Thursday, September 17, 2020

President provides anti-racism update

The University has launched a website to help the campus community stay up to date on the commitments Waterloo has made to address systemic racism.

Preparations for the new academic term and the changes from the ongoing public health crisis have been front of mind for all of us in recent weeks.” wrote President Feridun Hamdullahpur in a memo circulated to employees this morning. “Even with these pressures, our work to address systemic, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of racism is still very much top of mind and is ongoing.

“Today, we have launched a webpage to help you stay up-to-date on the commitments we’ve made to address systemic racism as well as the evolution and progress of our work.” Hamdullahpur writes.

“In June, I announced the development of the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART). Since then, I have been genuinely moved by the many stories and experiences shared by our BIPOC faculty, students and staff. Many have graciously donated their time and insights to help not only inform our action, but to help guide our next steps. We have taken this feedback to heart and have started to summarize some key themes of what we’ve heard on the site.” 

We will update the site regularly as we learn and validate new insights from our ongoing conversations with our campus communities,” Hamdullahpur writes. “We will continue to take concrete and tangible actions that are guided, informed, and shaped by a collaborative of individuals from our communities. An important part of our effort is to facilitate this ongoing collaboration.

Once you have had a chance to browse the site, if you’d like to lend your voice, share your experience or provide an opinion on our actions moving forward, I welcome feedback from all members of our community.

I consider change and progress trademarks of our identity here at Waterloo,” the president writes. “The voices I have heard so far reinforce my resolve to push for change, to see barriers removed and for us to create a more supportive environment where everyone belongs.”

United Way Campaign: How to "Go Red" this year and read our 2019 Annual Report

Four videoconference participants wear red in support of United Way.

A message from the University of Waterloo United Way campaign.

Campaign during a pandemic

Orientation has ended, classes have started, and there’s a slight nip in the air. Some things are the same as every year, but the campus certainly feels different. University life during a pandemic throws a lot of tradition into question. This is true for our annual United Way campaign. During the month of October, campus “goes red” to celebrate community, give thanks, and donate to our local United Way Waterloo Region Communities.

But what does “go red” look like during a pandemic? Like any tradition, the spirit remains the same. We want to see great events and creativity while we continue to strengthen our community. To that end, the United Way Campaign Committee has come up with some virtual ways you can get involved on October 1.

  • Skip the dog in a flowing red dress.Decorate your home office in red, or decorate your pet, kid, or even your significant other and post it using #UWUnitedWay, or send it to our committee on October 1st through for prizes. No donation or purchase is required to win. We might even feature you in our next Daily Bulletin update. Pro tips: Do some pre-Christmas decorating with your red decorations, or use all of those red clothes, jewlery, scarves, hats, and costumes sitting at the back of your closet.
  • Connect with your campaign ambassador to find out what exciting events might be in store for your area.
  • Check out our Go Red page on our website for news, events, and ways we’re all going red this year. And continue to check out the Daily Bulletin for any new promotions and ways to support our campaign throughout October.
  • And finally – don’t forget to donate. Our community needs your support now more than ever. Let’s make this year, despite a pandemic, our best year – one we can be proud of.

We’re looking forward to seeing how you GO RED for the United Way campaign.

The best and brightest moments of the 2019 campaign

As we gear up for the 2020 United Way campaign, we’d like to share our appreciation for the hard work, support, and enthusiasm from our campus community – committee members, volunteers, and donors – during our 2019 campaign. Whether you attended an event, executed a fundraising activity within your department, or made a donation, every little bit helps. Your support helped to raise over $262,000 for the 2018 campaign. Read the full report online.

Our Impact:

  • Over 450 individual donors gave to United Way (employees, retirees and students).
  • 78 new donors supported the campaign – that’s just over 17 per cent of our 459 total donors.
  • Our Ambassadors executed 60 events, contributing over $29,000 to our campaign.

