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Tuesday, April 6, 2004

  • Budget brings 'notional' fee increases
  • Two more Canada Research Chairs
  • Pixels in the big picture
Chris Redmond

Tartan Day

[Aerial view of architect's drawing]

This building for Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions is under construction in the research and technology park on UW's north campus. The architect's rendering appears on the park's web site, recently redesigned and expanded. Work on a second R+T Park building is expected to start shortly.

Budget brings 'notional' fee increases

UW's board of governors will be asked to approve tuition fee increases this afternoon, even though students won't have to pay them.

A boost of 1.6 per cent for fees in "regulated" programs, 15 per cent in "deregulated" programs, and 5 per cent for graduate students are described as "notional increases" in the agenda material for today's board meeting, which starts at 2:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. The board will look at fee levels as part of its approval for the university's 2004-05 operating budget.

The fees actually paid by students won't be going up this year, as Ontario's new Liberal government has promised a freeze while it reassesses the level of support for university funding. "Notwithstanding the expected implementation of a tuition freeze," says the board agenda material, "it is important to continue to establish annual fee increases, consistent with a Board of Governors tuition fee policy and the most recent government requirements. In so doing, both university stakeholders and the provincial government can be apprised of the growing revenue gap created by such freeze."

The gap is estimated at $8 million for the coming year, provost Amit Chakma told UW's senate when it approved the operating budget for 2004-05 late in March. The budget, for the year that begins May 1, will see UW spend about $295 million, up from $278 million in 2003-04.

Even without fee increases -- and a possible grant increase to help compensate for the freeze is still undecided -- UW will have some new money for the new year, because of provincial "growth" funding and enrolment growth as the current first-year bulge moves into second year.

Expenses are going up too, with more than $10 million already committed for May 1 salary increases and other money earmarked for new faculty and staff positions, additional library materials, higher prices for hydro, and so on.

To balance the budget, there's a campus-wide cut of 2.0 per cent for the new fiscal year, the same as the cut made for 2003-04. "Activity-based budgeting" is shifting more funds into the faculties, where deans will spend them on teaching staff and whatever else their priorities are, the provost made clear.

Notional tuition fees will go up to $2,131 (regular) and $2,145 (co-op) in most undergraduate fields; $2,313 in architecture; $3,681 (regular) and $3,695 (co-op) in computer science and computational math; $4,013 in engineering and software engineering; $4,612 in optometry. The notional fee for full-time graduate students becomes $1,908 per term.

Two more Canada Research Chairs -- from the UW media relations office

Two faculty members are among the recipients of new Canada Research Chairs awarded by the federal government. Industry minister Lucienne Robillard yesterday announced a total investment of $138.3 million in funding for 137 new Canada Research Chairs at universities across the country.

"The work our chairholders are doing in universities throughout the country plays a key role in making Canada a better place to live," Robillard said. "Research and development is key to Canada's future in the global economy. Through initiatives such as the Canada Research Chairs Program, we are doing what is necessary to ensure that Canada reaches its goal of becoming, by 2010, one of the world's top five countries in research and development."

The Chairs are positions that allow a faculty member to concentrate on doing research and training the next generation of scientists. There are seven-year renewable chairs (Tier 1, valued at $200,000 a year) for experienced researchers widely acknowledged as world leaders in their fields and five-year chairs (Tier 2, valued at $100,000 a year) for researchers considered by their peers as having the most potential to lead in their fields.

The latest announcement brings the number of Canada Research Chairs to 28 at UW. The two new Canada Research Chairs:

  • Achim Kempf, applied mathematics, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the Physics of Information.

    Kempf said the award will further strengthen his research group, by attracting excellent post-doctoral fellows and faculty, as well as top graduate students. "My group will investigate how quantum theory and relativity influence the representation of information in physical systems. We are targeting applications that range from classical information processing and quantum computing to information theoretic aspects of fundamental physics, for example in cosmology."

  • Daniel Scott, geography, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Global Change and Tourism.

    "The award will enable me to complete ongoing research into the implications of climate change for Canada's tourism industry and allow me to expand my role in an international project on global change and tourism, being developed by the World Tourism Organization and United Nations Environment Program," Scott said. "As well, the award will help draw top graduate students to the new Tourism Policy and Planning program and open up time to work with other tourism researchers in the faculties of Environmental Studies and Applied Health Sciences to establish an interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Tourism Research."

    If It Rained Knowledge' philosophy lecture series, Russell Hardin, New York University, 1:30 ("Political Participation and Extremism") and 7:00 ("Religious Belief"); also Wednesday and Thursday 1:30, Humanities room 373.

    'Developing Life-long Learning Skills in Students", workshop by Suki Ekaratne, University of Colombo, 11 a.m., Flex lab, Dana Porter Library.

    Gerard Campbell, St. Jerome's University, memorial service 12 noon, Notre Dame Chapel, St. Jerome's.

    Artificial intelligence seminar, "Raising the Stakes" (software for poker), Jonathan Schaeffer, University of Alberta, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

    Novelist Donna Morrissey reads from her work, 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2009, event postponed from last month.

    'What's Really Happening in Iraq?' Mary Anne Tangney, public health nurse recently returned from Iraq. 7 p.m. at 43 Queen Street South, Kitchener, hosted by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

    Certificate in University Teaching research paper presentations, Wednesday 9 a.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

    Tips for a Healthy Back, presented by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Mature students end-of-term lunch, University Club, Thursday noon, reservations ext. 2429.

    Pixels in the big picture

    I wrote yesterday that the Computer Help and Information Place is on summer hours (true) and that the hours were 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday (false). "For those that like to get things done early," Bob Hicks writes from information systems and technology, "the CHIP is actually open at 8:00 a.m."

    The term's last issue of the Iron Warrior includes a report on grants this winter from the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund. Apparently the budget was $40,000 and requests totaled more than twice that, so the WEEF funding committee had some tough decisions to make. Eventually 18 grants were made, everything from $3,400 for digital electronic burettes in the chemical engineering department to $1,750 for the Mini Baja team ("Wombat"). WEEF's money comes from interest on the endowment fund built up over the years by the refundable fee that engineering students pay -- and on another page the same Iron Warrior reports that 65.5 per cent of students did make their WEEF contribution this term, with participation past 90 per cent in several classes.

    Though an increasing number of people have high-speed Internet service at home, there are plenty of us who still use low-cost dial-up service to the UW "terminal server". "We are upgrading our server," a recent memo from information systems and technology says, repeating earlier announcements. "The dial-up service from 725-7300 will no longer be available after May 3." Information about reconfiguring computers to the new dial-up number, which is expected to be easier to use, is available online.

    A note from LT3, the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology: "This spring Kevin Harrigan, along with Tracy Penny Light, will be offering Camp CLOE, an intensive Instructional Design training program on building successful Learning Objects in order to overcome . . . instructional bottlenecks. These are when instructors notice regularly in course offerings that students always seem to have trouble with the same material. Learning objects are constructed to help students work through the material in an interactive manner that helps them engage with the material at their own speed. Attendees will include co-op students, staff, and faculty from Ontario universities and colleges." There's more information on the website of CLOE: the Co-operative Learning Object Exchange.

    And . . . with the exam season under way, and plans announced to close the Davis Centre all this summer for renovations, there's been some discussion on the newsgroup uw.general about what life is like in Davis. My eye was caught by this posting a few days ago: "As one who has tried to study in the library in the past few days, I can assure you that the library is not full of students studying. At the moment, it is largely full of students talking loudly on their cellphones, socializing, shooting the breeze with their friends, visiting from table to table, with perhaps a brief moment of study every few hours, if time permits."


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