Friday, June 26, 2015

From spring to summer, a season of celebration

Feridun Hamdullahpur.This month has been a busy and exciting one for both the University and for me. There has been so much to celebrate and there is much more to come.

At the beginning of the month we held our quarterly Board of Governors meeting where I gladly shared many notable achievements that Waterloo staff, faculty and students have accomplished. Highlights include the Co-op Students of the Year and the three sustainability leaders from Waterloo who have been named to the annual Corporate Knights Top 30 under 30 List. I invite you to read over the agenda for my complete report and those of my colleagues.

The annual Keystone Picnic, held on June 5, continues to be a great celebration of the Waterloo family. I was happy to serve Waterloo faculty, staff and retirees their lunch. It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing your stories. Congratulations to the 2015 Keystone Picnic Committee on a fantastic event.

From June 9 to 13 the community celebrated University of Waterloo’s Spring 2015 Convocation. As degrees were conferred upon 4,737 undergraduate and 980 graduate students I had the opportunity to talk to some of Waterloo’s newest alumni as they crossed the stage. When they were asked the question “What’s next?” the responses I got were inspiring. It makes me proud to hear that graduates of Waterloo want to change the world, make it a better place, and do it in an innovative and creative way that is uniquely theirs. Relive the celebration by reading the Storify and checking out the Twitter hashtag #UWaterlooGrad.

While Convocation speaks to students who are finished their Waterloo degree we also celebrated the future for students on our campus. Earlier this week there was an exciting moment for Waterloo Housing and Residences as we broke ground for the new student residence adjacent to UW Place.

The new residence’s innovative blueprints speak to the excellent student experience we provide our Waterloo Warriors, our optimism for the future of this institution and for our ability to ensure that bright future for our students. Providing an excellent residence experience is key to ensuring the best overall experience for our students.

We’ve made our commitment to the student experience essential to our University’s operations through the Strategic Plan we rolled out almost two years ago.

Providing a vibrant student experience is one of our eight core priorities, along with co-operative education, research and academic excellence, and a number of additional high-level strengths.

I had the opportunity to amplify our University’s strengths as I participated in two partnership events this month. On June 15 I traveled to Israel to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, the country’s leading innovation university, for the establishment of a collaborative quantum communications satellite project.

While in the United Kingdom on June 18 I signed a MOU with King’s College London that will launch collaborations on science and technology projects, which will help build our institutional relationship with an institution strong in STEM disciplines.

These latest agreements build on a string of high-value, high-profile partnerships that are helping establish Waterloo as one of the most internationalized universities in Canada, a key strategic plan goal.

As spring gives way to summer, we should all take the opportunity to celebrate Canada’s most important day, its birthday, on Wednesday, July 1. I’m delighted to invite you to the 31st annual University of Waterloo – Federation of Students Canada Day Celebration starting at 4:00 p.m. at Columbia Lake Field. The celebration promises to be our biggest ever, with an expected attendance topping 60,000, and featuring live musical performances on the OpenText Stage, children’s activities and entertainment on the TVOKids Stage, a terrific food fair, and of course, our outstanding fireworks display at 10:00 p.m.

Canada Day is our best opportunity to say thank you to our friends and partners right across Waterloo Region, so help us give back to our community by bringing your families, friends and neighbours out to the best Canada Day celebration in town. Don’t forget to wear your red and white or your black and gold as we celebrate together.

I wish you all the best this summer.

Feridun Hamdullahpur

President and Vice-Chancellor

Accessible performance brings Sound of Music to life for low-vision community

A scene from The Sound of Music at Stratford.

This is the latest in a series of #UWCommunity stories that feature Waterloo in the community.

This past Sunday, June 21, a mixture of staff and faculty from the University of Waterloo’s Low Vision Clinic accompanied over 20 members of our community to the Stratford Festival for an accessible, live audio described performance of The Sound of Music.

Low Vision Clinic guests at the Stratford Festival.One of North America’s longest running arts festivals, the Stratford Festival is committed to providing enhancements to their programming, including facilities and services that give patrons with disabilities the resources they need to have a memorable theatre experience. For theatre lovers with visual impairments, the festival offers live audio described performances designed to enhance the experience for patrons. A narrator gives details of costumes, sets, and key onstage action delivered to the theatre-goer through a discrete headset. The description service supplements the spoken dialogue happening on stage, without interfering with it, as the narrator describes actions that people might otherwise miss.