Event highlights:

  • University of Waterloo Deans paraded to Senate in Sesame Street costumes.
  • The third annual Souper Thursday had a souper turnout – members of our campus community enjoyed over 300 bowls of soup served by celebrity chefs.
  • Incredible participation of our volunteers – including the Library, Engineering, AHS, and more.

Impact of your investment:

In 2019, our campaign efforts contributed 4 per cent of the United Way Waterloo Region Communities’ total campaign results. These donations are helping to:

  • Fund programs to help those in need of counselling and mental health services
  • Support programs helping youth enhance their social and educational skills
  • Fund programs connecting local immigrants to their community
  • Support programs that help those living in poverty in our community

As we look ahead to our 2020 campaign, we don’t want to forget our “every little bit counts” sentiment. By coming together as a campus community, we can help those who need it most.

An update on the Staff Performance Appraisal System Review

On the recommendation of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC) and to fulfill the commitment within the Staff compensation recommendation – 2018-2020, the University has engaged Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, to conduct a review of the Staff performance appraisal system. The objective of the review is to assess the effectiveness of our existing program while identifying opportunities for improvement. 

A Core project team consisting of representatives from within Human Resources and Organizational & Human Development have been engaged to provide Mercer with support. A key part of this process is to obtain firsthand insights from key stakeholders – including Staff and managers of Staff – to ensure experiences across all levels are understood. Over the next two weeks, HR will be releasing a communication in order to provide an opportunity to participate in the process. Opportunities to provide feedback to Mercer directly and confidentially, will be through focus group participation or the completion of a questionnaire. 

Stakeholder insights, along with Mercer’s expertise in the area of performance management, will inform a current state recommendation report that Mercer will present to the PACSC. The target completion date for this report is prior to the end of 2020. This review will have no impact on the upcoming 2020 performance appraisal period. 

Should you wish to learn more about this project, please contact Lee Hornberger, director, total compensation, or Raghda Sabry, HR project manager. 

Remember: the mandatory two-factor authentication deadline is approaching

A banner image showing the two-factor authentication process.

Information Systems & Technology (IST) has sent a reminder to campus about the upcoming two-factor authentication (2FA) requirement for access to campus systems effective November 3, 2020.

As announced in a memo shared on June 10, effective November 3, two-factor authentication (2FA) will be required to access a number of campus systems, including Office 365, Workday, Quest, LEARN, Concur, Unit4, and other systems supporting single sign-on authentication. This means that after November 3, your username and password alone will be insufficient to access campus systems. Only accounts protected by the University's 2FA service, Duo Security, will be permitted access.

Visit the 2FA website to learn more about Duo 2FA and to enrol your device(s) in the Duo Mobile App. "This process takes only a few minutes and you are encouraged to enrol early to familiarize yourself with this service," says the IST memo. "Employees who would prefer to use a token authenticator should complete the 2FA Token Request form by September 30 to ensure the token is delivered before the November 3 implementation date. Tokens can be requested past this date; however, receipt of the token may be delayed, which will delay your access to 2FA supported websites/applications."

IST notes that you can reduce the number of authentication prompts you receive from an application each month by selecting Remember me for 30 days when you receive a prompt.

There are a number of 2FA resources available for students and employees. You can:

Thursday's notes

It's UWSA election time, according to a note from the staff association, who poses the following questions to staff members: "Do you have an interest in governance? Love to learn new things? Enjoy working with colleagues from across campus? Have a passion for social justice and equity? Feel driven to help make UW a better place for staff?"

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider stepping up to serve as a UWSA Board Director or as President-Elect. "Serving on the UWSA Board offers opportunities for personal and professional growth, and becoming involved with the UWSA is a great way to support our campus community in a meaningful way," says the note from UWSA. Information sessions will be held over lunch September 18 and September 24 via MS Teams.

Professor Raja Rengupta.The Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) is hosting a webinar featuring Professor Raja Sengupta from McGill University entitled It's Complex: Future of Modelling and Simulation in a Changing Geospatial Data Environment."

