GET EXPERIENCED @ MAC Fair
The fair will take place on Monday January 18, 2010 from 10:00am-2:00pm in the MUSC Marketplace Atrium.
This fair is being organized by various departments within Student Affairs here at McMaster and they are working together to provide a 'one stop shop' for students looking to get involved with work and volunteer opportunities on campus. Their goal is to highlight ON CAMPUS job and volunteer opportunities that will be available in the summer of 2010 as well as the 2010/2011 academic year.
This will be a terrific opportunity for students to come and learn about the incredible employment and volunteer opportunities that exist at McMaster. With these positions, students can get valuable experience and acquire skills that will make them more employable after they graduate. There is such wide variety of opportunities on campus for many interests and goals.
So far the McMaster Students Union, Athletics and Recreation, Career Services, Social Science Experiential Education, Titles Bookstore and Student Affairs are confirmed and several more are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.
Any questions about the fair can be directed to Adam Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Planning for University and Beyond: Get Control of Your Debt
Parents and students are invited to this free workshop on Saturday, January 30, 2010. Graydon Watters, President of the Financial Education Institute of Canada, will lead an engaging presentation on budgeting, managing debt and planning your student’s future. In this 2 ½ hour workshop, your student can learn to avoid many of the common financial pitfalls that young people face. Participants will learn the basics of financial management, and gain the tools to reduce money stress not only while at university but after graduation. Most importantly, this workshop could save your student thousands of dollars over the course of his or her education. We will provide students and parents with great money saving tips offered at McMaster.
This interactive workshop will include a free workbook for students to take home. Because space is limited, we request that no more than one parent accompany their student. The same workshop will be offered at two separate times: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm, or 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm, in the Council Chambers, Gilmour Hall 111. Register on OSCAR (https://oscar.mcmaster.ca/mcauth/) or on the Alumni Association website (http://www.mcmaster.ca/ua/alumni/programs_events_registration.html).
Finding Summer Work
Although it is only January, it is hard to believe that employers are already starting to post their summer job opportunities. McMaster’s online job posting system, OSCAR has over 100 summer job opportunities currently available. Students can search for employment by location, area of interest, organization name, position title, and by specialized career-related summer programs.
Wherever your son/daughter hopes to work this summer, below are some tips to help them get started in their summer job search:
- Finding a summer job shouldn’t feel like work if your student tailors skills and interests to job search. For example if your student enjoys the outdoors and working with children, perhaps they should apply to a summer camp. If your student has a career goal in mind, they should look for jobs that help develop the skills, knowledge and experience they will need in that career.
- Since the summer job market for students can be highly competitive, we suggest your student start the search early. The sooner they start thinking about summer employment, the better the chances are of getting a job they will enjoy.
- Weigh the short-term and long-term benefits of different options. Does your student need to pursue a job that will give them lots of hours to help pay for tuition? Are they willing to balance different jobs or a mix of employment and volunteering to “test out” different work environments to make career choices easier in the future? Can they afford to take a lower-paying job right now if that job will build relevant experience and help them transition more quickly into a career they want after graduation?
- Before sending out a resume and cover letter, make sure your student knows what employers look for in the ideal candidate. It is not wise to apply for jobs the student is not interested in or not qualified for. A resume should be reviewed by a career professional before sending it out to ensure it is a polished and professional representation of skills.
- Students should take some time to think about what they want after graduation. If they are not sure where they would like to end up, they should visit Career Services to do some career exploration.
Please be aware that there are many resources available for students encountering difficulties. Please talk with your son/daughter in regards to results of tests, assignments, exams, etc. to help determine if he/she is having academic problems. Academic Advisors are available in all Faculties/programs to help develop a plan for success for each student. It is always best to seek assistance in a timely way, but students can visit their Academic Advisors at any time throughout their studies. Some students use these services every year to ensure that they are on-track and to discuss options.
Some strategies to managing difficulties might include:
- Changing programs. It is often possible to apply credit for completed courses towards a different program.
- A reduced course load. Keep in mind that students can complete courses in the fall/winter and spring/summer sessions. Please note that there are deadlines for dropping/cancelling courses.
- Discuss performance with the instructors and obtain advice on how performance might be improved.
- Seek assistance from the Centre for Student Development (MUSC B107) which has counsellors available to help you with your academic skills or with more personal matters.
