Thursday, October 25, 2018

The student mental health conversation continues

John Hirdes, Feridun Hamdullahpur, Ayana Kawe, Megan Crouch, Walter Mittelstaedt, and Jim Rush sitting on stage during the Q&A session.

Professor John Hirdes, chair of CoSMH, President, Feridun Hamdullahpur, students Ayana Kawe and Megan Crouch, Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt, and Vice-President, Academic & Provost share the stage during the student mental health forum Wednesday.

Members of the campus community gathered in person and online to keep the student mental health conversation going on Wednesday.

The Student Mental Health Forum was held yesterday in the Humanities Theatre, where students, staff, faculty and alumni learned about the progress being made on the President's Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) recommendations as they are implemented by the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) in partnership with key stakeholders across campus.

Vice-President, Academic & Provost Jim Rush was the master of ceremonies of the event, which featured remarks by President Feridun Hamdullahpur, Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt, Professor John Hirdes, chair of CoSMH, and CoSMH student representatives Ayana Kawe and Megan Crouch.

"We have to create an environment at this University that truly understands and acknowledges mental health," said Feridun Hamdullahpur in his opening remarks. "Thousands of our members, students, staff, faculty, have made it abundantly clear that you want to make Waterloo a supportive environment."

"It’s great to see such important leadership in this university in tackling this issue head-on," said CoSMH chair John Hirdes. "I’ve been very heartened and grateful for the support we’ve gotten from across campus for the participation we’ve had in the CoSMH committee."

Hirdes highlighted the connections that the University has established both on and off campus in support of student mental health. "It’s important for us to be a part of a broader mental health system that the University can connect with.”

He also outlined how the CoSMH has been meeting regularly to prioritize the 36 recommendations made by the PAC-SMH committee, 44 percent of which are either completed or in the midst of completion. 

Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt gave a high-level view of the increased resources that have been brought to bear to improve the student mental health environment on campus, which included $1.2 million in funding that is being used to add additional counselling staff, support increased mental health training for faculty and staff to assist students in distress, as well as increased communications efforts to get resources into the right hands across campus. 

Mittelstaedt reported that this year, more than 1,000 campus community members have taken some sort of mental health training on campus, and more than 1,700 students have attended various mental health workshops, including those focused on coping skills.

CoSMH student representatives Ayana Kawe and Megan Crouch shared personal stories about their own mental health journeys as students. Kawe, who represented international students on the mental health committee, said that advice he'd learned from a physics teacher about university life, "don't go through it alone," had served him well on campus as he highlighted the number of organizations and services available to meet the needs of students. Crouch, a PhD candidate who represented graduate students on CoSMH, spoke about the issue of isolation faced by graduate students as they work in their areas of expertise, and encouraged students to reach out to the committee, saying that "by sharing with representatives about your own experience, you can help drive the implementation process and create a safer and healthier community for all."

President Hamdullahpur then signed the Okanagan Charter, committing the University to a collaborative framework for promoting health and wellness of students and the broader campus community, with a priority focus on mental health.

A question and answer period followed, moderated by Provost Jim Rush, that saw students, faculty, and staff members pose questions to the forum's speakers on such topics as change management, things that the University might have to "unlearn" in order to improve mental health on campus, the impact of universal design on learning and instruction, and how the University community at large can help with the next steps on improving mental health on campus.

At the close of the formal proceedings, Provost Rush ushered attendees to the nearby Don Craig Atrium in the School of Accounting and Finance for an open house session that featured displays of many of the student mental health initiatives on campus as well as CoSMH resources and more information.

Watch the student mental health forum.

United Way's Souper Thursday and Thrive Walk for Mental Health

President Feridun Hamdullahpur, resplendent in a chef's hat, serves soup to a Waterloo employee.

A message from the University of Waterloo United Way campaign and Thrive Week.

Get in some steps, eat a healthy lunch, and support local mental health initiatives. Can you believe it’s possible to do all three of these things during your Thursday lunch?

Work up your appetite today at the Thrive Walk for Mental Health and then purchase a bowl of soup at United Way’s Souper Thursday. Whether you show your support for mental health by joining the walk or by donating to United Way, we thank you. 

Thrive week Walk for Mental Health

Please remember to wear your Thrive t-shirt today! The Thrive Walk for Mental Health will be departing from STC at noon, rain or shine. Join your friends and colleagues for a walk around Ring Road to show your support for people living with mental health concerns. We encourage you to sign-up for this walk and join us afterwards for a warm bowl of soup, chat with campus leaders, and support our campus and broader community.

Souper Thursday

Today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. celebrity chefs will be serving homemade soup in STC main hall. There will be gluten free and vegan options available. A minimum of $5.00 is suggested for donation. Proceeds go to United Way Waterloo Region Communities and supports agencies like KW Counselling Services.

