[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

  • 'We're growing': UW's annual report
  • Summary of cheating and appeals
  • Students to defend PhD theses
  • Notes in the year, uh, 2005
Chris Redmond

The immortal memory

Landslide workshop today

An international seminar will be held today on "massive landslides" with special attention to mountainous regions of the Andes, Central Asia, Norway and Italy. The event, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Mathematics and Computer room 4059, will attract experts from Canada, Italy, Russia, and Norway. UW participants are Mario Coniglio and Stephen Evans, both of the earth sciences department.

Massive landslides occur quite frequently in mountainous regions of the world. They have caused considerable loss of life in historical time and have also impacted on economic and community infrastructure in these regions. A theme of the seminar will be the problems of hazard evaluation and its use in risk assessment in mountainous regions.

'We're growing': UW's annual report

"We're continuing to grow in some exciting new directions," writes UW's president, David Johnston, in the university's 2004 annual report, otherwise known as We're Waterloo, which hit campus yesterday.

It looks a lot like the 2003 We're Waterloo, produced late in 2003, although the financial figures and Maclean's rankings have been updated, and there are 16 squares of campus photos on the cover instead of just 12.

The product "is more of a brochure than an annual report", says Avvey Peters of the communications and public affairs office, who was responsible for editing it. She said We're Waterloo "is intended to give people a snapshot of the university and our key activities. It highlights some interesting facts and figures, and gives readers a glimpse of some of the accomplishments of the past year. We share it with all kinds of people, from co-op employers, to university board members, to prospective faculty members, to government officials. Some members of the university community take it abroad when they visit other institutions."

The biggest change from last year's version is to Johnston's message on page 3 of the report, which this year is devoted to highlights of 2003-04 and some urgent words about UW's proposals to the Rae commission on higher education in Ontario.

The president tells readers that Campaign Waterloo is getting close to its target thanks to some big gifts. "But even friends as generous as Mike and Ophelia [Lazaridis] cannot compensate for the serious underfunding of post-secondary education in this province. In terms of per-student funding of universities, Ontario stands dead last in this country and has for a decade. We're working hard to convince the government of Ontario to increase its investment in universities to the national average over the next three years."

Other parts of the report use current photos (and some reused ones) to draw attention to key points about UW: "we're serious about teaching . . . we're committed to co-op . . . we're research intensive." A new paragraph this year talks about the involvement of students in doing research. There's a thumbnail sketch of each of the six faculties, and financial figures for 2003-04 indicate that spending edged past $450 million -- 61 per cent of it for salaries and benefits, 6 per cent for scholarships and bursaries. (Those figures include research funding and business enterprises as well as the operating budget.)

According to the report, there are 818 faculty (last year it was 787) and 2,008 staff (last year 2,094). Full-time undergraduate enrolment has passed 20,000, reaching 20,047. (Other student numbers: part-time undergrad 2,194; full-time grad 2,187; part-time grad 479.)

Copies of We're Waterloo are available from Linda Howe in C&PA, phone ext. 3580.

Summary of cheating and appeals

"There are many more incidents of cheating" than ever come to officials' attention, says the annual report of the University Committee on Student Appeals, presented to UW's senate last week.

At the same time, misbehaviour involves only a tiny number of UW's more than 20,000 students, the report says. Known cases in 2003-04 included 248 instances of cheating, 81 of plagiarism, 9 of "misrepresentation", and 7 of "harassment, discrimination, unethical behaviour". In addition, the committee lists 11 cases of student appeals against grades, regulations and decisions.

The report says the student members of the committee think their fellow-students "calibrate behaviour to a perceived tolerance level in the belief that some instructors have given up, turn a blind eye." Instructors must not do that, the report warns, noting that they are required to report any apparent cheating.

And in an attempt to prevent misbehaviour, "faculty members should remind themselves," says the report, "and/or be reminded, to . . . discuss matters related to accepted academic practices, levels of tolerance, the standards of the discipline, define plagiarism, collaboration vs. excessive collaboration, group work, etc." Course outlines should also include a clear statement of the rules about plagiarism and other offences, it adds.

It also notes that proctoring of exams needs to be adequate to discourage cheating -- something that's required by Policy 71, UW's policy on academic discipline. The recent spate of fire alarms during exams is a complicating factor, it adds.

