Monday, June 8, 2009

  • 'A somewhat larger first-year class'
  • Lazaridis gifts to UW reach $101 million
  • Notes 3.0, on a fully digital Monday
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Six of them with the guest speaker]

UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing held a "Seminar in Computer Science for Young Women" in late May. Susan Swan, manager of public affairs for Imperial Oil, posed with half a dozen of the seminar participants (they're in grades 9 and 10) at the closing banquet. At that event, she announced that the Imperial Oil Foundation, which had supported the seminar between 2003 and 2007, has made a new three-year gift of $225,000 to provide for a similar seminar to be held in western Canada starting in 2010.

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'A somewhat larger first-year class'

UW admission targets for this fall’s first-year class have been “handsomely exceeded”, registrar Ken Lavigne told the UW board of governors last Tuesday. He predicted “a somewhat larger first-year class than we had planned for”, with enrolment 3 to 4 per cent over the intended level.

The number of students who have confirmed that they’re coming to UW is above the target in nearly every category, and that includes international students, where some enrolment growth was planned as part of the university’s revenue strategy. The challenge now, Lavigne said, is the staff work involved to “change those confirmed applicants to registered students, to actually get them here”.

The new students are of high quality, too, he said, with 61 per cent of them earning President’s Scholarships or Merit Scholarships based on high school marks of 85 or higher. However, those are exactly the students who also appeal to other universities, and “the bidding has begun,” the registrar said, so it’s not a done deal that they will be here when classes start in September.

A memo from Nancy Weiner, associate registrar (admissions), summarizes the statistics on students who have accepted their offers from Waterloo:

“As of June 1, UW has received a total of 6,082 confirmations representing 111% of our year one new first year confirmation target (5,493), excluding English for Academic Success (ELAS) confirmations. Last year at this time, we received 6,013 confirmations for a target of 5,358 representing 112% of target. This indicates an increase of 1% more confirmations this year compared to last year at this time.

“The percentage of confirmations to targets by faculty and program varies with a low of 99% in Environment to a high of 128% in Mathematics. All other faculties indicate that they are over faculty targets with Applied Health Sciences at 113%, Arts at 106%, Engineering at 107%, Software Engineering at 106%, and Science at 111%.

“The percentage of confirmations to targets by OSS (Ontario Secondary School) domestic students, which is a large part of our year one target, is at 110% of our institutional target. The data for non-OSS domestic students show that we are at 100% of our target. Of interest is our success in the visa category where UW has exceeded the visa target at 147% or 554 confirmations.

“The Faculty of Mathematics higher than anticipated confirmation rate is primarily in the new Financial Management and Risk Analysis program, the Mathematics/Business Administration program, and Honours Mathematics program. Also, of interest across the faculties, is the high percentage of confirmations for accounting and business related programs.

“UW confirmations will fluctuate somewhat by the time we reach the November 1 registration count date. In fall 2008, UW had a decrease of 7% from the May 31, 2008 confirmation date to November 1. In fall 2007, UW had a decrease of 9.7% from May 30 confirmation date to November 1. The decrease in numbers is a result of several possible reasons such as students deciding to defer their studies for the following year, unable to meet final admission conditions and their offer of admission is rescinded, change their mind and choose to attend another institution, are no longer eligible to begin their studies in degree status and are moved into non-degree, or assessed transfer credit and are registered into upper year standing and students in a math degree program who move to math/ELAS (English for Academic Success program).

“If the fall 2008 decrease of 7% is used, the projected November 1 new first year registration numbers will be approximately 5,715 for the new first year November 1 target of 5,493. Specific to visa confirmations, historically there is a decrease of approximately 200 students from the confirmations to November 1 registrations. If we assume the same number of students will choose not to attend UW in the fall, it’s anticipated that we’ll be at approximately 354 visa students for November 1 registrations (376 registration target).

“The total number of UW President’s and Merit Scholarships is 3,716. This is up slightly by almost 1% compared to last year at this time (3,686).

“Provincially, the Ontario Universities Application Centre is reporting that OSS confirmations are up by 2.4% (65,203 May 29, 2009 compared to 63,659 May 30, 2008).”

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Lazaridis gifts to UW reach $101 million

a release issued Friday by UW's media relations office

Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis are joining a select group of Canadians who have given more than $100 million in support to post-secondary education and research. UW is today announcing that the pair are donating an additional $25 million to the Institute for Quantum Computing. The new gift raises their total donation to IQC to $101 million.

