Monday, June 2, 2008

  • Expecting another September crowd
  • 'Sustainability' PhD program planned
  • The Bumble Bee and the Wombat
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Expecting another September crowd

First-year enrolment will be above the target in nearly all parts of the university this September, says a series of reports from the associate registrar for admissions, Nancy Weiner.

As of Friday, she says, UW had received 6,013 confirmations from students who plan to be here in the fall, “representing 112% of our new-first-year November 1, 2008, registration target.

“Based on last year, fall 2007, there was a 9.7% decrease in confirmations by November 1. If we assume the same decrease for this year, UW will have approximately 5,430 students registered by November 1.” The November target figure set by the faculties is 5,358.

“We will continue to see some slight change,” Weiner notes, “as students will continue to change their mind.”

The faculty of mathematics is looking the most crowded for September, with 1,359 confirmed acceptances where the target was 1,020. (The numbers don’t include the math faculty’s English Language for Academic Studies preparatory program.)

In line behind the math figure — 133 per cent of target — are applied health sciences at 114 per cent (402 acceptances, target 354); engineering at 113 per cent (1,424 acceptances, target 1,255); software engineering at 108 per cent (119 and 110); arts at 107 per cent (1,334 and 1,249); environmental studies at 105 per cent (515 and 490); computing and financial management at 98 per cent (39 and 40); and science at 98 per cent (821 and 840).

The acceptances are the result of 20,947 offers of admission that UW had made by the middle of May, Weiner also reports. That included 17,793 offers to Ontario secondary school students and 3,154 offers in the “non-OSS” category.

“UW has experienced an increase in applications this year,” she writes, “and found that the quality of applicants has been slightly higher for the majority of our programs — specifically, in the Engineering programs such as Mechanical and Systems Design, and for Mathematics programs such as Double Degree, Mathematics/Chartered Accountancy and Mathematics/Business Co-op and Regular. The new Mathematics and Financial Analysis and Risk Management Co-op and Regular had a higher than expected minimum admission average requirement.

“For programs that have historically admitted at the minimum 75% admissions average, this year the minimum criteria was 77% or higher and it’s expected that they will either meet or exceed targets for this year due to the increase in applications. . . .

“For programs that are still open for applications, faculties will continue to make offers of admission to non-OSS on a rolling basis as final transcripts are received.”

Hundreds of the soon-to-be UW students are taking part in the online forums where they can ask questions (“dont have car? how do u travel to waterloo from toronto????”) and share enthusiastic comments. At the same time, the office of marketing and undergraduate recruitment is getting ready to do the annual “nonconfirm survey”, scheduled for July, in which students who decided not to accept UW’s offers of admission will be asked what led to their decision.

Almost twice as many students as last year visited campus for the You @ Waterloo Day open house, held May 20. Attendance by students and their family members was up by 80 per cent, says Tina Roberts, director of the MUR office. Among the visitors: Scott Mitchell, who’s been writing a blog for the Maclean’s website about the biggest decision of his life — and revealed last week that he’s picked Waterloo.

“We also experienced a 34% increase in attendance at our March Break Open House (formerly known as Campus Day),” says Roberts. “Across the board all marketing strategies were enhanced this past year, with one of the most significant changes being made in our messaging (a strong focus was placed across all strategies on our 5 key value propositions — outstanding reputation, enhanced career success after graduation, world leaders in co-op, outstanding reputation for students leadership, and a strong sense of community) and in our international efforts.”

Work is happening now on attracting students for September 2009, and even beyond. Visits to international high schools in British Columbia and Alberta were “well received” when they were tried this winter, says a report from MUR, and the program will be expanded in the year ahead. The department also did a survey last fall about its high school travel across Ontario: “our presentation seems to be on track,” says the report, but there will be some tweaking before liaison officers hit the road again next fall.

[Welcome to Arviat' signs]Meanwhile, liaison manager Jody Berringer is doing something rather special today to spread the Waterloo word. “At 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.,” Berringer writes, “I will be giving video conference presentations to a group of approximately 80 high schools students who are located in a remote town called Arviat, Nunavut (right). The presentation came about when I was contacted by a teacher at the high school who is a UW grad.

“For the 9/10's I will focus more on an overview of choosing a university with some ‘building blocks to success’ incorporated in with some messages about UW. The presentation for grade 11/12s will follow a similar format to our current liaison presentation. The technology will allow for a split screen so I will also be able to present using PowerPoint.

“I am in contact with Emerance Baker, the Aboriginal counsellor at St. Paul's, to ensure that I have a good understanding of this audience. Emerance will also be co-presenting covering details about services for aboriginal students.”

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'Sustainability' PhD program planned

by Andrew Smith, faculty of environmental studies

Building a strong pool of applicants for a new PhD program can take time. However, in Environment and Resource Studies, students have been pursuing PhDs even though the department is just setting up its doctoral program.

