[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

  • New students arrive in January
  • First tenants for accelerator centre
  • A few other crumbs and sprinkles
Chris Redmond

Big idea revealed five years ago today

  • Report urges major research spending in Waterloo, Toronto, Markham
  • Holiday greeting from UW Graphics
  • LT3 spotlight on librarian's work for information literacy
  • Study of Banff climate change was done at UW
  • 'Top 50 Research Universities' list for 2005
  • UW chemist helping test breath analyzer prototype
  • 'College of liberal arts' proposed in Stratford
  • Library tells more about 'portal' for scholarly resources
  • 'Reclaiming Higher Education, Research from Corporate Agenda'
  • Federal government spending on science and technology 2005-06 (Stats Canada)
  • Western reacts to end of mandatory retirement
  • Blog discussion: media, campus culture and the Western 'stripping' scandal
  • Lakehead U ready to open campus in Orillia
  • Analysts comment on RIM board of directors
  • Grad trying to form UW alumni group on frappr
  • New students arrive in January

    About 50 new first-year students will hit campus in the winter term, says Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions. That's about one per cent of the number who arrive at the usual time of year -- September.

    He said about 30 of the new full-time students will be in the faculty of mathematics, and 20 in arts. Other faculties don't admit students starting in January. Even in math and arts, it's a rare situation, involving students who finished their high school requirements on an unusual timetable or perhaps have been doing something else since graduating last summer. Almost 1,000 students initially applied to enter in the winter, but many of them wanted programs that won't be available until September, while others didn't complete the requirements.

    Burroughs noted that in January 2004, in the wake of the "double cohort" flood of applicants, UW deliberately admitted both arts and math students to start in the winter. But the experiment wasn't very successful and hasn't been repeated.

    Heather Fitzgerald of the student life office said there will be a welcome reception for the new undergraduate students on Tuesday, January 3 -- the first day of the new term -- starting at 4:30 in the Bombshelter pub in the Student Life Centre. They'll get something to eat and drink, meet each other and be briefed on campus services that are available to them.

    Meanwhile, Burroughs has issued a final report on last September's admission cycle, which saw 5,065 full-time first-year students enter UW. That's 92.7 per cent of the target (5,461). Arts and software engineering ended up with more students than their individual targets; engineering was within a fingernail's breadth of its target; but the other faculties fell short.

    [Under the summery trees]

    This crew of full-time and temporary staff fanned out from UW's marketing and undergraduate recruitment office during the fall term, visiting almost 400 schools in Ontario -- with visits to Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Montréal as well. "Our travellers reported that there was always a lot of interest in Waterloo," says Julie Kalbfleisch of the marketing office (centre in back row), "and we had great turnouts." She'll start recruiting in late February and early March for next fall's liaison positions.

    "The shortfall was experienced to a great extent in the important OSS Domestic category," Burroughs says in his report, noting that UW's targets have been going up -- by a total of 26 per cent in the past four years -- while the number of students seeking admission to Ontario universities is almost unchanged, apart from the double cohort year of 2003-04.

    He reports that the students who did come to UW are showing higher marks, with the median average for entering students hitting 84.8 this year, compared to 84.3 in 2004. (But it was 85.3 in 2003.) The number of UW arrivals who are Ontario Scholars, with an average mark of 80 or higher from high school, is 75.2 per cent this year, up from 72.7 per cent last year.

    And the cycle continues. Over the Christmas and New Year's holiday, many a high school student will be puzzling over which universities to apply to in the coming weeks. The application deadline for September 2006 entry to most programs will be March 31 (earlier for architecture, computing and financial management, optometry, software engineering, social work and engineering).

    First tenants for accelerator centre

    The "accelerator centre" in UW's north campus research and technology park announced yesterday that it has signed its first two technology entrepreneur tenants.

    The centre will open April 1 in a building, now almost complete, at 295 Hagey Boulevard, on the hill above Columbia Street. It promises "facilities and supporting services to qualifying technology businesses/entrepreneurs looking to accelerate the commercialization of their product or service. Having an extensive range of support and services, clients will be able to maximize their organization's potential."

    Eventually about 20 tenants are expected, said Dan Melymuk, executive director of the accelerator centre. The first two companies:

    Semacode Corporation, whose innovation allows camera phones to recognize standard barcodes and automatically access web pages offering more details. Semacode is headed by Simon Woodside, a UW computer science graduate who has ten years of experience in high-tech industry -- most recently with Apple Computer.

