Fall 2019 issue

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newsletter for faculty and staff | fall 2019

MFTMAD (My First Three Months As Dean)

» Sheila Ager, Dean of Arts

Here it is, the 1st of October, and I’m contemplating my accomplishments in the quarter-year that I’ve spent in the Dean’s Office. They are many. I’ve now seen the inside of the President’s Boardroom; I’ve learned that UW has something called “Global Entrepreneurship and Disruptive Innovation” (although you’ll never find it by searching for that term); I have new BFF’s in the most unexpected places; I found out (after only two months) that we have a fridge and a microwave in the Dean’s copy room; I’ve constructed an Ernie costume out of duct tape, a cheap T-shirt, black felt, and fake fur, so that I can join the rest of the Deans in dressing up as a Sesame Street character for October Senate; and I’ve decided that I’m going to take a serious look at the possibility of cloning myself.

What else have I discovered? That students in Arts do the most amazing things.

I’ve learned that our students courageously take on co-op adventures in places as far-flung as Hong Kong, Tanzania, Switzerland, Australia, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, and Dubai; that they care passionately about the future of the planet, as they showed in the Global Climate Strike; and that they can make biodegradable plastic out of seaweed (Virtuous Waste). As for our staff and faculty, I’ve seen that they genuinely care about this place and its people, especially our students. A special shout-out to the Arts Undergraduate Office for all its hard work in recruiting this year’s incoming class of 1563 newcomers, who can be proud that they’ve joined a Faculty of Arts with the highest entry average in Ontario.

Another shout-out to all the staff and faculty who participated in welcoming all those new students, and in continuing to support them as they adjust to university life. And for taking part in next year’s recruitment cycle by attending the Ontario Universities Fair (and being willing to wear orange T-shirts)!

There are some upcoming events this fall that I’d like to encourage you all to join in. Saturday, October 26, is Arts Convocation (10 a.m.): we’ll be conferring honorary degrees on Stephanie and Joe Mancini, the founders of The Working Centre; honouring Distinguished Professors Emeriti Erik Woody and Derek Besner, and Honorary Member of the University Ginny Dybenko; and presenting Alumni Achievement Awards to Dianne Carmichael and Marc Hall.

Then we have Thrive Week (November 4-8), which will feature a series of events and activities focused on building positive mental health for all members of the UW community.

And don’t miss the Theatre and Performance program’s production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, November 13 -16, and our next event in the Indigenous Speakers Series – Songs in the Key of Cree– on November 19!

My chief priority this year is the development of a new strategic plan for the Faculty of Arts. This is an exercise that will be collaborative, and I’ll be relying on all of you for your help with this extremely important project as we confront our challenges and embrace our opportunities. Your ideas and thoughts on the Faculty’s direction are most welcome.

As I look forward to the coming years in my role as a member of a Faculty I truly treasure, I find myself drawing inspiration from Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians, published the day he died (22 August 2011):

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we will change the world.”

Sheila Ager in her office

Sheila Ager in her new Dean digs

Welcome to our newest faculty and staff members

Here we are again! It's become a Fall tradition to welcome and introduce the faculty and staff who joined Arts over the past year. 

Arts Undergraduate Office

Martin Cooke | Associate Dean, Undergraduate Students | is an associate professor based in Sociology and Legal Studies whose research focuses on population health, social inequality and the life course. He is jointly appointed in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, and cross appointed to the School of Pharmacy.

Michaela Tatu | Administrative Manager | is an Arts alumna who has spent the past decade exploring several areas of the academic admin world, and now manages many aspects of operations in the AUO.

School of Accounting and Finance

Alec Cram | Assistant Professor |was employed at Deloitte in Toronto before advancing his academic career. His research has been published in top journals in the field of information systems with a clear focus on Information Systems development and managing change. He is developing the School’s initiatives in Technology, Analytics and FinTech for business professionals.

Elizabeth Demers | Professor | has published in The Review of Accounting Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Accounting Research, and Contemporary Accounting Research. She is the current editor of the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting. She received the Tsinghua-INSTEAD EMBA Program Teaching Award.

