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Friday, June 11, 2004

  • Co-op students pore over rankings
  • Profs can choose textbooks online
  • Employer conference coming June 22
  • Of doors and dollars and ditches
Chris Redmond

Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004

[Saxes in the sunshine]

Wedding march: Julie Primeau, of UW's undergraduate recruitment office, is Julie Kalbfleisch now, as she got married May 29, and who should be part of the festivities but the Warrior Band. She reports: "We paraded our guests from Paddy Flaherty's (where they went following the ceremony) to the Legion on Regina Street, where the reception was held. Originally we had thought about using a piper but since neither my husband (Peter) nor I come from Scottish descent, we decided that the Warrior Band was the next best option, especially considering how much I love UW." Anyone interested in joining the band -- which also does Campaign launches and Warrior sports events -- can get in touch with Michelle Fraser, e-mail m3fraser@sciborg.

Co-op students pore over rankings

As co-op students make life-changing decisions this weekend, deciding what job they'd like for the fall term, some of them will be doing it with help from a new web site created by a group of fourth-year electrical engineers.

It's the first time the student-organized site has been available, and also the first time co-op students have been ranking their employment choices with the JobMine software that was introduced this term.

Employers' rankings, based on interviews so far this term, were posted on JobMine at 6:00 this morning. Students now have until midnight Sunday night to submit their own rankings. A computer process will compare the two and -- if all goes well -- match students with jobs. Those who aren't matched in this round will be back to the interview grind within a few days.

As the co-op department explained earlier this year: "Students no longer have to fuss with paper application packages, line-ups, bins, or overcrowded hallways. Using JobMine, they can create and save up to three online resumés, search job postings, and apply directly to positions from the comfort of their own computer."

Now they can also consult the student-created Coop Rankings site. Says one of the students behind the project, Kevin Quan: "Coop Rankings is providing a feature for students to enter how they are going to rate their jobs, and see how others will be rating the jobs they're competing for."

Generally, Quan said, the goal of Coop Rankings "is to provide students with more information so they can make an informed decision. . . . There are three main sections of the site. The first is the job ratings section, which allows students to rate employers on several criteria after their Coop term and to view how others felt being a Coop under a certain employer. The second section is called interview notes, and allows students to enter information about interviews (i.e. if it is a technical interview, etc). The last one, and perhaps most useful, is to allows Coops to see how others are ranking their jobs during the Coop's ranking phase. Anyone who has a University of Waterloo ID (who can receive email at their @uwaterloo.ca address) can join the site."

A final attraction: "During the first round of Coop, every time a user enters information about their previous employer or interviews, they will be entered for a daily draw for a large pizza from Campus Pizza."

Olaf Naese of the co-op department said the creators of Coop Rankings are "enterprising" and the department is viewing the new web site as "generally positive". He said he and his colleagues understand the value of students sharing information about their co-op jobs. In fact, the department runs a paper-based service for recording comments about past jobs, although "we've had limited success with that." An electronic version is on the wish list for future improvements to JobMine.

However, he added, "we're concerned about the kinds of comments," noting that one disgruntled -- or even malicious -- student could blacken an employer's reputation or give a misleading impression of what a job was like. Comments filed under the department's current system are reviewed by student representatives before they are made available to others, and he said he's hoping that any electronic system would have a similar kind of moderation.

As for shared information about the current rankings, he said it looks as though Coop Rankings was created before JobMine went into operation. The new official system provides enough flexibility in rankings that students have less need for strategic guessing about their classmates' job choices, Naese said. So he's not sure Coop Rankings will be much help. Besides, to be of any value, "It requires everybody to participate, and it requires them to be honest," he noted.

Profs can choose textbooks online

Another process is moving from paper to keystrokes: faculty members can now "adopt" textbooks through a section of the UW bookstore's web site.

The paper form is still available, says retail services director May Yan, and can even be printed off the web site for those who like a mixture of the electronic and the tactile. But she's hoping that most faculty members will quickly move to filing their textbook requests electronically.

In fact, Yan said yesterday, two professors had discovered the online form even before it was publicly announced, and sent in their fall textbook lists the electronic way.

It's a busy season for the store, as textbook buyers Karen Trendell and Iain Dmitrienko are preparing to deal with about 1,700 book orders for the September beginning-of-term rush. The electronic form is expected to make things a little easier at the store's end and also for the faculty members who are choosing new books or reordering a previous year's title.

"From the Faculty page of the Bookstore website," says Yan, "faculty or departmental liaisons can now send us all the information about what books they would would like to use for the fall term. There are many great features built into the online adoption pages that will make it very easy to adopt textbooks, including a lookup feature for titles used in previous terms, automatic price estimates and email confirmation the order was received at the Bookstore.