The University of Waterloo’s Low Vision Clinic embraced this outstanding service, creating a new opportunity for theatre lovers with visual impairments in Waterloo Region by adding a sense of community through group tickets and seating, transportation, and lunch, as well as a guest speaker from Accessible Media Inc. who talked about described audio and video available to support participants’ daily lives at home

Low Vision Therapist at the University of Waterloo, Heidi Panchaud, believes the university has a role to play in helping our aging community members find the right services:

“It’s about making people aware of resources. We need to help give them options. The generation that’s aging now is different from before. They’re tech savvy and they’re active.”

The low vision community is a growing, underserved population, and with the baby boomers aging, retiring, and developing vision-related concerns, these opportunities are timely and can give those living with visual impairments in our community a sense of independence and the ability to continue their favorite hobbies.

Melinda Szilva, Low Vision Rehabilitation Counsellor acknowledges how these unique performances can foster a sense of inclusion and community:

“Making plays accessible is about inclusion and helping people continue an activity that they may have long enjoyed with spouses, family, kids, and friends. Without descriptive audio, a performance like this could be an isolating experience. They may stop going. We wanted to help reclaim that experience.”

The University of Waterloo Low Vision Clinic is raising awareness of the various services and assistive devices (many that are customized) that are offered through Canada’s only English speaking Optometry School. The clinic is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services.

Panchaud and Szilva say that the Low Vision Clinic takes an innovative and holistic approach to low vision rehabilitation:

“By offering this event we were trying to bring patients joy through enabling social connections and shared experiences.”

Sit-Stand Workstation workshop and other notes

A sit-stand workstation in action.

Procurement and Contract Services is hosting a demonstration of Ergotron sit-stand workstations on Monday, June 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the DC 1301 fishbowl.

The workstations convert a standard desk into a height-adjustable standing work environment. 

A hawk perches on the balcony at EIT.Michelle Banic of Institutional Analysis and Planning (IAP) snapped this photo of a watchful hawk on the EIT balcony yesterday morning.

Melloul-Blamey Construction is wasting no time in getting down to business with construction on the new residence adjacent to UW Place and nothing says construction season like the closure of a roadway. In this case, site service work will close the roadway between Eby Hall and Wilmot Court for approximately 3 weeks on or about Monday, July 6. Access will be maintained at the University Avenue end of the roadway. 

What's that? Eby Hall and Wilmot Court not ringing a bell? They are two of the buildings that make up the UW Place residences, along with Beck Hall, Wellesley, Waterloo and Woolwich Courts.

Human Resources is reporting that retiree Mary Freiheit died June 12. Mary began working at the University of Waterloo in February 1987, holding the position of Food Services Assistant in Food Services before retiring in July 2004. She is survived by her husband, Erwin.


Link of the day

40 years of the Knights Who Say Ni

When and where

Bike Month Bike Challenge – Win cool prizes and conquer the leaderboard. Monday, June 1 to Tuesday,  June 30, all campuses.  

Ontario Academic Advising Professionals (OAAP) One-Day Conference, Friday, June 26, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Information session on the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, Friday, June 26, 12:00 p.m. Phone-in webinar.

Retirement celebration for Terry Stewart, Friday, June 26, 3:00 p.m., University Club.

Procurement & Contract Services presents a Sit-Stand Workstation demonstration, Monday, June 29, 10:00 a.m., DC 1301.

Petition to the Registrar to Register Late form required to become fees arranged, Tuesday, June 30.

Make Networking Count, Tuesday, June 30, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Work Search Strategies, Tuesday, June 30, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Canada Day Holiday, Wednesday, July 1, most campus services and buildings closed.

EIT presents Dinosaur Tour, Wednesday, July 1, 1:00 p.m., Earth Sciences Museum.

Canada Day Celebration, Wednesday, July 1, 4:00 p.m., Columbia Lake fields.

Centre for Career Action presents It's All About Your Skills, Thursday, July 2, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Centre for Career Action presents Resume Tips: Think Like an Employer, Thursday, July 2, 2:30 p.m., TC 2218.

UW Muslim Students Association presents Fast-A-Thon 2015, Thursday, July 2, 8:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Centre for Career Action presents Academic Work Search, Monday, July 6, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Centre for Career Action presents Successfully Negotiating Job Offers, Monday, July 6, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208. Note: this workshop is geared towards graduating students.

