President's Community Impact Award winners named
This year's recipients of the President's Community Impact Award (PCIA) have been named.
The winners were revealed at last night's President's Holiday Dinner.
Launched in 2017 as a legacy to the University’s 60th anniversary, the annual President’s Community Impact Awards recognize and celebrate those who embody the spirit of innovation and contribute to making Waterloo region strong and prosperous.
There are two categories: Community Leaders and University Leaders.
Michael Beazely - Professor Mike Beazely of the School of Pharmacy has contributed to the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council and has been involved with the Waterloo Region Integrated Drug Strategy (WRIDS) since its inception. As chair of the WRIDS since 2017, Mike’s leadership has contributed to prevention resources, partnerships with school boards and the Waterloo Region Local Health Integration Network, and promotion of student volunteer engagement in this critical community issue.
Robin Mazumder - Robin Mazumder is a PhD candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo. Robin has served on the City of Kitchener Cycling & Trails Advisory Committee and as Guest Librarian to the Kitchener Public Library in 2016. He partnered with the Waterloo Region Local Health Integration Network and the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre to make light therapy lamps available
at all KPL locations and to the Waterloo campus.
Professor Colin MacLeod, chair of Waterloo's Psychology department, accepted the award on Robin’s behalf.
Sustainable Waterloo Region - Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) programs such as TravelWise and the Regional Sustainability Initiative have helped shape the University of Waterloo’s sustainability strategy, which was recognized with a SWR Breakthrough award in spring 2018. A unique partnership between SWR, the Cora Group, EY Canada and the University’s David Johnston Research & Technology Park (R&T Park) led to the opening of Canada’s first net-positive multi-tenant building in the R&T Park this fall. Many UWaterloo students and faculty are SWR volunteers.
Executive Director of SWR Tova Davidson accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Volunteer Action Centre Waterloo Region - In 2014, the Volunteer Action Centre Waterloo Region (VACWR) began a formal partnership with the University’s Federation of Students (FEDS), leading to the launch of the FEDS Volunteer Centre one year later. To date, the online volunteer database has made more than 2,000 meaningful community connections for Waterloo students, as well as staff and faculty. VACWR is a regular participant at our bi-annual campus Volunteer Fairs, and have also partnered with the University’s Centre for Career Action, St. Paul’s Greenhouse, and the First Year Engineering Leadership conference.
Jane Hennig, Executive Director, Volunteer Action Centre, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
For more information, check out the President's Community Impact Awards website.
Feedback session for Freedom of Speech policy Monday
An opportunity to discuss the University’s Draft Policy 8 on freedom of speech is coming up on Monday, December 17.
On August 30, 2018, the Office of the Ontario Premier issued a news release directing universities across the province to develop and post institutional freedom of speech policies by January 1, 2019. The news release stated that there would be annual monitoring regarding compliance and penalties in the form of grant reduction for non-compliance.
The University of Waterloo already has policies and agreements regarding the rights of employees and students to academic freedom, and freedom from undue interference, harassment, discrimination and physical harm. While the University has made statements about its commitment to free speech when controversial speakers have come to campus in the past, it does not have a formal policy on this point as required by the directive.
After discussion with other universities and a review of the University of Waterloo’s policies in light of the provincial directive, a determination has been made that a short policy statement is necessary to fully address the government’s requirements.
The draft policy is intended to fill this narrow gap without changing any existing rights or responsibilities of employees and students. The policy states that the University is committed to providing an environment in which individuals and groups can express themselves, provided the content or manner of that expression is not contrary to law, University governing documents, and does not interfere with free speech of others.
Similarly, individuals and groups have the right to protest expression by others provided that the nature of protest does not interfere with the rights of others. The policy also affirms that existing policies and procedures for handling complaints will apply.
All University relations committees (Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty, and Staff) were asked to seek input from as broad a range of individuals as possible on the draft policy.
In light of the ongoing discussion around the draft policy, a meeting has been scheduled for members of the University community to offer their feedback on Monday, December 17 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Board and Senate room in NH 3407.
Velocity graduate student startup fund launches
Velocity has announced the launch of a new startup fund initiative for graduate student entrepreneurs.
The Velocity Graduate Student Startup Fund will provide $20,000 in funding for a startup and acceptance into the Velocity Garage incubator program.
The fund is made possible through the generosity of Sam Pasupalak, a successful Velocity alumnus. Pasupalak co-founded artificial intelligence company Maluuba, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. His generous donation will allow graduate students at the University of Waterloo to follow in his footsteps and work on building world-class companies.
Teams are eligible to apply for the fund if they have at least one co-founder who is currently, or has been in the last 12 months, a University of Waterloo graduate student. More information on the fund and eligibility can be found at velocity.uwaterloo.ca/gradfund.
Applications are open and will close January 20, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.
President's Holiday Luncheon and other notes
There's still time for faculty and staff to register for the President’s Holiday Luncheon, which will be held on Friday, December 14 at 12:00 p.m. in Fed Hall.
Charmaine Dean, vice-president, research and international and nine Waterloo researchers visited the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in November and attended a workshop to explore collaborative research in water, nano science, quantum information processing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.
The Waterloo-Technion partnership was established in 2014 following a donation from the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation and has supported a number workshops, 11 research projects and generated an additional $3.4 million in new grants, and a spin-off company.