Thursday, June 10, 2010

  • Official word on September admissions
  • The web home page, and other messages
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Work crew poses by truck]

The giant hogweed is more than just a song by Genesis: it’s a poisonous plant (the sap can cause blindness) that also threatens agriculture. And it’s been spreading in Waterloo Region, according to municipal officials. This summer three students — including Waterloo science student Warren Stevenson (second from left) — have been hired as assistant weed inspectors. Says an announcement from the Region: “The three will be responding to giant hogweed calls, queries and complaints. In addition, they will be carrying out proactive inspections of property for evidence of GHW infestation and if located, will inform the property owner, educate the owner about their responsibility to eradicate it and will offer advice. Some of these inspections will be carried out by canoe on the rivers, streams and creeks of the Region where GHW can proliferate and use the waterways to disperse its seeds.” 

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Official word on September admissions

a release from the university's media relations office

The University of Waterloo continues to be the top choice for highly qualified and career-minded students now selecting a university program. 

Numbers released by the university show that 6,411 students have accepted an offer of admission from Waterloo. That works out to a 5.4-per-cent increase over the previous year, when 6,082 students signalled their intention to enrol at the university.

"It is a excellent position for our university to be in," said Nancy Weiner, associate registrar (admissions). "From previous years, we expect that we will see some attrition in actual enrolment in the fall term as students and families alter their plans, but most of the these students will be here in September."

Of those planning to attend Waterloo, 4,554 students will enter the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, an eight per cent increase over the previous year. Co-op students alternate work terms with study terms and thus integrate classroom learning with workplace training. The remaining students opted for a more traditional university program, with sequential study terms.

"It's terrific to see the co-op program is so attractive to students who are keen to gain academic knowledge and on-the-job experience," said Peggy Jarvie, executive director of co-operative education and career services. "In today's economy, enough employment opportunities to handle the continuing influx of students is a challenge. Staff, faculty, alumni, parents and the students themselves are stepping up to introduce the benefits of Waterloo co-op to new employers, and secure great co-op jobs." 

Waterloo's faculty of engineering saw a 15-per-cent increase or 1,549 first-year prospective students, while the faculty of applied health sciences recorded a 12 per cent jump or 469 students and the faculty of science nine per cent.

As well, the number of first-year students with grade averages of 85 per cent or higher jumped by seven per cent. A total of 3,974 students will receive university entrance scholarships.

The numbers differ slightly from figures released Monday by the Ontario Universities Application Centre, because Waterloo includes students who have deferred from last year and full-time degree distance education students.

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The web home page, and other messages

The university-wide web site redesign project continues to move along. The project’s scope is breathtakingly large — it’ll eventually affect an estimated half-million online pages, interacting with the “content management system” to touch every part of more than 300 separate UW sites — but not surprisingly, much of the attention has been focused on the university’s home page. Staff on the project have now made public a document on "Homepage Content Strategy" that has been created by the design consultants, White Whale Web Services. “This document,” explains project leader Sarah Forgrave, “covers the rationale behind the elements that many of you have commented on to date. Please review the document and let us know what you think!” (She adds that it’s “a living document”, bound to evolve between now and the expected November launch of the new design.) Here’s one snippet, explaining how the proposed home page is built around a single large photograph with a few words of text superimposed: “A very wide variety of photo subjects can work in this space.  The only requirement from an editorial perspective is that they be unexpected in nature, and different from a conventional campus ‘beauty shot’. There ought to be real human emotions on display, and individuals enjoying themselves (whether in the classroom or out).   A good photograph will invite a prospective student visiting the site to put herself in the picture.”

Work is starting on the new WatPD-Engineering program, and its curriculum committee has sent out a call for proposals for the first new course: “Engineering Workplace Skills I: Developing Reasoned Conclusions”. As recommended by the task force that studied the existing PDEng program (soon to be history), it’ll be one of two core PD courses that engineering students will take during their first two work terms, followed by three elective PD courses in subsequent work terms. The “reasoned conclusions” course, says the committee, “will provide an introduction to critical thinking and communication in the workplace for co-op engineering students. It is expected that, through this course, students will have the opportunity to use observation, critical thinking, and self reflection to interpret technical and non-technical evidence so as to draw reasoned conclusions in the context of the engineering workplace. We are looking for individuals or teams of people with expertise in these areas to develop course content. We will also require that the authors commit to being the instructor for at least two course offerings.” There’s more information online, and questions can go to Judene Pretti of WatPD or Gordon Stubley, the new academic director for WatPD-Engineering. Proposals are due by June 30.