"The increasing availability of large, dynamic Geospatial datasets (where information is captured from a multitude of satellite-borne and spatially distributed terrestrial sensors) creates tremendous opportunities and challenges for understanding complex systems and feedbacks," says Professor Sengupta. "I will focus on how complex system analysis methods and simulations (e.g., Agent Based Models (ABM), Spatial Social Networks (SSN), and spatially distributed Sensor Networks) can evolve concurrently in an attempt to better capture the inherent complexity of human-environment interactions that occur within a spatial framework."

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, September 22, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Link of the day

25 years ago: The Usual Suspects

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.

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):

Getting Ready to Facilitate Online Courses: TA Training, beginning July 13.

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning August 26.

Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Continuous self-enroll course in LEARN.

NEW - Grading Your Remote Assessments with Crowdmark, Friday, September 18, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Online Instructional Skills Workshop. Approximately six hours per week for six weeks: 8:00 am Monday, September 21 to 4:00 pm Friday, October 30.

NEW - Introduction to PebblePlus, Monday, September 21, 2020 — 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

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 is rolling out virtual services and programs for fall term: 

  • Undergrad students -- work with us to brainstorm, draft, revise, and polish assignments by meeting with our writing advisors in virtual appointments. Chat with our friendly and knowledgeable peer tutors in our virtual drop-ins and PJ-friendly writing groups. Or experience an online workshop at your own pace. 
  • First-year Warriors! Check out Waterloo Ready to Write to build your skills for writing success.
  • Graduate Students -- meet with an advisor in a virtual appointments, take an online workshop,  join the grad writing community at our Virtual Writing Cafés and #WaterlooWrites groups, develop your academic voice at Speak Like a Scholar, or make progress on your thesis at Dissertation Boot Camp.
  • Instructors and faculty -- Request and access WCC workshops for use in your courses, join a virtual writing group, or speak with a writing advisor about a writing project.

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. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment.

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

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:

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 More information at

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 1-833-628-5589.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Healthy Warriors at Home. Free programming including Online Fitness, Health Webinars, Personalized Nutrition and more from Warriors Athletics and Rec. Open to students, staff, faculty and alumni. Register today.

WUSA Welcome Week, Monday, September 14 to Friday, September 18.

2020 Water Institute RBC Distinguished Lecture presented by Dr. Dianne Saxe, "How to Inform Policy with Science," Thursday, September 17, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Global Insights: “Racism, Anti-oppression, and International Affairs”, featuring Narendran Kumarakulasingam, Adjunct Professor, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo; Shadi Mokhtari, Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University; Akinyemi Oyawale, Teaching Fellow, International Security, University of Warwick; Junko Toriyama, Associate Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director, BSIA, Thursday, September 17, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Work-Learn Institute webinar, The future of work and your talent pipeline - What is COVID-19 teaching us? Thursday, September 17, 1:00 p.m.

NEW - IT Seminar: IST Client Services Update, Friday September 18, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

University Senate meeting, Monday, September 21, online.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Tuesday, September 22, 9:30 a.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp

Women in Math Virtual Welcome Event session 1, "What I Wish I Knew Then...", Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. RSVP.

WaterLeadership Training Program seminar, "Project Management Skills for Students," Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) Webinar: Dr. Raja Sengupta from McGill University  “It's Complex: Future of Modelling and Simulation in a Changing Geospatial Data Environment"Tuesday, September 22, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Women in Math Virtual Welcome Event session 2, "What I Wish I Knew Then...", Tuesday, September 22, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RSVP.

Free Yoga on Warrior Field, Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. Class free for all Students, Staff and Faculty. Register today.

Concept Intro Session: What’s Your Problem, Wednesday, September 23, 5:00pm, Virtual Event.

NEW - School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series, Moshe Y. Vardi — An Ethical Crisis in Computing? Thursday, September 24, 2:00 p.m.