Wednesday, September 23, 2020

President confirms details for winter 2021 term

View of campus covered in snow facing Dana Porter

A message from Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor.

With fall term well underway, the University has been working to plan in detail what our approach will be for the upcoming winter term. With change happening so quickly, I want to let you know more details about our plans.

We are also sharing these details with incoming and continuing students today so they can plan for January with confidence.

Towards the end of the summer we were hopeful that we could extend our gradual and staged return to campus to more in-person instruction and learning. The recent surge in COVID cases in Ontario makes it clear that the virus and our collective efforts to stop the spread need our continued attention.

With this in mind, our approach to winter term will be in keeping with our approach to fall term. Instruction will continue both online and in-person in limited situations. This means that while many courses will happen primarily online, some key academic buildings on our campus will continue to be open to support students who choose to be in Waterloo to study, or who have courses with elements that will happen in person.

For employees, there will be no immediate change in return to research and work-from-home arrangements. Please continue to follow your department and unit plans in this regard.

We have put measures into place to keep everyone safe when they come to campus and are encouraging those students who are studying remotely, and those employees who continue to work remotely, to take appropriate precautions to keep their friends, colleagues and family members safe. We are all in this together.

Read the full announcement on the COVID-19 website.

Supporting co-op students? Learn what's new with co-op in light of COVID-19

A road stretches ahead.

A message from Co-operative and Experiential Education.

With the world of work changing before our eyes, one thing is certain: helping our students to gain experience and prepare for the future of work has never been more important. As we prepare for a new fall term and school year, we’re continuing to look for innovative ways to help our co-op students and employers have meaningful work term experiences.

If you’re supporting students with a Fall 2020 work term, it’s key to note that there is still time to find a job! Though the work term officially started on September 8, students can start work as late as November 2, so encourage them to keep looking! To help with this, we’ve developed flexible pathways to help students complete their Fall 2020 work terms, including a reduced number of work terms required to graduate, increased flexibility around work term requirements, options for shorter work terms and more!

More flexibility for students with a Winter 2021 work term

If you’re supporting students with a Winter 2021 work term, here’s what you need to know:

  • In light of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the job market, we're piloting a change to our Winter 2021 hiring process to encourage more employers to post jobs, to give students more choice and to help solidify matches sooner. Key changes include:
    • Extra employment cycle added before fall reading week to help solidify matches faster (does not apply to Pharmacy and Architecture students, who have their own cycles)
    • Interviews arranged through WaterlooWorks will continue to be conducted remotely
    • Students can keep searching for jobs up until March 8, 2021 if they need extra time to find a job

Visit our websites for a full list of our *NEW* hiring dates for both students and employers.

A note on travel policies and remote work guidelines

Given the Canadian Government and University’s stance around international travel, we cannot currently approve work terms that require students to actively travel to locations, especially outside Canada (exceptions apply for international students on study permits who wish to return to their home location and students who left Canada before June 1, 2020). That said, work terms can continue to happen remotely as long as the student and employer understand and follow our remote work guidelines. Learn more via our Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 webpages.

Interested in hiring a co-op student? There’s still time (and funding) available!

It’s now easier than ever to hire a co-op student! With our new flexible work term lengths, you can hire until November 2 for the Fall 2020 work term, and March 8 for the Winter 2021 work term. If you need help covering the cost of your co-op student, post-secondary institutions are now eligible to receive up to $7,500 per student from the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP). Learn more about how we’ve made it easier to hire via our co-op work term updates webpage!

As always, we’re so grateful for the support of our campus community as we rally together to help our students have meaningful work experiences. If you have any questions about these updates, contact your Faculty Relations Manager, Account Manager or another member of the Co-operative and Experiential Education team! 

Volunteer Action Centre creates the Pandemic Response Volunteer Program

Three VAC volunteers stand outside, and one is holding a piece of artwork.

A message from the United Way Campaign Committee.

Our region’s volunteer hub, the Volunteer Action Centre (VAC), is a charitable agency supported by the United Way (as well as our region and cities). It provides a broad range of services for over 150 not-for-profit organizations within our region, providing three main streams of services:

  1. Recruitment of volunteers for a range of charitable organizations
  2. Professional development for volunteer management staff
  3. Consultation and advocacy within the volunteer sector

“We essentially act like a job centre for volunteerism” says Jane Hennig, the Executive Director of VAC. Through their database, Volunteer Attract, (that happens to be developed by University of Waterloo alumni), they post a large variety of positions so that prospective volunteers can search for the many volunteer opportunities that exist in a convenient one-stop-shop.. The organization also works hard to promote volunteerism through social media, newsletters, advocacy, and speaking engagements.

