Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Working group issues statement on Pride, Black Lives Matter, and Anti-Racism

A message from the Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group.

During Pride Month 2020, the University of Waterloo Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group (GSDWG) acknowledges that the struggle for and gains in queer rights are indebted to the struggle for Black civil rights and to the activism of many Black LGBTQ2S+ people. Early gay and lesbian rights advocates looked to the activism of the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States as a model for their own movement. Later, the Stonewall riots of 1969, often seen as the catalyst of the modern LGBTQ2S+ movement, were initiated and led by Black and Latinx drag queens, transgender people, and butch lesbians, including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie. Today, despite the integral role that Black and Indigenous peoples and people of colour (BIPOC) queer and trans folks have played in advancing queer rights around the globe, they face racism and discrimination within and from the queer community.

Recent events have again highlighted the degree to which Black people are impacted by racism, racist violence, and police violence. In the LGBTQ2S+ community, Black people who are transgender or gender non-conforming, are often targets of racist and transphobic attacks. The GSDWG stands with our Black trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming family as we speak out against anti-Black racism and as we bring attention to the recent murders of queer and trans Black people, including Tony McDade, Dominique "Rem'Mie" Fells, and Riah Milton.

We mark Pride 2020 by standing in solidarity with our Black siblings, whether they be LGBTQ2S+ or not. We will not celebrate Pride without connecting to and embracing its roots of anti-oppression, grassroots activism, and justice. We pledge to better integrate and prioritize these values in our work going forward.

Read the rest of the statement, and find out more about the Working Group here.

Staff association president-elect shares insights

This is an excerpt of an article that appeared on the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA)'s blog.

Kathy Becker.Hello UW staff members! My name is Kathy Becker, and I’m the current UWSA President-elect. I started this part-time, volunteer role when I was elected in October 2019 and spent the first few months learning the role and getting my head around the many moving parts. And then, like so many of you, I also suddenly had to figure out how to translate my work into a remote working-from-home reality during a global pandemic. Now that I’m feeling mostly settled on both accounts, it feels like a good time to say hello and share a bit about me. I’m also hoping that if I share a bit about my UWSA experience, someone who might not otherwise consider it might start thinking about running for a board position this fall – maybe even as our next President-elect?

I’m a UW Arts Grad (BA ’99) with experience in teaching, leadership, and communication. Before coming back to UW, I spent ten years working in private and public colleges and undertook graduate studies in educational technology. As the Faculty of Engineering’s Teaching Development Associate, I support faculty members by helping them connect what they’re doing in the classroom (whether face to face or virtual) with how their students see their teaching (through course evaluations and other feedback mechanisms) and how teaching and learning research might contribute to their development as teachers. It’s interesting work, and I get to interact with a broad variety of campus colleagues. When I’m not working, I spend my time keeping bees, doing yoga and meditating, building an off-grid homestead, and making soap. Before running for President-elect, I actually had very little interaction with or knowledge of the UWSA.

But my approach to the role is the same one I apply to most things, and it’s based on my core values: transparency, generosity, and inclusivity – all with a healthy dose of optimism. I believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity, that people are basically good, and that openness can help bridge gaps and lead to positive change. I’m also keenly aware that good communication is actually really hard, so it’s something that I try my best to pay extra attention to in all that I do. These are the things that will inform the work I do for our UWSA.

Read the rest of the article on the UWSA website.

Professor writes communication resource for international students

This is an excerpt of an article originally published on the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering website.

Academic Writing for Engineering Publication Book Cover.In isolation due to COVID-19, Zhongchao (Chao) Tan, Professor of University of Waterloo’s Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, spent two months writing and self-publishing an English resource book because he understands first-hand the formal, non-native, English writing challenges to engineering international students who come to Canada from another country.

This 202-page book, released on May 27, 2020, Academic Writing for Engineering Publication: Guidelines for Non-native English Speakers is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon Canada, USA, Italy, Japan, UK, France, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, etc. It has already made the charts and the price was intentionally set low by Tan, so it would be affordable for students. It’s hit the Amazon.ca charts as #3 (books) and #5 (e-books) in the category of Technical Thinking and Writing (Kindle Store), and #65 in Engineering (books) – a mere two books down from Strunk and Whites, The Elements of Style.

Tan decided to write this book to help faculty members prepare their students for formal writing in engineering. 

"This book is aimed at international students, who have to write in English," Tan says. "As a Chinese Canadian, who has studied and worked in the USA and Canada for 21 years, I am well-positioned to understand the language and cultural differences between the east and the west."

Read the rest of the article on the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering website.

Researcher joins international social behaviour research collaboration

This article originally appeared on the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change's website.