"This extraordinarily generous gift reflects Mike and Ophelia's passion for fundamental research, and it gives increased exposure to quantum computing around the world," said Waterloo president David Johnston. "Their generosity has helped launch IQC into the forefront of quantum information processing research, making Waterloo one of the world's premier destinations in the field."

[Smiles from husband and wife]Previously, Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis (left, at last year's ground-breaking ceremonies) gave $76 million to support the development of the IQC, including a major share for construction of the Quantum-Nano Centre, a distinguished research chair in quantum computing, and international graduate fellowships. This gift was key in obtaining $100 million — $50 million each from the federal government and the Ontario government — toward the $160-million Quantum-Nano Centre and the IQC.

"We are excited to add support to what is becoming the epicentre of quantum research and experimentation," said Mike Lazaridis. "Our investment in fundamental research at the Institute of Quantum Computing will help researchers tackle some of today's most challenging problems and seed some of tomorrow's biggest innovations."

Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis are part of a select group of philanthropists who have given more than $100 million in support of higher education in Canada.

The Quantum-Nano Centre will be home to two forefront areas of science and engineering: quantum information technology and nanotechnology. Quantum deals with the atomic and sub-atomic levels, where the usual laws of physics do not apply; things can, for instance, exist in two places at the same time. Nanotechnology deals with the fabrication and behaviour of materials, devices and systems in the size range of atoms or molecules, generally 100 nanometres or smaller.

Besides the IQC, the centre will accommodate the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Waterloo's undergraduate program in nanotechnology engineering. It will serve the needs of up to 400 academics, equally split between the quantum and nano sides, with most coming from the faculties of engineering, mathematics and science.

Mike Lazaridis, who served as Waterloo's chancellor from May 1, 2003, to April 30, 2009, will be installed as chancellor emeritus this Saturday during spring convocation. He has also been a dedicated employer of the university's co-op students and graduates since he founded Research In Motion 25 years ago.

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Notes 3.0, on a fully digital Monday

The big "Canada 3.0" forum on digital media — the inaugural event for UW's Stratford Institute — is under way this morning, with welcoming remarks from UW president David Johnston and federal science minister Gary Goodyear scheduled to be winding up just about when this Daily Bulletin is published, at 9:00 a.m. Federal industry minister Tony Clement is on the program this morning along with Tom Jenkins of Open Text Corp., Gary Maavara of Corus Entertainment and Jerry Brown of PricewaterhouseCoopers. A couple of my colleagues are on site at the Rotary complex in Stratford, helping look after the national media who are expected to attend the event, and maybe they'll point a Twitter or two towards the campus with news of how things are going today and tomorrow. (Already, this morning's Globe and Mail has a major story.) And by the way, I understand that the correct way to pronounce the event's title is "three-dot-oh": using the word "point" in there is strictly for noobs.

Sarah Scharf of electrical and computer engineering is president of the Engineering Society this term (and again next winter), and wrote in a recent issue of the Iron Warrior about some of her priorities. One is renovations to the central social space in engineering, the lobby of Carl Pollock Hall. In addition, Scharf writes of "the strained relationship we as students have with our faculty. I would like to work closely with you as students as well as with the Dean's office to move in the direction of a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. . . . One initiative I am hoping to get started this summer is a summer fundraising campaign, possibly for the Waterloo Food Bank. In the fall we have a Cancer fundraiser and Movember, in the winter we have Bus Push, so I would like to begin a new tradition of raising money for a local charity each summer."

Michele van Eyk, a graduate student in the school of architecture, won the poster competition held in conjunction with the Ontario Heritage Conference held in Peterborough on the weekend of May 30. “The conference theme,” says architecture director Rick Haldenby, “was Heritage in Creative Communities. Ms van Eyk's poster submission grew out to her thesis research on the process of transformation of a building in Toronto from industrial production to artists' lofts to high end condos. 48 Abell became a battle ground for the creative community fighting a seemingly inexorable process. Certain areas of the city are inhabited by artists because they are run down, rents are low and the spaces are large. These areas rebound. Galleries appear, then cafés. At a point developers make the scene, demolish the existing buildings, and build condos that trade on the image of culture, meanwhile destroying the historic buildings and driving the previous residents out of the area. Ms van Eyk's posters are biting and deeply ironic, using the language and imagery of the developers to 'sell' the building in its state before the demolition. The competition prize was $500.”

The registrar's office says the schedule for spring term final exams will be posted on its web site as of today. • More than 11,000 received e-mail last week inviting them to take part in a survey on services provided by the registrar's office and student accounts office, and possibly win a $100 bookstore gift certificate. • Interviews for fall term co-op positions are continuing, with the main interview period scheduled to wind up with job ranking on June 19 and matches being announced June 22.


