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Monday, November 13, 2017


New website encourages research partnerships with Waterloo

Two hands shake over al electrified globe.

A new website that showcases Waterloo’s groundbreaking research and opportunities for partnership is now available.

The Corporate Research Partnerships website is a landing spot for existing and potential corporate and industry partners to learn more about research innovation at Waterloo, connect with corporate research managers, and leverage their dollars through collaborative funding programs.

Research and partnership opportunities are categorized by research theme areas to make it easier for new partners to navigate partnership potential in areas such as health and wellbeing, quantum information and nanotechnology, and manufacturing and devices.

When leaving home becomes finding home

By Michelle Pressé. Waterloo is celebrating International Education Week with a variety of on-campus activities, as well as a series of stories showcasing some of the international experiences of our students, faculty, and staff.

Besides growing up in the United Arab Emirates and immigrating to Canada at the age of seven, Faisal El Hussein didn’t venture outside of the Greater Toronto Area except for the rare trip to Niagara Falls or Montréal.

Faisal sits looking at a shoreline.That all changed when he went on exchange to the University of Oulu in Finland during his 3B term. Oulu is the world’s northernmost tech hub, which appealed to the now fourth-year management engineering student. With Scotland and Germany as other exchange options, Faisal felt that Scotland’s culture and language wouldn’t challenge him, and Germany wasn’t as unique as he wanted since it was a popular choice amongst his classmates. Finland was an obvious choice, but that didn’t stop him from exploring other countries as well.

“While I was studying in Finland, I also had the opportunity to visit Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Russia,” says Faisal. “Every country was unique in its own way. Sweden was beautiful. I visited Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia, which felt like travelling back in time. I’ve read about and seen pictures of St. Petersburg, but it’s so different in person.”

He says visiting Norway’s Lofoten Islands was his favourite trip outside of Finland. The archipelago is bursting with rich wildlife, sweeping beaches, and mountains capped with grass or snow, depending on the season.

Faisal and some of the friends he met during his exchange rented an Airbnb with a host who talked about the great fishing in the village. They decided to give it a try for themselves, but didn’t catch anything. When they told the host about their failed fishing expedition, she told her husband, who went out and successfully caught several fish, leaving some on their doorstep.

“We ate Norwegian fish caught the same day for dinner that night,” says Faisal, laughing. “It was incredible.”

Norway wasn’t the only place where Faisal had a memorable meal. Wanting to make the most of his experience, he made sure to eat adventurously, which included trying reindeer meat.

“The first time I tried it, it was cooked as a steak at a quality restaurant, so it was a good introduction,” says Faisal. “It’s common amongst Finnish cuisine. You can also buy it in a can.”

Through international exchanges and co-op work terms, Waterloo has more than 3,000 term-long experiences internationally for students annually, with that number climbing higher each year.

“Waterloo encourages its students to go explore new horizons and internationalize their education,” says Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International. “We want our students to have the opportunity not just to learn about other cultures, but to live them. Experiencing how other people live helps us appreciate the world that extends beyond our borders.”

Faisal says the experience changed his perspective on the kind of education Waterloo offers.

“The exchange made me appreciate what the University can do for you. I’ve never met anyone who went abroad and regretted it. You learn so much about the world around you, but also about yourself. It made me more patient and humble.”

Going on exchange inspired Faisal to pursue his current co-op in Germany, where he hopes to move permanently after graduating.

“When I left Europe, I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” says Faisal. “It’s crazy how much your life can change based on one decision.”

Graduate parental leave program wins national award

Marian Crandall, ETS, Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President,  Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Andrew Kim, CAGS board of directors

Marian Crandall, ETS, Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and Andrew Kim, CAGS board of directors at the CAGS annual conference in Quebec City earlier this month. 

The University of Waterloo has won the 2017 Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) Award for Excellence and Innovation for Enhancing the Graduate Student Experience.

Waterloo won the award for its parental leave and day care bursary programs, which make graduate education more accessible for the 20 percent of Waterloo students who want to raise a family while pursuing a PhD or master's degree.

Waterloo is the only university in Canada to have a paid parental leave policy for both PhD and master’s students that aims to maintain their income at 95 percent of the average level of income (net tuition) they received prior to their leave (to a maximum of $8,000 in total). Students may take up to three consecutive terms off for parental leave, with a bursary available for up to two of those terms. 

Unlike the parental leave bursary, the day care bursary is awarded based on financial need. The value is assessed based on the combined (student and spouse) annual income (net of tuition and fees), as well as the number of children requiring day care and the actual childcare costs. 

Graduate students, along with faculty and staff at the University, are also given priority access to Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre. 

“A robust parental support program that minimizes the financial pressure of balancing graduate studies with building a family is crucial to attract top graduate students,” says Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Jeff Casello. “Our bursary programs also promote the retention of graduate student parents. Studies show that family and personal responsibilities are one of the main factors that hinder completion of the PhD. 

“Graduate studies already are demanding. Men and women who add to these demands the myriad pressures of parenthood often feel forced to choose between children and degree completion.” These bursaries allow students to choose the best time to have children based on individual family, health, or personal factors, rather than stage of degree or supervisor expectations. They also permit students to choose childcare arrangements best suited to their family’s needs. 

While both bursaries have existed in some form for decades, they have been expanded to become a pillar of Waterloo’s graduate student retention and degree-completion initiatives. They are part of a larger, university-wide commitment to accessibility and gender equity which has included hiring for new roles such as Associate Vice-President, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. 