Swing by STC to be served a bowl of soup by one of our celebrity chefs:

Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor, Jim Rush, Professor, Vice President Academic and Provost, Roly Webster, Director of Athletics and Recreation, Jason Coolman, Associate Vice-President, Development & Alumni Relations, Kurt MacMillan, Vice-President, Operations and Finance, Federation of Students, Kelly McManus, Senior Director, Community Relations and Events, Norah McCrae, Associate Provost, Cooperative and Experimental Education, Sharon Lamont, Director, Organizational Services, Dana Porter Library, Maureen Jones, Director, Student Awards and Financial Aid,  James Skidmore, Associate Professor, German and Slavic Studies, and Kim Gingerich, Executive Officer, Academic.

Library celebrates Open Access Day

The University's Open Scholarship Committee is hosting Open Access Day today. This annual conference is a day filled with speakers and workshops discussing the methods, benefits and challenges of Open Access, and the services and resources available to scholars within the Library and across the University. This year’s keynote speaker is Bianca Wylie,  an open government advocate, Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in the Global Economy program and co-founder of Tech Reset Canada.

This free event is open to all students, staff and faculty, and participants may attend all or some of the sessions.

The conference is being held as part of Open Access Week, which celebrates open scholarship in its many forms.

Open Access (OA) is scholarly content freely available to anyone with an Internet connection, without barriers. Among other benefits, OA provides researchers with higher impact for their published work, students are relieved of high journal subscription costs and the public gets access to research often funded by their taxes.

All Open Access Week events are free and open to all students, staff and faculty at University of Waterloo.

CTE releases accessibility in teaching resource; other notes

"According to the June 2018 Canadian University Survey Consortium survey of graduating students, 22 percent of graduating students in Canada self-identify as having a disability," says a note from the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE). "It is interesting to note that, among those with a disability, 36 percent require accommodation."

The CTE is pleased to share its new resource: Accessibility in Teaching. Aligning with the University of Waterloo’s commitment to barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities, this webpage provides practical resources for designing and implementing accessible instruction. Accessible instructional practices aim to address the diverse needs of learners.

Accessibility in Teaching is for anyone who is designing and teaching courses, or facilitating workshops and other instructional sessions on campus. CTE will continue to update this page as they develop and become aware of additional resources. For questions about this webpage or accessible instruction in general, contact CTE's Faculty Liaison, Christine Zaza.

"This Could Be You!" SSO banner showing stock Waterloo photos.

The Student Success Office wants to make you a star! The SSO is organizing a photo shoot on Tuesday, November 6 and is looking for parent and student subjects, particularly Waterloo employees who have a student (or students) attending Waterloo who might be interested in participating. The focus of the shoot is to capture images to help promote services and resources offered by the Student Success Office.

Both student and parent need to be available on November 6 and the time commitment is about an hour. The photos will be used on Waterloo websites, posters, social media, and other print materials.

If you are interested, fill out the form on the SSO's doodle poll and be sure to include your name and email in the proper field.

The SSO will send participants some of the photo files after the photo shoot.

Sustainability Action Fund banner featuring a woman sitting with a laptop in front of a living wall.

Sustainability Action Fund open for applications: Have an idea to make the campus a little greener? Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to submit project proposals to the Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) to advance Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. The SAF was launched in late 2017 and has kick started projects that reduce waste, support sustainable transportation, educate on sustainability, and more.

Projects should be between $2,000 and $30,000 and align with Waterloo’s sustainability objectives. Applications must be submitted by November 16, and successful projects will be determined by the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability.

Visit the Sustainability website for all the application details and to see previously funded projects.

Link of the day

100 years ago: the Princess Sophia disaster

When and where 

Thrive Week, Monday, October 22 to Friday, October 26.

Open Access Day, Thursday, October 25, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., DC 1304. Lunch is provided, free registration required. This event is part of Open Access Week.

Sociology and Legal Studies presents Transnational Talks lecture featuring Gabe Ignatow, University of Texas, “Sentiment Analysis of Polarizing Topics in Social Media,” Thursday, October 25, 10:00 a.m., DWE 1502.

University of Waterloo United Way campaign presents “Souper Thursday,” Thursday, October 25, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., STC main hall.

Hallman Lecture: “Strength and Fatigue Adaptations with Aging by Dr. Laura Frey Law, University of Iowa. October 25, 1:30 p.m., LHS 1621 (Sun Life Auditorium).

Sociology and Legal Studies presents Transnational Talks workshop, “An Introduction to Social Science Text Mining,” Thursday, October 25, 1:30 p.m., PAS 2030.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding – Part 2, Thursday, October 25, 2:30 p.m. TC 2218.

