Independent Studies program closes after 30 years
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
“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
Panel discussion goes from Berlin to Kitchener
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.
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.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.