Virtual Convocation celebrations kick off today for Applied Health Sciences, Environment
More than 6,400 of Waterloo's latest cohort of graduates will be recognized this week through a series of virtual celebrations. Over the next five days, these graduating students will receive more than 6,700 degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
Each graduand will receive an email from President Feridun Hamdullahpur with a personalized video featuring senior University leaders that marks this exceptional moment in the lives of each graduating student and their families. Students having difficulty finding the email this week should check out the University's student email migration website for more information, as student emails are switching from edu.uwaterloo.ca to uwaterloo.ca addresses.
Today, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences will recognize and celebrate more than 450 graduating students, and the Faculty of Environment will recognize and celebrate more than 400 graduating students.
Family and friends of graduates, along with the entire UWaterloo community, are being asked to share their congratulatory messages online with stories, videos and social posts.
President Feridun Hamdullahpur recorded a message for graduating students this week that is featured as part of a Convocation blog post, which will be published later today:
Dean of Applied Health Sciences Lili Liu recorded a message for graduating AHS students. A condensed version of the Dean's remarks are as follows:
Dean of Environment Jean Andrey recorded a video message for graduating students. A condensed version of the Dean's remarks are as follows:
Check out the University's Convocation website for more information and resources you can use to celebrate Waterloo's graduating students this week.
University's distinguished teachers named
The Distinguished Teacher Awards for 2020 will be presented to four faculty members, according to a report submitted by the DTA Selection Committee at yesterday’s meeting of the University's Senate. The recipients are:
Seen as more than just a lecturer, Cynthia Richard is a member of the Faculty of Science who is said to go above and beyond the call of duty. She is an engaging lecturer with an incredible knowledge of the content, explaining material in ways that encourages students to expand their knowledge. She has had a big impact on students and her peers at the School of Pharmacy, with many describing her as “welcoming” and “supportive.” Her students greatly appreciate the emphasis she puts on the importance of mental well-being, and Cynthia has been involved with mental health initiatives around the school where she has offered her own support and reassurance to students along with way. Dr. Richard started at Waterloo in 2012 and since then has organized the Canadian Pharmacy Education and Research Conference (CPERC) and has taken on the role of Associate Director of Curriculum. She approaches projects in an innovative and collaborative way, and is recognized for “always [being] the first person to offer assistance.” With her great passion to help others she is someone who is quick to take action in order to lead her students to success.
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Lowell Ewert, is well known at the University of Waterloo for teaching others about the importance of Peace and Conflict studies. By Lowell bringing real-life scenarios, guest lecturers, and his own experience into the classroom he equips his students with the tools they need. As a former student wrote, “He has had endless enthusiasm for his work, and the work of his colleagues in other departments, sectors, and countries.” Ewert is said to help guide his students into new directions and inspire them to incorporate their interests into their studies and careers. Seen as a mentor for some, he challenges his students to become more involved in the field and step outside their comfort zone. Ewert has served as a constant support in the lives on many of his students, ranging from working with undergraduate projects and clubs, or sitting on PhD committees. His teaching style is also notable: one student noted that he “uses visualizations in the classroom to overcome the burden of conventional teaching methods.” His unique way of teaching changes the way his students think about things. It is clear that Ewert has a strong commitment to those he teaches and is highly appreciated for his kindness.
Professor Rajinder Pal is well known for his enthusiasm, high level of knowledge, passion for teaching, and ability to make his lectures exciting and easy to follow, even for the toughest of Engineering courses. As one student noted, “he actively strives to communicate concepts clearly, interspersing graphs and practical examples throughout lectures to explain concepts.” In addition to possessing an in-depth understanding of the course material, he is able to create a classroom where students feel like he is learning with them. Professor Pal provides his students with support while also giving them the opportunity to think for themselves, encouraging them to develop their own solutions before providing them with answers. As another student explained: “He would challenge students to answer their own question by asking several guiding questions exploring the background behind the original question.” It is clear that Pal’s students appreciate his humility as well as his dedication to teaching.
Rick Marta, a lecturer and Materials and Nanosciences (MNS) academic advisor for the Departments of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy, is well known for his passion for teaching. His students recognize his “dedication to developing course materials, assisting his students during experiments, and his ability to provide one-on-one support.” Many of his students praise his open-door policy as he ensures that he welcomes everyone who needs support, or is always open for a friendly conversation. Marta’s passion and enthusiasm for chemistry has inspired many students to enter the field and pursue further education. As one colleague wrote, “students marvel at his ability to present difficult concepts lucidly and in plain language; they praise his willingness to sit down with each of them to explain it all over again, no matter how large the class or how long the hours.” Marta’s friendly personality and demeanour demonstrates that he genuinely cares deeply about the educational aspirations of each student. His impact on student learning extends far beyond the classroom.