Academic Program Applications
Level I Students Entering Level II
Using MUGSI, all Level I students must electronically advise the University of their program choice(s) for Level II in April/May. This selection process is necessary in order to guarantee that they be considered for admission to the selected program(s). Students should rank their program choice(s) since some programs have limited enrolment.
- Transfers into other programs
The S.O.L.A.R. system cannot accept a program change request from upper-level students. Students must advise their Academic Advisors of their intentions to change programs by the end of April. Eligibility to enter the new programs will be stated on the final grade reports in May so that students can proceed with their fall/winter registration.
- Potential Graduands from a 3-year B.A.
Students registered in their final year of a B.A. program who do NOT want to graduate in June, but who wish to transfer into Level IV of the Honours program instead, must indicate their intention to their Academic Advisor no later than the last day of classes. Decisions regarding eligibility to transfer into Honours programs will be conveyed to students with their final grades available through MUGSI at the end of May.
For students who are considering furthering their education, there are many post-graduate options available. If your student is considering further education, below is an overview of the types of programs to consider:
Graduate School – Masters Programs are generally 1-2 years in length and can be research or course based. Some programs offer field placements in conjunction with your thesis or coursework. The PhD programs are an extension of the masters and will involved more intensive research and can take an additional 4-6 years to complete.
Post-Graduate Certificates – These are shorter programs offered at Colleges or Continuing Education Centres of Universities. The programs are generally ‘career focused’ in that they provide more specific training in particular occupational fields. Visit www.ontariocolleges.ca for researching your options.
Diploma Programs – These tend to be career focused programs that are usually offered through colleges and range from 1 - 3 years in length. Many diploma programs offer co-op options to provide you with the field experience.
Professional Programs – These are career focused programs that provide you with the training required to enter into professions that require licensing or membership in a professional college. They can range in length (1-4 years) and may be at the Bachelor level (ex B.Ed), Masters Level (ex MSW) or Doctoral level (ex DDS). Law school, Medical School, Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Teachers College are all examples of professional schools.
Undergraduate Degrees- You can complete a second degree and depending on the program, the courses from your first degree may be counted towards your second degree. Some programs offer accelerated programs if you already have previous undergraduate training (ex Nursing, Social Work).
Certification – Many professional associations offer certification for recognition in the occupation. Working towards ‘certification’ may be required for some career areas or it may help you gain more knowledge in the field, thereby making you more competitive. Some examples are: Canadian Certified Environmental Practitioner, Occupational Health and Safety Certification.
Reminder of important dates for your calendar
|Mid-Term Recess/Reading Week
||February 15 to February 20, 2010
|Last Day for cancellation of courses without failure by default
||March 5, 2010
|Good Friday (no classes)
||April 2, 2010
||April 8, 2010
||April 10 to April 28, 2010
Looking for something for your student to do during Reading Week?
The February Reading Week break from classes provides students the opportunity to work on their essays and research, or the chance to enjoy a break from school on a ski slope or a warm southern beach. However, many McMaster University students combine learning with travel as they explore some of North America’s most beautiful natural areas with the McMaster University Outdoor Club.
The MAC Outdoor Club is a popular sport club of the Department of Athletics and Recreation that offers students the chance to explore natural areas both around Hamilton and throughout North America. Trips run at varied skill levels from beginner to advance and are designed to provide students the chance to see places of natural interest, while gaining outdoor skills, confidence in their ability and personal growth. Students can further develop their trip experiences by pursuing training in Group Leadership skills with the club’s outdoor trip leaders group who become trained in leadership by McMaster University staff and certified in Outdoor Skills and Wilderness First Aid.
For Reading Week 2010 the Mac Outdoor Club is offering four exciting learning trips for students:
- Algonquin Park Dog Sledding (Feb 14-17) with a focus on Canadian History and sport tradition in a Algonquin park’s internationally famous winter landscape
- Grand Canyon Hiking (Feb 11-21) provides students the opportunity to explore a Natural Wonder of the World from rim to river while learning about the history and geology of the American South West
- Winter Outdoor Camping and Snowshoeing (Feb. 15-18), explore Algonquin Park by traditional snowshoe and wall tent and stove like early settlers and explorers
- Vermont Skiing and Snowboarding(Feb. 14-19); learn ski or snowboard skills in the natural beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains
Students are encouraged to review their Degree Audit on MUGSI to ensure that they have selected all of the courses they need in order to graduate.