The importance of volunteerism

Three volunteers behind an event table with VAC swag.With so much work to do within our community, and not enough payable hours to support initiatives of all organizations, it’s important to engage people to volunteer. In 2018 the Conference Board of Canada wrote a report called “The Value of Volunteering in Canada” where they determined that volunteers add significant value to our economy. Specifically, they contribute 2.6% of our GDP, and add billions of dollars to Canada’s work effort.

With this, Jane expressed that “a huge part of our Canadian economy is supported by volunteers”, that volunteers are essential to building our society and ensuring Canadian’s have access to essential services.

The Pandemic Response Volunteer Program

Like most of the world, “we’re learning how to deal with the pandemic on the fly” said Jane. “Although the region did have a pandemic plan, it was a bit outdated as it was developed during SARS, and needs within the community were changing rapidly”. To illustrate this, many elderly people were unable to leave their homes during the initial stages of our response to the pandemic, so food delivery services became an unexpected pressing need.

Since volunteers either administer programs or are needed by many services we have within the community, Jane and her team began working vigorously with the tri-cities and townships to best serve the needs of the community during these unprecedented times.

The Community Service Control Group formed and discussed the most pressing needs of the community. The group identified five different areas; food delivery, psycho-social-spiritual support, animal care, housing and homelessness, as well as family and children services. The VAC already had a centralized pool of fully vetted volunteers, who, based on priorities set by the working group, could move volunteers quickly and fluidly between organizations to meet their needs.  The Pandemic Response Volunteer Program emerged and VAC became the intake centre for regional volunteers. It’s a unique program, as volunteers usually aren’t shared between organizations.

Donations to the United Way helps volunteerism thrive within our community

VAC volunteers walking with umbrellas.United Way Waterloo Region and Communities have been supporting the Volunteer Action Centre for many years.  Recently, the United Way has been helping VAC build their corporate partnerships, developing popular programs for corporations themselves to volunteer within the community.  .

With your support of our United Way campaign, we can continue to help organizations like the Volunteer Action Centre create responsive programs that impact pressing community needs, while ensuring we continue to have engaged individuals and corporations contribute to the overall health of our region through volunteerism.

Are you the one who will help during these unusual times?

ASU shares best practices for online laboratory courses with Waterloo

A message from Waterloo International. This article is part of a series celebrating International Week.

Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Waterloo are collaborating to provide additional resources for faculty to support the continuity of online teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The emerging challenges of the pandemic have forced educational leaders in Canada, and further afield, to design and implement adaptive responses to deliver effective teaching and learning opportunities.

As a testament to its institutional resilience and dedication to academic continuity, Waterloo successfully moved most of its course offerings online and continues to provide resources to assist faculty members to address educational needs and responses as the pandemic unfolds.

Offering more than 300 fully accredited online graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates, ASU is a recognized leader in online education. The collaboration has allowed Waterloo faculty to connect with ASUs award-winning faculty members to share best practices, as educators enhance online learning opportunities during these challenging times.

The initiative, spearheaded by Waterloo International, offered a series of virtual open discussion sessions. The first open discussion focused on Biological Sciences online learning and online labs. Discussions abounded and included such topics as how to offer realistic lab experiences, knowledge outcomes for lab courses and developing transferable lab skills in a virtual environment. 

Vivian Dayeh, Interim Associate Chair Undergraduate and Lecturer in the Department of Biology noted that the discussion with ASU was particularly valuable because “we were connected with instructors at ASU, who have experience providing hands on activities to students learning in an online environment, and hands on learning is a significant part of training in the Biological Sciences.”

“This mutually beneficial collaboration has allowed faculty members from both institutions to share tips on best practices for providing hands on experience in a virtual learning environment,” said Professor Bessma Momani, Assistant Vice-President, International Relations at Waterloo International. “These discussions provide a talent pipeline for ideas to flow, as educators continue to find innovative ways to augment educational opportunities for experiential learning online.”

ASU has dedicated its Senior Director of Instructional Design and New Media, Justin Harding, as a point contact for Waterloo faculty members interested in further corresponding with their ASU counterparts. For more information, please contact International Relations Manager, Ishari Waduwara-Jayabahu

Wednesday's notes

An astronaut looks around at a sepia-toned sky.

The next VFPC investment round is virtual again, and applications close soon. Each of the 4 winning startups can earn a minimum of $50K in investment and maximize their exposure across the Canadian innovation ecosystem. With the addition of Velocity Health Tech Fund, a health tech startup can earn up to $100K in pre-seed investment. 

Applications must be in by 11:59 a.m. on Monday, September 28. You can access the full application directly at

The Centre for Career Action’s Employee Career Advising Program is launching a monthly career video series for the fall. September’s video discusses career myths. (Hint: you don’t have to be looking for a new role to benefit from career advising!)