“Sixteen PhD students currently supervised by ERS faculty came to UW specifically to work with a professor in ERS — and they have even gone through the hurdles of finding a home in another department to do so,” explains Bob Gibson, graduate officer in ERS.

The department has proposed a new PhD program in Social and Ecological Sustainability to start in September 2009. The program will focus on approaches to pursuing sustainability in complex socio-ecological systems and will use this as a foundation for specific research projects. “The Social and Ecological Sustainability name reinforces that the department’s recognition that the two aspects are both necessary and interdependent. You can’t have sustainable livelihoods without ecological sustainability, or vice versa,” says Gibson.

He adds that the program is intentionally transdisciplinary — embracing and integrating insights from the natural and social sciences and the humanities — because many of the big issues of today don’t fit neatly into disciplinary boundaries.

With a growing demand for advanced graduate studies in the department and the Sixth Decade Plan’s focus on increasing graduate student enrolment, the timing was right to launch the program. The department’s master’s degree program has quadrupled in size, from 7 new students in 2000 to 27 in 2007. The PhD program will have an initial target of 6 new students each year.

Jonaki Bhattacharyya, a graduate of the Master’s program in ERS, says the new PhD program will fill a gap in doctoral studies at UW. “My research is focused on social and ecological issues. By pursuing a PhD in the School of Planning,,. I am able to work with an ERS professor who is cross-appointed, but had the ERS program existed when I was searching for PhD programs, I definitely would have applied,” she explains.

She adds that the engaging learning environment in ERS; the collegiality and expertise of professors; and the capacity of ERS to combine natural and social scientific approaches when researching environmental and ecological issues will make the PhD program appealing. Students will be able to work with faculty members on topics such as ecological restoration and public policy, how citizens are involved in the governance and creation of Unesco biosphere reserves, local and global food systems, policy and technical issues of sustainable energy, links between farming and carbon sequestration in Latin America, and invasive species as a cultural and biophysical issue.

The program is awaiting approval by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. If it’s approved, applications will be accepted starting this fall.

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The Bumble Bee and the Wombat

[Kenning]Staff members have elected a new representative to UW’s board of governors, just in time for the summer meeting, which takes place tomorrow. Taking over from Mark Walker of the registrar’s office in one of the two staff seats on the board is Keith Kenning (left), associate director (field services) in the department of co-operative education and career services. Says a memo from the university secretariat: “The election of one staff member to the Board of Governors, term to April 30, 2011, closed today at 3:00 p.m. The candidate declared elected is Keith Kenning. The election results follow: Drew Knight, 133 votes; Keith Kenning, 227 votes; Ross McKenzie, 45 votes; Declined, 38. 394 (23%) of the 1705 eligible full-time regular staff voted electronically; 49 (14%) of the 347 ballots distributed to housekeepers/janitors and full-time union staff were returned.”

“The Bumble Bee is getting ready to soar into action,” says the engineering faculty’s e-newsletter, looking ahead to the SAE Mid-West World Challenge in Montréal. It says the latest Waterloo Off-Road Mini Baja Team (Wombat) vehicle, named after the yellow Camaro featured in the recently-released movie “Transformers”, was 90 per cent complete at its recent public unveiling. “The team, made up of nine fourth-year mechanical engineering students, is finishing some body panels and plans to test drive the vehicle 15 to 20 hours straight to help ensure all its kinks are worked out.” Wombat captain and mechanical engineering student Jeremy Koch says that the vehicle, weighing in at just over 400 pounds (180 kg), is about 70 to 100 pounds lighter than previous designs. “Other changes are the addition of carbon fibre body panels, a fully detachable steering unit, air shocks instead of spring shocks and a much narrower frame.” Also competing in the June 11 to 14 SAE challenge are the Sesame Street Gang — seven second and third-year engineering students who have redesigned a previous year's Wombat model.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation will hold a wine-and-cheese reception tomorrow to launch Can the World Be Governed? Possibilities for Effective Multilateralism, a new book from CIGI and Wilfrid Laurier University Press that examines the prospect for multilateral management of the global economy and international security. The book was edited by CIGI senior fellow Alan S. Alexandroff. Twelve contributors, all international relations experts and practitioners, tackle some big questions: Why is there an apparent rising tide of calls for reform of current multilateral organizations and institutions? Why are there growing questions over the effectiveness of global governance? Is the reform of current organizations and institutions likely or possible? The book addresses these questions through a series of case studies that examine, for example, the difficulties facing global development, the challenges facing the IMF and the governance of global finance, the problems of the UN 2005 World Summit and its failed reform, and the WTO and the questions raised by the prolonged Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The event is the second in a new series of free public book launches, and starts at 4:00 tomorrow at CIGI’s headquarters, 57 Erb Street West.

