Monday, June 18, 2018

Today, help build the Bridge to 2020

A man sits next to his skateboard while reading his laptop. The words "JOIN US" are superimposed.

This morning, join the conversation about the University's Strategic Plan.

Beginning in 2020, the new Strategic Plan will determine Waterloo’s strategic directions for the next five years. At today's Bridge to 2020 event, which begins at 10:00 a.m. in Fed Hall, attendees will have an opportunity to celebrate the University community's progress on the current plan’s goals and review and provide feedback on seven issue papers that highlight strategic issues facing the University beyond 2018. Attend in person or follow along with the livestream.

The issue papers are available as follows:

The Bridge to 2020 event is the pivot point of a transitional phase for the University's strategic planning process, where evidence is being developed to inform the consultations that will take place in the fall of 2018 as stakeholders from every corner and group on campus are engaged through in-person consultations, surveys, meetings, and digital formats.

Using this informed input, stakeholders will identify priorities for strategic action that will form the goals and objectives for how the University will achieve its strategic goal.

President Feridun Hamdullahpur, Vice-President, University Relations Sandra Banks, and Director, Strategic Planning and Evaluation Daniela Seskar-Hencic will be speaking, along with brief overviews by the seven leads on the development of the issues papers.

The presentation portion of the event will be livestreamed, but to get the most of it you should really be there in person and engage with your colleagues in a dialogue about the University's future.

The event is an opportunity to hear from your colleagues and share your ideas. Help the University evaluate the evidence and identify priorities for action that will form the objectives of the University’s Strategic Plan.

Pomp, circumstance, and other Convocation considerations

Volunteers hand out hoods to waiting students as they prepare to cross the stage at Convocation.

Spring convocation represented many significant milestones for the University of Waterloo.

Mid-week, our 200,000th graduate crossed the stage – a wonderful achievement for a University only founded in 1957.

Now under the leadership of the Community Relations & Events team, June’s ceremonies launched a modernized stage and brand experience that was met with positive feedback from students, families, and administrators alike. The updated brand, which prominently featured the ceremonial mace in invitations, programs and signage, blended the traditions of convocation with the brand personality of our reputation for innovation. Our Creative Services team worked alongside Community Relations and Events to deliver this exciting new experience for our students and their families.

This convocation, there were new opportunities for campus to participate as volunteers. 129 volunteers participated throughout the week. 70 percent of volunteers were brand new this cycle, which allowed for new perspectives and ways for our campus community to contribute. A huge thank you to these incredible volunteers, and for managers who released time in support of this important initiative. New volunteers will be recruited for fall, as well. More information can be found online.

Faculty celebrated alongside our students; 51 campus leaders joined President Hamdullahpur, Provost George Dixon, and Chancellor Tom Jenkins in the Chancellor’s parties, and participated as mace bearers, hooders, graduand readers. Another 216 faculty took part in the academic processions throughout the week.

During the ceremonies, 125 different awards were presented. Special thanks to all faculty partners who assisted with the coordination of awards and valedictorians.

The collaboration behind the scenes to deliver a professional, seamless experience for convocation cannot be understated. Some of the many partners who each play a critical role in the convocation experience include:

  • The Registrar and the team in the Registrar’s office;
  • Graduate Studies;
  • Plant Operations;
  • Staff from the PAC and the Student Life Centre;
  • Parking Services;
  • Police Services;
  • Retail Services;
  • Secretariat and the Honorary Doctorate committee;
  • Catering and Event Services;
  • Health Services;
  • ITMS; and
  • AccessAbility Services.

It is important to note that convocation is not just about the ceremonies.  Convocation week is a time of deepening relationships with our newest alumni. If you have ever visited the Student Life Centre after a ceremony, you can appreciate the commitment of the Alumni team to hosting twelve receptions, selling frames and making sure that families enjoy their time on campus with their graduates. Social media also plays a key role for Alumni, as new alumni are welcomed to “the club”!

For more information on convocation, including access to recordings of the record 12 ceremonies later this week, please visit; and visit our social media channels to revisit the smiles and celebrations at #UWaterlooGrad.

If you participated in convocation and have feedback to share, we would love to hear from you!  Please contact Kelly McManus, Senior Director, Community Relations and Events.

Ready to integrate experiential learning in your course? Read on!

Experiential learning (EL) is one of Waterloo’s defining characteristics and continues to be a strategic priority. EL can create engaging and motivating opportunities for students to see the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and the real world. 