Sue Fraser, Employee Career Advisor and Learning Specialist invites you to check out the video and services our program provides to full-time staff, faculty and CUPE members and contract employees with a contract of at least 1 year. All confidential individual appointments are held virtually. Book an appointment through WaterlooWorks and get inspired to develop your career.

Other upcoming events at the Centre for Career Action (CCA):  

Centre for Career Action virtual drop-in advising hours for September: Résumé, cover letter, and interview drop-ins for UG and Masters students are offered 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays

  • Career Consult and work search drop-ins for UG and Masters students are offered 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • Further Education drop-ins are offered 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • PhD and Postdoc drop-ins are offered 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • Students can book all virtual drop-ins through WaterlooWorks. Online registration begins at 8:00 a.m. daily

Plant Operations is reporting that elevators in MKV will be down for maintenance today for approximately two hours each in between 8:00 a.m. to 12:01 p.m.

Link of the day

Bi Visibility Day

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.

Drop-in Q&A with the Keep Learning Team, Wednesday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Thirty Minute Thursdays – PebblePad, Thursday, September 24, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

ATLAS: Part 2, Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thirty Minute Thursdays – PebblePad, Thursday, October 1, 2020, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Assessment Design CafeTuesday, October 6, 2020 to 9:30 am to 11:00 a.m.

Thirty Minute Thursdays – PebblePad, Thursday, October 8, 2020, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.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.

Zen Out: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Students, Wednesday, September 23, 2:00 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Skills for Safer Living – Suicide Ideation Group for Students, Wednesday, September 23, 3:00 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

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

Building Resilient Futures: Covid, Climate and the Economy, Wednesday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m, online.

Profs Present...The Tell-tale Sign of Antibodies: Determining COVID-19 Immunity with Blood Testing with Professor Brian Dixon. September 23, 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. Online via Zoom. You must register to receive the link.

Global Insights: “The Future of Peace and Conflict: Nuclear Arms, Space and Killer Robots”, featuring Jessica West, Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares, moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director, BSIA, Thursday, September 24, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

Global climate connections: How changes to our environment, food systems, and health will shape our future, Thursday, September 24, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

Unhook from Anxiety: Learning Skills from CBT for Students, Thursday, September 24, 1:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

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

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Veiled Muslim Women: Challenging patriarchy in the Canadian legal system”, speaker: Zainab Ramahi, Friday, September 25, 1:00 p.m.

IT Seminar: IST Departmental and Campus Applications (DCA) Update, Friday September 25, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

Concept $5K & Climate Change Grant Applications Open, Monday September 28.

Portage-Global Water Futures Research Data Management webinar series: “Beginning with the End in Mind,” Tuesday, Sept 29, 1:00 p.m. Register here

QPR Mental Health Training for Students, Wednesday, September 30, 9:30 a.m. Online. Register on GoSignMeUp.

Mastering Low Mood: Learning Skills from CBT for Students, Wednesday, September 30, 10:00 a.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Warriors Athletics and Rec Virtual Open House. Learn about online and in person programs, and what facilities are available. Open to Students, Staff and Faculty.Wednesday, September 30, 1:00 p.m.

Concept Intro Session: Should You Build a Company, Wednesday September 30, 5:00 p.m. Virtual Event.

Akindi Live Training (Webinar), Thursday, October 1, from 1:00-1:45 p.m.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, October 1, 3:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Coping with Flashbacks, a workshop for survivors of sexual assault. October 1, 4:30 p.m.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):

Regular full-time positions

  • Job ID# 2020-5675 - Academic Advisor - Arts Undergraduate Office, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2020-5677 - Administrative Assistant - Chemical Engineering, USG 5
  • Job ID# 2020-5760 - Administrative Manager - Office of Advancement, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2020-5741 - Admissions Coordinator - Office of the Registrar, USG 5 - 7
  • Job ID# 2020-5647 - Co-op Operations Manager - CEE - Cooperative Education, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2020-5762 - Director, Partners for Action - Environment Dean's Office, USG 13
  • Job ID# 2020-5665 - Manager, Psychological Services - Campus Wellness, USG 15
  • Job ID# 2020-5691 - Patrol Officer - Police Services, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2020-5680 - Project and Call Centre Manager - Statistic and Actuarial Science,  USG 8
  • Job ID# 2020-5656 - Special Events Coordinator - Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), USG 6

Internal secondment opportunities

  • Job ID# 2020-5674 - Associate Editor, Undergraduate Calendar and Communications Specialist - Office of the Registrar, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2020-5737 - Grants and Contracts Manager - Institutional Research - Office of Research, USG 9 - 11