Convocation considerations after a virtual celebration
The University of Waterloo first-ever virtual Convocation celebrations took place last week. More than 6,400 graduating students were recognized as they received more than 6,700 degrees, diplomas, and certificates as the University pivoted to a virtual recognition due to COVID-19 that was intended to create a meaningful remote Convocation experience for Waterloo graduands.
Here's how the virtual Convocation celebrations went, by the numbers:
- The average open rate for the personalized Convocation email was 81.6 per cent. Compare that to Spring 2019 Convocation, where the average in-person attendance rate was 75.2 per cent.
- There were more than 17,000 views of the personalized Convocation videos;
- Videos were shared to more than 12,000 unique users;
- There were 1.36 million overall impressions on social media;
- #UWaterlooGrad trended in Ontario on June 17, 2020;
- There are 24,000 combined pages viewed across the Convocation website.
561 people picked up celebratory lawn signs as part of the celebration, 22 per cent of which were faculty and staff members eager to recognize our latest cohort of graduates. 100 additional signs were placed around the University's main and satellite campuses.
Graduating students received their diplomas by mail in a package that included the diploma, an alumni handbook, and a W Store post card. More than 3,500 class composites were also mailed out to graduands. Several faculties customized their mailouts with additional materials.
The Daily Bulletin also put the call out for employees to revisit their own Convocation experiences in support of the virtual celebration, and several of you did just that, including Regina Vera-Quinn, coordinator of Spanish introductory courses in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, who scanned and submitted her graduation photo from 1994. And, what the heck, while we're on the subject: here is yours truly about to receive his hood from then-President David Johnston in 2002. Who knew that less than five years later I would be writing speeches for him?
As part of the personalized Convocation video messages sent to graduating students, the University's deans were asked a critically-important question: just what did they think the Canada Geese were up to now that they had the full run of campus?
Their answers are below:
Remembering Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ralph Haas
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ralph Haas, a retired faculty member in Civil and Environmental Engineering, passed away on Friday, June 19. He was 87.
Haas was born in Alberta and obtained a BASc and MASc from the University of Alberta before finishing his PhD at the University of Waterloo in 1968. Before completing his PhD Haas taught engineering at Carleton University.
Professor Haas pioneered the systems concept and development of engineering technology for managing networks of paved roads. His research intrests included the economic analysis of highway and pavement, pavement performance evaluation, the structural analysis of pavement structures, highway materials and information systems, sulphur-asphalt technology, and pavement rehabilitation and recycling.
In 1968 he was appointed Associate Professor in Civil Engineering, making full Professor in 1972. In 1974 he was named Association Chairman in Civil Engineering and served as the department's chair beginning in 1978. He held a number of visiting professorships with the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1978 he became president of Pavement Management Systems, a spinoff company based on his research activities (and those of his colleagues) at the University of Waterloo that used technology to monitor and analyze paved road and road infrastructure conditions. He published hundreds of research papers, journal articles and more than a dozen books, including one entitled Modern Pavement Management, which at the time was the only book in the world on the subject of pavement management; it was intended as a textbook for road and highway management professionals.
His innovations led to many management and economic benefits for public transportation agencies in Canada and around the world.
Haas retired from the University in 1996, but continued to teach and conduct research on road improvements. He was the founding director of Waterloo's Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology (CPATT) and the centre's senior adviser.
Haas was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1997. In 1999 he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. He also received the Construction Innovation Forum's Nova Award in 1999, an award described as "the Nobel Prize of the construction industry." In 2001 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. Haas received the Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal in the Research and Development Category in 2005 in recognition of his national and international reputation for important contributions to pavement engineering and infrastructure management. Haas was also a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals. In 2014 he received the US National Academies Transportation Research Board’s highest honour, the Roy W. Crum Award for Outstanding Achievement in Transportation Research. Haas was one of just three academics to have been named Honorary Life Member of the Transportation Association of Canada.
The University of Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering named a room in Engineering 3 the Ralph Haas Infrastructure and Sensing Analysis Laboratory in recognition of his influential research and teaching.
In 2018 he received an honourary degree from the University of Alberta.
Not content to pound the pavement merely for research purposes, Haas was passionate about long distance running, completing many 10K, marathon, and ultra marathon races in North America and abroad ranging from the Midnight Sun on Baffin Island to Comrades in South Africa.
A private memorial service will be held at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home. Relatives and friends may join the family in the livestream of the service at www.erbgood.com on Saturday, June 27 at 1:00 p.m.
Sustainability certificate now available in LEARN; other notes
The Sustainability Office "is excited to share that the Sustainability Certificate is now available on LEARN to support independent, asynchronous learning for employees. This series of courses is available to all university employees to help Waterloo embed sustainability into campus culture, one of the major goals of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. It includes seven modules that cover key local and global sustainability issues, what the University is doing, and tools and resources for employees to integrate sustainability into their own departments, homes, and beyond."
Employees can access the course under the Self Registration tab on LEARN and register using their WatIAM credentials. For more information, please visit the Sustainability Certificate webpage.
Note: The Sustainability Office will continue to deliver group offerings remotely in the fall term. Employees can choose the independent OR group learning stream, but cannot mix and match courses from the two streams at this time.
Here's what's coming up at the Centre for Career Action (June 22 – June 26)
- Tuesday, June 30: Interviewing Effectively (PhD and Postdocs), 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- See CCA’s offering of virtual programming online. Students can register on WaterlooWorks.
- Centre for Career Action virtual drop-in advising hours for June:
- Online résumé, cover letter and interview support, Career consults, and Work search drop-ins running 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students can book virtual drop-ins on WaterlooWorks.
There is still time to complete the 2020 Internal Communications Survey. Faculty and staff members at the University can check their email inboxes for a link to the survey, which should take about 10 minutes to complete. 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 will be available until Friday, July 3.