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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

  • Profs head study of co-op process
  • Exam rule protects study days
  • Open meeting about sustainability
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

'The biggest climate experiment ever'


[Engineers and bus all in blue]

The bus nears Kitchener City Hall: The UW Engineering Society had clear weather for its annual Bus Push on Saturday morning. Beneficiary of this year's event was the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Nearly $4,000 was raised, says Kate Kelly of EngSoc.

Profs head study of co-op process

Two professors in UW's faculty of engineering are heading a project to study the process that matches some 3,000 Waterloo co-op students with jobs each term.

Peggy Jarvie, director of co-op education and career services, says the complicated online and face-to-face activity of her department was "a process that really was screaming for in-depth comprehensive analysis". It's enormously complicated, she says, citing the mixture of senior and junior students in six faculties and dozens of academic programs, the range of large and small employers looking for students with various qualifications, timetable variations, and so on.

She says she visited the dean of engineering, Adel Sedra, in December and "proposed a joint project with engineering to look at the process . . . an excellent quality review with implementable results." What emerged was a study that's being headed by Kenneth McKay and Miguel Anjos, both of the management sciences department.

"We are doing something typical of a management sciences approach to the problem," says McKay, "doing a systematic and very detailed study of the tactical and operational parts of the CECS employment process. We are looking for both strengths and weaknesses -- policies, procedures, and practices that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the system, focusing on the services provided to the main client groups: employers and students."

The project began with focus groups of CECS staff -- the people who know the process best -- and is moving on to gather data from students and employers. "We expect the first phase of the project to be complete by the end of the summer," says Jarvie.

She calls the co-op job match "an elegantly simple process, until you start peeling off the layers", and describes it as "an optimization problem . . . there's no perfect solution." At a minimum, she says, the new study will result in a better understanding of just how complex the process of applying, interviewing and job-matching is. Almost certainly, some small improvements will become obvious. "And it's more likely that there are some substantial changes that could be made -- practical, down-to-earth business solutions."

Best of all, she says, the project can be shown off to employers as an example of academic knowledge applied to business needs: exactly what co-operative education is supposed to be about. "We'll be able to go to employers and say, we have used our internal expertise, to do here what our students learn to do!"

ONE CLICK AWAY
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  • 'Can you teach a social conscience?' (Queen's Alumni Review)
  • WHEN AND WHERE
    Boys' basketball championships sponsored by Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, today and tomorrow, UW and Wilfrid Laurier University gymnasiums.

    International Celebration Week cuisine: France and Hawaii today in Mudie's, Brazil and China in REVelation, Germany at South Campus Hall, Greece at Renison College.

    Senate undergraduate council 12 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

    Career workshops: "Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills" 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. "Working Effectively in Another Culture" 4:30, Tatham room 2218.

    Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents Anne Löchte, "Deutschland und die Deutsche im Berliner Journal (1859-1918)", 4:00, Humanities room 373.

    'Muslim Women: An Alternate Perspective on Womanhood', 7 p.m., Math and Computer room 2034, as part of Islam Awareness Week.

    Norman Nawrocki, Montréal actor, "I Don't Understand Women!" safe-sex comedy cabaret, 7:30 p.m., Weaver's Arms pub, as part of International Women's Week.

    Income tax seminar for international students Wednesday 10 a.m. to noon, Needles Hall room 3001.

    Health research seminar: Keith Warriner (sociology), Sandra Keys (library), and Pat Newcombe-Welch (sociology), "The Data Liberation Initiative and Research Data Centre Programs", Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

    Free noon concert: Renaissance music by Greensleaves, Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Health promotions office open house (Health Services room 125) Wednesday 11:30 to 1:30 -- visit the new Student Resource Centre. Refreshments.

    Statistics and actuarial science seminar: Grace Chiu, "Bent-Cable Regression with Autoregressive Noise", Wednesday 3:30, Math and Computer room 4063.

    Novelist Michael Helm reads from his work Wednesday 4:00, St. Jerome's University room 2009.

    Women entrepreneurs panel discussion Wednesday 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, sponsored by Womyn's Centre.

    Microsoft Visual Studio Develop Mental Tour ("bring your resumés, learn how to make a video game") Wednesday 5:30 to 7:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 101.

    'Sisters in Spirit': Beverley Jacobs, president, Native Women's Association of Canada, speaks to mark International Women's Week, Wednesday 5:30, St. Paul's College, sponsored by Aboriginal Services and Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

    Muslim Students Association presents "In the Steps of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam", Wednesday 7:00, Math and Computer room 2066.

    'Scared Sacred': documentary film showing sponsored by Diversity Project, Wednesday 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free.

    Anthropology lecture: William Jankowiak, University of Nevada, "Ethnographic Inquiries into Sex, Love and Intimacy", Thursday 7 p.m., PAS building room 2083.

    Exam rule protects study days

    It may be too late for this term, but UW students in future terms will be protected from having to work on term projects and assignments while they're supposed to be studying for final exams.

    The university senate has approved a change to the academic regulations, which until now have said that "No assignments are to be due after the formal lecture period for those courses with final examinations. That meant that in a course with no final exam, a project or assignment could be due in those precious days between the end of lectures and the beginning of exams.

    Not any more. Says the revised regulation: "It is important to ensure that the student has equitable opportunity to prepare for the final assessment of all courses taken during the term. Normally the period of the term scheduled for final examinations is reserved for preparation and sitting, for the final examination or an alternative assignment with equivalent time commitments for those courses without final examinations. No assignments are to be due after the formal lecture period for those courses with final examinations. For courses with no final examination, no assignments are to be due during the period between the end of lectures and the beginning of examinations."

    That means courses with no final exam could still require assignments to be due during the exam period, but not during the pre-exam study days.

    Registrar Ken Lavigne says the revised regulation can't really be enforced this term, since instructors probably announced course requirements and deadlines as classes began in January. But he's urging them to follow "the spirit" of the new rule if possible, and notes that it will go into definite effect in the spring term.

    Also new in the academic regulations is the time limit for students who want to see their exam papers. The rule has been that students are not allowed access to final exam papers before the official release of grades and standings in Quest. The revised rule: students may request an informal review of the final paper even before official grades are released, or up to one year from the date that the exam was written.

    Open meeting about sustainability

    A "town hall meeting" today, organized by the student-led UW Sustainability Project, will "envision a model for a UW Sustainability Office", organizers say.

    The event -- from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Environmental Studies I courtyard -- will feature a keynote address on the topic of sustainability by Jean Andrey, award-winning geography professor and associate dean (graduate studies) in the ES faculty.

    The evening will also "feature a facilitated session for members of the university community to give their input on what a Sustainability Office could do," says Darcy Parks, event organizer and systems design engineering student. He adds: "Most top universities in North America have Sustainability Offices and policies which assist students and administration with major environmental projects and work towards goals such as increasing alternative energy use, biodiversity and environmental literacy."

    UWSP coordinator Darcy Higgins says UW students "have a significant environmental commitment and are working on many environmental projects on campus. A Sustainability Office will be instrumental in supporting students, faculty and administration with innovative initiatives and make UW a leader in sustainability."

    Today's event, organized by a UWSP working group called "Clearing a Path", will include the keynote talk and brief speeches by students, as well as small-group discussions. "Refreshments will be served and attendees are encouraged to bring a mug."

    CAR


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