Memorial reception for Alan Cairns, Thursday, October 25, 5:00 p.m., Waterfall Gallery, Luther Village on the Park.

117th Convocation Ceremonies, Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27, Physical Activities Complex.

IT Seminar: Information Security Services (ISS) update, Friday, October 26, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., MC 2009.

University Club Convocation Luncheon, Friday, October 26, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Career-Focused Workshop for Graduating Students, Friday, October 26, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

High-Throughput Approaches for Discovering Thermoelectric Materials featuring Arthur Mar, Professor, Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta, Friday, October 26, 2:00 p.m., C2-361 (Reading Room).

Café-rencontre, “Make Africa great again ou l’Afro-futurisme dans tous ses états,” by Professor Françoise Naudillon, Université Concordia, Friday, October 26, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., HH 373.

Knowledge Integration seminar, “It Only Gets More Complex From Here”, featuring speaker Bryson McLachlan, Analyst at Syntegrity, Friday, October 26, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

Engineers Without Borders Public Lecture and Reception
Friday, October 26, 3:00 p.m., Engineering 7 event space (second floor).

Doreen Fraser, “Applying Philosophy to Physics,” Friday, October 26, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Hagey Hall 1104.

UW Gem and Mineral Show, Friday October 26, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Earth Sciences Museum. Free admission for all.

Science Open House, "Hands-on science extravaganza for school-aged kids!" Saturday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in STC and EIT. Free event, no registration.

Warrior Women's Hockey vs. Nipissing Home Opener, Parent Day, Saturday, October 27, 2:00 p.m., CIF Arena.

NEW - University of Waterloo Travel Survey, Monday, October 29 to Friday, November 9.

HR Pension Information Session, Monday, October 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., EC5 1111. Brown bag lunch.

Alumni Lecture: “From Waterloo Engineering to Inc 500 CEO” by Hemi Thaker, Monday, October 29, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., E7 2324-2328.

Official Opening of Engineering 7, Monday October 29, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Open House + Tours and 3:00 p.m. Official Grand Opening. All are welcome.

Personal Statement – Step 3, Monday, October 29, 3:00 p.m. TC 2218.

Traces: On Oppressive Ideologies, Masterworks Exhibition, Monday, October 29, 6:30 p.m., Design at Riverside - School of Architecture.

Research ethics system training, Tuesday, October 30, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., MC 1078.

Waterloo Store POP-UP Shop, Tuesday, October 30 and Wednesday, October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., SLC multipurpose room. 

Discover your Career Values (for employees only), Tuesday, October 30 Monday, November 5, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC2218. Please note the new date.

Minota Hagey Open House,"Tour the exclusive upper-year community," Tuesday, October 30, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. MH. Food provided, no registration required.

Remembering Jay Thomson, professor emeritus in Kinesiology, Tuesday, October 30, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., University Club. Friends and colleagues welcome.

Building Science Symposium - Innovation in Building Science: Transition to Low Carbon Energy Buildings, Wednesday, October 31, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fed Hall.

LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Wednesday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., STC 2002.

University Club Halloween buffet, Wednesday, October 31, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

NEW - Learning functions from data: Reconstruction Guarantees and Applications, a Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays event, Wednesday, October 31, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., BMH 1048.

Trick or Eat, Wednesday, October 31, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Velocity Start: Pitch to Win, “Perfect your pitch at this interactive workshop,” Wednesday, October 31, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

WaterTalk:Perspectives on the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Challenge: Engineering, Technology or Financial Crisis,” Thursday, November 1, 2:30-3:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Faculty of Environment Graduate Open House, Thursday, November 1, 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Minto Atrium, Environment 3.

Arriscraft Lecture Series, featuring Stephanie Davidson + Georg Rafailidis, Thursday, November 1, 6:30 p.m., Laurence A. Cummings Lecture Theatre, School of Architecture.

The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition, “Watch students pitch important industry problems for a share of $15,000,” Thursday, November 1, STC 0050.

PhD oral defences

Physics & Astronomy. Heidar Moradi, "Topological Order and Universal Properties of Gapped Quantum Systems." Supervisors, Xiao-Gang Wen, Roger Melko. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Monday, October 29, 1:00 p.m., B1 266.

Recreation and Leisure Studies. Kai Jiang, "An Exploration of Destination Brand Love among Theme-Park Based Tourists and Excursionists." Supervisors, Mark Havitz, Luke Potwarka. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Wednesday, November 7, 8:30 a.m., AHS 1686. Please note: this defence has been postponed.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Ahmed Raslan, "Semiconductor Device Characterization and Modelling for Effective Design of 5G Front-Ends." Supervisor, Slim Boumaiza. This thesis is restricted but on display in the Engineering graduate studies office, E7 402. Oral defence Friday, November 9, 1:00 p.m., E7 7411.