The Graduation Information Card is now available online at https://awc.mcmaster.ca/gradcard/. Students are only required to complete one card even if they are completing a combined honours degree; there is no need to complete one for each subject.
If students wish to modify their name as recorded on their university student record (i.e. add second or third names, initials, etc.) please ask your son/daughter to visit the Office of the Registrar in Gilmour Hall 108.
Information regarding Convocation can be viewed at http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/convocation/.
All graduands, whether attending the convocation ceremony or not must complete a Graduation Response Form which will be available later this month at http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/convocation/fees.html.
The modern day university library
If you’ve never set foot in a university library, or just not for a long time, you will be surprised at how much change has taken place in academic libraries since something called the internet came on the scene.
You might think that the university library isn’t as important these days because students can find everything they need with a quick Google search or by reading a short Wikipedia article.
On the contrary, university libraries are incredibly high traffic places, both in person and online. More than ever, the library is the academic heart of campus where learning is going on even after classes are out.
To give you a glimpse into the modern day university library, here are the top five must-know library facts for successful students.
- Instant messaging
Since 2005, McMaster librarians and staff have been chatting with students via instant messaging, providing reference help 11am-9pm during the week and 1pm-5pm on weekends. http://library.mcmaster.ca/justask
- Shushing is out… collaboration is in
Though we still have designated quiet study spaces in the libraries, students can book a group study room through our online booking system. And there are plenty of large open spaces with computers, such as the Mills Learning Commons designed specifically to accommodate those working on collaborative/group projects. http://library.mcmaster.ca/mrbs
- Online subject guides
No matter what their subject, students have a designated liaison librarian who has put together a customized online guide to important academic resources such as journals and databases for their course work. http://library.mcmaster.ca/guides & http://library.mcmaster.ca/contact/liaisons
Students can access over 400,000 electronic books even when they’re off campus simply by searching the library catalogue. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of print books on our shelves to browse through as well, over 2 million in fact! http://library.mcmaster.ca
- No hassle bibliographies
Students can download citations and create bibliographies in the most common academic styles with just a few mouse clicks.
The President’s Award of Excellence in Student Leadership
The President's Award of Excellence in Student Leadership is one of the most prestigious awards presented to deserving students in their graduating year. The award was established in 1993 to recognize students who have demonstrated a commitment to the University's belief in excellence in its student body. Each award will be a President's Student Medal of Excellence and the recipient will have his/her name inscribed on a commemorative plaque displayed permanently in the University Centre.
Nominations can be made by faculty, staff and students. The deadline date for submitting a nomination form is March 5th.
Engaging today’s technology-driven students
Engaging today’s technology-driven students is the starting point for successful learning. The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster understands this and is committed to providing an outstanding teaching and learning experience that will engage all its students.
A high-tech engineering laboratory in the new Engineering and Technology Building perfectly demonstrates this commitment.
Shaped as an ellipse, the lab is one of only four of its type in existence in North America. Modelled after similar facilities at Queen’s University and Rensselaer Polytechnic (Troy, N.Y.), it was designed by Dundas-based Vermeulenhind Architects.
The room has two tiers around its perimeter; the outer ring is slightly raised. Each tier includes passive monitors that provide students with graphics or instructions from the lecturer, and workstations on which students will do their actual labs. The room can accommodate 55 students at a time.
The 28 passive monitors are each shared between two students and, while viewing the display, they face the instructor who is standing in the centre of the room. To work on assignments, students turn round and use their individual workstations. The instructor has full view of all the stations and can easily assess how the lab is progressing, or if a student is struggling.
“In a traditional lab, it is often difficult for the students to see the instructor and for the instructor to get the attention of all students at the same time,” explains Dr. Spencer Smith, Director of Engineering 1. “Those problems won’t exist here.”
The instructor’s podium, at the room’s centre, incorporates high-tech, audio-visual equipment including a Sympodium Interactive Pen Display screen ( by SMART Technologies), a document camera (eliminating the need for transparencies), and a docking station for the instructor’s own laptop. Despite excellent acoustics, the ceiling is dotted with speakers and a wireless microphone is available.
