Town Hall meeting draws general positive response

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The president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur held a town hall meeting on Oct. 30 to acknowledge UW’s past progress, provide a state of the union, and answer questions on the future of the university.


The meeting began with a video illustrating the beginnings of the University of Waterloo and how it has grown to what it is today, while praising the achievements of the school and its students.


Hamdullahpur started the town hall calling this past academic year a “spectacular year,” as 51 per cent of incoming first-years had a 90 per cent or greater entrance average.


 “They see this university as an integral part of their plans that they want to move forward,” he said.


 Hamdullahpur touched upon the success of the co-op and entrepreneurial programs as 91 per cent of co-op students find work within six months of graduation, and 3,300 students are in the entrepreneurial programs.


Hamdullahpur then spoke to the desire of attracting and retaining more domestic graduate students, while praising those who came from outside Canada for their achievements.


He highlighted some of the notable awards and rankings that the university has attained over the last calendar year.


 UW ranked first in comprehensive research and innovation in Canada. He said “Our students, our faculty are defining what tomorrow will look like.”


He briefly touched on future plans, including a multi-year budgeting integration model, discussed mainly by provost and vice-academic Ian Orchard, which would require a strategic enrolment management model.


He mentioned two large-scale projects: the new engineering and science additions, funded by $106 million from the government. He also mentioned the federal government provided $1.5 billion to fund various research initiatives that UW can apply for.


During a Q&A session, questions were chosen and answered from the audience, Twitter, and e-mail.


The questions all varied in topic, ranging from mental health, local and global impact, faith, and varsity sports.


Questions scrutinizing the lack of investment for students in the arts faculty were brought up in light of the new science and engineering extensions.


Beth Jewkes, associate provost resources, also mentioned a study looking to determine the supply and demand and how to meet it.


Another notable topic was the integration of UW students into the global and local community.


Mental health, a hot topic on campuses across the country, and the need for more counsellors to provide more services, was addressed.


Chris Read, associate provost students, emphasized that the services were committed to helping students and providing the appropriate services.


Concern surrounding the lack of library resources was brought up and clarified by the president, who assured the audience that the university can share its resources with the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University.


There was also discussion of mayoral support towards entrepreneurs in the city. They discussed the importance of co-ordination and visibility of students in the community.
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