Fall Break pilot project set for 2016
"In order to facilitate this change, classes will start two days earlier than usual on the Thursday of Orientation Week," says a memo by Vice-President, Academic & Provost Ian Orchard.
"This decision is the latest development in the Fall Break initiative that began in 2014 with the establishment of a Fall Break Task Force, an undergraduate student referendum, and extensive consultation with University stakeholders."
The task force’s report’s recommendations included making a Fall Break two days in length, considering a 3-year trial with annual assessment, and consulting widely to understand the potential obstacles and complications with implementation.
Last month, the University’s Senate formalized the objectives and scope of mid-term breaks, including the February Reading Week.
"Mid-term breaks are intended to act as a pause for students in an academic term, for them to reflect upon and catch up on their term’s work to date and, as necessary, prepare for any upcoming mid-term assignments and assessments," says the provost's memo.
Student success was an important factor in the decision-making process, the provost states, noting that currently 16 out of 20 Ontario universities have a fall term break of varying lengths.
"This break will slightly reduce the time span between the Spring and Fall terms by having classes start on the Thursday after Labour Day," says the memo. "In recognition of this, instructors who teach in both the Spring and Fall terms and who are concerned about the slight reduction in time off between terms should request an early Spring exam time by “pre-slotting” their final exams."
These calendar changes will be annually assessed with a final evaluation after 3 years to decide on whether the Fall Break will continue.
Gairdner Laureate visits campus to talk RNA
2015 Gairdner Laureate Dr. Lynne Maquat will be giving a research talk on campus today and a public lecture in the evening.
Dr. Maquat and is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics and professor of oncology in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Rochester University in Rochester, New York, USA.
Her research has furthered our understanding of the molecular basis of human disease and provides valuable information to help physicians implement “personalized” or “precision” medicine by treating the disease mutation that is specific to each individual patient.
The afternoon talk, at 3:30 p.m. (EIT, room 3142), will focus on nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, which causes one-third of inherited disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, and one-third of acquired diseases, including many forms of cancer.
The evening public lecture will highlight her scientific journey and possible careers in the field of science. Registration is required for this lecture.
Maquat is one of this year's recipients of the Gairdner International Award, regarded as Canada's most prestigious medical research prize. As part of the Gairdner's mandate to communicate the work of medical researchers to others, Gairdner awardees visit universities across Canada to provide lectures on their areas of expertise.
This week, a talk on Matrons and Madams
There's still time to register for an on-campus author event featuring Her Excellency Mrs. Sharon Johnston, who will read excerpts from her first work of fiction Matron and Madams on Friday, Oct. 30 at 3:00 p.m. in Federation Hall.
Johnston's novel spans the decade following the Great War, detailing the lives of two women as they struggle to provide care to wounded soldiers and heal from the effects of the war, all the while being in the thick of a growing public health issue in the town of Lethbridge, Alberta.
"Clara Durling, a British widow of the First World War, arrives in Canada as the new superintendent of the Lethbridge Hospital just as wounded soldiers stream home. Lily Parsons is a young, widowed schoolteacher from Nova Scotia who ends up in the same city, managing a brothel called The Last Post."
"Set against the backdrop of love, union organizers, amorous bachelors, gamblers, drinkers, and prostitutes, the lives of these two women unexpectedly intertwine when Clara, in the heat of local politics and responding to the highest incidence of venereal disease in the province, establishes the first venereal disease clinic in the province, with Lily’s help. In this sprawling saga, Lily and Clara must confront the city’s conservative thinkers to bring help and compassion to wounded veterans."
A book signing will follow the event; copies will be on sale at the venue.
New digs for the Board of Governors; other notes
The University's Board of Governors has its final meeting of 2015 today, and it will be the first time the body meets in its new surroundings - Room 3407 of the Needles Hall expansion.
Occupying a corner of the new Needles Hall building overlooking the Ring Road, the Board and Senate Room has high ceilings, increased space for both representatives and members of the public, and, in contrast to NH 3001, clear sightlines unmarred by structural supports in the centre of the room. It's really quite nice.
Agenda items for the Board's meeting include:
- A motion to approve a change in the name of the Department of Environment and Resource Studies to the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability effective January 2016;
- Motions to approve increases to the Graduate Student Association compulsory and GSA-administered fees;
- A report on the progress and outcomes of the Strategic Plan for 2015;
- A discussion on risk identification and mitigation;
- A report on international ranking performance;
- A presentation on Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA) by Acting Executive Director Rocco Fondacaro;
- A motion to reappoint Ernst & Young as the University's external auditors for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2016;
- A motion to award a price contract for $65,200,000 plus HST to EllisDon Corporation for the construction of the Engineering 7 building;
- A motion to approve revisions to the University's endowment fund investment guidelines; and
- A motion to approve the January 1, 2015 version of the University of Waterloo Pension Plan Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (the "SIPP").
“The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, a Federation of Students’ service, is hosting “Wear Your Purple” on October 28, 2015," writes the Federation of Students' Jacqueline Martinz. "The special event is a part of Coming Out Week for the centre, and is meant to be an opportunity for people to show support for the LGBTQ community. Staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to don the colour and join in the effort! Coming Out Week is from October 26-30. More information about the events is available online.”
UW Fitness, located in the Manulife Wellness Centre and Lyle Hallman Institute for Health Promotion, offers small group personal training sessions for UW staff and faculty (these sessions are not open to students). These twice-per-week exercise sessions include cardiovascular exercise, resistance/weight training, and flexibility exercises under the certified exercise physiologist in a private and encouraging environment right here on campus. To sign up for a 7 week session or for more information, please visit the UW Fitness website. You can also contact UW Fitness by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling extension 36841. There are limited spaces available so sign up soon if you are interested.
Finally, here's a video that captures the spirit of last week's Convocation ceremony: