Friday, July 6, 2018

Equity Director sees diversity as catalyst for innovation

Gina Hickman stands before a mountain lake.

by Susan Fish.

“Equity work can’t be done simply by one person,” says Gina Hickman. At the same time, as Waterloo’s newly appointed Director of Equity, Hickman is eager to make a difference in new ways.

The role of Director of Equity is not a new one, but in the last year, in a recognition of the alignment between equity, conflict management, sexual violence, and human rights, the Equity Office was folded into the larger Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion unit, under the leadership of Associate Vice-President Diana Parry.

While acknowledging that even the term equity is “something that we as a campus have to define, figuring out what we mean and want to mean,” Hickman adds, “For me, equity is about ensuring that people can engage in this campus in respectful ways, making most of their educational or work experiences, and removing those barriers to allow people to meet their full potential. The University of Waterloo is founded on innovation, and diversity is a catalyst for it. I see equity as essential to what we are trying to achieve as an educational institution.”

How she approaches equity is also somewhat different. Hickman says, “we need to move away from approaching equity reactively – responding to legislative requirements or to problematic situations. We cannot think of diversity in silos.”

Hickman’s vision, instead, is for Waterloo to approach equity from a more intersectional approach, and as a lens through which all programs, strategies and relationships are viewed, rather than as a discrete add-on or afterthought.

Hickman is new to the University community—having moved from India to pursue an MA in Community Psychology, and most recently working with the Region of Waterloo—but she was motivated to come to Waterloo as she saw an opportunity here for meaningful systems change. She says, “If we want long term change, we need to change policies and systems. The University plays a key role in setting people up to meaningfully engage with diversity within their workplaces and communities even after they graduate.”

And in her first couple of months on the job, Hickman has been delighted with the widespread sense of willingness and readiness to take on this challenge. “In all my conversations, I don’t have to convince people that equity is important, but I can help facilitate processes to address these issues which are not small or simple. As we address deep-rooted systems, some of which are outside of the university’s control, there’s power in leveraging the brilliant minds here to find solutions. There is already some great work underway on campus including work being led by student groups, initiatives through the HeforShe campaign, the Making Spaces initiative, and training for equitable recruitment and hiring.”

Hickman is especially hopeful that students will bring their creativity—as well as their challenges—to her. To this end, she is setting up regular office hours including some in student centres across campus, allowing people to share ideas for programs and initiatives, as well as making it easy for students having issues navigating the university systems. 

Outside of work, Hickman works hard to draw strong boundaries between her work and home life, considering recharging an important part of equity work. She also was married earlier this month, finding an equitable solution to location for families in India, Denmark, Canada and England by holding the wedding in Italy.

Gina Hickman can be reached at or

Taking the conversation beyond entrepreneurship

Velocity alumnus Sam Pasupalak.

Alumnus Sam Pasupalak, founder of Maluuba.

Entrepreneurs solve problems.

They create companies that bring innovative and world-changing ideas to the global marketplace. They act as community builders, industry change agents, and global disruptors.

On Wednesday, July 11 President Feridun Hamdullahpur and Velocity Director Jay Shah will be joined by alumnus Sam Pasupalak for a candid conversation on why entrepreneurs are stepping up to build stronger communities, both locally and globally.

At Beyond Entrepreneurship, hear from a successful entrepreneur who upon selling Maluuba, the company he co-founded, is leading by example. Moderator Donna Litt, co-founder, vice-president and chief operating officer of Kiite, will lead a discussion about the concepts of philanthropy, equality, and socially responsibility in today’s dynamic entrepreneur-led companies.

Waterloo empowers entrepreneurs to go beyond.

Join us at 12:00 p.m. in DC 1302.


Centre for Teaching Excellence on the move

A message from Mario Coniglio and Susan Tighe.

As of August 1, 2018, the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is being temporarily relocated to EC3, where it will share the second floor with the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL). The reason for the move is that the Faculty of Environment’s growth in recent years has put pressure on space in their buildings, and relieving this pressure has now become an urgent priority. Plans for CTE’s new permanent location are still under discussion and will be shared with the university community when they are finalized. 

In the meantime, CTE will continue to offer all of its programs and services from its new temporary location. So while there will be some small operational changes, namely the location of the office and workshop locations, it will be business as usual. Phone numbers of CTE staff members will remain the same. The Provost Office is committed to providing a location for CTE that meets its functional needs, with the intention of relocating CTE into permanent facilities by the end of August 2019.  

As the University of Waterloo continues to grow and demands for space increase, we will do our best to meet the needs and challenges of the University community with our given resources.  Thank you for your continued support of CTE. 

Faculty 101 Days begin and other notes

Incoming undergraduates students and their parents or other family members will begin visiting campus for the "Faculty 101" Days that begin this weekend.

On Saturday, July 7, incoming students in Engineering and Applied Health Sciences will arrive for a full day's worth of orientation and information, including introductions to the faculty community and key support networks, checking off tasks to prepare for their first year like getting a Watcard, and learning about the services available to students, getting an idea of what co-op terms will be like, and understanding what the first six weeks at the University of Waterloo has in store. That and much more!

The other Faculty 101 Days are:

  • Science - Wednesday, July 11
  • Arts - Monday, July 16
  • Math - Thursday, July 19
  • Environment - Thursday, July 26

Sunday's Canada Day celebrations have been captured in a wrap-up video that is making the rounds on social media. Check it out and relive the excitement!

Plant Operations has served notice that the Safety Office will be conducting Designated Substance Assessment Inspections in several University buildings between June and August. The latest building up for inspection is Chemistry II, and the inspection will take place on Monday, July 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. "Your cooperation and patience is appreciated," says the note from Peter Fulcher, Plant Operations Supervisor, Building Section, and Acting Co-Director of Maintenance.

Other upcoming inspection locations and dates include:

  • Physics, Monday, July 9 to Wednesday, July 11
  • Hagey Hall, Tuesday, July 24, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • The General Services Complex, Friday July 13, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Plant Operations is also giving the campus community advance notice that University Avenue will be closed to both lanes of traffic from the main University entrance, and from Seagram Drive to Westmount Road on Monday, July 16 from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This will also affect the entrance to the Minota Hagey Residence.

Link of the day

30 years ago: the Piper Alpha disaster

When and where 

Celebrate Canada's Diversity at the University Club, Tuesday, July 3 to Friday, August 10, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

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.

QPR Training, Tuesday, July 10, 1:30 p.m., Counselling Services, Needles Hall.

Master Your Job Search, Tuesday, July 10, 2:30 p.m., TC 1208.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Where's Waldo?” — Privacy in the age of Internet-connected mobile technology, featuring Matthew Finkel, The Tor Project, Tuesday, July 10, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

NEW - New Faculty Nachos with the Faculty Association, Wednesday, July 10, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Grad House.

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

Information Session for Graduating Students, Tuesday, July 10, 4:00 p.m., STC 0010.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding - Part 1, Tuesday, July 10, 4:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Science 101 Day, Wednesday, July 11.

Information Session for Graduating Students, Wednesday, July 11, 11:30 a.m., STC 0010.

NEW - Beyond Entrepreneurship panel discussion, Wednesday, July 11, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Career Interest Assessment (Strong Interest Inventory), Wednesday, July 11, 1:30 p.m., TC 1112.

Childhood play spaces as What-If Worlds: The uncertainties of misogyny, racism, and classism, Wednesday, July 11, 2:30 p.m., QNC 1502.

Velocity Start: Setup Your Business Like A Boss, “A workshop that will address legal and accounting considerations that will affect your new business,” Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) - Part 1, Thursday, July 12, 12:30 p.m., TC 1112.

Getting published for grad students, Thursday, July 12, 1:00 p.m., South Campus Hall 228F.

Eco-Summit 2018: Building Commitment, featuring keynote speaker Tom Ewart, Senior Manager of Sustainability, The Co-operators, Thursday, July 12, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., M3 1006 and foyer.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding - Part 2, Thursday, July 12, 4:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Open House - Harnessing Quantum Technologies, Friday, July 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre.

NEW - WISE Lecture Series featuring Sankaran Ramalingam, WISE Senior Research Fellow, "Decoding the Energy Access Puzzle: An Overview of an Experiment at the Grassroots Level," Friday, July 13, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., DC 1302.

CS seminar: The prehistory and history of RE (+SE) as seen by me, featuring Dan Berry, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Friday, July 13, 3:00 p.m., DC 2585.

The Promise of Living: University Choir, Saturday, July 14, 7:30 p.m., Cedars Worship Centre, Waterloo.

NEW - Book Store Summer Reading Sale, Monday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 17, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., SCH concourse.

Arts 101 Day, Monday, July 16.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Monday, July 16, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary, Tuesday, July 17, 1:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

Coping Skills Seminar - Strengthening Motivation, Tuesday, July 17, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Getting it done: Productive writing strategies for big projects, Wednesday, July 18, 10:00 a.m., SCH 228F.

Math 101 Day, Thursday, July 19.

5th Annual UWSA Golf Social Tournament, Thursday, July 19, 3:30 p.m., Foxwood Country Club. Deadline to register is Friday, July 6.

Velocity Billion Dollar Briefing, “Get introduced to five different billion-dollar problems,” Thursday, July 19, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Beautiful Wanderings: orchestra@uwaterloo, Thursday, July 19, 7:30 p.m., First United Church, Waterloo.

Instrumental Chamber Ensemble Concert, Sunday, July 22, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

WISE Public Lecture: Biogas - Resource Recovery & Clean Tech, Tuesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., DC 1304.

Waterloo FileMaker Database Workshop presented by CoreSolutions, Tuesday, July 24, 1:00 p.m., DC1304.

Hallman Lecture: Whiteness, Women and Sex Tourism, Tuesday, July 24, 3:30 p.m., AHS 1686.

Lectures and classes end, Wednesday, July 25.

More Feet on the Ground - Mental Health Training, Wednesday, July 25, 9:00 a.m., NH 2447.

Velocity Fund Finals, “20 startups compete for $130,000,” Wednesday, July 25, 11:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall. 

Pre-examination study days, Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27.

Environment 101 Day, Thursday, July 26.

Examinations begin, Saturday, July 28.

Online examination days, Saturday, July 28 and Friday, August 3.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy featuring Vern Paxson, University of California, Berkeley, Tuesday, July 31, 11:00 a.m., DC 1304.

PhD oral defences

Pure Mathematics. Boyu Li, "Regular Dilation on Semigroups." Supervisor, Kenneth Davidson. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Wednesday, July 18, 1:30 p.m., MC 2009.

Statistics and Actuarial Science. Yizhou Fang, "Computationally Efficient Multi-Asset Stochastic Volatility Modelling." Supervisors, Martin Lysy, Don McLeish. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Wednesday, July 18, 1:30 p.m., M3 3001.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Abdelsalam Eajal, "The New AC/DC Hybrid Microgrid Paradigm: Analysis and Operational Control." Supervisors, Ehab El-Saadany, Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam. On display in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Thursday, July 19, 1:30 p.m., EIT 3145.

Computer Science. Chunhao Wang, "Computational Problems Related to Open Quantum Systems." Supervisor, Richard Cleve. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Friday, July 20, 10:00 a.m., QNC B204.