The latest issue of the Teaching Matters newsletter from UW’s Centre for Teaching Excellence includes a note by Mario Coniglio, associate dean (undergraduate studies) in the science faculty, about course outlines. “The course outline, whether in hard copy or on a website, is effectively a contract,” he writes, “and it needs to be unambiguous, especially as it pertains to course content and methods of student assessment. As future undergraduate program reviews will see increasingly higher levels of accountability in terms of quality assurance and commitment to ongoing enhancement of education quality, having a widely available, comprehensive course outline guide is a logical step in the right direction. Ultimately, this will be appreciated when the time for program review arrives, and courses as well as programs will be required to have clearly articulated learning outcomes and assessment strategies. The CTE now hosts on its website a comprehensive guide to writing course outlines, which was developed in Science, and which is freely available to anyone wanting to use it. Even though the examples in the guide are specific to Science, the guide is readily adaptable to courses from anywhere on campus.”

The engineering faculty’s e-newsletter reports that Carolyn Ren of the mechanical and mechatronics engineering department has been awarded an ISTP Canada research project with China. “Out of a total of 12 projects that will be co-funded by the federal government’s International Science and Technology Partnerships Program, Ren’s initiative is one of four that will be university-led. The project will focus on developing approaches for disease detection at a microscopic level.”


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[Rose]Link of the day


When and where

Co-op employer interviews for fall term jobs begin today, continuing through June 20.

President’s Golf Tournament in support of Warrior athletics, today, Westmount Golf Club, details online.

Career workshop: special work search session for international students 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Using the Web to Enhance Face-to-Face Learning” Tuesday 10:00 to 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Procurement and contract services trade show of UW suppliers: Fisher Scientific on Tuesday, computers and audio-visual Wednesday, Corporate Express (office supplies) Thursday, 11:00 to 2:00, Davis Centre lounge.

UW Senate special meeting Tuesday 11:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3001, to receive report from the Presidential Nominating Committee.

UW Board of Governors quarterly meeting Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Architecture building, Cambridge.

UW Debate Society meets Tuesdays 5:15, Rod Coutts Hall room 301.

Early Childhood Education Centre family picnic at Waterloo Park Tuesday 5:30 to 7:00.

Startup Camp Waterloo for recent and future founders of high-tech companies, Tuesday 6:00 to 9:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard, information e-mail

Conrad Grebel University College Lebold fund-raising banquet, speaker April Yamisaki, Tuesday 6:30 p.m., Grebel dining room, information e-mail

‘De-cluttering Your Garage’ brown-bag session with Brian Bast of Garage Revolution, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 5158.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Using UW-ACE to Help Students Prepare for Your Class” Wednesday 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Anne Harris, faculty of arts, retirement celebration Wednesday 3:30 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP; donations invited for a bursary in her honour.

Penny Pudifin, graduate studies office, retirement celebration Wednesday 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., University Club, RSVP

Perimeter Institute presents William D. Phillips, National Institute of Standards and Technology, “Time and Einstein in the 21st Century: The Coolest Stuff in the Universe”, Wednesday 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

UW Retirees Association tour of “stately homes and gardens” in the Hamilton area, Thursday, $67 for members and guests, information 519-744-3246.

Engineering V groundbreaking ceremony and launch of engineering Vision 2010 Campaign, Thursday 10:00 a.m., parking lot B, by invitation.

Keystone Campaign annual event, “Viva Las Vegas”, Thursday 11:30 to 1:30, Matthews Hall green; evening event 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., South Campus Hall, details online.

Canada’s Wonderland bus trip organized by Federation of Students, Friday, June 6, tickets $40 (non-students $48) at Fed office, Student Life Centre.

Google Games for teams of five students, Saturday, June 7, 9:30 to 4:00, South Campus Hall, register online.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: continuing students, June 9-14; new students, July 14-27; open enrolment begins July 28.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, Monday, June 9, 2:30 p.m., site north of Biology buildings.

Alumni in Kelowna networking reception Tuesday, June 10, 5:30 to 8:30, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, information online.

Spring Convocation: applied health sciences and environmental studies, Wednesday, June 11, 10:00; science, June 11, 2:30; arts (some programs), Thursday, June 12, 10:00; arts (some programs), June 12, 2:30; mathematics, Friday, June 13, 10:00; computer science, June 13, 2:30; engineering (some programs), Saturday, June 14, 10:00; engineering (some programs), June 14, 2:30, details online.

‘Magic: Frontiers and Boundaries’ international conference hosted by department of classical studies, June 11-15, details online.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Monday, June 16, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

25-Year Club annual reception Tuesday, June 17, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Long weekend: UW holidays Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1, for Canada Day; classes cancelled, offices and most services closed.

Canada Day celebrations Tuesday, July 1, on the north campus: children’s fun-fest, arts and crafts fair, food, stage performances and other activities, 2 p.m. until evening; fireworks 10 p.m.; details and volunteer information online.


Former football coach Tuffy Knight was the odd man out, as the other three people inducted into UW's Athletics Hall of Fame this spring were ladies in evening dresses. The four are pictured on the front page of the Gold and Black athletics alumni newsletter for this season.

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