Defining innovation

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UW&rsquo;s international students may soon have access to greater funding.&nbsp;</p>

President Feridun Hamdullahpur, along with other faculty and staff of various departments, were put on the hot seat during the Nov. 3 town meeting. A particular focus was given to the future management of the higher fees facing international students. 

Following Hamdullahpur’s opening speech was a question period, where students inquired about international processes of the university, such as international exchange opportunities and fees for international students.

One co-op student asked if there will be efforts put into getting international co-op opportunities for disciplines that are not technology-based, as the majority of these opportunities are catered towards engineering, science, and math students. Speaking to the matter, one member of the panel  responded by commenting that international opportunities are very difficult to discover and that most of them come from students going out on their own initiative to discover them — the majority of these students just happen to be in the aforementioned programs. However, the university is currently working with their international partners to increase the amount of opportunities for non-tech students over the next few years.

When asked about why there are so many additional fees for international students, the faculty explained that Ontario does not provide funding for international students; consequently, the only source of funding for these students is tuition. Due to this loss of income, the university must compensate through additional fees. 

The university is, however, currently pressing the Ontario government to allocate more funding for international students and is hoping to acquire this funding in the near future.

Marilyn Thompson, head of human resources, answered questions regarding Counselling Services. 

“We are working towards implementing an employee family assistance program that will be globally available to all employees,” said Thompson. She went on to say that this counselling program will be available 24-7.

In terms of social innovation,  Hamdullahpur pointed out that the St. Paul’s GreenHouse program plays a large role in how the university socially innovates.

A panel member speaking on behalf of UW’s Information Technology Management pointed out that the new Portal interface is a great innovation, as it makes user interface for online university applications much more accessible for both students and faculty.