Usman Hayat | Financial Research and Teaching Lab Manager

Mina Ly | Course Management Coordinator

Helen Mahy | Program Office Assistant

Taylor Trottier-Scully | Coordinator, Experiential learning Initiatives and the CPMRE Coordinator

Communication Arts

Aynur Kadir | Assistant Professor | focuses on the theories and practices of design and the study of interactive multimedia. She uses participatory design practices to create and curate ethnographic media art with the aim of using technology to produce greater social justice. She teaches hands-on digital arts courses that focus on using digital media technology for project-based learning.

Dean of Arts Office

Hamid Durrani | Global Engagement Seminar Program Coordinator | recently graduated with an MA in Political Science (thesis based) from the University of Waterloo. During his studies, as part of Waterloo’s Co-operative program, Durrani served for one year with the Government of Alberta at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as a Research Associate on a $3.1 billion Energy Diversification Program.

Jen McCaig | Arts Advancement Coordinator | assists the Arts Advancement team with administration and events. She has 15 years administrative and executive assistant experience, and her previous life included working in live theatre (on land and at sea), and movie/television costuming in Vancouver.

Andy MacKenzie | Operations Manager |

Colin MacLeod | Interim Associate Dean, Research | is a full professor in Psychology whose research examines cognition, attention, learning, and memory. He recently completed a long term as the department’s chair. Ask Prof. MacLeod about the Production Effect.

Phoebe Wong |Senior Alumni Engagement Officer |


Derek Stacey |Assistant Professor | has research and teaching expertise in macroeconomics. He has studied the effect of changed regulations on housing and real estate markets, and he has extensive teaching experience in macroeconomics and financial economics and fills critical teaching needs in the department at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Fine Arts

Logan MacDonald | Assistant Professor | is an Indigenous artist of Mi’kmaq heritage who maintains a non-commercial installation and research-based artistic and curatorial practice. His work seeks to decolonize visual culture, specifically looking at Indigenous authored imagery in order to reconfigure core knowledge of visual comprehension. He will be nominated as a Tier II CRC in Indigenous Art.

Timothy Walker | Digital Technician

French Studies

Nicolas Hebbincuys | Assistant Professor | conducts research on 17th-Century French Literature, premodern Accounts of Travel, and the work of the lawyer, traveller, historian and poet Marc Lescarbot (c. 1570–1641). He is actively involved in Second Language (FSL) pedagogy initiatives, and online and interactive teaching projects.

Germanic and Slavic Studies

Zoran Maric | Assistant Professor | is an expert in film and media studies with a focus on post-Yugoslav cinema and Croatian studies. He teaches language and culture courses, is redeveloping online courses, and rejuvenating Croatian Studies supported by the Croatian Language and Culture Initiative endowment fund.


Katherine Bruce-Lockhart | Assistant Professor | examines the postcolonial afterlives of the prison, with a particular focus on the African continent. Her forthcoming book is entitled Carceral Modernities: Prison Officers, Professionalism, and the Postcolonial State in Uganda. At Waterloo, she works to enhance students’ experiential learning in wider communities, particularly with the Walls to Bridges program.


Ashton Prior | Undergraduate Coordinator, Philosophy and Gender and Social Justice | recently completed Honours BA in Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication as well as Philosophy at Waterloo. Currently working on, and hoping to publish, essays within the realms of game studies and philosophy. Personal interest in art, music, and literature

Jennifer Saul | Professor | works on topics in Philosophy of Language, Feminism, Philosophy of Race, and Philosophy of Psychology. Her books include Lying, Misleading and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics. She is the Waterloo Chair in Social and Political Philosophy of Language.

Political Science

Alana Cattapan | Assistant Professor | examines the social construction of gender and stakeholder engagement in politics and policy making in Canada. She is currently investigating the sociopolitical impacts of the concept of “women of childbearing age” as a demographic category in public health policy and in biomedical research. She will be nominated as a Tier II CRC in Gender and Politics.

Nena Gvozdenovic | Master of Public Service Program Assistant |


Richard Chen | IT Support |

Jen Hillen | Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC) |

Pamela Neath | Administrative Assistant, Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC) | is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, with over 18 years’ experience in the Childcare field.  She has held many positions over the years such as a Classroom Teacher, Centre Supervisor and Business Owner.

Sociology and Legal Studies

Cyntia Brătan | Undergraduate Advisor & Coordinator| has more than nine years of diverse experience working in the higher education environment. She is knowledgeable in graduate and undergraduate affairs and admissions and has recently completed a year of international recruitment. Cyntia is passionate about empowering students and does not shy away from advocating for them when necessary.

