Monday, November 28, 2016

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."

Link of the day

Fidel Castro, 1926-2016

When and where

Retail Services Book Store pop-up sale, Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Wednesday, November 30 to Friday, December 2, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., South Campus Hall. Save 25 percent on new titles and gift items.

Waterloo Store Monster EventMonday, November 28 to Wednesday, November 30, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall concourse.

University Club Christmas Lunch Buffet, Monday, November 28 to Friday, December 23, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

From Agreement to Action on Climate Change:  Reflections after the COP22 UN Climate Summit, Monday, November 28, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Alumni Hall.

Becoming a better man - Working to end gender-based violence, Monday, November 28, 7:00 p.m., EV2 2006.

HeForShe Ideathon, Tuesday, November 29, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., AHS 1689.

Retirement reception for Professor John Medley, November 30, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., University Club. RSVP to

Velocity Fund Finals, Thursday, December 1, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

WaterTalks lecture series featuring Richard Luthy, Stanford University, “Urban Water Supply Re-invention for Dry Cities,” Thursday, December 1, 1:30 p.m., DC 1304.

CrySP Speaker Series featuring David Murakami Wood, Queen’s University, “Hack the Planet! From phone phreaking to subverting planetary infrastructures,” Thursday, December 1, 2:30 p.m., MC 5501.

Orchestra@uwaterloo presents "Farewell, Maestro," Thursday, December 1, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

UW A Cappella Club End of Term Concerts, Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages.

University Choir concert,“Classical Roots,” Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Church, 22 Willow Street, Waterloo.

Jazz Ensemble concert, Sunday, December 4, 2:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Sunday, December 4 and Monday, December 5, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College.

Animal Studies and the Voice of the Other, Monday, December 5, 5:30 p.m., HH 1108.

Faculty Association Fall General Meeting, Tuesday, December 6, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., MC 4020. Lunch provided.

GreenHouse Social Impact Showcase, December 6, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul’s Alumni Hall.

Faculty Association Town Hall Meeting for Lecturers, Wednesday, December 7, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., STC 0010.

Cognitive Science Confessions: My biggest research mistakesWednesday, December 7, 3:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m., HH 1102.

Retirement reception for May Yan, Wednesday, December 7, 4:00 p.m., Book Store.

Retirement celebration for Janet Metz of CECA, Friday, December 9, 2016, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

German Studies Forum 2016, hosted by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. Monday, December 12 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Registration required.

Gender and Equity Scholarship Series featuring Madhur Anand, “A Sample Size of None: Creating Your Own Career Path,” Tuesday, December 13, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., MC 5501.

University Club Christmas Dinner Buffet, Wednesday, December 14, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., University Club.