Thursday, October 15, 2020

Get ready to join the convocation celebration

The University's mace.

The University of Waterloo looks forward to the week ahead, when we get to celebrate the achievements of our over 2,500 graduands. Throughout next week, you can expect to see a number of stories honouring these grads, as we lead up to their convocation on October 23 and 24. We are working to give students the best possible experience and hope to enlist the help of our whole University of Waterloo community to make our graduands feel special.

Please share a message of congratulations to our grads on one of the virtual message boards below:

Graduands will be receiving an email directly to their inbox on October 23 and 24, with their official convocation video included. There will be special video remarks from the President, Provost, Chancellor, Dean and their 2020 valedictorian included. All graduates will also have the opportunity to come together to celebrate with their colleagues at a live virtual celebration on October 24. The full schedule of times are listed below:

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — Mathematics 
  • 11:00 a.m. ET — Arts 
  • 12:30 p.m. ET — Environment 
  • 2:00 p.m. ET — Engineering 
  • 3:30 p.m. ET — Applied Health Sciences 
  • 5:00 p.m. ET — Science 

Additionally, all University of Waterloo PhD graduates have been invited to celebrate together on October 23, at 12:00 p.m. ET.  

During the week of convocation, the University social channels will be sharing messages of pride, and we invite you to do the same using #uwaterloograd.  If you have a graduate in your life, encourage them to pick up a complimentary lawn sign (while supplies last) from the W store, and share your Waterloo pride together.

You can also celebrate the Class of 2020 with a collection of digital assets available on the Convocation website.

The Celebration Toolkit includes social media graphics, backgrounds, conference backgrounds, GIFs and window signs. In addition, there are custom UWaterlooGrad GIFs are also available under 'GIF feature' within Instagram Stories.

The toolkit is available for download on the Convocation website.

Health Services high risk flu immunizations available

A mug and box of tissues with the words "high risk flu vaccinations" superimposed over them.

A message from Campus Wellness.

With cold and flu season coming up, you might be wondering whether or not to get a flu shot this year. The answer is yes! Health Services is providing a high risk flu immunizations this October to help make it easy and convenient to get your flu vaccine and help stop the spread of influenza.

The high risk flu immunizations are available to those considered ‘high risk’ by appointment only starting October 19, 2020. To book an appointment please call 519-888-4096.

Students, staff, faculty and UW clients in the following high risk categories are strongly encouraged to get the flu immunization.

According to Region of Waterloo Public Health: “When there is a good match between the influenza strains in the vaccine and the influenza strains circulating in the community, the vaccine can prevent influenza illness in 50 -80 percent of healthy children and adults.” It does take about two weeks after a flu vaccination for your immune system to develop protection against the influenza virus, so get yours early.

Getting the flu shot can be an effective way to maintain your health through cold and flu season. By avoiding the flu, you save time and energy for more important things like work, attending class, or visiting family members who might be at a high-risk for flu complications. All University of Waterloo community members (students, staff, and faculty) can get their influenza vaccination at one of our flu clinics. If you can’t make it to one of the flu clinics, you can make an appointment at Health Services, or visit one of the many pharmacies in town that offer flu shots.

Post-secondary institutions join together to fight contract cheating

A person works on two laptops.

This article originally appeared on Waterloo Stories.

On October 21 the University of Waterloo with will join with colleges and universities across Ontario to participate in the International Center for Academic Integrity’s (ICAI) fifth annual International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. Waterloo joins hundreds of post-secondary institutions worldwide in marking the day with interactive and educational virtual activities for their communities.  

Contract Cheating is a form of academic dishonesty where students have academic work completed on their behalf, which they then submit for academic credit and advantage as if they had created it themselves. This day of action aims to raise awareness of contract cheating and the threat it poses to educational systems. As many as 16 million people could be receiving fraudulent certifications yearly as a result of contract cheating.  

ICAI has noted that contract cheating is on the rise as a result of the virtual learning required during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essay mills and contract cheating services have been ramping up their advertising to take advantage of vulnerable students. 

“Waterloo has been working very hard to ensure that our students have access to the supports they need to complete their academic work without these services,” said Amanda McKenzie, Director of Quality Assurance and Academic Integrity at Waterloo. “We are glad to join with other post-secondary educational institutions to mark this day and raise awareness about the threat of contract cheating. Waterloo students work very hard for their academic success and it’s important to ensure that that work is not devalued.”

This year ICAI will run a student contest titled “My Own Work Helps Me Excel with Integrity,” where the top three students will win a gift card. Students are encouraged to create messaging to speak out against contract cheating. Students can submit videos, poems, songs, artwork and much more. Students are also encouraged to post their messages against contract cheating using the hashtag #myownwork #excelwithintegrity.  

This year, ICAI organizations worldwide will be live streaming more than 20 hours of their activities on October 21, 2020, to demonstrate a united global front against contract cheating.

W Store supports WUSA student-run services

Two of the shirts sold at W Store.

By Aiju Chau. This article originally appeared on the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) website.

Earlier this year, W Store began selling unique, limited edition, UWaterloo merchandise to raise funds to support COVID-19 relief efforts on campus. All proceeds from the sales of the COVID fundraiser merchandise will go towards Mental Health Wellness-related programs at the university.

Brendan Lowther, the manager of Student-Run Services here at the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) says these services will run during both the fall and winter terms. These programs are here to, “help our undergraduate students in a variety of wellness-related programming.” This also includes “peer support, physical wellness products such as hygiene and sexual health products, as well as general programs and events.” All of this is to support and improve wellness within our campus community.

So far, Brendan says they have received $1,500 of proceeds that will help fund the services and support their initiatives. A partnership like this is great because it “allows students to directly receive support through funding from a campus partner”. This means that these services will be able to accomplish and provide more towards improving wellness for undergrad students. Ryan Jacobs, director of Print + Retail Solutions (which includes W Store and W Print), says, “As a student service, it was important for W Store and W Print to support student initiatives that will prioritize wellness during the time of uncertainty.”

If you would like to support the campus and this move towards providing more services with funding for students, you can head to W Store to purchase some items. They currently have a ‘Work from Home’ collection that promotes staying organized, staying connected, and staying cozy. Check out their selection of UWaterloo swag at their online store.

Link of the day

50 years ago: the October Crisis

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.

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.

NEW - Learning from Our Remote Teaching Experiences, Tuesday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 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.

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

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

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

First Virtual Research Colloquium: Call For Papers/Abstract Deadline Extension. Graduate students are invited to submit papers/abstracts for a chance to be awarded up to $500. New deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 15. Hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the University of Waterloo.

WaterTalk: Riverscapes and Lifeways - Biocultural Diversity and River Flow Management, Thursday, October 15, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Anti-Blackness at the Intersections Workshop, hosted by the Equity Office and facilitated by Rania El Mugammar, Thursday, October 15, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Supporters of Survivors Workshop, with Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Graduate Studies Endowment Fund project application deadline, Friday, October 16. Email if you have any questions.

NEW - IT Seminar: Before the World Stopped, Friday October 16, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

Giving Bad News Workshop, hosted by the Conflict Management & Human Rights Office, facilitated by Joseph Pazzano, Friday, October 16, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

NEW - Concept $5K & Climate Change Grant Applications Close, Sunday, October 18, 11:59 p.m.

NEW - Portage-Global Water Futures Research Data Management webinar seriesLook Before You Leap: Adventures in Curating and Preserving Research Data, Tuesday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. Registration details are available here.