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Monday, December 1, 2003

  • Prof wins award for science promotion
  • Keystone calendar signals year-end
  • 310 students in first year for second time
  • It was in the bleak December
Chris Redmond

World AIDS Day

[Johnston gestures, Padacz watches]

UW president David Johnston waxes eloquent at last week's official opening of the new premises for the university's office for persons with disabilities, on the first floor of Needles Hall. The office's director, Rose Padacz, looks on.

Prof wins award for science promotion -- from the UW media relations office

A retired University of Waterloo physics professor has been named one of the winners of a national prize for his work in promoting science among Canadians.

Federal industry minister Allan Rock recently named two individuals and three groups as the winners of the 2003 Michael Smith Awards for outstanding achievement in the promotion of science in Canada. Named after the late Canadian biochemist and Nobel Laureate, the prizes are sponsored annually by Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Among the individual winners this year is Philip Eastman, who was awarded $5,000. A faculty member in UW's department of physics, he retired in 1996.

For more than 30 years, Eastman shared his passion for physics with seniors, library audiences, scouting groups, children and church groups through his popular and accessible "circus of physics" presentations.

[Mug shot]

Phil Eastman

In 1969, he created the Sir Isaac Newton exam, a mix of challenging physics questions and offbeat humour. Many of today's young scientists and high-tech talent remember the fun of taking the test, and it remains an important legacy of Eastman's to this day.

"Canada is all the richer for the creativity, dedication and passion that the Michael Smith winners employ," said Rock. "Their dedication to the world of science will allow the promotion of countless possibilities that this sector offers and will contribute to making Canada a world leader in innovation."

On behalf of Rock and the federal government, Susan Whelan, minister of international cooperation, presented each winner with a medal bearing Smith's likeness in a November 18 ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. Smith won a Nobel Prize in 1993 for his breakthrough contribution to genetic research.

Keystone calendar signals year-end

"Yummy cookies you can order online" are coming in February, says publicity for UW's Keystone Campaign, in the year-end-appeal package sent to staff and faculty members last week.

[Orange calendar] As in past years, the Keystone package includes a colourful calendar (right) to help faculty and staff track holidays and pay dates, as well as a personalized appeal letter, pledge card, and priority projects list.

Says Shelley Rudd in UW's development office: "Year-end is always a great time to support the Keystone Campaign so you can take advantage of 2003 tax breaks. The Keystone Campaign will designate 100 percent of your donation to the project you select. And remember, all donors qualify to win a prize in the Keystone monthly donor draws!"

As of October, the Keystone Campaign reported raising $3 million, "thanks to the more than 1,400 donors who are supporting the campaign. More than 200 dedicated volunteers and 60 sponsoring partners are also directly responsible for the campaign's success at 67 percent of its $4.5 million goal by 2007."

A letter from the Keystone co-chairs, included with the calendar and end-of-year pledge form, notes that "The campaign supports many urgent priorities including building expansions, equipment, library resources, scholarships, awards, and a host of other important programs." There's a list of "Priority Projects" attached -- from the school of optometry expansion to the St. Jerome's University graduate program in Roman Catholic Life and Thought.

The Keystone Campaign, which represents donations from UW faculty and staff, past and present, is a part of UW's broader Campaign Waterloo: Building a Talent Trust, which at last report had raised $160 million of its $260 million goal. "Campus community support," says Rudd, "continues to benefit UW students, and sets an important example for organizations and individuals outside of the campus community."

[Treat-a-gram logo] Next big event for the Keystone Campaign involves those cookies: "We invite you to participate in the campaign's Treat-a-gram initiative in February. Big, crunchy, chocolate cookies on a stick are the perfect way to say 'you're special', remember a birthday, celebrate Valentine's Day, or send any other personalized greeting -- and at the same time, you'll be supporting the Keystone Campaign. More information will be available soon."

  • Alumni gold medals: new site lists all winners
  • The Royal Family of Waterloo Basketball (Imprint)
  • Computational Math posters designed by UW Graphics
  • WLU open letter after beating incident
  • Universities not immune from new privacy rules (University Affairs)
  • Summary of statistics about Canada's work force
  • Augustana looking to merge with U of Alberta
  • Missing student at U of North Dakota
  • US college presidents concerned about international enrolment
  • Ontario prosperity gap (David Crane, Star)
  • Athletics recruiting 'ferociously competitive' (Varsity)
  • Students underestimate their liquor intake
  • Teaching With Integrity: The Ethics of Higher Education Practice
  • 310 students in first year for second time

    Admission of new first-year students hit the target almost exactly, final figures say, and an excess of about 100 students in first-year classes is the result of too many "previously registered students continuing their studies in year one".