"We would like to spread the word about this to encourage faculty and department liaisons to start using the online adoption form."

  • The Campus Squirrel Listings (UW scores 3 out of 5)
  • 'Education Coalition' calls for higher transfer payments
  • Co-chairs for Martin's 'Canada Corps'
  • Concordia U buys landmark Montréal convent
  • Students 'encouraged' at getting a seat on Rae panel
  • Former Warrior fighting to start for Blue Bombers
  • Former UW prof Jeff Wu named to National Academy of Engineering
  • Employer conference coming June 22

    The organizers of this month's WatWorks conference for employers of co-op students say the day might be of interest to on-campus people who hire students, as well as employers from the outside world. (By some calculations, UW is the single biggest employer of its own co-op students.) [WatWorks logo]

    The one-day event is sponsored by the co-operative education and career services department and scheduled for Tuesday, June 22. It promises "a series of workshops, presentations and tours of some of UW's state-of-the-art labs, designed to help employers get a better return on co-op in their workplace".

    Most of the sessions will take place in the Tatham Centre, home of the CECS department, and the nearby Arts Lecture Hall. "Topics," says Michelle Russell of CECS, "range from new UW programs to best practices in human resource and co-op student management. Keynote speaker is Larry Smith, one of UW's most engaging and dynamic professors; Larry will share some of his leading-edge research in economic forecasting and entrepreneurship."

    Other sessions include interviewing skills, "How to Compete in the Digital Marketplace", and "The Renaissance of Engineering". Catharine Scott, UW's associate provost (human resources and student services), will lead a workshop on performance appraisals.

    While outside employers will pay a fee of $100 or more, UW staff and faculty can take part at a price of $50, "which includes a delicious barbecue lunch and all refreshments", Russell said. The day starts at 8:30 and ends with a 4:15 reception hosted by UW president David Johnston. There's more information on the web.

    Of doors and dollars and ditches

    I didn't get a whole lot of response to Tuesday's offer of Summerfest tickets in exchange for a few words on what's happening on campus this term. There were a few entries, however, and I'll quote them in the Daily Bulletin over the next couple of days. Here's a note that arrived from Bobby Naini, a fourth-year computer engineering student: "At the beginning of this term, I decided that instead of saying 'thank you' to someone (for holding a door for me, for instance), I would instead say 'God bless you'. And I am an atheist! In the last month, I have had more than 20 people say 'God bless you' to me when I hold the door open for them. I hear it at the Bomber all of the time now too! Word is spreading!"

    At Wednesday's meeting of the UW board of governors, Bob Harding -- Brascan executive, chair of the UW board and also chair of Campaign Waterloo -- gave a few seconds' report on how the campaign is coming along toward its $260 million goal. Givings have reached $218 million, he said, and told the board that a "prospect review meeting" was held recently to identify people who should be asked for contributions. Several potential gifts in the five-million-dollar range are in the offing as a result, Harding hinted.

    Alumni job search workshop, all day today, Tatham Centre.

    Campus recreation garage sale, Friday 11:00 to 2:00, Physical Activities Complex "Red North", used sports equipment and clothing.

    Summerfest "Paradise Island Beach Party" tonight and tomorrow from 8 p.m., Federation Hall. Music tonight by Bedouin Soundclash; DJs tomorrow.

    Dance Adventure spring recitals, Saturday 1 and 7 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

    ACM programming contest Saturday from 10:30 a.m., details online.

    Matthews Golf Tournament, Monday 12 noon, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

    All-candidates debate for federal election, Monday 12 noon, Student Life Centre great hall, sponsored by Federation of Students.

    Stress management presentation sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, Monday 12 noon, Rod Coutts Hall room 302.

    'Assessment Questions' workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, Tuesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details online.

    "Initial investigations by University of Waterloo researchers have produced visible and near-infrared images of the sun showing the position of Venus during its historic transit this week," says a news release from UW's media relations office. "The Canadian SCISAT-1 spacecraft was among the few satellites observing the event as part of the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) mission based at UW. On Tuesday, a rare event visible from the Earth was Venus passing in front of the disk of the sun in what is known as a planetary transit." An earlier release told more about UW's involvement in watching the transit, the first in 122 years.

    The sixth International Trenchless Technology Research Colloquium and the first International Asphalt Technology Colloquium are about to begin, with "a small group of invited national and international experts" due to arrive on campus Sunday. The double event is sponsored by UW's Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies -- researchers in the civil engineering department who are involved in repairing and even installing underground pipes without having to dig them up. "Discussions," says the colloquium web site, "will identify international research needs concerning transportation, pavement and the buried infrastructure. . . . Site visits will be an integral part." The event runs through Wednesday.

    Finally, a couple of corrections:


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