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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

  • Write to the province, Johnston urges
  • $1.3 million gift from BMO Financial
  • Last day; flags down; and so on
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Tomb Sweeping Day


[Each clutching a plaque]

The winner of the Hopkins-Kemp Award was announced last week at Campus Recreation Recognition Night. The award honours "long-term commitment and significant contribution" to campus rec. The recipient for 2005 is Peter Whittington, now completing a graduate degree in environment and resource studies and winding up 12 terms of activity with campus rec aquatics. "Pete developed a real passion for lifeguard competition and competed year-round," says Rebecca White, the aquatics coordinator, who's seen presenting a plaque to Whittington. She notes that he also figured in water polo, first aid and club leadership. Photo by Steve Brooks, athletics and recreational services.

Write to the province, Johnston urges -- by Avvey Peters

During his customary "environmental scan" at last week's meeting of the UW senate, president David Johnston urged senators to write to local MPPs to draw attention to the funding situation of Ontario's universities. He's expected to make a similar pitch at today's board of governors meeting.

Johnston encouraged them to make use of a template letter drafted for the purpose. The letter, which has been shared with board members, alumni council members, campaign volunteers and other advocates, urges MPPs to take to heart the recommendations of former Premier Bob Rae to increase funding for colleges and universities.

Asking MPPs to "raise awareness of this crucial issue in the legislature, and call on premier Dalton McGuinty and the minister of training, colleges, and universities to make a substantial new investment in the postsecondary system, beginning with the 2005 provincial budget," the letter goes on to suggest some key goals for the upcoming provincial budget, expected later this month:

§ Restore base funding for universities beginning with a substantial kick-start in 2005 to close the funding gap. Rae has recommended a $1.5 billion investment in higher education by 2008, bringing total revenue per student in line with the level of all other provinces.

§ Reestablish the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund as a permanent program so that all institutions may provide bursaries to students in need.

§ Renew the incentive for employers to participate in co-operative education programs by raising the provincial tax credit for co-op employers to $2,500 per term. Further, there should be an acknowledgement of the important role of co-operative education programs in building human capital by including funding for co-operative education in the new funding formula.

The template letter is available online for any member of the university community who wishes to write to local MPPs about this issue.

Among other pre-budget activities, university officials have been meeting with MPPs and ministry staff members, and assisting with the ThinkOntario campaign of the Council of Ontario Universities.

Today's board meeting

The UW board of governors will meet at 2:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Agenda items include 2005-06 tuition fees, particularly for "full cost recovery" programs; increases in ancillary fees and the new orientation fee; appointment of an architect for the Pharmacy building in downtown Kitchener; approval of UW's 2005-06 budget; and updates from the president and provost on major projects and the political environment.

$1.3 million gift from BMO Financial -- from the UW media relations office

Talented students, along with two of UW's professional schools, will benefit from a $1.3 million donation announced yesterday by BMO Financial Group. BMO's gift includes $824,500 to launch the BMO Financial Group Scholarship Program that will fund university-wide entrance scholarships, a key priority for the university in attracting top students from across the country. UW's School of Accountancy will receive $300,000 and the School of Architecture will receive $175,500.

"The generous scholarships will make a significant difference for Waterloo and its students -- it is a solid investment in the future," said UW president David Johnston. "The BMO Financial Group scholarships are a major contribution to Campaign Waterloo's endowment goal of over $25 million for undergraduate scholarships."

The scholarship program will award $5,000 to top students entering university for the first time who demonstrate a financial need. When fully funded, the BMO Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship Fund will be one of UW's largest endowments, providing six to 12 scholarships annually.

"Education is a prime focus of BMO's commitment to make our communities stronger and more prosperous. As an active participant in Canada's communities, we believe in the possibilities of personal growth and achievement through continuous learning and access to education," said Karen Maidment, senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer, BMO Financial Group.

"I'm hopeful that BMO's gift will help students at the University of Waterloo attain their full potential, develop skills and encourage leadership that will help them make a meaningful contribution to our region, our province and our country," Maidment added.

