make informed choices on Canada's future on June 28."

Deadline to say yes to Waterloo

Thousands of would-be students face a deadline today: tell UW whether you're coming in September or not.

"After the deadline has passed, you may not be guaranteed a space in the program," the admissions web site warns applicants, most of them currently in grade 12 in Ontario's high schools.

Some students received offers of admission back in the winter and others in May, with the last offers made at the beginning of June. By agreement among Ontario's universities, June 14 -- today -- is the earliest day most students can be required to say yes or no. Over the past weeks, many of them have been weighing the merits of Waterloo vs. Queen's, Toronto, or other institutions, as some have received multiple offers, with or without promises of entrance scholarships. They've looked over web sites, made quick campus visits and consulted family, friends and teachers. Now, they give their answers. (Students are also given today as the deadline for making a $500 deposit on residence fees, if they want to live on campus in September.)

And UW's faculties, as well as the registrar's office, are anxiously waiting to find out whether, in fact, high-demand programs are full, or even overfull, or whether they still have spaces to offer over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, some high schoolers are pondering their futures from a different angle. Those are the ones who applied to Waterloo but finally got a letter a few days ago saying no, because of marks or other factors in what's still a competitive admissions market.

"The admission standards are determined each year according to the academic strength of the applicants for that year," says one version of the rejection letter, signed by UW director of admissions Peter Burroughs.` Another version explains that "The program to which you applied has a limited number of spaces and a large number of applications."

Some students who are turned down are told about another UW program for which they might be qualified. Others are given two options:

Applicants are also sent a chart of "basis of admission decisions" for this year. It indicates, for example, that minimum admission averages for electrical engineering in September 2004 were in the "High 80s", for co-op math "High 70s to low 80s", and for regular arts "Mid-70s with a minimum of 70% in English". The chart also notes that for most faculties, "admission averages were not the only factors in our decisions. The Admissions Committee assesses applications through a comprehensive and complex evaluation of a number of criteria."

[At lectern]

Prof receives heritage award

History professor Kenneth McLaughlin (right) of St. Jerome's University and UW has been honoured for his local heritage achievements. The Sally Thorsen Award, named for the former commissioner of the Waterloo Region planning and culture department, was given by the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation.

The award recognizes the demonstration "in the course of at least 10 years of their professional lives, an outstanding and active level of commitment to heritage concerns."

Matthews Golf Tournament, starts 12 noon, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Stress management presentation sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 302.

'Let's Dance' spring recitals in the Humanities Theatre, tonight and tomorrow, 6 p.m.

'Assessment Questions' workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, Tuesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details online.

Chemistry lecture, Pfizer Synthetic Organic Lectureship, William Roush, University of Michigan, speaks on "Recent Studies on the Total Synthesis of Natural Products", Tuesday 3:30, McNaughton Building room 105, University of Guelph, sponsored by Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry.

'One Book, Three Pubs', pub crawl and readings sponsored by The New Quarterly, Tuesday evening, information and tickets 884-8111 ext. 290.

Engineers Without Borders discussion group on "higher gas prices", Wednesday 12:30, "grassy knoll behind the Grad House".

Joint health and safety committee, Wednesday 1:30, Needles Hall room 3004 (change from previously announced date).

Web creators presentation by Jesse Rodgers, communications and public affairs, "The Four Corners of the Web", Thursday 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

A former chair of the foundation, McLaughlin helped establish the Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener as a regional museum. He has served as president of the Ontario Historical Association and authored or co-authored books about the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

Through UW's "public history" MA program, which he co-founded, McLaughlin has organized, edited and co-authored books with students on the history of the Kitchener Chamber of Commerce, Chicopee Ski Club, Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital, as well as the town of Hespeler (now part of Cambridge).

In 1997 he wrote a book about UW's founding and, most recently, he co-authored with Rev. Jim Wahl and the late Gerald Stortz the history of St. Jerome's University.

McLaughlin is scheduled to become chair of the UW department of history on July 1, taking over that role from Patrick Harrigan.

City council meets; other notes

Kitchener city council will see a detailed proposal ("business case") tonight for a UW health sciences campus and school of pharmacy in the city's downtown area. The proposal, backed by city hall staff, calls for a contribution from the city, in land and building funds, of some $30 million, and council will make a decision on that issue at a later meeting. Before things can go ahead, approval will also be needed from the provincial government, and documents have been sent to Queen's Park arguing that a second pharmacy school is badly needed in the province, provost Amit Chakma told UW's board of governors last week. Chakma also told the board that the project involves a new partner: Laurentian University, which would undertake to find placements for pharmacy students in northern Ontario as part of efforts to improve health care in that region.

Rebecca Jackson, a second-year UW French program student, has won the ADEFUO Prize. This award and $500 from the Association des Départements d'Études Françaises des Universités de l'Ontario is for the best essay in a province-wide writing competition. It is awarded to an undergraduate student wanting to study in a francophone university in Québec or France.

People have been asking lately about whether UW's employee health plan pays the extraordinary expense of bringing someone home following a serious injury or illness in some distant part of the world. Details on the human resources web site are sketchy, since the plan is complicated, and the person with the answer is Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services). Yes, it's paid for through the health plan, she writes: "This kind of coverage involving air ambulances and special teams to bring home injured or ill employees is part of our out-of-country coverage, and has been used more than once."

Now a note from Pat Lafranier in information systems and technology: "On Thursday, June 17, IST will be turning off an outdated network resource that many staff and faculty map as the O: drive on their Windows PC. The O: drive provided software and data for directly accessing Oracle databases, which is now available through a newer resource. If on or after June 17 you find you can no longer access Oracle databases from your PC, please contact the IST Help Desk (ext. 4357) for assistance. More details are available on the web."

With convocation ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, a local florist, Hearts and Flowers, will have a booth in the Student Life Centre selling roses and other bouquets for graduates (orders, 886-6410). . . . St. Jerome's University will hold its second annual Festival of Art and Spirit June 24-26 (a schedule of events is online). . . . The spring term final exam schedule is now available on the web. . . .


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