Monday, May 17, 2010

  • 781 cheaters didn't prosper last year
  • Other notes on a Monday (right, Monday)
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

781 cheaters didn't prosper last year

The number of cheating and plagiarism cases on campus went up in the past year, says the annual report of the University Committee on Student Appeals, which is on the agenda for today’s meeting of the university senate.

A total of 781 undergraduates and 18 graduate students were involved in  “discipline” cases in 2008-09, it says, compared to 617 undergrads and 3 grads the year before.

“As in years past,” says the report, “UCSA stresses that students are responsible members of the university community and that the conduct of the vast majority is exemplary. When considered in light of the total UW student body, few disciplinary actions or instances of misconduct are reported.” The undergraduates involved in discipline cases amount to 3.1 per cent of students, it points out.

Reported offences are divided into more categories than in previous years’ reports.  Thus in 2007-08 there were 523 cases of “cheating”, but this year there were 253 simply labelled “cheating”, 265 labelled “unauthorized co-operation or collaboration”, 84 labelled “unauthorized resubmission of work”, and smaller numbers of cases under the headings of “unauthorized aids or assistance”, “violation of examination regulations”, “impersonation”, and “theft of intellectual property”.

Separate from “cheating” is “plagiarism”, with 74 cases in 2007-08 and 103 in 2008-09. Other main headings are “misrepresentation” (29 cases this year) and “non-academic offences” (a total of 11).

The graduate student offences are all under the headings of plagiarism (15) and cheating (3). Categories of offences are defined in the university’s Policy 71 on student discipline, which dates from 2008.

“In order to preserve confidentiality,” says the UCSA report, “cases are not reported by faculty, unit or program. Annual summaries (with identifying student and faculty names removed) of discipline cases, grievances and appeals are posted to the Secretariat’s website.”

It also notes: “Fifty-six per cent of all cheating at the undergraduate level occurs in year 1 and decreases steadily to year 4. However, the number of second offences for cheating by undergraduates stays at the same level from year 1 to year 3.

“Plagiarism offences, in the last year, have increased at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The increase at the graduate level is a result of better reporting to the Secretariat. Plagiarism at the undergraduate level increased by 39% from last year and does not decline until year 4.”

The committee also deals with student grievances — a total of 29 in the past year, over “unfair testing procedures”, “grade reassessment”, “unfair practices”, and “exemption from a rule”. Six of the grievances were successful.

And it reports on appeals of disciplinary action: “in 2008-09 there were 34 appeals, 28 to Faculty Committees on Student Appeals and six to the University Committee on Student Appeals. Five were successful at the faculty level and none at the university level.”

The report comes up near the end of a scheduled two-and-a-half-hour meeting for the senate, which starts at 4:00 today in Needles Hall room 3001. Other agenda items include a briefing on the work of the Centre for Teaching Excellence; proposed new procedures for academic program reviews, including graduate programs for the first time; approval of a revised 2010-11 operating budget; and the usual monthly reports from the president and vice-presidents.

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Other notes on a Monday (right, Monday)

If this were Tuesday, it would be Thursday, or something like that. Here's one of the minor items on the agenda for today's senate meeting: "In January 2010, Senate approved changes to the Guidelines for Determining Academic Calendar Dates to include a provision that there be an even distribution of days in a term and not simply 60 'teaching days'. Senate approved this change after the spring 2010 dates had been established. Congruent with this provision, Senate Undergraduate Council approved that the Thursday timetable will be used on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, and the Friday timetable will be used on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, so that there are 12 of each day in the spring 2010 term."

Members of the media were notified on Friday of an event this morning in which “Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Waterloo, will introduce new Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) as part of an official welcoming ceremony at the University of Waterloo. The CERC program attracts talented and innovative researchers from around the world and helps to further Canada’s growing reputation as a leader in research, science and technology development, and higher learning. University of Waterloo CERC recipient will be on hand.” The by-invitation ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the brand-new Research Advancement Centre 2 building on the north campus. (And, for those who need it, a note about the new building, as described in Friday’s Daily Bulletin: its official abbreviation will be RA2.)

A memo went out on Friday announcing one of the not-so-academic highlights of the university's year: the annual Keystone Campaign picnic, which this year will be held at noontime on Thursday, June 3. "Join us over the lunch hour," says the invitation, "to cheer for participating teams as they answer trivia questions, complete challenges and show their Waterloo pride in a game show like you've never seen before." The event also features a barbecue, but "bring your own waterbottle or mug to help us reduce our carbon footprint." Registration of teams is due by May 28, says the notice, but all faculty, staff and retirees are invited to attend, watch and eat. Keystone is the on-campus arm of the continuing Campaign Waterloo, and its web site reports that "to date, more than 2,400 donors have contributed to Keystone's total of nearly $9.6 million."

[Stuffed goose atop Lego library]There’s a new display on the main floor of the Dana Porter Library, with the theme that seems to dominate the campus these days: yep, Canada geese. Its title, to be blunt, is “The Poop on Canada Geese.” Staff from the library's information resources and circulation departments "have showcased facts, pictures, and resources on the Canada Geese," says librarian Nancy Collins — and that turns out to include a window with a selection of the Daily Bulletin’s lavish coverage of geese on campus over the years. (Doing a quick search for such coverage, I quickly focused on the year 1999. It looks as though that was when the geese really moved in, rapidly displacing the ducks who were previously the dominant avian species in these parts.) "Retail Services also lent us some stuffed geese for the display," Collins adds; one of them is pictured at left. Besides herself, creators of the display include Brian Campbell, Marian Davies, Jane Forgay, Sandra Keys, and Agnes Zientarska-Kayko.

