Tuesday, January 19, 2010

  • UW ready to weigh 32,000 applications
  • Nominating committee will ask for advice
  • First Jewish chaplain is settling in
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

UW ready to weigh 32,000 applications

Just under 9,000 would-be students have picked Waterloo as their first choice for studies next September, out of 105,000 who are hoping for admission to universities across Ontario. About four-fifths of the students are from Ontario high schools and one-fifth from other groups, including overseas students.

Overall, the 32,000 applications for admission to UW represent a drop from what was seen in 2009 — in part because students who can’t meet Waterloo’s steadily rising entrance requirements aren’t bothering to apply, says the director of admissions, Nancy Weiner.

With the main Ontario application deadline now past, Weiner says, UW has 8.6 per cent of first-choice applications from Ontario secondary school students (the “OSS” group). That’s down a little from last year’s figure of 9.3 per cent, but exactly matches the record high that was reached the year before.

[W] Weekly report on Warrior sports

Athletes of the Week

Across Ontario’s universities, the number of applicants is up, judging from figures released by the Council of Ontario Universities after last week’s main deadline for high school students to apply for September 2010 entrance. COU’s Ontario Universities Application Centre heard from 86,542 high schoolers who want to enter university this fall, up from last year’s figure of 84,300. They filed a total of 375,278 applications.

In addition, OUAC has so far processed applications from 18,512 “non-OSS” individuals, ones who are not currently in an Ontario secondary school.

“Demand for university spaces has continued to increase over the last decade,” COU’s news release points out. “Enhanced government investment in the sector is required to accommodate the growth and to ensure that the quality of the learning experience is not undermined by taking more and more students on board.”

Of the 86,542 high school students applying to join the throng this year, UW is the first choice of 7,470 students, a drop of 4.4 per cent from a year ago. Of the 375,278 total applications, the ones directed to Waterloo total 28,013, a drop of 3.5 per cent, which Weiner calls “slight” considering the steep increases of some previous years.

“The Faculties of Science and Mathematics have an increase in overall OSS applications,” she reports. “The Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Arts, Engineering and Environment have a decrease in applications. All Waterloo faculties show a decrease in first choice applications.”

As for non-OSS students — coming from other countries, other provinces, or the work force or community colleges — Ontario-wide applications are showing a 2.7 per cent increase, OUAC says. Of the 18,512 would-be students in this group, Waterloo is the first choice of 1,494, a drop of 3.4 per cent from last year.

Among them are international (visa) students, where the number of applications is up 2.3 per cent from the same time last year. The total “will continue to increase,” says Weiner, “because the published application deadline for the majority of our programs is March 31.” For Ontario students, on the other hand, the main deadline was January 13, and the admission process for those students now gets into high gear.

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Nominating committee will ask for advice

The committee that’s searching for UW’s next president has begun its work, says a statement issued to the university committee from the secretariat. Here’s what it says:

”The Presidential Nominating Committee is charged with the task of finding and recommending an outstanding candidate for appointment as the sixth president of the University of Waterloo. The committee has developed a tentative timetable for its work which includes the following benchmarks: pre-search consultations concluded and the position profile drafted by the end of April; tentative list of candidates and reference investigations completed over the summer; candidate interviews during the fall. Although this timetable may change for a variety of reasons, the committee is working actively to meet it. In any event, the committee hopes to complete its work by the end of the calendar year at the latest.

”In addition to those individuals contacted as part of the committee’s extensive consultation process (including the president, vice-presidents, associate vice-presidents, associate provosts, deans) the committee will issue an email to all faculty and staff inviting them to submit their views on the issues, challenges, and opportunities which will face the next president as well as the qualities the next president will need to meet these demands.

”Additionally, the Presidential Nominating Committee invites any groups who wish to make a brief presentation before the committee re presidential criteria, issues, challenges and opportunities that will face the institution in the coming years to do so. Arrangements may be made by contacting Lois Claxton, Secretary of the University, at ext. 84012 or by email at lclaxton@ uwaterloo.ca before March 31, 2010. Group presentations will be heard in April.”

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First Jewish chaplain is settling in

Moshe Goldman was a young rabbi based in Brooklyn, the world headquarters of his branch of Judaism, when he first heard of Waterloo as “a small town about an hour from Toronto”. He was offered the opportunity to settle here and establish a branch of Chabad Lubavitch — a Jewish outreach and educational organization that now has outposts in at least 75 countries.

[Goldman]A year later, Goldman (right) says he and his wife, Rivke, are drawing good crowds for Friday night Shabbat dinners at their home, they’re in touch with hundreds of Jewish students who are at least listening to their message, and Goldman has been accepted as the first non-Christian member of the UW chaplains’ association.

The chaplains are supported by their religious groups, with the university providing little more than an office in the Student Life Centre. Until now they’ve represented Roman Catholicism, the United Church and other Christian denominations. “It took some time for people to wrap their minds around the idea” of including a Jewish chaplain, says Goldman, but before long he felt welcomed. Now, he adds, “I hear we’re having an imam come soon, and I’m really looking forward to that!”

He says he has a good relationship with the Christian chaplains, but stresses that “we don’t have to dance and hug,” and interfaith activities are not his priority.