BMO's donation may also be matched dollar-for-dollar pending a decision from the Ontario government to reinstate the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund program.

BMO Financial Group contributed more than $29 million in corporate donations, sponsorships and events in 2004, supporting thousands of communities, charities and not-for-profit organizations in Canada. In 2004, BMO committed close to $7 million over the next 10 years to universities and colleges across the country.

WHEN AND WHERE
Health informatics seminar: David Booth, Hewlett-Packard, "From Web Services to the Semantic Web: Global Data Reuse." 12:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Jennifer Welsh, University of Oxford, "Reality and Canadian Foreign Policy: A Reply to Allan Gotlieb", 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West, free tickets by e-mail to rsvp@cigionline.ca.

'Course Design' teaching workshop, Wednesday 9:30 a.m. (repeated April 14), details from the teaching resource office.

Stress relaxation series: "Empowered Breathing", Wednesday 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program.

Faculty association annual general meeting Wednesday 3:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Perimeter Institute lecture: Edward Witten, Institute for Advanced Study, "The Quest for Supersymmetry", Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Waiting list begins at 6 p.m.

English proficiency examination Thursday 7 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Systems design engineering alumni banquet Saturday 6 p.m., South Campus Hall, information ext. 6838.

Last day; flags down; and so on

We made it -- or rather you made it, if you're among the students who will have their last winter term class today, or perhaps their last UW class ever. While lectures ended Thursday in engineering and math, things have continued through today in the other four faculties. Now it's study time, as winter exams begin Friday and run through April 21. And then it starts all over again: spring term classes begin May 2. (The deadline for spring fee payments hasn't been announced, presumably pending an official decision on fee levels at today's board of governors meeting.)

The university's flags are at half-staff today in mourning for the death Saturday of Pope John Paul II. The government of Canada has lowered its flags across Canada, and UW normally follows the government's lead.

The Graduate Student Research Conference continues, today with presentations ranging from "Numerical Investigations and Field Monitoring of the Karun Bridge Abutment" (Alireza Bayat, civil engineering) to "Roman Catholic Women Religious in the Diocese of London, Ontario, and Organizational Reform 1950-1970" (Renee Bondy, history). Presentations are in Davis Centre rooms 1302 and 1304, from 9:00 to 5:00, and everybody is welcome. The conference continues through Thursday (not Friday as I wrote yesterday).

Grants from the student-run Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund for the winter term were announced the other day and listed in the Iron Warrior newspaper. Its chart shows that the funding committee looked at a total of $115,891 in requests before handing out the $70,000 that was available this term from interest on the fund, which is generated by a voluntary fee. About half the money went to departmental projects, such as oscilloscopes for third-year electrical and computer engineering classes and a $9,000 lathe for the student workshop. The other half goes to the student projects that are such a big part of engineering education at Waterloo: $5,300 for equipment for shipping the Formula SAE Car to its competitions, $5,000 for the brakes on the Midnight Sun solar car, and various sums for the "Wombat" mini-Baja vehicle, the Free Flight Glider Team, the Solar Technology Education Project, and so on -- even a fourth-year "autonomous lawnmower" project.

On the flip side, here's word of the Presidents' Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, which will be held April 20 under the title "How Does Great Teaching Relate to Student Learning?" It's called the "Presidents'" event, plural, because it's hosted by UW president David Johnston and faculty association president Roydon Fraser, although the immediate organizers are the Teaching Excellence Council and the associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation). The colloquium -- rescheduled from the beginning of the winter term because of a speaker's illness -- now consists of a lecture in the Humanities Theatre, at 3:45 that day, followed by a reception. The speaker: Keith Trigwell of the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford.

The Arts Student Union will be serving free cake in the Arts Lecture Hall foyer today starting at 11:00, "to express our appreciation to the arts student body, staff and faculty", says vice-president Neha Chugh. "We have enough cake for about 200 people," Chugh adds.

CAR


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