    Miovision Technologies Inc., founded by three graduates of UW and one from Queen's. The company is developing several "intelligent vision" applications for use in the transportation, security, gaming, retail and manufacturing industries, involving a vision server that can work in visually complex environments, tracking objects through situations of strong occlusion and clutter.

    "Semacode and Miovision both fit into our vision to become a world-renowned centre for the cultivation of technological entrepreneurship," said Melymuk. "We will provide a supportive environment and help them to grow their business."

    "We are excited to join the Accelerator Centre because it plugs us into a s et of services and a mentor network that we can leverage to boost growth," said Woodside of Semacode. "It offers impartial advice, evaluation of our business model, exposure to local business people and investors, potential employees and executives, as well as access to researchers at UW."

    [Eye Opener logo]

    A few other crumbs and sprinkles

    The Tim Horton's outlet in the Optometry building has closed for the season, and when it reopens in January it will be Tim's no longer, an announcement from food services says. As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, it's the Eye Opener Café, says Jeannie Watt of food services. "We will feature delicious Village Bakery pastries, a selection of grab-and-go items such as salads, sandwiches, yogurt, etc., and coffee from the Baden Collection, which includes Fair Trade coffee." The change leaves three Tim's outlets on campus -- in the Student Life Centre (24 hours a day during peak seasons), the Davis Centre, and Modern Languages.

    I have a couple of corrections to note from yesterday's Daily Bulletin. First, I wrote something bizarre about a "10 to 1 radio" of snow to water: should be "ratio", of course. Second, I identified frequent contributor Graeme Baer as a student in systems design engineering; in fact, he's in software engineering.

    An announcement arrives from the university secretariat: "The call for nominations to fill two vacant positions on Senate closed on Wednesday, December 7; the results are: Jay Thomson (Kinesiology) acclaimed as an Applied Health Sciences faculty representative, term to April 30, 2006; Jim Pankratz acclaimed as the Conrad Grebel University College representative, term to April 30, 2007."

    Former UW staff member George Stillaway died December 13. He served as a custodian in the plant operations department from 1967 until his retirement in 1979.

    [Muir with medal] Heather Muir, a first-year arts student based at Renison College, is one of 18 Ontario young people who recently received the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers at the hands of Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman. Muir (right), whose home is Walkerton, "has demonstrated a long-term commitment to creating public awareness about the needs of Canada's blood supply system," the medal citation said. "Her involvement wasn't always as a volunteer, as she herself suffers from a life-threatening illness that requires frequent blood transfusions. While a patient at Sick Children's Hospital, she witnessed first-hand how shortages of blood led to cancelled surgeries and created added stress for families of young patients. Heather first volunteered by attending blood donor clinics at the age of four. As she grew older, she realized that people would be more willing to give blood if there was a face associated with the need for donations, or if a competitive challenge was created. She was especially skilled at encouraging high school students to donate. Heather has been a poster child, appearing on the cover of Blood Donor Digest, and has used her public speaking skills to address many groups. Heather was honoured in 1996 as an Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year; in 1998 as a winner of the Terry Fox Youth Award for Canada; and in 2001 as the regional recipient of the Syl Apps Award of Excellence for Ontario."

    The new issue of Connections, the newsletter published for UW's distance education students, has a front-page piece offering some reminiscences by Don Kasta, who retired this fall after a long career in UW administration, most recently as director of distance and continuing ed. He tells some of the story of how UW "correspondence" courses began and evolved, including the period in the 1990s when "UW made a commitment to apply the many newly emerging computer technologies to teaching and learning both on campus and by distance. The distance program was to be one of the main vehicles for this transformation. The first of our online courses was offered in 1998 and since then we have added 100 more. This past year we converted the remaining 'tapes and notes' courses to MP3 format and the objective is to have a significant online component in all of our courses. Many instructors who worked with us to develop online courses have moved the use of these technologies into their on-campus classes."

    The Federation of Students office will close at noon tomorrow (Wednesday) and not reopen until the winter term begins in January. . . . The office of research will close for the staff Christmas lunch between 11:30 and 2:00 tomorrow. . . . The key control office in plant operations will also be closed at noontime tomorrow, from 11:45 to 2:30. . . .

    There's a change to previously announced arrangements for fitness activities this week: the Physical Activities Complex swimming pool will be closed on Friday. That means the last recreational swim of the year is a final session from 9 to 10 p.m. on Thursday. Recreational skating at the Columbia Icefield (11:00 to 1:00) also winds up on Thursday. Gymnasium facilities at the Icefield and the PAC will be open Friday from 8:00 to 4:30.


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