Volume 93, Issue 62

Thursday, Janurary 20, 2000


Voters to log on for election

Ottawa prof gets an "F" on exam question

UWOFA continues negotiating

Job fair reflects Ontario's need for teachers

PeopleSoft donation upgrades education

Province cracks down on welfare


Caught on campus


PeopleSoft donation upgrades education

By Leena Kamat
Gazette Staff

Computer programs used in the workplace will now be brought to the classroom at Western, thanks to a recent software donation.

PeopleSoft Canada, a major supplier of administrative software in North America, has donated academic-use licences for PeopleTools Development software, said Stephen Watt, chair of Western's department of computer science.

The donation, worth $800,000, was announced earlier this week, said Peter Smith, vice-president of consulting for PeopleSoft Canada.

Smith explained the donation is part of the company's project, titled PeopleSoft on Campus, which contributed $4.3 million (US) to post-secondary institutions.

"I think that it will hopefully drive more people into the tech field," Smith said, adding gifts such as these provide students with the tools they will need after graduation.

"[This] is a payback to universities for their confidence in using our software," Smith said.

Watt said Western's administration uses PeopleSoft for business purposes but these new licences are slotted for teaching purposes.

As a result of this private donation, the provincial government's Access to Opportunities Program has provided matching funds worth up to $800,000, Watt added.

Dave Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the funding was part of a larger $228 million fund set out to double the number of students in the computer science and software engineering fields.

Ross explained the high-tech industry has commented on the shortage of qualified graduates in these fields. The government's program hopes to see this shortage addressed, Ross said.

"This is enough to equip several laboratories," Watt said, adding as many as 2,000 Western students enrolled in the computer science 031 course will be able to use the program after it is installed later this semester. The software will later be introduced to another computer course, he said.

"I think [PeopleSoft is] trying to give a message [that] their software is a versatile, useful tool that can be used in various situations," Watt said. "This software models the kind of processes seen in business. This gives our students [the opportunity] to learn 'enterprise software.'"

Ted Garrard, Western's VP-external, said the donation and the funding would be very helpful to the programs of computer science and software engineering.

"We're delighted anytime we can bring new resources into the university," he said.

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