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Friday, December 15, 2017

Waterloo introduces architectural engineering program

Anne Bordeleau, director of Waterloo's School of Architecture, and Scott Walbridge, director of Waterloo's architectural engineering program, look at the type of model that could be created by students in Engineering's newest program.

Anne Bordeleau, director of Waterloo's School of Architecture, and Scott Walbridge, director of Waterloo's architectural engineering program, look at the type of model that could be created by students in Engineering's newest program.

This is an excerpt of an article originally published on the Engineering news page.

Prospective students who have a hard time choosing between Waterloo’s civil engineering and architecture programs will now have another option beginning next year: architectural engineering.

The new Waterloo Engineering offering, which combines architectural design with building engineering, will launch in September 2018.

Developed to cover the whole gamut of building design, construction, assessment and refurbishment, the recently approved program will provide students with the technical knowledge and skills to design energy and structurally efficient buildings.

Waterloo’s architectural engineering program is the first of its kind in North America.

“What makes our program different is that it’s the only one with a full studio stream and a fully compulsory co-op program,” says Scott Walbridge, the director of Waterloo’s architectural engineering program. “The students will have a home in a studio where they’ll work on projects and take a studio course every term.  We think that’s really important for the pedagogy.”

Walbridge, a civil and environmental engineering professor, says graduates of the program will have the expertise required to respond to the unique challenges currently facing the building industry. Those challenges include determining how to repurpose older buildings that are becoming functionally obsolete and reducing the impact humans are having on climate change.

“People have done studies that show roughly a third of the impact on greenhouse gases can be attributed to buildings,” Walbridge notes. “So if we want to effectively change that, it’s essential to make buildings more energy efficient.”

Read the rest of the article on the Engineering news page.

Book Store celebrates 50 years in South Campus Hall

Bookstore staff assisting students with their purchases, circa 1972.

Bookstore staff assisting students with their purchases, circa 1972.

Fifty years ago in 1967, Canadians waved their new red and white flag, the Toronto Maple Leafs won their thirteenth (and, so far, last) Stanley Cup, and The Graduate hit movie theatres.

Oh, and our campus Book Store moved to its current location at South Campus Hall.

While Gord Higginson, customer service assistant and general books, wasn’t there for the move, he’s seen his fair share of changes since 1983 when he was first hired as a co-op student. Over the years, typewriters have made way for computers. Filing by hand and massive cabinets have gone the way of the dodo. And taking inventory? The once laborious process—which at one point took at least two or three days—now takes mere hours to complete.

Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. Five decades later, the Book Store remains an important resource for students needing textbooks and supplementary reading materials. Except now the Book Store offers far more than it did when it first opened in Engineering I: online ordering, affordable and speedy print-on-demand textbooks, and even remaindered sales and author events.

“It’s amazing how much they’ve grown over the past few years,” says Higginson of the events. He says he's met everyone from Thomas King to Chris Hadfield and David Johnston at recent book signings and readings on campus. “There’s just so many people at these events and we’ve sold so many books. It has been absolutely phenomenal.”

These changes have meant the Book Store has found ways to remain relevant even as dire predictions of the “death of print” make headlines. Of course, some publishing industry changes have had an impact on the Book Store—it no longer sells magazines or maps, for instance—but according to Course Materials Specialist Iain Dmitrienko, who has worked at the Book Store since 1999, the digital upheaval has had less of an impact than expected.

“When e-books first started coming out, everybody thought it’d be the big revolution, but we’ve made e-books available and students just weren’t into them,” he says.

This experience seems to reflect the findings of numerous studies and surveys around the world that have found e-book sales stalling while print rebounds. In one 2013 survey by youth research agency Voxburner, 62 per cent of youth aged 16 to 24 preferred print over e-books.

Yet there are many other reasons the Book Store remains an essential service for students, staff and professors 50 years on. Not only does it offer convenience, it has a long history of respect for students—even changing its pricing structure after a student “sit-in” protest in the late 1960s. (“It was a well-behaved sit-in. Kids were sitting and eating their lunch,” recalled former-manager Elsie Dodds in a media interview years later.)

Elsa Woodhall, responsible for customer service and who has worked at The Book Store since 1989, says new Waterloo students are often surprised by what they find in the store today, especially when they see popular board games for sale or loan. 

“We’re more than textbooks. We have that novel they want and we have that game they might like,” she says. “And if students ever need to come in and talk or ask a question, we’re there for them.”

Student Service Centre team in place for 2018

A message from the Student Service Transformation Needles Hall (SSTNH) Project Team.

This month Chris Read, Associate Provost, Students, sits down in Needles Hall with Nancy Heide, the new Director of the Student Service Centre, to discuss the successes of the project to date and how it will move forward in the new year.

Since our October update, we’ve completed hiring for the Centre. The Communications Strategist will join the team January 2 and the Student Service Specialists have begun training with Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, and the Student Success Office.

We’ve also delivered the latest build requirements to the architects at Walter Fedy and they are developing the new renovation plans for Needles Hall.

In the meantime, some changes are already rolling out to campus. Same-day transcript service is now available at the Registrar’s Office for undergraduate students. Undergraduate and graduate students will be also able to order more documents online in early 2018 as we work to expand e-commerce options. Additionally, we’re working with Finance - Student Financial Services to further improve student service on campus.