Check back in tomorrow's Daily Bulletin for the photos and citations of the winners of this year's Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student (AETS).
Waterloo celebrates graduating PhD students
This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo Stories.
For graduating PhD students, completing their dissertation defence is a significant milestone, as well as a time to celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family.
Waterloo recognizes exceptional PhD students from each faculty. Read their stories below.
Applied Health Sciences
Richard Norman was first connected to the University of Waterloo through Heather Mair, a professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, during her research on curling. Mair’s work on curling helped influence and shape Norman’s journey in understanding the impact of sports on society. From that discussion, Norman ended up choosing to pursue a doctorate at the University of Waterloo and credits to Mair for her guidance throughout the process. Norman’s dissertation defence focused on the deconstruction of dominant narratives within a sport that may continue to affect diversity and inclusion.
His research was committed to finding approaches that can open up dialogue and discourses towards a more socially-just and inclusive world. In the wake of urgent Anti-Racism protests and discussions about “race” and oppression in white supremacist societies, Norman believes it is even more vital to break down our existing societal structures and reinvent them — to open up spaces for everyone and move towards a more just society.
Norman said that the connection he made with his fellow graduate students in their shared spaces, brought a great deal of impromptu conversations and led to some of the deepest insights he had about his courses and his project work.
“You will be unsure at times of your abilities, your commitment and your scholarship. Choose your project wisely,” Norman says and provides the following advice to students pursuing a PhD degree. “Find one that can bring all of your passion and emotion into your research, as that will help you remember why you are there and get you to your goal.”
Norman would also like to thank Lisbeth Berbary’s mentorship, friendship and teachings during his time in Waterloo. Her teaching profoundly changed his life. He is currently facilitating courses at the University of Waterloo and OCAD University and graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy in Recreation and Leisure Studies this spring.
Bereket Negasi Isaac became increasingly interested in water and environmental governance towards the end of his master’s degree at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. This is because of what he was learning about the tremendous impacts of climate change on the water sector. Thus, he wanted to study the topic more broadly and more deeply, which prompted his discovery of Waterloo’s PhD program in Social and Ecological Sustainability. Isaac ended up completing his dissertation on Water Quality Policy in Lake Erie Basin.
Isaac’s fondest memory as a Waterloo student includes working alongside mentors and supportive colleagues, as well as being congratulated by his advisor, Dr. Rob de Loë, and the examining committee during his comprehensive exam and final defence session. Isaac said he will miss the great company of his colleagues and the uninterrupted and focused attention that he was able to devote to his research. He will also miss his walks around campus during lunch time while enjoying the sight of Canada geese by Laurier creek.
As a first-generation student from Eritrea, Isaac says, “It’s always darker just before dawn." Although it will seem very hard and at times impossible to do, Isaac encourages students pursuing a PhD degree to trust in themselves and plough through. “Do not allow your background to hold you back from what you want to achieve.”
He is currently working on a post-doctoral project on participatory approaches to water governance in Southern Ontario, with funding from the Global Water Futures. Bereket Negrasi Isaac is graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Ecological Sustainability.
We need your input in the 2020 Internal Communications Survey
A message from University Relations.
University Relations is looking for ways to improve its communications activities, and we need your feedback.
All employees (faculty, staff, and unionized workers) are asked to complete the internal communications survey, which should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
The survey will be available until Friday, July 3. By completing the survey, you are helping to identify specific aspects of the University’s internal communications activity that are meeting your needs as a member of the University community, and those that could use improvement.
The survey is part of a review of the University’s internal communication practices. We have engaged the services of an external consultant, Brand Clarity, to conduct this audit, which is the first stage of a project led by University Relations to strengthen the way the University communicates with our employees.
Your feedback is important and will help enhance the way the University communicates to its employees.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Brandon Sweet, associate director, internal and leadership Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Confidentiality and privacy
Participation in the survey is voluntary and confidential and you may decline to answer any of the questions or withdraw from participation at any point without affecting your relationship with the University of Waterloo. Survey responses are confidential and your contact information and e-mail addresses will not be used for any purpose other than this survey-related correspondence. The survey will remain open until Friday, July 3, 2020.