If you would like to incorporate experiential learning into your course next term, consider taking part in Waterloo’s Riipen pilot project. Riipen is a micro-experiential learning platform facilitating connections among students, educators, and industry partners such as local companies, community organizations, government agencies, and NGOs. The Centre for Extended Learning and the Centre for Teaching Excellence have received one-year funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development to pilot Riipen in the spring 2018, fall 2018 and winter 2019 terms.

Using Riipen’s online platform, a course instructor may submit an assignment, which potential industry partners can then view and respond to with expressions of interest. Alternatively, the course instructor may browse for an existing proposal from an industry partner. The instructor then liaises with the chosen industry partner(s) or organization(s) to refine the assignment details on the platform. Examples of projects that have been carried out here at Waterloo or at other institutions include:

  • Researching solutions for organizational behaviour problems;
  • Developing branding and marketing materials for a new business unit;
  • Designing a customized corporate wellness program for employees; and
  • Researching alternative file storage systems for a growing company.

During the course, students then engage with the industry partner or organization through the Riipen platform, and work to reach the defined milestones and complete the assignment. Riipen can be used for on-campus courses, blended courses, or fully online courses. You may also want to consider Riipen to develop an EDGE certificate opportunity in your course.

If you would like to pilot an experiential learning opportunity in an upcoming course or simply learn more about this opportunity, please contact Mary Power ( from the Centre for Teaching Excellence or Dina Meunier ( from the Centre for Extended Learning. Feel free to attend our upcoming information session on Wednesday, June 27 in EV1 221 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please RSVP to Jennifer Nicholson at

Please note this is not a co-op opportunity. Riipen projects within a course are unpaid with a specified scope and duration which does not extend beyond the course offer. Projects typically last between 6 to 10 weeks with students dedicating a variable but limited number of hours to the project each week, allowing students to continue their full-time studies. A co-op work term is a paid experience with students dedicating 12 to 16 weeks of full-time work to an organization. Both opportunities bring the talent of Waterloo students into an organization. If you have questions about hiring co-op, please visit our website or contact Erin Pearson (

Senate meets today and other notes

A deer in the trees beside Parking Lot A.

Oh deer: April Wettig snapped this shot of a deer by the stand of trees near the path to the Engineering Bridge at Parking Lot A. Unlike the geese that inhabit A Lot, this deer wasn't standing on anyone's car.

The University's Senate meets today at 3:30 p.m. for its final meeting before taking a break for the summer. Among the agenda items:

  • A motion to add two courses to the list of courses in the chart under “Policy for Late Switches from Advanced MATH Courses to the Regular Equivalents,” effective 1 September 2019;
  • A motion to approve Bruce MacVicar (civil and environmental engineering) as the Engineering faculty representative on the Senate Undergraduate Council, term 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2020; 
  • A motion to nominate John Haddock as the alumni member of Senate on the Senate Nominating Committee for Honorary Degrees, term 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019;
  • A motion to approve the transition of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) from a Research Centre (as established 1 June 2008) to a University Research Centre;
  • A motion to approve the establishment of the Waterloo Centre for Electrochemical Energy (WCEE);
  • A motion to approve program changes in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics;
  • A motion to approve a number of changes to the Academic Calendar and Graduate Studies Regulations;
  • A motion to approve a new proposed new minor in human rights in the Faculty of Arts;
  • Another motion to approve program changes in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics;
  • A motion to discuss and approve a revised policy on University Research Chairs;
  • A motion to approve a revised Constitution of the Faculty of Arts; and
  • Two motions granting the Vice-President, Academic & Provost the authority to delegate the role of chair in the Dean of Applied Health Sciences and the Dean of Arts Nominating Committees.

Alexander Wong, Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Medical Imaging Systems, will deliver a research presentation to Senate.

Senate will meet again in September 2018.

Human Resources has reported that retired faculty member Professor Kenneth N. Smith died June 1. Smith started at the University in July 1970 in Civil Engineering. He taught structural design courses and was a notable bridge designer, designing the first orthotropic steel deck movable bridge in North America. Smith retired as a Professor in Civil Engineering under the Special Early Retirement Program in July 1996.

He is survived by his spouse Colleen Ireland.

Human Resources has also reported that retiree Eleanor Moffat died on June 4.

Moffat started working at the University in September 1980 and retired in June 1995 as Manager, Trade Dept. in the University Bookstore. She is survived by her spouse, Professor John Moffat, who retired in 1996.

Link of the day

After 27 years and 4,000 episodes, a final thought for The Jerry Springer Show?

When and where 

Bike Month, Friday, June 1 to Saturday, June 30, across campus.

Matthews Golf Classic, Monday, June 18, Grand Valley Golf Course, Cambridge.

Literature reviews for grads (Part A): Organizing research, Monday, June 18, 10:00 a.m., online webinar.