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Link of the day

The moon in June

When and where

‘The Impostor Phenomenon in Academia’ workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘Bees and Beneficial Insects’: UW Recreation Committee presents master gardener Ken McRae, Tuesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Lectures in Quantum Information series by Anthony Leggett, “The physics of topological quantum computing: selected topics”, continues June 9, 16, 18, 23, 25 and 30, and July 2, 2 p.m., Research Advancement Centre room 2009. All welcome.

Career workshop: “Career Interest Assessment (Strong Interest Inventory)” Tuesday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

School of Architecture dedication ceremony for Stantec Architecture Gallery, building atrium, 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, Tuesday 4:30 p.m., information ext. 84900.

Ninety-Eighth Convocation: applied health sciences and environment, and installation of Chancellor, Wednesday, June 10, 10:00; science, Wednesday 2:30; arts, Thursday, June 11, 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics, Friday, June 12, 10:00 and 2:30; engineering, Saturday, June 13, 10:00 and 2:30; all ceremonies in Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Wilfrid Laurier University convocation ceremony Wednesday 10:00, Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, Brantford. Details.

Waterloo Region rapid transit public meeting of Regional Council, Wednesday 5 p.m., 150 Frederick Street, Kitchener. Details.

‘Teaching Dossiers’ workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Graham Medal Seminar: Craig Eisler, Microsoft, “Software and Innovation: A 20-Year Perspective” Thursday 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302. Reception follows. Register ext. 37747.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Tsinghua University, “Communication Complexity and Its Applications” Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Lebold Endowment Fundraising Banquet at Conrad Grebel University College, Thursday 6:30 p.m., speaker Ron Mathies, “Becoming a Global Community of Faith”, ticket information ext. 24223.

Autism Update professional development session with expert panel, organized by UW school of pharmacy and KidsAbility centre, Friday 9:00 to noon, Bingemans Conference Centre, information 519-886-8886 ext. 206.

Microteaching session for international teaching assistants to practise and get feedback, Friday 9:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Alan Morgan, department of earth and environmental sciences, retirement reception Friday 4:00, University Club, information e-mail klalbrec@

ACM-style programming contest to help select UW’s teams for next year’s international competition, Saturday. Details.

Brubacher House Museum 30th anniversary celebration, with speaker Ken McLaughlin, UW historian, “Saving the John E. Brubacher House: Giving the Past a Future”, Saturday 1:30, Conrad Grebel University College great hall.

UW Senate meets Monday, June 15, 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Emergency alert system test with messages to cellphones and computer desktops, Tuesday, June 16, 10:00, details to be announced.

Applied Health Informatics Bootcamp, June 17-19, Davis Centre. Details.

25-Year Club annual reception Thursday, June 18, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Last day for 50 per cent fee refund for dropped courses, June 19.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term courses; appointments June 22-27 for continuing students, July 13-26 for new students; open enrolment begins July 27.

Canada Day holiday Wednesday, July 1, UW offices and most services closed; classes cancelled; annual celebrations and fireworks on the north campus 2:00 to 11:00.

R&T Park charity golf tournament Thursday, July 16, at Conestoga Golf Club: barbecue 12:00, shotgun start 1:00, dinner and prizes 5:00, tickets $99, proceeds to K-W Community Foundation. Details.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp August 9-21, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 31 (cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Homecoming 2009 Saturday, September 26. Includes AHS fun run, East Asian Festival, engineering and math reunions, Aboriginal Pow-Wow, Conrad Grebel University College 1990-95 era alumni reunion. Details.

One click away

Central stores staff member is 'godfather of lacrosse'
Nominations for alumni achievement awards due this month
Plagiarism allegations about Conference Board intellectual property reports
Open Text gets 10-year contract with Ontario government
Planning prof advocates light rail transit for K-W
Stats Canada annual figures on faculty salaries
Governor General calls for an Arctic university
The silliest campus fad of all, 1952
Province adds spaces at Kitchener medical school
U of T architectural guide written by former UW prof
Mississauga to get a college campus . . . and a medical school
Electronic 'magazine' covers 2008-09 year in OUA sports
Pharmacy school seeks 'partnerships' in Seaforth
Controversy over Clemson U's emphasis on rankings
Former UW music director 'still going strong at 80'
'Internet is fostering a want-it-now culture among students'
Hawking's visit to Perimeter Institute is on hold

Friday's Daily Bulletin