"In the spirit of an honour code and putting onus on students, UCSA members suggested a sign-off sheet or checklist, affixed to the front of each assignment, which students would be required to sign -- to verify and acknowledge reference sources, collaboration, first-time submission of the assignment or essay for academic evaluation."

Cases of cheating are handled first by the associate dean of the student's faculty, and the report says some associate deans "are bogged down with such matters". The report doesn't itemize how many of the more than 300 cases last year were in any particular faculty.

Penalties can vary widely, from a reduced mark on an assignment to having to leave the university. During the year, 17 students were suspended, for anywhere from one term to five terms, and two were expelled.

The report includes brief summaries of half a dozen cases that were appealed by the student and considered by committees at the faculty level and in some cases UCSA itself. The most dramatic one involved a student who "illicitly altered academic record on three occasions; also, attempted to obtain access to a staff member's account and impersonated an IST staff member." That student was expelled, and UCSA's tribunal upheld the expulsion: "While the Appellant provided the tribunal with an explanation about extenuating, personal circumstances as a student who, perhaps, had more problems than some of her/his peers, the tribunal deemed these not to be sufficient to alter the decision. . . . The tribunal concurred with the Associate Dean's assessment re the seriousness of the actions, which could have resulted in the laying of a criminal charge."

Two of the appeals involved graduate students who were told they had to leave UW because they were not making academic progress. One decision was upheld, while the other was reversed "on compassionate grounds".

Students to defend PhD theses

Here's the latest list of graduate students whose work is nearing its end, as they'll defend their PhD theses in a centuries-old academic ritual:

Chemistry. Jun Gu, "MQMAS Studies in I=5/2 and I=7/2 Quadrupolar Nuclei and 67Zn Solid-State NMR Study of the Zinc-Insulin Hexamers." Supervisor, W. P. Power. Thesis on display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, January 31, 1:30 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Earth sciences. Jon Paul Jones, "Simulating Hydrologic Systems Using a Physically-Based, Surface-Subsurface Model: Issues Concerning Flow, Transport and Parameterization." Supervisor. E. A. Sudicky. Thesis on display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, February 11, 10:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Computer science. Ahmed E. Hassan, "Mining Software Repositories to Assist Developers and Support Managers." Supervisor, R.C. Holt. Thesis on display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, February 11, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Computer science. David Evans, "Resource Management for Delivery of Dynamic Information." Supervisor, J.W. Wong. Thesis on display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, February 14, 1:30 p.m. Davis Centre room 1331.

Sociology. Thomas Perks, "Height as a Factor in Social Inequality: Analyses Based on Five Canadian National Surveys." Supervisor, J. Curtis. Thesis on deposit in the faculty of arts, HH 317. Oral defence Friday, February 18, 2:30 p.m., PAS room 2030.

Computer science. Lubomir P. Stanchev, "Automatic Physical Design for an Embedded Control Program." Supervisor, G. Weddell. Thesis on display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence, Tuesday, February 22, 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Kinesiology. David Bereznick, "Lumbar Manipulation: Quantification and Modification of the External Kinetics Affecting the Presence and Site of Cavitation." Supervisor, Stuart McGill. Thesis on display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3120. Oral defence Wednesday, February 23, 9 a.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Statistics and actuarial science. Aurélie Labbe, "Multiple Testing Using the Posterior Probability of Half-Space: Application to Gene Expression Data." Supervisor, M. E. Thompson. Thesis on display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, February 28, 1:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 6007.

Notes in the year, uh, 2005

A sentence got badly tangled up in yesterday's Daily Bulletin, so that I ended up saying UW's 50th anniversary -- and the target date for Campaign Waterloo -- would come on July 1, 1957. Of course what I was trying to say was that UW was founded on that date, so that the 50th anniversary will be July 1, 2007, about two and a half years from now. I'm sure most readers figured it out.

Café-rencontre: Gerardo Acerenza, St. Jerome's University, "Écrire la nation au Québec et en Sardaigne", 14h30, Modern Languages salle 246.

[Rosen in suit] Harry Rosen, men's wear retailer (right), speaks on entrepreneurship and success 4:15, Rod Coutts Hall room 302 -- pre-register by e-mail, asec_harryrosen@hotmail.com.

