[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Monday, November 22, 2004

  • Senate endorses new aid guarantee
  • Oral defence of PhD theses
  • The talk of the campus
Chris Redmond

John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

[Cereal with milk, Small soup]

The light blue bars represent Waterloo in this comparison of cafeteria prices, done by the food services department and posted on its web site. Other charts show a Waterloo student's daily intake -- including chicken fingers, steak sandwich, and milk -- came to $20.52 but would have cost $21.44 at Western; another student spent $24.04 at UW (cereal, mac and cheese, hamburger) and would have been on the hook for $24.33 at Laurier. UW prices were lowest for bagels, milk and chicken-burgers, somewhere in the middle of the six universities surveyed for hamburgers and muffins.

Senate endorses new aid guarantee

Proposals aimed at creating "a more detailed and complex financial aid program" for undergraduate students got approval in principle from the UW senate last week, with one controversial issue left for a decision in December or January.

Recommendations from a five-member Provost's Task Force on Undergraduate Student Financial Support will now go to the board of governors, which will be asked to reaffirm the existing "statement of purpose" on financial aid. That statement says Waterloo "intends to ensure that all qualified students admitted to full-time undergraduate programs have adequate financial assistance to complete their studies".

The task force also recommended making the statement more specific: "to guarantee to meet the provincial unmet need, as calculated by the Ontario Student Assistance Program, of all qualified University of Waterloo undergraduate students", and "in practice" more than that, including "actual tuition fees not recognized in the OSAP calculation".

The task force was chaired by the dean of engineering, Adel Sedra, and also included another dean, two student representatives, and an outside member of the board of governors.

It didn't explicitly call for more money to be spent on student aid, but it did call for "a proactive process to automatically offer all qualified undergraduate students the financial support [UW] is prepared to provide", making it more likely that students will get the money that's available and that they're qualified for.

Co-op job guarantee is possible

The Sedra report on student financial aid said UW should "guarantee a first placement to qualified undergraduate co-op students", and a new task force is being set up to work out the details, provost Amit Chakma told the senate meeting.

The report had suggested using funds from the work placement program that already provides part-time jobs on campus. "Students with financial need who do not successfully find employment during their first work term may struggle financially," said the report, which recommended "extensive planning" and a close look at the costs and risks of making such a guarantee.

Staff are working on that already, registrar Ken Lavigne told the senate meeting last week. "We plan to use a fairly easy system, web-enabled," he said, adding that "we will be able to issue a prediction" of how much money a student will get in financial aid as soon as the basic information is entered on the form.

Altogether, the task force report said, UW gave out about $12.5 million in aid to undergraduates in 2003-04, including $5.2 million in bursaries (based on need), $6.3 million in scholarships (based on merit), and $900,000 in "awards" (a combination of need and merit). In addition, UW students received $27 million in funding, mostly loans, through the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

The controversial issue in the report involves distribution of money from the "set-aside funds", the percentage of tuition fee increases that UW is required to spend on need-based financial aid. At present, the task force noted, graduate students get more of that funding that comes from graduate student fees. It recommended that UW "should allocate tuition fee set-aside funds to the graduate and undergraduate student populations in proportion to their generation".

Graduate student members of the senate objected, one of them predicting "a radical decrease" in grad student funding. After some discussion, that recommendation was put off for discussion, and possible re-wording, next time senate meets.

In other sections of the report, the task force recommended that UW should look for new sources of scholarship funds and should build a more effective "stewardship" program for informing donors and making them feel appreciated. It also stresses that having financial aid isn't enough unless students, potential students, and parents know what's available.

A key recommendation was that UW "should work toward implementing an entrance scholarship grid, to the extent resources allow". A "grid" is a specific guarantee of how much scholarship money will be offered to a student entering a particular program, based on high school grades. An appendix shows that, for example, McMaster will guarantee a $2,000 scholarship to a student entering with an average of 90, or $1,000 to a student with a mark of 85. A "Mac model" at UW would cost $4.9 million a year, said the report, compared to the $1.1 million that Waterloo currently spends on first-year scholarships.

Provost Amit Chakma told senate that implementing a grid at UW would likely be "a gradual process over the next several years", and in answer to a question he confirmed that there would probably be more than one grid, with different figures for students in different faculties.

Oral defence of PhD theses

More graduate students have completed their theses and now face the last hurdle before that PhD: the oral defence. Here's a list of some currently scheduled defences:

Computer science. Christopher J. Pal, "Probability Models for Information Processing and Machine Perception." Supervisor, B. Frey. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

  • Controversial MP Carolyn Parrish spoke at UW last week
  • Sybase news release about its new building in UW R&T Park
  • Google launches 'scholarly' search site
  • Fewer foreign students at US universities
  • Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance calls for regulated fees, more funding
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: report for Britain's government
  • 'Up the Mackenzie River with just a raft' (Imprint)
  • U of Alberta names new president and launches campaign
  • 'When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching'
  • Provinces agree on 'framework' for student financial aid | Student organization not impressed
  • Academic freedom -- its legal basis in the US
  • 'Intellectual Property Rights and Traditional Knowledge'
  • Who leaves post-secondary education and why (StatsCan study)
  • Clinical researchers vulnerable to pressure, report says
  • Biology. Richard Narayansingh, "Prostaglandin F2α Regulates Distinct Physiological Changes in Young and Mature Corpora Lutea of the Pseudopregnant Rat." Supervisor, J. E. Thompson (acting). On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 2 p.m., CEIT room 1014.