    As the fall term ends, the figures on UW's biggest-ever first-year class come in a memo from Peter Burroughs, director of admissions, who notes that as of the official count date, November 1, enrolment was 102 per cent of what had been the target.

    Burroughs writes: "Institutionally, there are 5,476 year one students registered. . . . This total is comprised of 4,643 students who were newly admitted from the 'double cohort' excluding those whose citizenship status is other than Canadian. In addition, there are 343 students registered who were not admitted directly from the Ontario secondary school (OSS) system. A further 180 newly admitted visa students have also registered this fall." That adds up to 5,166 "newly admitted" first-year students -- just 24 more than the target of 5,142.

    But there are other students in first year: "In addition to the 5,166 registrations by newly admitted students, there are an additional 3 10 previously registered students continuing their studies in year one. The predicted enrolment for this group was 208 based on a 5 year history."

    He goes on: "The close match between the percent of registrations to the target institutionally is not shared at the faculty level. At one extreme, Science is at 135% of their target while Arts and Mathematics are at 91 and 93% of their targets.

    "The ability to manage enrolment and make predictions based on historical trends is becoming much more difficult due to a number of factors. These factors include the increased use of additional application choices beyond the standard three, the variation in confirmation rates by applicants selecting UW as their 4th or greater choice, the changing scholarship and financial aid programs at other institutions, the increased costs associated with living away from home, etc."

    It was in the bleak December

    First of all, today's the last day of classes for the fall term. Exams will run from this Thursday through December 19 -- and, for anybody who hadn't realized it, the examination schedule is available on the web.

    The department of electrical and computer engineering is scheduled to be in its new home this morning, after a busy Thursday, Friday and weekend of moving and unpacking. E&CE is now in CEIT -- the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology -- and the departmental office is in room 3033B (another room that could benefit from renumbering).

    Also in CEIT: "Today," says a note from the earth sciences department, "is the second anniversary of the installation of the Gneiss Monolith in the foundations of the CEIT building. To celebrate this event pictures taken at the Allstone Quarry, near the French River, where the rock was extracted, and those taken during the installation of the rock will be shown in the museum, room 1018. Join us from 11:30 to 1:30 to relive the installation and talk to Peter Russell about the rock and other exhibits in the atrium."

    And from LT3, the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology: "Join us between 11 a.m. and 12 noon in the Flex lab, Dana Porter Library room 329, to hear Roger Suffling discuss the learning impact of his Lifetables learning object. Roger, in conjunction with a Learning Technology Innovation grant from LT3, has studied the learning outcomes from using learning objects. He and Vivian Schoner of LT3 were intrigued by the minimal literature available on learning outcomes research, so Roger carried out a study of students before the use of Lifetables, during the use and then three months after the Lifetables material had been learned. He will present his results at the talk."

    The fine arts department's miniature art sale ran all weekend; if there's anything left, items are on sale today and tomorrow, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in East Campus Hall. . . . The executive committee of the UW senate meets at 3:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004. . . . The instrumental chamber ensembles of UW's department of music will give a free end-of-term concert starting at 7:00 tonight in the Conrad Grebel University College chapel. . . .

    Tonight, the Computer Science Club presents Jon "maddog" Hall, speaking on "Free and Open Source: Its Uses in Business and Education". An abstract promises that he'll talk about "how Linux as an operating system can run on anything from a PDA to a supercomputer, and how Linux is reducing the cost of computing dramatically as the fastest growing operating system in the world. Learn how other Free and Open Source projects . . . are created and are freely available." The talk starts at 7:00 in Rod Coutts Hall room 101.

    Tomorrow brings WatITis, a one-day conference on "collaboration in a distributed environment", aimed at computing support staff across this campus. Ian Howard of information systems and technology, co-director of the event, says organizers "hoped to get at least 100 registrants and originally planned for a maximum of 150"; as preregistrations rolled in, they've managed to squeeze in 187 people. "We are ecstatic about the interest," he writes, "and we anticipate that our goal for this conference, improving collaboration, will be achieved." Among the session topics: "Archiving scathes of data, the problem with cheap hard drives" and "Creating computer appliances for a song".

    The faculty association reminds its members of some events on Wednesday afternoon: the Council of Representatives at 2 p.m., the fall general meeting for all members at 3 p.m. (both meetings are in Davis Centre room 1302), and a reception for new faculty members from 4:30 to 6:00 in the nearby Davis lounge.

    And from the student awards office, an "important reminder: Students who are receiving OSAP for the fall term only must pick up their OSAP loan documents before December 19. Any loans not picked up by that date will be cancelled."


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