Both a circle and an ellipse focus attention on the central point. However, Douglas Oliver of Vermeulenhind Architects notes that a circular design would take up more area than an ellipse, since a circle’s ratio of perimeter to area is relatively small. A circular room would not have accommodated the same number of students and workstations, he adds. Mr. Oliver explains that the firm incorporated an inventive twist – tilting the room about eight degrees off the perpendicular. As a result, the walls are not straight up and down, but lean slightly – making the room appear much more dynamic.
McMaster has a common Level 1 that all first-year engineering students take. Year 1 students in the engineering design and graphics course and the engineering computation course will have priority access to the lab.
“This lab introduces students to cutting-edge technology,” Dr. Smith says. “It highlights the Faculty’s commitment to providing the best computers and the most up-to-date technology for its students.” This is especially important for Year 1 students, he adds. “We want them to be inspired and challenged by all that engineering offers as a discipline and as a career.”
The unique elliptically shaped computer lab facilitates interaction between teachers and students.
The lab operates on a server-based computing model, whereby the student uses a simplified thin client device in the lab to access a high-performance computer node in a server room located in the basement. This results in a considerable reduction in heat, noise, space requirement, and overall power consumed. These small devices – the IBM CP20 thin client – communicate with the workstation blade servers via a high-speed remote display protocol called PC-over-IP, developed by Teradici of British Columbia. As the thin clients have no moving parts, the lifespan is considerably longer than that of a conventional workstation, typically 9 to 10 years. While the lab’s computer equipment is worth an estimated $500,000, the savings to the University in terms of lower costs of management, power, repair, and replacement over the extended lifespan (versus traditional workstations) will far exceed this estimate.
There are benefits to a server-based computing model from an IT perspective, as well. Michael Curwin, Faculty IT Manager, says that since the operating system is run from the blade server, it is cheaper and quicker to update. Rather than have to install a new OS on dozens of individual computers, it is installed once on the server. The same is true for adding and deleting software programs. “It makes for better course management and equipment maintenance, more efficient use of staff time, and costs less.”
Future modification will create an even more flexible Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) lab, where one blade server will host multiple student virtual desktops. This means labs can be customized by curriculum at a lower cost. Rather than having to provide several labs with dedicated software for specific applications, there could be one lab with individual servers loaded with specialized software that can be accessed by any number of users.
”VDI is gaining momentum as an efficient and effective way to offer computational resources,” says Dr. Smith. “This is the technology that many of our engineering students will likely use in their future workplaces.”
The IBM BladeCenter HC10 workstation blade servers, thin clients, and monitors were all installed and configured by BlueRange Technology of Oakville, Ontario. As an IBM and VMware business partner and full-service systems integrator, BlueRange provided the complete solution from consultation to installation with its local presence providing on-site systems engineering, training, and hands-on experience.
“We are proud to have been a part of this project,” says BlueRange VP Donn Bullock. “Leveraging our expertise and investment, it gave us the opportunity to contribute to the community as well as work with a leader in education. McMaster University is a phenomenal organization. It understands the needs of students, and it has the drive and commitment to provide the cutting-edge technology that engineering students require.”
An innovative lab, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to excellence in student learning … Mac Engineering takes its students into the future – today.
What’s New on Campus?
The new Engineering Technology building opened at McMaster on October 23, 2009.
The five-story, 125,000-square-foot, glass-covered building represents a sustainable, high-tech future, and its facilities and layout encourage interaction among students and professors. The $48-million building houses more than 2,000 students, professors, researchers and staff. It features state-of-the art learning and research facilities, sustainability systems, and novel architectural design. The building is home to the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Partnership, the first-year Engineering program, the McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering, the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice, a new Biointerfaces Institute, and the Centre for Research in Micro- and Nano-Systems.
Sustainability features of the new building include: rain water harvesting for wastewater flushing and landscape irrigation; occupancy and automated photo sensor controlled lighting; high recycled content in primary materials; inclusion of local slag to reduce cement content in structural and landscaping concrete; dual duct HVAC system that separates ventilation from space heating and cooling functions, coupled with heat recovery for exhaust air; and integration of mechanical systems with the building envelope and structure, incorporating the thermal mass of the structure as a heat sink.