Professor Imre Szeman.Waterloo Professor Imre Szeman is part of a group of top researchers from the humanities and social sciences involved in the International Panel on Behavior Change (IPBC) association. The association, launched at the beginning of June, aims to develop a multidisciplinary scientific behavioural research program that will address current and predicted global societal and environmental crises, including climate change. 

The IPBC originated from an initiative launched by the Institute of Environmental Medicine (Paris) and the International Society of Behavioral Medicine. The IPBC, which is comprised of a federation of national societies, emerged out of meetings hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris (2019 and 2020).

Following the example of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this group intends to publish in-depth reports presenting multidisciplinary, state of the art behavioural indicators, drivers and obstacles to societal, economic and environmental change and adaptation, as well as punctual reports on specific themes. These documents will be geared towards all actors, from political decision makers to private firms and civil society.

An expert in environmental communication, Szeman will lead the amalgamation of relevant studies in communications about climate mitigation. Szeman’s role will support the inclusion of a broader field of scholarship on climate change, looking specifically at the effectiveness of communication strategies on climate change. Szeman is also on the IPBC media committee, responsible for communicating about the IPBC across Canada and the U.S, and sits on the board, where he contributes to the agenda of the organization.

Waterloo’s Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) is the IPBC’s institutional host in Canada. As the IPBC’s research program takes shape over the next several years, researchers and graduate students based at the University of Waterloo will have the opportunity to participate directly in the IPBC’s work. Waterloo’s IC3 is a natural fit for the Canadian chapter, with leading researchers in environmental issues and climate mitigation. With over 90 faculty members from more than 26 academic departments and several external organizations, ICsupports Waterloo’s top researchers in both the social and natural sciences to respond effectively to climate change.

"Having the IPBC at Waterloo will bring even greater attention to the amazing research on environmental issues produced on our campus," says Professor Szeman. "I’m excited by the chance to reach out to colleagues who may be interested in getting involved.”

Over coming weeks, the IPBC will be releasing a series of reports about the behaviour changes generated by the coronavirus pandemic, looking at what lessons might be learned for climate mitigation.

Creating a sense of belonging, navigating academic integrity online and other notable notes

The Wellness Collaborative is hosting an event today entitled "Creating a Sense of Belonging at UWaterloo" that takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. online.

"Now more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of everyone’s mind," says a note from the event organizers. "With most of the campus community studying or working virtually, challenges present themselves to stay connected, balance priorities, and establish healthy coping mechanisms through times of uncertainty."

Delivering the keynote address at this special event is Social Development Studies Professor Christine Logel. At the event, attendees will:

  • Hear about the identified wellness priorities for UWaterloo,
  • Learn about Professor Logel’s research on sense of belonging among post-secondary students,  
  • Have the opportunity to connect with other colleagues about belonging,
  • Hear from students, staff and faculty about their stories of belonging at UWaterloo 
  • Leave with tangible ways you can positively impact sense of belonging.

Check out the livestream at 10:00 a.m. today.

Also today, Women in Computer Science is hosting a virtual event titled "Unconscious Bias: How to Recognize and Interrupt It," with Kathleen Nalty, an expert in strategies for creating cultures of inclusion to retain and advance diverse talent. The event will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Everyone in the Waterloo community is welcome and encouraged to attend. The event is free but registration is required.

Work, study, play with integrity banner.

The Office of Academic Integrity is hosting a virtual forum on navigating academic integrity issues in online teaching and learning on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. The forum will feature a panel of instructors, students, an Assistant Dean and an Associate Dean, who will provide some of their insights into academic integrity at Waterloo and showcase some examples. Representatives from each of the units above will be on hand to answer your questions, and to provide support and follow-up after the session, as needed.     

This forum is held in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), Centre for Extended Learning (CEL), Registrar’s Office (RO), Student Success Office (SSO), Library (LIB), Secretariat (SEC), AccessAbility Services (AAS) and Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA). 

To view the agenda, and to join the live event, visit the Office of Academic Integrity event page.

Link of the day

35 years ago: Air India Flight 182

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

Award from GSEF-GSA-GSPA for thesis-based master’s and PhD students who have lost funding because of COVID-19.

Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment. The following workshops are current offerings from the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

Teaching Online: Basic Skills for TAs, June 1 to 30.

Teaching Online: Advanced Skills for TAs, June 1 to 30.  

Introduction to OER Textbooks, Wednesday, June 24, 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Introduction to OER Activities, Exercises, and Student Work Examples, Thursday, June 25, 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. 

Introduction to OER Courses, Tuesday, July 7, 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. 

Remote Course Design Essentials, Wednesday, July 8. 

Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information

Interested in learning more about engaging your students in an online course? The Centre for Extended Learning has created a new resource for you called "Fostering Engagement: Facilitating Online Courses in Higher Education"

This Open Educational Resource was designed for post-secondary instructors and teaching assistants who would like to better understand the critical role of facilitation in online course delivery, and build practical skills and strategies that are relevant, effective, and authentic.

Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

The Writing and Communication Centre has gone virtual. We have many online services to help you meet your goals, including: Virtual Pre-booked and Drop-in appointments, Online workshopsVirtual Grad and Faculty Writing CafésInstagram Live Q&A sessionsLive PJ-Friendly Write-insOnline learning resources, and Online programming for Master’s and PhD students. Whatever you’re working on, we’re here to help! Visit our website for more information.

We understand that these circumstances can be troubling, and you may need to speak with someone for emotional support. Good2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline based in Ontario, Canada that is available to all students.

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services.

The Library has published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

WUSA supports for students:

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at foodsupport@wusa.ca.

MATES – Providing general online Peer Support via Skype to undergraduate students. To set up an appointment, please go to: https://wusa.ca/peersupport

Glow Centre - Providing online Peer Support for the LGBTQ2+ community via Skype to Undergraduate students. To set up an appointment, please go to: https://wusa.ca/peersupport

The Women’s Centre – Providing online Peer Support via Skype to undergraduate students. To set up an appointment, please go to: https://wusa.ca/peersupport

RAISE – Providing online Peer Support via Google to undergraduate students. To set up an appointment, please go to: https://wusa.ca/peersupport

The Bike Centre – Now open by appointment for your bicycle repair and rental needs in the Student Life Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please go to: https://wusa.ca/bikecentre

Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at caps@wusa.ca . More information at http://wusa.ca/caps

WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-844-741-6389.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Warriors Coaching Clinics. Every Wednesday from June 3 to July 15. Free online sessions highlighting a wide range of topics featuring Warriors Coaches and staff. Register in advance for the zoom link.

International Live Chat #1 – Connecting to Campus, Tuesday, June 23, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Wellness Collaborative, Tuesday, June 23, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Entrepreneurship@Environment presents Impact Investing 101Tuesday, June 23, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.

Women in Computer Science presents "Unconscious Bias: How to Recognize and Interrupt It," Tuesday, June 23, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration required.

BSIA/UNAC online seminar, “Global Health Pandemics: COVID-19 Forward”, featuring Susan Horton, UW/BSIA; Peter Singer, World Health Organization; Michael Pearson, Public Health Agency of Canada; and Alan Whiteside, Laurier/BSIA, Tuesday, June 23, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Intro Session: Pitch to Win, Wednesday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.

NEW - BSIA online seminar, Global Insights: “COVID-19 and the Future of International Order” featuring David Welch, UWaterloo, and Ann Fitz-Gerald, BSIA Director as moderator, with speakers from the UK, the USA, Germany and Ethiopia, Thursday, June 25, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

The Post-COVID-19 Reboot, “Rebooting with Research: Our virtual future” (panel session 6 of 6) Thursday, June 25, 1:00 p.m.

Public Writing – Turning an Academic Paper into a Blogpost (with Elise Vist and James Skidmore), Thursday, June 25, 1:00 p.m.

Healthy Minds, Creative Concepts: Stress Management, Thursday, June 25, 4:00 p.m., Virtual Event. 

Science Innovation Hub Guest Lecture: Science Around the World with Senjuti Saha, Friday, June 26, 10:00 a.m.

Managing the Pandemic through Contact-Tracing Apps: Technological innovation or a Challenge to Privacy and Civil Liberties? Lunch and Learn session in collaboration with Defence Security Foresight Group and Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute - Moderated by CPI Executive Director Dr. Florian Kerschbaum with Panelists Bessma Momani, Plinio Morita and Douglas Stebila. Friday June 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Zoom platform. Register by Thursday June, 25.

Concept $5K Applications Close, Sunday, June 28, 11:59 p.m.

Graduate literature reviews A: Organizing research, Monday, June 29, 10:00 a.m. Live Q & A on LEARN.

International Live Chat #2 – Adjusting to a New Culture, Tuesday, June 30, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Navigating Academic Integrity Issues in Online Teaching and Learning, Tuesday, June 30, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Canada Day holiday, most University operations closed, Wednesday, July 1.

Grammar studio I: The most common grammar trouble spots, Thursday, July 2, 2:00 p.m. Live Q & A on LEARN.

University of Waterloo internal communications survey deadline, Friday, July 3.

Design & deliver I: Structure and deliveryMonday, July 6, 10:00 am, Live Q & A on LEARN.

International Live Chat #3 – Thriving in First Year, Tuesday, July 7, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Science Live Chat, Wednesday, July 8, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Intro Session: Billion Dollar Briefing, Wednesday, July 8, 6:30 p.m.