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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Independent Studies program closes after 30 years

An Independent Studies banner image.

A message from the Faculty of Arts

After careful review and consultation, the University has decided to phase out Independent Studies (IS). In 1986, Waterloo’s Three-Year General degree university-wide program was renamed Independent Studies. Since 2010/11, when the Honours program was introduced, IS has been housed in Arts. Despite the enthusiastic engagement of its students, faculty, staff, and thesis supervisors from across campus, demand for an IS degree has declined in the past few years.

The IS undergraduate program was distinctive and boasts distinguished alumni. It exemplified many of the attributes that the University of Waterloo has long valued. However, over the past decade or more the University has introduced more programs with features and options that were previously only available via the IS curriculum.

“We can all be proud of how practices pioneered in IS—such as project-based study, interdisciplinarity, and the accommodation of students with disabilities—are now well-supported in conventional degree programs across campus,” said Gordon Stubley, chair of the IS Academic Board and Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.

 “IS has built up a body of expertise on providing a self-directed education that crosses disciplines and is based on fundamental skills in research and academic discipline. The achievements of our alumni speak to the value of the good work that has been done by all involved in the program.”

The IS office officially closed on August 31, 2016. Students currently registered in IS can complete their degrees as planned and will be supported by the Arts Undergraduate Office and the Office of the Registrar.

Over the years, numerous IS thesis supervisors from departments across Waterloo have supported students’ thesis studies and independent course work. Their contributions to the program provided the learning environment for independent scholarship at the undergraduate level, enabling many IS students to thrive and earn their degrees.

The program’s core faculty and staff—administrator Susan Gow, faculty members Bill Abbott and Anne Dagg, as well as IS director Linda Carson—have been vital mentors and teachers to IS students and key drivers of the operation. Along with previous IS directors and the cross-university Academic Board, these individuals all contributed to a positive legacy for the program.

“Independent Studies was a unique program for unique students, and we are grateful to the dedication and advocacy of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” said Dean of Arts Doug Peers. “IS serves as an inspiration for new and existing programs that foster a sense of personal agency in learning here and beyond.”

A week to appreciate postdoctoral fellows

Celebrate with us! Postdoc Appreciation Week images.

“The Postdoctoral Office (part of the Graduate Studies Office) is pleased to announce that the University of Waterloo is one of over 120 institutions across Canada and the United States who will take part in National Postdoc Appreciation Week from September 19 to September 23, 2016.

To show appreciation for University of Waterloo postdocs, the Postdoctoral Office has:

  • Planned several social, professional development, and wellness events throughout Postdoc Appreciation week;
  • Sent postdocs a small gift (a University of Waterloo tote bag) to their on-campus address; and
  • Launched a #UWaterlooPostdoc photo contest

Please encourage postdocs in your department and faculty to visit the Postdoctoral Office website for more information, and to attend Postdoc Appreciation Week events.

Panel discussion goes from Berlin to Kitchener

The bust of Kaiser Wilhelm in Victoria Park circa 1897.

The bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I in Victoria Park in 1905, before its mysterious wartime disappearances. No word on whether or not the bust let out a scream when it was thrown into the lake.

by Lori Straus

Labeling people based on perceived ethnicity is, sadly, nothing new. In fact, this region was the site of an episode of intense prejudice 100 years ago that changed the course of local history. 

A vote to change the name of Berlin, Ontario to Kitchener was the tip of an iceberg of tumultuous times that suddenly found many citizens of that city being labelled traitors or even enemies simply because of their heritage. Add the Great War of 1914 to 1918 to the mix, and the result is a very tense atmosphere whose reputation is still known and discussed today, a century later.

An image of Lord Kitchener.The Kitchener Public Library (KPL) and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) are co-hosting a just such a discussion on the 1916 name change entitled "Von Berlin to Kitchener: Connotations and Cultures" on Thursday, September 15 at the Kitchener Public Library.

The discussion panel, moderated by former Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr, will speak to exactly what fuelled and propelled such a peaceful city into a time of conflict and disarray. You’ll learn about nationalist divides, local stories, and how the bilingual nature of Berlin/Kitchener affected the entire controversy.

Members of the 118th Battalion, recruited in Kitchener, march as children look on.

A group of recruits, presumably from Kitchener's 118th Battalion, march in a field as children look on.

The three panellists for the discussion are Waterloo History professor Geoffrey Hayes, well-known local historian rych mills, and Waterloo German professor Mat Schulze. 

The discussion will take place at the Kitchener Public Library at 85 Queen Street North beginning at 7:00 p.m. Thursday.

In a recent Globe and Mail article on the Berlin/Kitchener name change, journalist John Allemang wrote, “It’s hard to think of a modern comparison that would fit their dilemma when war broke out – imagine an entire city of Westernized third- and fourth-generation Iraqi-Canadians suddenly targeted as Islamic State sympathizers.”

Tuesday's notes

The exterior of the Hagey Hub expansion.

The Hagey Hub is looking pretty good from the outside. The Arts Student Space Expansion project is a multi-level atrium that rises above the former Hagey Hall courtyard as a light, bright space with flexible social and study areas on the upper levels and an open ground floor with food services. I hear the inside looks even better! Thanks to Kirsty Budd for the photo.

The Federation of Students’ service Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) is hosting a second-hand clothing sale from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on September 13 and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on September 14. The sale will take place in the Student Life Centre Great Hall. The University of Waterloo community and visitors are invited to browse through the collection of items, which will include jackets, dresses, and shirts. SCI is hopeful the clothing sale will help people save money and be environmentally friendly by reusing pre-loved items. More information is available online.