“The first-ever Agile Coach Camp conference in Canada” is taking place this week — something to do with team sports, right? Wrong, says Michal Antkiewicz, a postdoctoral fellow in the Generative Software Development lab in electrical and computer engineering. "Agile Software Development is a relatively new methodology," he explains. "Agile coaches usually work in companies with their software teams to introduce the methodology, its principles and practices. The whole conference is about sharing experiences with other agile coaches and enthusiasts. The conference is ‘open-space’, which means that there are no formal paper presentations and fixed schedule. Rather, the topics for discussion are proposed by participants, people self-organize into teams to discuss the topics, and finally present their conclusions.” The conference is largely sponsored by the Institute for Computer Research as part of its community outreach program. “Part of the conference, the unkeynote, is open to all,” says Antkiewicz. It happens at 5:30 tomorrow, Friday, in the Davis Centre lounge, under the title “Experience Agile! Interactive Agile Games led by Gerry Kirk”. More explanation: “Since the success of teams largely depends on the team work and excellent communication among the members, agile coaches utilize the so called ‘games’ in their practice that illustrate the principles, the various practices, and the teamwork. We are targeting mostly engineering/ math/ computer science students and faculty."

The “first annual” Great Commuter Race started from campus on the morning of June 1, as a number of Region, Waterloo and Kitchener politicians headed from the Davis Centre to Kitchener city hall using various means of transportation. It was a publicity stunt for the Commuter Challenge week, and it went beautifully, according to philosophy professor Tim Kenyon, who chairs the city of Kitchener’s Cycling Advisory Committee. “As someone who has timed that ride before,” he says, “I can say that 18 minutes by bicycle represents brilliant pedaling by the race winner, 72 year-old Councilor John Gazzola, whose newfound commitment to fitness and cycling was recently described in the Record.” He calls the whole race “a great illustration of the accessibility of UW through green transit (though the iExpress bus was slowed down by King Street construction more than the other modes of transit).  Hopefully the university can continue to be involved, perhaps even more proactively, in events that encourage commuting practices that reduce the strain on the environment, on roads, and on parking facilities on campus.” There’s now “a video summary of the event” online.

They also serve who click the PowerPoint presentations, and at the June 1 board of governors meeting, president David Johnston took a moment to thank Viktor Lufer of information systems and technology, his long-time tech backup, as Lufer attended his last board meeting before retirement. • The three “charities directors” for the Engineering Society reported in the latest Iron Warrior about support EngSoc is giving (through such events as a pancake breakfast and mini-golf) for the construction of a school in India’s Udaipur district. • Service from the UW weather station is now “somewhat stable”, says coordinator Frank Seglenieks, after new equipment was installed in late May.


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Link of the day

The United Church of Canada

When and where

Lloyd Auckland Invitational Mathematics Seminar for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, June 6-12.

Class enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses, June 7-12; see apppointment times in Quest.

Wilfrid Laurier University convocation June 7-11 (two ceremonies each day in WLU athletic complex); June 23 (two ceremonies in Brantford. Details. Honorary degrees to singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, author Wayson Choy and others (details).

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, June 10 to July 12.

‘Test drive the iPad’ 11:00 to 2:00, Campus Tech (Student Life Centre) and E-Smart (South Campus Hall).

Net Change Week webcast, “The Future” and “Cybersecurity” panels, 12:00 to 4:00, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Retirees Association annual general meeting 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, information 519-888-0334.

School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, information session 5:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Computing Technology and Service Committee projects, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Star Performance Academy recital Friday 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery opening reception for “Lucid Dreaming” by Bruce Taylor, UW department of fine arts, and other exhibitions, Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 (artist talks 1:00), 25 Caroline Street North.

Co-op job rankings for pharmacy students open Monday, match results Tuesday.

Media conference to discuss Waterloo football team and tests for banned substances, Monday 11:00, information mstrickl@

Matthews Golf Classic for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Monday, Grand Valley Golf Course, 12:00 noon, includes dinner. Details.

Alumni networking event at CBC headquarters, Toronto, guest Denise Donlon of CBC radio, Monday 6:00. Details.

Maxwell’s Made-to-Measure Clothing one-day promotion Tuesday at Columbia Lake Health Club, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

 ‘Yoga on the Green’ led by Sandra Gibson, health services, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00, outside Graduate House.

Centre for Extended Learning (formerly distance and continuing education) open house and name change celebration, Tuesday 3:30 to 5:30, 335 Gage Avenue, Kitchener, RSVP jmoser@

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details. Special session Sunday, June 20, 9:45 a.m., Perimeter Institute, for MSc (physics) graduates.

Farm market Thursday, June 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Life Centre lower atrium (also June 24, July 8, 15, 22).

Canada’s Wonderland bus trip organized by Federation of Students, June 18, bus leaves Davis Centre 8:30 a.m., tickets $54 at Federation office, Student Life Centre.

Co-op job rankings for “main group” students open June 18, 1 p.m., close June 21 at 2 p.m., results 4 p.m.

Organizational and Human Development speaker series launch: Garry Watanabe, “The Inside Edge: Mental  Fitness Skills for High Performance” June 21, 3:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

25-Year Club annual reception June 22, 6:00, Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Female faculty networking opportunity sponsored by faculty association Status of Women and Equity Committee, June 24, 4:00 to 6:00, Graduate House upstairs lounge, information ext. 33468.

Canada Day holiday Thursday, July 1; UW additional holiday Friday, July 2; offices and most services closed, classes not held. Canada Day celebrations on the north campus, children’s activities, music, arts and crafts fair, fireworks, 2 to 11 p.m. Details.

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