More units achieve Excellence Canada's silver certification
Human Resources (HR), Organizational and Human Development (OHD), and the Provost’s Office have attained Silver certification in Excellence Canada's Excellence, Innovation and Wellness (EIW) program. To successfully integrate the EIW Standard and achieve certification, employees in each area assessed their department against the EIW Standard, identified strengths and areas of opportunity, closed critical gaps, prepared a written application to document their achievements against the Standard, and participated in onsite verifications by Excellence Canada.
HR, OHD, and the Provost’s Office join four other areas on campus that have also achieved certification – the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (Bronze), the Faculty of Mathematics (Bronze), the Library (Bronze), and the Office of the President (Silver). Other areas with Excellence Canada efforts currently underway include IST (Bronze) and the Library (Silver). Altogether, 23 per cent of Waterloo’s employees have been involved in Excellence Canada activities to date and plans are in development to increase employee participation significantly in 2017.
Integrating the EIW Standard across the University is a key objective under the Strategic Plan’s Robust Employer-Employee Relationship theme. The EIW Standard focuses on six key areas: Leadership and Governance, Strategy and Planning, Service Excellence, People Engagement, Process and Project Management, and Partners and Suppliers. It challenges units to consider their performance in these areas and provides a framework for continuous improvement that emphasizes innovation, wellness, social responsibility, leadership involvement, and a commitment to good governance, among other things. For more information on this initiative, see the Excellence Canada at Waterloo website.
Waterloo, HKUST expand dual PhD agreement
The University of Waterloo and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), have signed an agreement that will allow some doctoral students from a variety of disciplines to earn a dual PhD from both institutions.
Feridun Hamdullahpur and Tony F. Chan, president of HKUST, signed an agreement for a cotutelle, a dual doctoral degree program offered by two institutions. Selected students from any Faculty will study under the guidance of scholars from both universities, spending close to equal time in both locations. This agreement broadens the two universities’ existing partnership on a dual engineering PhD degree, signed last year.
“Waterloo is pleased to build on our excellent relationship with HKUST, one of the world’s leading universities,” said President Hamdullahpur. “Doctoral students from a variety of disciplines will now have an exceptional opportunity to create academic and research collaborations with leading experts in their fields and benefit from the culture of innovation at both universities.”
The students must meet all of the requirements of both institutions, but only prepare one doctoral thesis and perform one thesis defense. Upon successful completion of their program, students will receive a degree from each institution indicating it was performed in cotutelle.
Professor Chan said HKUST is happy to deepen its collaboration on doctoral education with the University of Waterloo. “Building on our existing strategic dual engineering PhD partnership, this extended collaboration will further enhance the exposure and exchange between the two institutions, and I believe many innovative ideas of tomorrow will be cultivated and conceptualized,” he said.
'Tis the season for storm closing reminders
With the recent bout of flurries and other wet weather in recent days, it's the perfect time of year to review the University's Weather Closing Guidelines.
According to the guidelines, the University and the affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo will close "because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students and employees, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes."
The decision to close or remain open in severe weather is usually made by the Vice-President, Academic & Provost in consultation with the Director of Police Services, the Associate Vice-President, Communications, and the Director of Custodial & Grounds Services. The Provost and the team of advisors meet to consider the conditions whenever severe weather is in the forecast and the team also seeks a wealth of information in order to inform the difficult decision of whether it is safe to open campus.
They look at:
- multiple sources of weather information and radar, as well as actual outside conditions;
- the condition of campus, including pathways, roadways, and buildings - and how long it will take to make movement on campus safe;
- the status of local and regional roads, with input from the local city governments;
- whether local and regional public transportation is running including GRT, GO and Greyhound; and
- the conditions at satellite campuses.
The guidelines define the condition of "closed" to mean that "classes are not held; meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled; scheduled examinations are cancelled, to be rescheduled; deadlines for assignments and other submissions are postponed until the same hour on the next business day on which UW is not "closed"; staff, other than those providing "essential services," are not expected to be at work, but are paid for a normal day."
In the event of severe weather, all members of the University community should consult the University’s homepage and Twitter channel, check the WatSAFE app, tune in to a local radio station, check local media websites or call the University’s Infoline (1-866-470-0910) to learn whether or not the University has closed. The University also maintains a dedicated weather statement page with Environment Canada weather notices for the region and safety tips that will be updated in the event of severe weather.
Notice of the University's status (closed or open) will be posted on days where severe weather is forecast normally at 6:00 a.m. to allow faculty, staff and students time to decide their course of action that day. As the guidelines indicate, "those who judge that it may be unsafe to come to campus should discuss alternate work and study arrangements with their instructor or supervisor."