Bridge to 2020: A Look Back, A Look Ahead, Monday, June 18, 10:00 a.m., Federation Hall. Register today!

WaterTalk Lecture Series - "Modelling River Basins as Coupled Human and Natural Systems”, June 18, 4:00 p.m., DC 1302.

University Senate meeting, Monday, June 18, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, June 18, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Book launch, Andrew Levitt’s "Listening to Design," Monday, June 18, 6:30 p.m., Laurence Cummings Lecture Theatre, School of Architecture.

Copyright and Your Thesis, Tuesday, June 19, 12:00 p.m., LIB 329 FLEX Lab.

Successfully Negotiating Job Offers, Tuesday, June 19, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Hallman Lecture featuring CBC broadcaster Scott Russell, “Building a Stronger Canada through Values-based Sport,” Tuesday, June 19, 7:00 p.m., AHS 1689.

Velocity Fund $5K and $25K applications close, “Today’s Velocity Fund winners, tomorrow’s innovative companies,” Tuesday, June 19, 11:59 p.m.

Bike Lunch, Wednesday, June 20, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Peter Russell Rock Garden.

Business Etiquette and Professionalism, Wednesday, June 20, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Velocity Start: How To Find Your Customers Online, “Conduct online market research,” Wednesday, June 20, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Wednesday, June 20, 9:00 a.m., STC 2002

WICI Conference on Modelling Complex Urban Environments, Thursday, June 21 to Friday, June 22, St. Jerome's atrium.

Inaugural Wes Graham Research Symposium & Computer Science Awards, A celebration of Wes Graham’s legacy through the establishment of fellowships, Thursday, June 21, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Improve Your Interview Skills (graduate students and postdocs only), Thursday, June 21, 10:00 a.m., TC 2218.

Design and deliver II: Creating assertion-evidence presentations, Thursday, June 21, 1:00 p.m., online webinar.

Three graph analytics stories featuring Matei Ripeanu, University of British Columbia, Friday, June 22, 1:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Toronto Pride Parade, Sunday, June 24, 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Compensation information session, Monday, June 25, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., EC5 1111.

Literature reviews for grads (Part B): Writing it, Monday, June 25, 1:00 p.m., online webinar.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, June 25, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

NEW - David Sprott Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Pauline Barrieu, London School of Economics and Political Science, "Assessing Financial Model Risk," Monday, June 25, 4:00 p.m., STC 0060.

WISE Public Lecture: Health Impacts of Climate Change and Climate Policy, Tuesday, June 26, 10:30 a.m., DC 1304.

Brainstorming @Math, Tuesday, June 26, 12:00 p.m., DC 1301 fishbowl.

Coping Skills Seminar - Strengthening Motivation, Tuesday, June 26, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Compensation information session, Wednesday, June 27, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., EC5 1111.

NEW - Experiential Learning Using Riipen – Information Session, Wednesday, June 27, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., EV1 221. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. RSVP

PhD Seminar, Eduardo Ordonez-Ponce, “Partners for Sustainability: Organizations Engaged in Partnerships for Local Sustainability,” Wednesday, June 27, 1:00 p.m., EV3-4222.

Retirement Celebration for Daniel Parent, Wednesday, June 27, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., DC 1301 fishbowl.

Velocity Start: Pitch to Win, “Perfecting your pitch,” Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Learning the Basics of LinkedIn (for employees only), Thursday, June 28, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., TC2218.

Super-happy censorship-resistant fun pages, featuring PhD candidate Cecylia Bocovich, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Thursday, June 28, 2:30 p.m., DC 3317.

Canada Day celebration, Sunday, July 1, Columbia Lake fields.

Canada Day holiday, Monday, July 2, most University buildings and offices closed.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, July 2, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Wednesday, July 4, 1:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 1, “3-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges,” Wednesday, July 4, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Clarity in scientific writing, Thursday, July 5, 1:00 p.m., online webinar.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 2, “3-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges,” Thursday, July 5, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Engineering 101 Day, Saturday, July 7.

Applied Health Sciences 101 Day, Saturday, July 7.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Where theory meets practice for privacy enhancing technologies” featuring Chelsea Komlo, HashiCorp, Monday, July 9, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, July 9, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Ethics and value-based program featuring The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, “Transformative Leadership Program”, Monday, July 9, 9:00 a.m. to Tuesday, July 10, 5:00 p.m., room 1-43, Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Coping Skills Seminar - Strengthening Motivation, Tuesday, July 10, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Science 101 Day, Wednesday, July 11.

Getting published for grad students, Thursday, July 12, 1:00 p.m., online webinar.