    Computer science. Relu-Eugen Patrascu, "Linear Approximations for Factored Markov Decision Processes." Supervisor, D. Schuurmans. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, December 3, 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

    History. Kirrily Freeman, "The Battle for Bronzes: The Destruction of French Public Statuary, 1941-1944." Supervisor, Lynne Taylor. On deposit in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Tuesday, December 7, 1 p.m., PAS room 1229.

    Combinatorics and optimization. James Alexander Muir, "Efficient Integer Representations for Cryptographic Operations." Supervisor, D. Stinson. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Wednesday, December 8, 11 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

    Electrical and computer engineering. Bhaskar Prasun Chatterjee, "Design of High-Performance, Robust, Datapaths with Delay Diagnostics for Scaled CMOS Technologies." Supervisor, M. Sachdev. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, December 10, 9 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

    Chemical engineering. Yooseong Hong, "Study on Self-Assembly of Ionic-Complementary Peptides." Supervisors, P. Chen and R.L. Legge. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence to be held Friday, December 10, 9:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

    Civil engineering. Glenn Duyvestyn, "Field and Numerical Investigation Into Pipe Bursting and Horizontal Directional Drilling Pipeline Installation Ground Movements." Supervisors, M. Knight and M. Polak. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, December 10, 10 a.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 1320B.

    The talk of the campus

    Friday's Daily Bulletin, reporting on the appointment of ten new Canada Research Chairs at UW, omitted a few words in the paragraph about Lori Curtis of the department of economics. The title of her chair will be the Canada Research Chair in Health Economics and Technology, and she's establishing what will be called the Waterloo Health Economics Data Laboratory.

    This morning's Record has a report on a proposal for a UW-operated engineering school in Kuwait. UW president David Johnston spoke about the proposal briefly at the November meeting of UW's senate, noting that he and engineering dean Adel Sedra visited Kuwait a month ago at the invitation of the government there, which has invited a number of North American and European universities to look into creating campuses in the Gulf state. "We have continued to be intrigued and interested," he said, but "it's very early days" for making a decision. The idea, if it goes ahead, would likely be for Kuwaiti students to do the first part of their engineering study there, then finish the degree at Waterloo.

    Scholastic Book Fair Monday-Wednesday at the early childhood education centre, PAS building.

    National AIDS Awareness Week booth in the Student Life Centre, sponsored by Transcending All Borders Relief Aid. Speaker from AIDS Committee of Cambridge and K-W, Tuesday 5:30, Math and Computer room 2054.

    U2 new album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" listening party and midnight sale, Bombshelter pub, party starts 8 p.m.

    'A Fine Cause' annual miniature exhibition and fund-raiser for fine arts department, preview today through Wednesday 9:00 to 3:30, East Campus Hall. Sale starts Friday 4 p.m.

    RBC Information Common, Davis Centre library, official opening ceremonies Tuesday 11:30.

    English department lecture: Katherine Barber, editor, Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Tuesday 4 p.m., Humanities room 373.

    'Temagami: A First Nations Perspective', talk by Alex Mathias sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Tuesday 5:30, Environmental Studies II room 173.

    'Using Breeze or Tablet PCs to Enhance Online Learning', presentation by LT3 and management sciences department, Wednesday 11:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library.

    Exchange and study abroad programs for arts students, information meeting Wednesday 4:30, Humanities room 373, more information ext. 3118.

    Staff association craft sale Thursday-Friday, Davis Centre lounge.

    Bishop Morse Robinson Conference at Renison College, breakfast and morning event about parish leadership, details online.

    [MarsSkin] Ken Pizzolitto, a graduate student in kinesiology, will model the MarsSkin (right), a state-of-the-art Martian space suit prototype, at a meeting of the Waterloo Space Society tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Rod Coutts Hall room 306. Pizzolitto will join a team of Canadians next month in the Utah desert to take part in an ongoing simulated mission to Mars. Featured guest speaker will be Mars Society of Canada vice-president Rocky Persaud, a veteran of two previous such missions. Last summer, Persaud took part in a similar Mars expedition in Australia. He will be speaking about his experience and pass the torch to Pizzolitto, who will try on a special Mars space suit at the lecture to get a taste of what's to come, said Benjamin Sanders, Waterloo Space Society president. The topic will be "Will Canadians participate in a future international human mission to Mars?"

    A note from the mature student services newsletter: "Movie buffs will be standing in line to sign up for "The New Hollywood: American Films of the '70s" (Drama 394), offered in the winter term. American films of this era, strongly influenced by European art films of the late 50's and early 60's, reinvigorated old genres and laid the foundation for the next generation. The course showcases a selection of films which were pivotal in breaking down the Hollywood system, paving the way for New Wave filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg." I don't have any immediate word on whether the course is full.

    "Dubwear" is what the UW Shop is currently calling clothes with a UW logo, and anybody who buys such an item this week can enter a draw to win an MP3 player. . . . "A full crowd of 20" is registered for a three-day continuing education course on "Project Management" that starts today. . . . Larry Bard, who was a janitor in Village I from 1979 to his retirement in 1996, died November 17. . . .


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