Adam Molnar | Assistant Professor | is an expert in the socio-legal implications of technology for policing, security, surveillance, and privacy. He is a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, the Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, the Australian Privacy Foundation, and visiting professor in the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Sarah Turnbull | Assistant Professor | is an expert in the areas of immigration detention and deportation, border criminology, foreign national prisoners, and race and gender. She has additional expertise in the field of corrections and is the author of the 2016 book, Parole in Canada: Gender and Diversity in the Federal System.

people gathered and talking in clusters in art gallery

Message from the Arts Staff Advisory Council (ASAC)

It has been a great few months for the ASAC! We’ve recently put out a call for nominations, and are excited to grow our numbers and take on the rest of the Fall term.

Over the summer, the Social and Outreach Committee organized the annual Arts Staff BBQ. It was a gorgeous day, with a wonderful spread of food provided by Catering & Event Services. The committee also hosted a pick your own strawberry event at Herrle’s Country Farm Market. Picking strawberries first thing in the morning allowed staff a few extra mindful moments before starting their busy days!

Our first event of the Fall term was held on October 9. We had our traditional coffee break, but with a twist! We hosted the event in the University of Waterloo Art Gallery in East Campus Hall. The space was lovely, and we were fortunate enough to host the event during the From Skyworld to Cyberspace exhibition.

Looking ahead, the Social and Outreach Committee will be hosting a de-stress with colour lunch hour event, and our annual cookie exchange in December. We hope to see new and familiar faces at our future events!

Learn more about us on the ASAC webpage. We are committed to developing initiatives that directly benefit staff in the Faculty of Arts. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can better serve our community, please let us know -- we can be reached via asac@uwaterloo.ca.

Bill Chesney's long-suffering term as AD ends

Like summer, the era of Bill Chesney as Associate Dean of Arts, Undergraduate Students, effectively ended as August turned to September. Bill served as AD for an almost-record-breaking 12 years. Imagine all the Policy 71 disciplinary meetings. Imagine all the UGAG agendas. Imagine wrangling 'plandardization'! Now imagine and celebrate Bill’s well-earned retirement, just on the horizon after he completes teaching this fall.

In honour of his contributions, we asked a few of Bill’s colleagues (the ones who like him) in Arts and across campus to reflect on their time working with Bill in his role as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Students.

Bill Chesney laughing with another person

From Danielle Jeanneault, former Administrative Manager, AUO, currently Editor, Undergraduate Calendar and Manager, Communications, Office of the Registrar:

Danielle Jeanneault

Bill was a mentor and a friend. Bill and I started working together when he became Associate Dean in 2007. The Arts Undergraduate Office was a very different place at that time: we were in Modern Languages, the Mature Student Office still existed and were located separately, Arts and Business Co-op wasn't in our purview, and recruitment was displaced throughout the building. We moved to PAS a year later which brought the AUO together, giving us a better opportunity to help undergraduate students.

Bill was our fearless leader, shepherding us through several staffing reorganizations and championing new ideas, improving rules and requirements for students - all with the goal of trying to make the student experience better. Then there was the creation of new programs (GBDA!) and departures of a few beloved programs, and then plan standardization. Ah, plan standardization - the project that took over two years from conception to approval (but we did it!) and another year to communicate and implement.

It was always pleasant to see Bill in his true happy place: in the throes of set design. When he needed a break from all the other AD-related work (especially Policy 71) he turned to his drawings and 3D models and the happiness was felt all through the AUO corridor.

From Mario Coniglio, former Associate Vice-President, Academic; Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences:

Mario Coniglio

I first met Bill Chesney in 2007, when I was the Associate Dean of Science, Undergraduate Studies. Bill brought positive energy to the group of Faculty Associate Deans – he was a quick learner of his new portfolio and represented Arts’ interests well while recognizing the importance of also being a strong institutional citizen. Bill proved to be a very supportive colleague to myself as well as the other associate deans around the table, whether the issues concerned deciphering arcane policy language, sensitive student disciplinary matters, or simply workload issues in a portfolio that steadily grew with time. When I stepped into my role as Associate Vice-President, Academic in 2013 until I stepped down in June 2019, Bill continued to bring lots of energy to his role, and I valued the advice and wisdom he brought to the work of campus-wide committees.