These features contribute to the building-as-a-learning-tool design. Structural and mechanical elements throughout the building have been left open to allow students to view its construction and operation.
Of note are two elliptical classrooms on the building’s basement and main floors. These rooms are contained within a unique architectural feature of the building: a three-story, funnel-shaped tower on the building’s west facade.
The elliptical classroom is one of only a few in North America. Its shape facilitates interaction between teacher and students, and among students. The lab on the main floor will be used for teaching engineering design and graphics, and engineering computation. The outer ring of student seats is raised to allow the teacher to see and be seen by all. The lab contains 55 computer work stations and 28 instruction monitors displaying a video signal from the instructor. The video signal can display slides, images from a document camera, or images drawn with a special pen. Instructors are able to project directly on the students’ displays for demonstration purposes. The use of a client-server model and thin-client technology makes the system more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.
Several artistic pieces will also be featured in the building, each with an engineering theme. These include:
- Chronos Clock (north entrance) – created by a team of four engineering students and two arts students as a final-year engineering project, this five-foot diameter clock is representative of the solar system and tells time by reading circles within circles.
- Bearings Hologram Series (southeast entrance) – created by artist Stacey Spiegel, the four hologram images represent now-historical devices used to measure and articulate phenomena – camera, telescope, theodolite, sextant.
- Living Legacy Showcase (west wall of main hall) – features 50 years of Faculty collectibles, memorabilia and keepsakes donated by alumni and friends.
- A History of Canadian Engineering (east wall of main hall) – this painting was commissioned by the Kipling Warden’s of Hamilton illustrating many of this country’s engineering achievements.
Photo by Mike Lalich
Chronos Clock – Hanging above the north entrance of the building is the Chronos Clock, a unique time piece created by a team of four engineering students and two arts students for their final year project. The time is read by observing the position of two rings in relation to their position to the largest outer ring, five feet in diameter. The clock is made from machined aluminum and steel. Much of the material and workmanship required to make the clock was contributed by local companies and individuals.
Photo by Eric Harrison, Creative Trade-Offs
Bearings Hologram Series – Hanging above the foyer of the south-east entrance of the building are four holograms. The series, titled Bearings, was created by artist Stacey Spiegel to represent now-historical devices that have been used to measure and articulate phenomena. The images selected each have a Canadian connection. Images include: camera, telescope, theodolite, and sextant. The frames for each image are given a different geometric shape as a sign of the theoretical constructs of science and knowledge. The holograms have also been displayed in the Toronto Eaton Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Photo by Dave Mammoliti
The History of Canadian Engineering – This painting hanging on the east wall of the main hallway was commissioned and donated by the Wardens of Kipling Camp 13 in Hamilton. The Corporation of the Seven Wardens is best known for administering the Iron Ring ceremony. The artist is Brett Hamilton and the medium is oil on canvas. The painting illustrates many of Canada’s engineering achievements.
Living Legacy Showcase – Displayed in a showcase on the west wall of the main hallway are more than 100 Faculty of Engineering mementos and keepsakes donated by alumni, faculty and staff. As the name Living Legacy suggests, the collection will continue to grow as future generations donate items that hold significance to them while involved with the Faculty of Engineering. The Living Legacy Showcase is an initiative of The Young Engineering Alumni Advisory Committee undertaken to commemorate the Faculty of Engineering’s 50th anniversary in 2008.
Storm Emergency Policy and Procedures
The University will “close” because of severe winter weather when normal operation would pose a danger to students, staff and faculty (including Mohawk students at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences) while on campus or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes.
When the University is “closed”:
- classes are not held
- meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled
- all areas and operations not defined as “essential” are closed
- examinations are cancelled and rescheduled
- deadlines for student assignments and other submissions due on a “closed” day are postponed until the same hour on the next academic day on which the University is not “closed”
- deadlines for job applications and other employment requirements are postponed to the same time on the next business day on which the University is not “closed”
To determine whether the University is closed check the McMaster homepage, Daily News or check for announcements concerning closings on:
- OLDIES 1150 am/K LITE 102.9 fm
- CHAM 820 am
- CHML 900 am/Y108 107.9 fm
- CFMU 93.3 fm
- WAVE 94.7 fm
- CFMU 93.3 fm
Read the full
Storm Emergency Policy and Procedures.
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