The talk of the President's Town Hall
More than 400 people attended the President's Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, November 21 held at Federation Hall, either in-person or online.
In his presentation, President Feridun Hamdullahpur noted some of the milestones achieved by the University in 2018, including welcoming its 200,000th graduate, installing its 11th Chancellor, and crossing the $200M mark in research funding, and celebrating the first Nobel Prize win for a Waterloo professor.
President Hamdullahpur spoke about progress made against the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan goals and the themes that were emerging during the consultation phase of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
Speaking about what he had heard at the more than 30 consultation sessions he had attended this fall, President Hamdullahpur said "My colleagues say as a University whatever the challenges and issues are, whether it’s technological, environmental, social, related to hunger, climate change and water, we want to be a big part of that solution."
President Hamdullahpur also spoke about the work being done in the area of student mental health, noting the enthusiasm of the campus response when asked to participate, the efforts of the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) and the recent signing of the Okanagan Charter.
After the president's presentation, there was a Q&A period moderated by host Sandra Banks. Questions had been gathered in advance during the registration process and from emails submitted to the Town Hall email account, and Banks drew from a selection of those questions before opening the floor to the audience to pose their questions directly to the president. In addition, questions came in via social media and from the livestream page.
Questions were posed on a variety of subjects, including the government-mandated freedom of speech policy currently under development, encouraging interdisciplinary activities on campus, training for TAs in the area of grading papers, responsible investment, and granting representation to sessional instructors.
Following the robust Q&A period, Sandra Banks drew the event to a close and invited the audience to enjoy a luncheon.
Whether you attended the President's Town Hall in person, watched it online, or didn't attend the meeting, University Communications and the President's Office is interested in hearing your views on the meeting format and content. The President's Town Hall Meeting survey is now open and will run until December 21, 2018.
Your feedback is important and will help enhance future President’s Town Hall meetings.
If you missed the President's Town Hall meeting, be sure to watch the recording of the event.
Environmental Sustainability Strategy: A Year of Action
This is an excerpt of the latest post on President Feridun Hamdullahpur's blog.
Our University has a critical role to play in developing a sustainable world for us and for generations to come. It has been one year since the release of the University of Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and the progress we’ve made in our 2025 goals is well underway and making a difference.
We educate, we research and we aim to inspire the world with what we do at our University. As a vast community of students, faculty, staff and alumni we need to set an example for responsible and sustainable practices and we are doing just that. The 2017-2018 Environmental Sustainability Report, that was recently released, is our way of keeping the University accountable as we strive to create positive and lasting change at Waterloo.
We are a large and diverse institution, which means our Strategy had to incorporate all aspects of what we do. This includes goals and objectives that cover Academics, Operation, Engagement and Governance and Benchmarking.
Here are a few of the milestones we’ve made as an institution:
- 527 courses offered focused on or related to sustainability
- 485 faculty members conducting research that advances the global Sustainable Development Goals
- Reduced our greenhouse gas emissions 17.1% per square metre since 2010
- Decreased water use 8.3% per square metre since 2015
- Diverted 42% of waste from the landfill
- 22.6% of food purchases local or certified for sustainability
These indicate important progress towards the objectives we have set through our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which are aggressive, but attainable and appropriate with the scale of the challenges we face. We’ve already met our goal of reducing our water use by 5% per square metre and like many other objectives, this is only the beginning. If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to read the 2018 report to learn more about our progress.
This represents tremendous effort from many departments. From Plant Operations to Food Services, Central Stores to Housing and Residences, student clubs and societies to our Green Office network, and from research institutes to academic departments and of course the Sustainability Office, action is multifaceted. As we look back on the progress we’ve made over the past year together, there is a great deal to look forward to in the future.
Exciting new projects scheduled for 2019 include ongoing upgrades to our waste and recycling systems, and major retrofits to high-efficiency lighting.
We can all work together to make our university more sustainable and I thank every staff, student and faculty member who has made sustainability a priority on campus.
Remembering former board chair Peter Sims
Former Chair of the University of Waterloo's Board of Governors Peter Sims died on November 22.
Sims, managing partner of law firm Sims Clement Eastman, joined the University's Board of Governors in 1985. He was also chair and director of Chicopee Manufacturing Ltd, vice-president and director of Sims Investments Ltd., and chair and director of the Economical Mutual Insurance Company.
His family had strong connections to the University of Waterloo. His father, lawyer James Kenneth Sims, was a member of the founding board of governors of the University.
Sims was named Chair of the Board of Governors in 1994. At the same time, his wife Betty, a member of Wilfrid Laurier University's board of governors, was appointed Chair of that institution's board - a first in Canadian university governance. The couple would appear in competing Warriors and Golden Hawks apparel at public events to show off their school spirit(s).
Sims served as chair of the Board of Governors until 1997, when he was succeeded by business executive Paul Mitchell, who had also served as Sims's predecessor in 1993-1994.
Sims received an honourary degree from the University of Waterloo in 1999.
Together, Peter and Betty Sims made a generous gift of $500,000 to Campaign Waterloo in 2004 that supported the renovation of the Dana Porter Library's third floor and the creation of the Peter and Betty Sims Reading Room.
A plaque installed in the library recognized "outstanding friendship and support of the Library" from Peter and Betty Sims, and their "enduring commitment to higher education" as well as support of local hospitals, schools and other organizations.
Sims provided support to other University projects, including the Jim Kalbleisch Scholarship, the Renison Building Fund, the Sims Family Library Endowment Fund, and the Walter Bean Scholarship. The Sims Student Study Galleria in the Davis Centre Library was named in his honour.
Sims was the recipient of a Golden Jubiliee medal in 2004 and was named one of the University's 50th anniversary alumni award winners in 2007.
He once said, "I am always proud to tell anyone who will listen about the University of Waterloo and my connection to it."
Peter was predeceased by his wife Betty and is survived by their five children. His memorial will take place at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home today with visitation between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and the memorial service at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow the service at The Bauer Kitchen.
Unconscious bias workshop and other notes
The Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion is launching the first in a series of Brown Bag Sessions today from noon to 1:00 p.m. in QNC 1507. “Everyone has unconscious biases,” says a note from the HREI. “Our brains naturally create shortcuts that simplify our lives. These shortcuts are created through our interpersonal interactions, consuming media, and even through education. In some cases, these shortcuts can be useful. They allow us to ride a bike without thinking about each and every step, but this process of creating shortcuts can also lead us to develop unconscious biases about other people. During this interactive lunch time discussion we will consider how to identify where we might be biased, discuss how biases might impact our workplaces and brainstorm strategies for ensuring our workplace is welcoming to everyone.”
Make a conscious effort to mark your calendar, as part two of the session will take place on December 12.
As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is hosting a workshop entitled Better Birth Experiences: Empowering Partners, Preventing Trauma.
Facilitating the workshop is Spencer Sawyer, the only male student midwife in the province, who will be talking about the challenges inherent to Ontario's maternal healthcare system, and concrete ways for families to move through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum from a lens of empowerment, agency, and self-efficacy.
The workshop takes place on Wednesday, December 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in AHS 2677. Everyone is welcome, and there will be free snacks.
The event is being supported by the AHS HeForShe initiative.