From Marlee M. Spafford, Associate Dean of Science, Undergraduate Studies; Professor, School of Optometry and Vision Science:

Marlee Spafford

As an associate dean, Bill is a legend. 12 years, in of itself, is impressive – few have survived or thrived in that role so long. But it is not just the quantity; it’s the quality of his contributions that makes him special. All his work is founded on his commitment to core values that support undergraduate student success and institutional integrity. He was a ‘soloist’ in the AD role until recent years when the Faculty of Arts created two AD roles to attend to what he had somehow managed alone for years. Bill looks for the positive and the fair regarding student issues and policies and he always uncovers the funny and the unique. His artful and dramatic presentation of academic situations never disappoints. He makes me laugh regularly and I’m thankful for that. I witnessed the birth of ‘plan standardization’, made possible by Bill.; He rightly credits the collaborative work of many in the Faculty of Arts and the Registrar’s Office but his vision and personable approach made that collaborative work possible. While my role as an AD means I mostly see the AD part of Bill, I know there is much more. His contributions as a set and costume-designer and scenic artist in professional theatres is impressive and inspiring, yet he remains quite understated about his accomplishments. Bill Chesney is a gem and I am grateful to have worked with him and learned from him.

From Tina Roberts, Director Marketing & Undergraduate Recruitment, Office of the Registrar:

Tina Roberts

Bill Chesney is a remarkable person. I have learned a lot from him as he purposefully worked to transform how the Faculty approached undergraduate recruitment. Bill was also instrumental in being a part of transformative organizational change with the creation of the embedded recruitment specialist and co-ordinator roles.  When working with Bill on the “Originals Wanted” campaign, we had arrived at a creative concept, which we were all pretty excited about. Rather than settle on the concept that was inspiring us in the moment, Bill made this insightful comment – “Let’s imagine that this concept is not an option. What else can we come up with?” This is just one example of how Bill leads and coaches those who worked with him to come up with the best possible solutions and outcomes. Bill, your bright orange shoes will be missed at the Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF), but your role in the creation of our award-winning OUF booth will live on.

From Devon Hutchinson, Academic Advisor, First-year ARBUS and Honours Arts students, AUO:

Devon Hutchinson

Bill was simply a hoot to have in the office. His laughter and jokes and good nature is already sorely missed here. Bill was always a good sport about all of our dress-up days to raise money for our Christmas family charity and on Halloween. Whenever there were treats in the office if you saw a note near them that said, “Please help me help myself” or “I know I shouldn’t be eating this” you always knew it was from Bill. For all his healthy lunches, that man has the biggest sweet tooth I’ve ever come across. I just like him a lot as a person and will miss seeing him smiling and joking in the halls.

Bill: All the weird things

You hired me eight years ago
You’re leaving now and I feel such woe

That time we heard you give a holler
We thought at my kids - I thought they were gonners

But imagine now the Bill we all know
He was just yelling at the falling snow

If we had a competition to see who’s the loudest
Bill would win, emerge the proudest

Devo, Emily, and Andri might be next
But anyone who knows Bill, knows he’s the best

Expletives and stories, Bill always has some
We all know where they come from

Those cheeky kids who cheat and scam
Make Bill ask “just how dumb do you think I am?”

But it’s not “what the f[..]k moments” he’s collecting
It’s all the warm fuzzies he’s writing, recruiting

Regardless of any hard day he’s had
He always managed the crazy at UGAG

Dear Bill, your light and smile we’ll miss
But we’re so glad we had you in our midst

It’s time for you to enjoy the next chapter
But I will desperately miss your laughter

There is one thing we’ll no longer have to do
Race to get the last treat, before you!

Written by Devon Hutchinson on the occasion of Bill's farewell from the AUO.

The life and times of the Pickle Forks (ICYMI recap)

» Elizabeth Rogers, Communication Officer

They're baaack — thanks to the combined effort of Arts staff, the Department of Fine Arts, Plant Operations and the artist (Ron Baird).

In 2015, the sculptures were removed to make way for the Hagey Hall Hub (which arguable offers much more comfortable seating). They've been decorated, climbed and pranked — and their loss even inspired haiku tributes. Even though they've been reimagined as a "multi-tool", they'll always be Pickle Forks to us.

Pickle Forks, this is your life:


Inside Arts is published each term. Comments, ideas, and submissions are always welcome. Please contact Wendy Philpott.

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