Since the adoption of Gotham as the university's signature typeface or font — to be used in all sorts of publications and other products — staff in Graphics and in Information Systems and Technology have been helping people across campus get it on their computers. The experience hasn't been absolutely hiccup-free, it seems, with some users of Windows 7 and Windows Vista having particular trouble getting the font installed so they can use it. "IST is working through these issues," says Sean Van Koughnett, director of Graphics. He also points out that for those who don't, or don't yet, have Gotham, the approved alternative is the much more common typeface Arial. That's especially important for PowerPoint users to remember, to avoid the experience of creating a presentation in Gotham, then projecting it using somebody else's computer that doesn't have Gotham installed — and watching it show up in goodness-knows-what unsuitable typeface.

"I’m pleased to share the news," Laura Manning says in an e-mail from the Kitchener health sciences campus, "that the School of Pharmacy has been selected as a finalist in Volunteer Action Centre’s Volunteer Impact Awards. The School is one of three finalists in the category 'Innovative Involvement'. This award is presented to an individual or organization that exhibits innovation and creativity in their volunteer engagement for the greater good of our community. The nomination highlighted the PHiG [Pharmacy Innovation Garden] program and its contributions to the community. Congratulations to the CSL team and especially the students on this recognition." The award is to be presented June 10.

Kate Buss, secretary to the chair in the systems design engineering department, is getting her fingers limbered up to be part of a June 19 project in Cambridge, "to attempt to set a new Guinness world record for the most people knitting simultaneously". • The staff association is offering its members discount tickets this summer for Canada's Wonderland, the African Lion Safari, and Ontario Place. • Last Tuesday's Daily Bulletin referred to the winner of the National Japanese Speech Contest, a Waterloo graduate student, as Yan Fang; in fact he is Yuan Fang.


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Link of the day

World Telecommunication Day

When and where

Waterloo Unlimited “Vision” program for grade 10 students, May 17-22. Details.

Library workshops: “New Faculty and Grad Students, Research Tools and Library Services” at 10:30; “Primo: Finding Books and More” today 1:30 or Wednesday 10:00; “Better Searching, Better Marks” Tuesday 10:00 or Thursday 1:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Engineering exchange programs information session Tuesday 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall room 3604.

Arthur J. Carty Lecture by Richard Schrock, Nobel laureate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on research results in olefin metathesis chemistry, Tuesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1350, reception follows.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Prezi, a Pan and Zoom Presentation Tool” Tuesday 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

President David Johnston Run for Mental Health Tuesday 5:00, start at Student Life Centre. Details.

Songwriting competition at the Graduate House: finals Tuesday 6:00. Details.

Communitech and Accelerator Centre present lunch-and-learn with Innosphere Mobile, Wednesday 11:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard, north campus, RSVP bmuise@

UWRC Book Club discusses Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Innovators in Action speaker series sponsored by Social Innovation Generation: Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Wednesday 7:00, The Museum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

You @ Waterloo Day for applicants considering offers of admission, Thursday 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., headquarters at Student Life Centre. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Prabha Kundur of Kundur Power System Solutions, “Sustainable Electric Power Systems in the 21st Century” Thursday 5:30, CEIT room 3142.

‘Ash from Iceland’ public lecture by Alan Morgan, department of earth and environmental sciences, Thursday 6:30, location to be announced.

Drop, no penalty period ends (last day to drop or withdraw from spring term courses with 100 per cent tuition refund) Friday, May 21.

‘Chester 2010’ symposium on “Drama and Religion 1555-1575”, including live performance of the Chester Cycle plays, May 21-24, Victoria College, University of Toronto, co-sponsored by UW. Details.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Procurement and contract services annual trade show in Davis Centre lounge: technology and computers, May 25; Staples, May 26; e-procurement, May 27. Details.

Robin Jones, school of optometry, retirement reception May 25, 4:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP samccoy@

Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning lecture by Paul Tiessen (WLU) and Hildi Froese Tiessen (Conrad Grebel UC), “The Construction of Kitchener-Waterloo in the Visual Imagination of Woldemar Neufeld” May 25, 7:00, senate and board chamber, WLU.

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Peter S. Won, “Intelligent Fastening Tool Tracking System Using Hybrid Remote Sensing Technologies.” Supervisors, William Melek and Farid Golnaraghi. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, May 18, 10:30 a.m., Engineering III room 4117.

Civil and environmental engineering. Rizwan Younis, “Development of Wastewater Collection Network Asset Database: Deterioration Model and Management Framework.” Supervisor, Mark Knight. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, May 19, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 2348.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Kiumars Jalali, “Stability Control Through Integration of Advanced Torque Vectoring and Active Steering for Electrical Vehicles with Four Direct-Drive In-Wheel Motors.” Supervisors, Steve Lambert and John McPhee. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, May 19, 1:30 p.m., Engineering III room 4117.

Friday's Daily Bulletin