Career workshops: "Interview Skills: The Basics" 3:30, "Preparing for Questions" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; "Starting Your Own Business" 4:30, TC 1208.

Social work program information session 5 p.m., Renison College chapel lounge.

Toronto alumni pub night, 7:30, Irish Embassy pub, 49 Yonge Street.

K-W Software Quality Association Wednesday 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302, information online.

Noon-hour concert: Joanne Bender and Tim Corlis, "New music for piano, violin and cello", Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Smarter Health seminar: William Hersh, Oregon Health and Science University, "Grand Challenges for Biomedical Information Retrieval", Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

David Suzuki helps launch the One-Tonne Challenge with a student symposium, Wednesday 4:30, Student Life Centre. Suzuki's lecture, Wednesday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, is sold out.

Engineers Without Borders seminar: "Information Communication Technologies for Development", Wednesday 5:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Josey Vogels ("sex, dating and relationship expert") speaks Wednesday 5:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

'Greening the ES2 building' presentation by students from Environment and Resource Studies 250, Thursday 10 a.m., ES2 south studio.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Murray Gamble, C3 Group of Companies, "Managing Multiple Priorities and Business Units", Thursday 12 noon, Needles Hall room 1101, pre-register by today at ext. 7167.

'Managing Conflict in the Workplace' seminar sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Thursday 12:30, Davis Centre room 1302, pre-register with Johan Reis, health services.

"The Uniqueness of the Holocaust" is the topic of the first Allan Kerbel Annual Lecture in Jewish Studies, to be given at 7:30 tonight in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University. The speaker is Steven Katz, director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University. Katz will "explore in what sense the Holocaust is a singular historical event. By equating the attempted annihilation of the Jews with other historical tragedies, such as the bombing of Hiroshima, the treatment of Native Americans, black slavery in America or the Armenian tragedy, we tend to view everything on the same level," he says.

The Federation of Students has announced the names of the candidates for its 2005-06 executive positions, following the close of nominations. Undergraduate students will do their voting February 15-17. Candidates for president are John Andersen (science, the current vice-president, internal, of the Federation); Nada Basir (biology); E. J. Hunt (biology); and Mark Johnson (Political science). Candidates for VP (administration and finance) are Nick Cake (arts); Ahmed Farrakha (math); Yasid Gilbert (math); Matthew Jermyn (sociology); and Carmen Lam (accounting). Candidates for VP (education) are Howard Bener (political science); Parthi Kandavel (arts); Bobby Naini (computer engineering); and Andreea Pop (health studies). Candidates for VP (internal) are Lee Bowman (biology); Sabrina Bowman (environment and resource studies); Lawrence Lam (computer engineering); and Anitta Satkunarajah (political science).

At last week's meeting of the UW senate, there was some lively debate about a recommendation from the recent "Sedra report" on financial aid for undergraduate students, left over from the previous meeting. The review committee had recommended that "tuition fee set-aside funds", the millions from fees that UW is required to spend specifically on bursary assistance, should be allocated "to the graduate and undergraduate student populations in proportion to their generation". As things stand, graduate students are getting more of the money than that rule would allow, and grad student members of senate opposed the change. They suggested an amended version -- that the funds be divided based on total "unmet need" in the two groups. Senate eventually voted against that amended version, but was not asked to take a definite position on the original Sedra recommendation.

The Funkification Project's African Way Event Series will feature the North American debut of South Africa's acclaimed hip hop outfit, Tumi and the Volume, tonight for a CD listening party. It takes place at the Brick Brewery from 10 p.m. to midnight. The project is an independent studies thesis study by Jeffrey Charles, focused on the creation of small business in special-event management. Coming next: an academic information session on the globalization of hip hop, February 2 from 3:30 to 5:30 at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a later performance at the Starlight Social Club in Waterloo.

The library has announced that optometry students are now eligible for its "UW@UW" delivery service for books and photocopies from UW's far-flung libraries. . . . People in optometry, like the rest of the university, from Columbia Lake to the Architecture building, can get Keystone Campaign Treat-a-Grams delivered for $3 apiece, just before Valentine's Day. . . . TechWorx in South Campus Hall is running a "Winter Warm-Up" promotion this week, including a draw in which somebody can win a Sony Playstation 2. . . .


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