“My number one agenda,” says the rabbi, “is to work with the Jewish students.” That’s consistent with the worldwide program of Chabad, which seeks to reach all Jews, many of whom don’t actively practise their religion, and call them to a closer observance of Jewish law in the Orthodox tradition.

Jews make up about 1.2 per cent of the Canadian population, by one estimate, and Goldman thinks the number among UW’s students is likely higher than that, adding up to “a few hundred” people he wants to reach. (Wilfrid Laurier University is also part of his market.)

Of those who have shown any interest, or perhaps come by repeatedly for Shabbat dinners, “most of the crowd would not call themselves religious by any means,” the rabbi says. But, he insists, “they are observant; it’s a question of degree,” meaning that nearly all Jews follow some of the laws and customs.

“A Jew is a brother or a sister,” he says. “Family is family. Of course, part of my job is to encourage people in their observance, each at their own level. We believe that, deep inside, every Jew wants to observe all the law of the Torah. It’s our responsibility to teach and to present things in a way that people will respond.”

Kitchener-Waterloo has two Jewish congregations, one Reform and one Orthodox although it's not in Chabad’s Hassidic tradition. “I don’t agree with their beliefs,” Goldman says about Reform Judaism in particular, “but it doesn’t mean we have to be at loggerheads. . . . No one rabbi today is able to be the rabbi for every person.”

Goldman says he has a good relationship with the Jewish Students Association, which also links UW with WLU and which welcomes Jews of all sorts, from the Orthodox to the very secular. With headquarters at a house near both campuses, the Latner Centre, the JSA aims “to bring Jews together through social, religious, and educational programs” and has its own Shabbat dinners about once a month.

“We make a very strong effort not to overlap,” says the rabbi, noting that active JSA members are among the people who frequently appear at his own table. (He pauses to praise Rivke’s talents in the kitchen: “Without her, I couldn’t do what I do.”)

Chabad emphasizes that there’s no inconsistency between Jewish law — such as observing the Sabbath and following sexual purity regulations — and using and enjoying modern technology. “We are not anachronistic!” says Goldman, who operates an extensive “Jewish Waterloo” website and fires off BlackBerry messages. “We lead a modern life. Try it!”


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Link of the day

The cognac on Poe’s grave

When and where

Change of coverage period for student health and dental plan continues through January 22. Details.

‘Jump into bed with a book’ monthly bookstore sale, January 19-20, South Campus Hall concourse.

Housing information sessions about options for upper-year housing, through January 21 in the residences. Details.

Teaching-Based Research Group drop-in session for faculty and staff interested in research about teaching and learning, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Career workshops today: “Thinking about Teaching?” 11:30; “Applied Language Study Option and ACE TESOL” 12:30; “Thinking about an International Experience?” 2:00; “International Work Term Procedures” 3:30, all in Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents Henry Zech, The Investors Group, “Beat the Tax Man” 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158.

Bridging the Gap to Retirement’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, announced for today, now rescheduled to Monday, January 25, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

New faculty and grad students workshop on research tools and library services, 1:30, Davis Centre room 1568, or Wednesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Library workshop: “How Does Copyright Affect You?” 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Steffen Graether, University of Guelph, “Understanding the Basis of Ice Growth Inhibition by Antifreeze Proteins” 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

‘Emerging IT trends in Canada’s financial sector’ with Joseph Cooper, executive vice-president, Manulife, 5:00 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 101. Details.

Grade 10 Family Night information session for parents and students about the university admission process, sponsored by Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment office, 6:30, Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Canadian Federation of University Women monthly meeting: Stuart McGill, UW department of kinesiology, “Back Pain: Myths, Truths and What You Can Do About It” 7:30 p.m., First United Church, Waterloo.

Columbia Icefield shutdown of natural gas Wednesday 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

UWRC Book Club discusses What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim by Jane Christmas, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Fine arts department artist’s talk by Tony Urquhart, Wednesday 1:00, East Campus Hall room 1219; opening reception 5 p.m. in Front Gallery, ECH, for exhibition by Urquhart and three other artists (continuing to January 29).

Columbia Lake Health Club lifestyle learning: “How to Increase Your Metabolism” Wednesday 5:30, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Career workshop: “Thinking About Med School? Perspectives of a Waterloo Grad” Wednesday 6:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ showings Wednesdays 6:30 p.m., Physics room 150, sponsored by PhysClub, admission free.

UW president David Johnston speaks on “Smart City 10 Goals” at Greater K-W Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast Thursday 7:30 a.m., Delta K-W Hotel. Details.

Flu shots (H1N1 and seasonal) available at health services Thursdays, January 21 and 28, 2:30 to 4:00.

Alumni in Toronto: Networking event at Banana Republic, Thursday 6 p.m. Details.

Blood donor clinic Thursday 10:00 to 4:00 and Friday 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre. Appointments 1-888-236-6283.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy lecture: Alistair Miller, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., “Kicking Our CO2 Addiction” Thursday 6:00, Davis Centre room 1304. Details.

Web redesign project open forum with White Whale Web Services, Friday 11:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day Saturday, January 30, basketball games in Physical Activities Complex (women’s game 2:00, men 4:00); registration online.

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