“Financial assistance is an important component of increasing accessibility to graduate education, and key to recruitment and retention of the best and brightest students,” says CAGS president Dr. Brenda Brouwer.

“Waterloo’s programs showcase not only their direct response to students’ needs but also dedication to important values such as gender equity, the removal of systemic barriers and the provision of a supportive environment.”

The Award for Excellence and Innovation in Enhancing the Graduate Experience is offered annually to a CAGS institution or one of its graduate programs. This year’s winner will receive their citation in November at the CAGS conference in Quebec City.

United Way Thermometer showing $205K raised.

Register for the President's Town Hall Meeting

Members of the University community are invited to register for the President's Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 14 at 10:30 a.m. in Federation Hall. 

The Q&A session and reveal of the Celebration 2017 Legacy Project will be followed by a light luncheon. All are welcome.

Link of the day

90 years ago: Canada elected to Council of the League of Nations

When and where

Fall Wrap-Up Week, Monday, November 13 to Friday, November 17.

Women’s Studies Tea and Talk with Dr. Karen Stote (Women’s and Gender Studies, Laurier): “Colonialism and the Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Canada,” Monday, November 13 at 4:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in HH 336.  Copies of Dr. Stote’s book, An Act of Genocide, will be for sale prior to the talk.

Working in Canada as an International Student: Graduate Student Panel, Monday, November 13, 5:30 p.m., TC room 2218.

Unit 4 research reporting drop-in training session, Tuesday, November 14, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EC5-1111 (Enterprise Theatre).

President's Town Hall Meeting, Tuesday, November 14, 10:30 a.m., Federation Hall.

Think Pink Zumba, Tuesday, November 14, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., PAC Main Gym.

CPA Panel: The Complete Business Professional, Tuesday, November 14, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

University of Waterloo Department of Music Noon Hour Concerts: Venus in the Garden featuring Eviole, Wednesday, November 15, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Getting a US Work Permit, Wednesday, November 15, 1:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Silversides Theatre Artist Series: The Creation Process of Concord Floral, Wednesday, November 15, 4:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages. Free event, no registration required.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 1, Wednesday, November 15, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Theatre and Performance presents Concord Floral, Wednesday, November 15 to Saturday, November 18, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Matinees November 15 and 16, 12:00 p.m.

Employee - Discover Your Career Values, Thursday, November 16, 12:00 p.m., TC 2218.

CBB Biomedical Discussion Group seminar featuring Dr. Todd Hoare, Associate Professor and University Scholar, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Canada Research Chair in Engineered Smart Materials (Tier 2) "Endocrine regulation of phosphate homeostasis,” Thursday November 16, 1:00 p.m., STC-1019. Register.

Résumé Tips: Thinking Like an Employer, Thursday, November 16, 2:30 p.m., TC 1208.

NEW - Jack Talk @ UWaterloo, Thursday, November 16, 4:30 p.m., EV3 4408.

Working in Canada as an International Student: Undergraduate Student Panel, Thursday, November 16, 5:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 2, Thursday, November 16, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Paul Karrow Lecture Series: “New Fossil Discoveries from the End of the Age of Dinosaurs in Antarctica”, Thursday, November 16, 7:30 p.m., EIT 1015

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Really Banking Cool – How students are influencing the way we work”, speaker: Valérie Gélinas, Director, Technology and Operations Early Talent, RBC, Friday, November 17, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

Lectures in Catholic Experience featuring Lisa Fagin Davis, "Writing the Bible: From 7th Century Northumberland to 21st Century Minnesota" Friday, November 17, 7:30 p.m., Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome's University Academic Centre.

Research Talks Series, "Transformative Governance on an Urban Planet" featuring Environment Professor Sarah Burch, Friday, November 17, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302. Please register. Seating is limited. 

Warriors Basketball Think Pink, Residence Day vs. Queen's, Friday November 17, 6:00 p.m., PAC Main Gym.

NEW - University Academic Governance Panel Discussion, Tuesday, November 21, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Federation Hall.

NEW - University of Waterloo Department of Music Noon Hour Concerts: Passion for Guitar, Wednesday, November 22, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

PhD oral defences

Statistics and Actuarial Sciences. Yoshihiro Taniguchi, "Importance Sampling and Stratification Techniques for Multivariate Models with Low-Dimensional Structures." Supervisor, Christiane Lemieux. Thesis available from MGO - mgo@uwaterloo.ca. Oral defence Friday, December 1, 9:30 a.m., M3 3001.

Philosophy. Sara Weaver, "A Constructive Critical Assessment of Feminist Evolutionary Psychology." Supervisor, Carla Fehr. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2428. Oral defence Friday, December 1, 10:30 a.m., MC 2009.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering. Nima Mohajerin, "Modeling Dynamic Systems for Multi-Step Prediction with Recurrent Neural Networks." Supervisor, Steven Waslander. On display in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Friday, December 1, 1:00 p.m., E5-3052.

Statistics and Actuarial Sciences. Yilei Wu, "High-dimensional discriminant analysis and covariance matrix estimation." Supervisors, Yingli Qin, Mu Zhu. Thesis available from MGO - mgo@uwaterloo.ca. Oral defence Friday, December 1, 1:30 p.m., MC 3001.