We’ll continue to share Student Service Centre news and updates on the project website after the winter break. Happy holidays UWaterloo!

Some final thoughts on the 60th anniversary

A man drinks from a hose in front of the Lester Street Water Tower with the word "BEER" painted on it.

No anniversary celebration would be complete without featuring one of the most iconic moments in this University's history, "The Great Water Tower Caper" of 1958, when 3 students of the Waterloo College Associate Faculties climbed the old water tower on Lester Street and painted "Beer" on the side of the tank. Are we sure that's water coming out of that hose? 

So, what did it all mean? The University community has spent the last 12 months celebrating an institution that is a great place to learn, work, and live.

From its founding in 1957, the University of Waterloo has defied convention, breaking new ground, crossing old boundaries and challenging the status quo. Our 60thanniversary was an opportunity to celebrate the stories that have shaped us, and to paint a vision of a bright future yet to come. Check out the official video retrospective:

So the question should be, what did it all mean to you? Send your feedback to and share your memories and feelings about this special anniversary year.

Here's to another 60 years of innovation!

Upcoming Office Closures

Please note the following office closures this week:

Institutional Analysis & Planning will be closed on Friday, December 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for its annual holiday lunch.

The Arts Undergraduate Office will be closed on Friday, December 15 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) will be closed on Friday, December 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All Federation of Students offices will be closed on Friday, December 15 at 3:30 p.m. for their annual holiday reception.

Parking Services will be closed on Tuesday, December 19 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Media Resources in MC1007 will be closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 19.

NEW - The WCMS Drop-in lab in MC 2060 will be closed next week and will reopen in January 2018.

Will your office be closing temporarily this week? Send a message to and we will include the closure in the list!

Link of the day

Our hearts still go on: Titanic at 20

When and where

University Club Christmas Luncheon Buffet, Monday, November 27 to Friday, December 22, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Stuff the Warrior Van Toy Drive, Monday, November 27 to Friday, December 22.

Writing Centre closed, Friday, December 15.

Physics and Astronomy Teaching Retreat, Friday, December 15, 8:30 a.m., DC 1302.

PhD seminar, “Reliability and consistency in counting tasks for citizen science,” Alex Williams, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Friday, December 15, 9:30 a.m., DC 3323.

NEW - Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Seminar, "Optochemical waves: from bio-inspired optics, 3-D printing to materials for all-optical encoding," Friday, December 15, 10:00 a.m., QNC 1501.

PhD seminar, “Crowd deliberation as a tool for analyzing edge cases,” Mike Schaekermann, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Friday, December 15, 10:30 a.m., DC 3323.

Research Talks, "Societal impacts of 21st Century technology," A panel presentation with researchers from Arts, Math, and Engineering, Friday, December 15, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302. Please register as seating is limited.

Physics and Astronomy Quantum Matters Seriesfeaturing Douglas Bonn, University of British Columbia, "Microwave and scanning tunneling spectroscopy in Fe-based superconductors," Friday, December 15, 2:00 p.m., PHY 308.

Farewell celebration for Tim Kenyon, Friday, December 15, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., HH 373.

PhD seminar, "Measuring the usage patterns of users with multiple devices," Erinn Atwater, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Tuesday, December 19, 2:00 p.m., DC 2314.

UWRC Book Club featuring Daniel James Brown's "The Boys in the Boat," Wednesday, December 20, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Examinations end, Thursday, December 21.

Co-operative work term ends, Friday, December 22.

Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest, Friday, December 22.

University holiday closure, Monday, December 25 to Monday, January 1, 2018.

Winter 2018 Orientation, Tuesday, January 2, 2018 to Friday, January 5, 2018.

Co-operative work term begins, Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Winter 2018 lectures begin, Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

First Bomber Wednesday of the term, Wednesday, January 3, 9:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub. 19+.

Winter Welcome Week, Monday, January 8 to Friday, January 12, 2018.

CTE550 LEARN for TAs, Monday, January 8, 2018, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Beyond Essays: Approaching Peace Education Differently opening reception, Monday, January 8, 2018, 4:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Gallery. 

Campus Life Fair,Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

CTE759 Designing Teaching and Learning Research, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., FLEX Lab, Dana Porter Library.

NEW - Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Information Session webinar, Wednesday, January 10, 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

NEW - WaterTalk: “Exploration of the Earth’s Deep Hydrogeosphere and Subsurface Microbial Life,” presented by University Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., DC 1302. Please register as seating is limited.

Clubs and Societies Days,Thursday, January 11 and Friday, January 12, 2018, Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Writing and Communication Centre webinar, "Improve your lab report writing," Thursday, January 11, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

NEW - GMOs: Facts and Misconceptions, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

NEW - Biology Seminar: Redox proteomics and cell biology, Friday, January 12, 2018, 3:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Research Matters: Getting Published, Friday, January 19, 2018, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Knowledge Integration Seminar, "The Web as Infinite Archive: Why we Turned to Machine Learning, Distributed Computing, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration to understand the Recent Past," Friday, January 19, 2018, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

NEW - Biology Seminar: Bacterial Phages shaping the gut microbiome, Friday, January 19, 2018, 3:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

NEW - Chemistry Seminar: Pushpull Alternating and Hypercoordinate Asymmetrical Architectures for Light and Moisture Stable Polystannanes, Wednesday, January 24, 2018, C2-361.