Monday, October 5, 2020

A message about Fall Reading Week 2020

Fall Reading Week banner showing falling leaves.

By Dave Devidi, associate vice-president, academic.

Fall Reading Week will provide Waterloo undergraduate and graduate students a nine-day break in their course schedules from Saturday, October 10 through Sunday, October 18. Classes, labs, exams, assignment due dates, and other course components will not be scheduled during Fall Reading Week.

Amid this global pandemic, it is more important than ever to encourage our students to take care of themselves and to use this time off from scheduled academic activities however they need to, in preparation for the rest of term. Students might choose to spend time focusing on rest and personal wellness, studying for midterms, or catching up on readings and assignments.

We must also remind our students to enjoy their break safely and responsibly, particularly if they plan to travel outside the region. Students are being encouraged to avoid travelling outside of the country during Fall Reading Week and to abide by all public health and government regulations if they are visiting family and friends. Any students travelling outside of the country will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Canada and should visit the Travel and Quarantine Checklist for guidance on creating a quarantine plan.

Faculty are encouraged to reduce student workloads as much as possible in the days immediately before and following the break to help alleviate student stress. Fall Reading Week resources are available to help faculty, staff, and student leaders advise students on expectations, available resources and services, and ideas on how they might choose to spend their time off.

As part of the Fall Reading Week Pilot Project consultation and feedback is still being solicited and evaluated to help measure the value of a pause in the fall term and to make an informed recommendation for beyond 2021.

New IQC scholarship for women awarded

A laptop screen showing lines of code.

By Kayleigh Platz. This article was originally featured on Waterloo Stories.

Cindy Yang is the winner of the inaugural Raymond Laflamme and Janice Gregson Graduate Scholarship for Women in Quantum Information Science. 

Cindy Yang.Yang, a new Master of Applied Science student in Electrical and Computer Engineering (quantum information) has a passion for acoustic and superconducting waves who discovered quantum information science while learning how to make photonic devices. She was instantly intrigued by the possibilities that quantum research offered her.

“Quantum research is challenging,” Yang said. “A lot of time research work can feel trivial, but in quantum, any little step is big. It’s a lot of firsts. I’m so thankful for this scholarship because it will allow me to focus on my research. I have a lot of learning to do.”

The new award honours Raymond Laflamme, Officer of the Order of Canada, and his partner Janice Gregson, for their leadership at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) through Ray’s 15-year tenure as Executive Director (2002-2017). Their commitment to IQC has helped it become one of the top quantum information research institutes in the world. The award is given to a self-identified female IQC graduate student who has achieved academic excellence and shows a strong potential for research excellence.

Yang is thankful to the Laflamme family for their support.  “I feel delighted, honoured and grateful to be the first recipient of this scholarship,” said Yang. “I hope my work can contribute to the field of quantum information non-trivially.”

For Laflamme, Yang is the type of curious researcher that he believes will shape the future of the quantum information field. Scientific discoveries, he notes, are made when a wide variety of ideas and perspectives come together to think critically and investigate.

 “We need to encourage all researchers to be curious, and to follow that curiosity,” Laflamme and Gregson said. “This scholarship is to attract to IQC outstanding women studying quantum information, and it is our hope that through this support they can use their curiosity to explore, develop and advance our understanding of the quantum world.” 

2020 United Way campaign off to a great start

A video call with a number of people dressed in Red for the United Way.

A message from the University of Waterloo United Way campaign team.

Last Thursday our annual United Way campaign launched, and although this year was unusual, given our new virtual reality, we had people all across campus support the  campaign by ‘Going Red’ in fun and unique ways!

From red-decked out pets , to virtual groups celebrating by wearing red, we continued our tradition of enthusiasm and dedication towards our local United Way!

To everyone who participated, thank you! Your inspiration will carry our campaign to a strong finish.

How you can stay involved during this year’s campaign

  • Make an impact in the community by donating via payroll deduction or credit card through United Way’s online donation portal!
  • Purchase a United Way bundle box, containing one United Way tote bag, one United Way mask, one United Way water bottle, and two United Way hand sanitizers.
  • Join our virtual cooking class on October 29 by purchasing a soup meal kit in partnership with UW Food Services.
  • Looking for ways to donate your special event revenue that you usually carry around for United Way bake sales? You can now donate up to $20 to the campaign hassle-free through the W Store.

Getting ready for our annual campaign event: the March of the Deans

Every year, around October, you will see our six Deans dressed in costumes, parading around campus to raise awareness for the United Way and celebrate the participation of Waterloo’s Executive Council.

This year we have a few clues to keep you guessing what the Dean’s have planned this year…

  1. Captain, oh my Captain… but which one?
  2. When linguistics meets sociology meets quantum physics meets warfare meets philosophy...
  3. Logic can lead to errors.

Since we cannot congregate to march alongside out Dean’s in person this year, you’re invited to register for an online viewing of the march on October 19 at 3:30 p.m. as the Dean’s take on senate! Registration will be open this week.

If you have any guesses about this year’s costumes, or questions about the campaign, please email our team at

Public lecture to provide takes on the upcoming US election

America Votes lecture event banner.