EIT presents Dinosaur Tour, Wednesday, July 8, 1:00 p.m., Earth Sciences Museum.

Centre for Career Action presents Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part I, Tuesday, July 7, 10:30 a.m., TC 1214.

Centre for Career Action presents Non-academic work search and networking, Tuesday, July 7, 2:30 p.m., TC 1208.

The Library presents Tracking Your Citations, Wednesday, July 8, 10:00 a.m., LIB 329.

Centre for Career Action presents Are You LinkedIn? Learning the Basics, Wednesday, July 8, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Centre for Career Action presents Success on the Job, Wednesday, July 8, 2:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier – Night 1, Wednesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m., Lazaridis Centre room 0101. 

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 9, 9:00 a.m., SLC lower atrium.

Centre for Career Action presents Career Exploration and Decision-Making, Thursday, July 9, 10:30 a.m., TC 2218.

The Writing Centre presents Preparing to Write an Essay Exam, Thursday, July 9, 1:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions, Thursday, July 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier – Night 2, Thursday, July 9, 7:00 p.m., Lazaridis Centre room 0101.

Drop, Penalty 1 Period ends, Friday, July 10.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period begins, Saturday, July 11.

Centre for Career Action presents Writing CVs and Cover Letters, Monday, July 13, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Mitacs: Foundations of Project Management I, Tuesday July 14, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Tuesday July 14, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., TC 1214.

Careers Beyond Academia, Tuesday July 14, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Mitacs: Foundations of Project Management 1, Wednesday, July 15, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

EIT presents Dinosaur Tour, Wednesday, July 15, 1:00 p.m., Earth Sciences Museum.

Career Interest Assessment (Strong Interest Inventory), Wednesday, July 15, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 1214.

Information Session for Graduating Students, Wednesday, July 15, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., EV-3 1408.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 16, 9:00 a.m., SLC lower atrium.

2nd Annual UWSA Golf Tournament, Thursday, July 16, Foxwood Country Club. Shot gun start 4:00 p.m.

Reminder: phones down for maintenance this weekend

Beginning at 5:00 p.m. tonight, campus telephone equipment will be taken offline and replaced. The maintenance period will last until the afternoon of Sunday, June 28.

As this is a significant upgrade of key telephone infrastructure, there will be times when no phone service is available. While it is expected that there will be partial/intermittent phone service for much of the weekend, once the work commences, there are no guarantees of phone service until the work is completed.

The existing equipment, some of it dating to the late 1990s, is becoming difficult to maintain and support and all phones on campus rely on service from one physical location. The new equipment will ensure that Waterloo is on a supported path with Avaya, the phone system vendor, and will reduce the dependency on the main campus telephone room by providing fully redundant services for IP-based phones (traditional/digital phones still rely on copper wiring that terminates in the main telephone room).

Project updates, including confirmation of completion of work, will be posted on the IST Notice Board.

Anyone with questions for concerns should contact the IST Service Desk at or by calling extension 44357.

PhD Oral Defences

Computer Science. Fathiyeh Faghihekorasani, "Automated Synthesis of Timed and Distributed Fault-Tolerant Systems." Supervisors, Borzoo Bonakdarpour, Krzysztof Czarnecki. On display in the Mathematics graduate office, MC 5204. Oral defence Wednesday, July 15, 10:00 a.m., DC 2314.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering. Daniele Dovizio, "Investigation of Conditional Source-Term Estimation Approach for Turbulent Partially Premixed Combustion Modelling." Supervisor, Cecile Devaud. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3003. Oral defence Friday, July 17, 1:00 p.m., E3 4117.

Computer Science. Adam Fourney, "Web Search, Web Tutorials & Software Applications: Characterizing and Supporting the Coordinated Use of Online Resources for Performing Work in Feature-Rich Software." Supervisor, Michael Terry. Thesis available from MGO - via Sendit. Oral defence Tuesday, July 21, 9:30 a.m., DC 1331.

Pure Mathematics. Alejandra Colmenares, "Semistable rank 2 co-Higgs bundles over Hirzebruch surfaces." Supervisor Ruxandra Moraru. Thesis available from MGO - via Sendit. Oral defence Tuesday, July 21, 1:00 p.m., MC 5479.