Staff and faculty yoga sessions are starting up for the fall term, beginning Friday, September 16 for a 12-week cycle. The sessions will take place from 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. on Fridays. For more information or to sign up, send an email to Sandra Gibson, manager of Health Education, at

It's been many years since the Student Life Centre featured a proper video arcade (and many more years since Feds president Andrew Telegdi had to defend the installation of pinball machines in the Campus Centre in the 70s), but as part of Feds' Welcome Week, a free arcade room is up and running from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day this week. Those space invaders won't destroy themselves, after all. (Fun fact: did you know that the University of Waterloo used to have a collection of pinball machines and arcade games as part of the Elliott Avedon Museum and Archives of Games? The museum's artifacts—more than 5,000 pieces—were transferred to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2010.)

Human Resources is reporting that retiree Betty Simpson died August 15.  Simpson began her ongoing employment at Waterloo in November 1965.  She held the position of Administrative Assistant in Counselling Services prior to retiring in February 1989. Betty is survived by her spouse Cal.

Link of the day

A screenshot of The Monkees TV show title card.

Hey! Hey! 50 years ago, The Monkees debut

When and where

HeForShe Writing Contest, submissions accepted between Monday, September 6 and Friday, October 14.

Feds' Welcome Week, Monday, September 12 to Friday, September 16.

AutoTech Symposium, Tuesday, September 13, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

The Writing Centre presents "Professionalism in your communication: How to talk to your professors," Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

2016 Waterloo Innovation Summit, Wednesday, September 14 to Friday, September 16.

Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology presents Pizza with the Profs, “Space to Earth: How spaceflight research helps with fall prevention,” Wednesday, September 14, 12:00 p.m., Grand River Hospital Freeport Campus.

Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 15, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Jean-François Morin, Department of Chemistry, Université Laval, “Well-Defined Graphene Nanoribbons and Nanographenes from Photochemical Processes: Synthesis and Properties”, Thursday, September 15, 10:30 a.m., C2 361.

Writing Centre presents "STEM lab reports: Improve your lab report writing," Thursday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, "What Hello Barbie Can Tell Us About Behavioural Targeting," Thursday, September 15, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

WaterTalks series: Peter van der Zaag, "Water Storage: Nature-based Solutions for Resilient Communities", Thursday, September 15, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Davis Center, Room 1304.

Celebrate the life of Pino Tenti, Thursday, September 15, 4:00 p.m., Mathematics 3 atrium.

Together: When We Are Engaged - Opening Reception, Thursday, September 15, 4:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Gallery.

Graduate scholarship information session, Thursday, September 15, 5:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents "Von Berlin to Kitchener: Connotations and Cultures, A Discussion Panel", Thursday, September 15, 7:00 p.m., Kitchener Public Library.

Hack The North, Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18.

Doors Open Waterloo Region, Friday, September 16 to Saturday, September 17.

Seminar, “Life is Good: A Journey From Energy Storage To Protein Therapeutics” by Yunfeng Lu, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of California Los Angeles, Friday, September 16, 11:00 a.m., E6 4022.

The Writing Centre presents Literature reviews for grads (Part A): Organizing research, Friday, September 16, 1:00 p.m.

Knowledge Integration seminar, “Applied Knowledge Integration in industry: a case study”, featuring John Vieth, Friday, September 16, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

The Mush Hole Project: site-specific art and performance, Friday, September 16, 6:00 p.m., Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford.

eCon 2016: What's next? Saturday, September 17, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Environment 3.

Postdoc Appreciation Week, Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 23.

The Writing Centre presents Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary, Monday, September 19, 1:00 p.m.

September Senate meeting, Monday, September 19, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

The Writing Centre presents Clarity in Scientific Writing, Tuesday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.

Author event featuring Alexandre Trudeau, "Barbarian Lost," Tuesday, September 20, 2:00 p.m., Renison University College.

CBB Workshop: UWaterloo Intellectual Property Part 2 Case Study, Wednesday, September 21, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 1304.

Noon Hour Concert: Earth Peace, Wednesday, September 21, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

UWRC Book Club featuring House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout, Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

UW Retirees Association Fall Reception, Wednesday, September 21, 3:00 p.m., University Club.

Panel: Stories of Refugee Support and Resettlement, Wednesday, September 21, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 22, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

Feds Clubs and Societies Days, Thursday, September 22, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

The Writing Centre presents Tri-Agency Scholarships (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR), Thursday, September 22, 1:00 p.m.

Conversations on Crisis: A FAQ Panel about Migration, Thursday, September 22, 3:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel room 2202.

Research Talks event featuring Linda Nazar, "New vistas in electrochemical energy storage," Friday, September 23, 12:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Further Education Boot Camp, Saturday, September 24.

13th Annual Traditional Pow Wow, Saturday, September 24, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Park West (bandshell area).

School of Planning’s 2016 Induction Ceremony, Saturday, September 24, 9:30 a.m. (reception in EV3 atrium), ceremony at 11:00 a.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages.

Writing Centre presents Critical Reading and Listening, Monday, September 26, 10:00 a.m.

Public Lecture: How Can We Help Electricity Access Scale-Up Faster? Monday, September 26, 4:00 p.m., CPH 4333.

The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children – and the World, Monday, September 26, 7:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.

The Writing Centre presents STEM lab reports: Improve your lab report writing, Tuesday, September 27, 1:00 p.m.

Violence, Education and Life Seminar Series, "The Root of Violence," Tuesday, September 27, 3:00 p.m., E5 6004.

P4E Career Fair 2016, Wednesday, September 28, 10:00 a.m., Manulife Sportsplex.

Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 29, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

The Writing Centre presents Literature reviews for grads (Part B): Writing it, Friday, September 30, 12:00 p.m.

Dealing with our Darknesses: An Anglican-Muslim Conversation about Transgression, Penitence, and Transformation, Friday, September 30, 7:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.