Members of the University community are invited to join the University of Waterloo in partnership with the Kitchener Public Library for an online community lecture entitled “America Votes: What should we expect?”

With all eyes on the upcoming election in the United States, University of Waterloo researchers discuss potential social, political and economic impacts for Canada and the world. This event will be moderated by former broadcaster and MPP, Kitchener Centre, Daiene Vernile.

Delivering welcoming and introductory remarks will be:

  • Sheila Ager, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo
  • Mary Chevreau, Chief Executive Officer, Kitchener Public Library 
  • Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo

Speakers include:

Gerry Boychuck, Professor, Department of Political Science
Professor Boychuck served as co-editor of the Georgetown University Press series American Governance and Public Policy from 2004-2015. He is the author of National Health Insurance in the United States and Canada: Race, Territory and the Roots of Difference. This fall term, Professor Boychuck is teaching two undergraduate courses focused on American government and politics: Populism, Pandemic, Protest: The 2020 US Election from the Bottom Up and America Divided? The 2020 US Election from the Top Down.

Robert Danisch, Professor, Department of Communication Arts

Professor Danisch’s research concerns rhetorical theory and public communication within democratic societies, and he has written extensively about the relationship between American Pragmatism and rhetoric. Professor Danisch hosts the podcast Now We’re Talking that focuses on communication practice, and he is co-author of the 2020 book Beyond Civility: The Competing Obligations of Citizenship.

Registration is required. 

The event takes place on Tuesday, October 27 online from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. To learn more about the event, visit the Community Relations and Events website.

Virtual Further Education Fair, gifts for grads, and other fare-thee-wells

Further Education Fair banner image.

The Centre for Career Action (CCA) is hosting a virtual Further Education Fair on Wednesday, October 7. "Get the information you need to start program research or support your application for further study," says a note from the CCA. "Talk to representatives from teaching, law, MBA, engineering, health, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary medicine, social work, college post-degree/certificate programs in Canada and abroad." Check out the Further Education Fair website for more information and a list of participating institutions.

Convocation gifts including plush animals.

Looking for the perfect keepsake to celebrate the important milestone of convocation? Check out W Store’s exclusive collection of official UWaterloo grad gifts and mementos. You can also shop our collection by visiting our W Store | Gifts + Apparel location inside South Campus Hall.

Link of the day

70 years ago: Peanuts

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 Tuesday, October 13.

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning August 26.

Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Self-directed, continuous self-enrollment course in LEARN.

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

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

Getting Ready to Facilitate Online Courses: TA Training, Tuesday, October 13 to November 10.

Thirty Minute Thursdays – PebblePad, Thursday, October 15, 12:00 noon to 12:30 p.m.

Supporting Student Mental Health (for Instructors): self-directed, continuous self-enrollment course in LEARN.

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.

Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

Concept Graduate Student Startup Fund Applications Open, Monday, October 5.

Portage-Global Water Futures Research Data Management webinar series: “Enhancing Collaboration and Reproducibility Using GitHub” Tuesday, October 6, 1:00 p.m. Registration details  are available here.

Concept IP Series: Case Study, Tuesday October 6, 3:00 p.m., Virtual Event.

NEW - Virtual Further Education FairWednesday, October 7, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Noon Hour Concert: Gamelan Trio, Wednesday, October 7, 12:30 p.m., online, free.

Portage Research Data Management webinar series: “Data Summaries: Distilling Best Practices,” Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 p.m. Registration details  are available here.

Managing Difficult Conversations Workshop, hosted and facilitated by the Conflict Management & Human Rights Office, Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Concept Intro Session: The Business Model, Wednesday, October 7, 5:00 p.m., Virtual Event.

Taking Responsibility in the Anti-Racist Movement, hosted by the Equity Office and facilitated by Janice Jo Lee, Thursday, October 8, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

GPW Special Seminar: Prof. Rohini Bala Chandran University of Michigan, "Transport and Chemical Phenomena in Solar Fuel Generators, Thermal Energy Storage and Wastewater Nutrient Recovery," Thursday, October 8, 3:00 p.m.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, October 8, 3:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Say It in Your Own Words: Paraphrase & Summary for Undergraduate Students Live Q&A, Friday, October 9, 9:00 a.m.

Rock Your Thesis 1: Plan Your Project, Friday, October 9, 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Fall Reading Week, Saturday, October 10 to Sunday, October 18.

Grammar Studio III: Clarity at the Sentence Level Live Q&A, Tuesday, October 13, 9:00 a.m.

Dissertation Boot Camp, Tuesday, October 13 to Friday, October 16.

Anti-Racism Workshop: Understanding Racism & Racial Microaggressions within the University Context, hosted by the Equity Office and facilitated by Dr. Gauthamie Poolokasingham, Wednesday, October 14, 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m. 

NEW - Portage-Global Water Futures Research Data Management webinar series: “5 Reasons Why You Should Know the CaSPAr and CUIZINART ” Wed, October 14, 1:00 p.m. Registration details  are available here.