Thursday, January 14, 2021

Provincial stay-at-home order goes into effect today

On Tuesday, January 12, the Government of Ontario issued a new state of emergency and stay-at-home orders to help deal with the spread of COVID-19. The stay-at-home order went into effect today and will last for at least 28 days. 

President Hamdullahpur shared several communications with members of the University community yesterday outlining the impact that these orders will have on University operations. 

"Instructions from the government mean that we must double down on our efforts to make sure that most of our work is done remotely, from home," President Hamdullahpur wrote in the memo. "Only work that absolutely cannot be done from home should happen in person. Your supervisor will let you know if there are any changes to your work arrangements. In most cases, our plans to deal with the lockdown in our region from December remain in effect."

"Please continue to do your part to contain the spread of COVID-19 and follow the rules designed to stop the spread of the virus," Hamdullahpur writes.

Double down on hygiene practices

"Wherever you are—at home, at the grocery store, or at work—ensure that you follow the guidelines for mask wearing and distancing. If you are indoors in a public place:

  • wear a mask,
  • keep a two-meter distance, and
  • wash your hands frequently.

"If you are permitted to work on campus and work alone, the Ontario law allows you to remove your mask. Despite this, we encourage all employees to consider keeping their masks on while working on campus."

"Though I know many of us are challenged, once again, by a period of lockdown I implore you all to avoid any gatherings with people you don’t live with," Hamdullahpur's memo continues.

Most learning continues remotely, as planned

"The new stay-at-home order has not changed the guidance on course activities," the president writes. "Remote learning is our primary way of teaching and learning this term."

"In-person course activity can only continue for subjects or instruction that requires that we teach it in-person. This includes clinical or hands-on training, with a limit of 10 students per section."

"Faculty associate deans have been contingency planning for the winter term and have identified courses that will continue in person or remotely during a lockdown."

"Our student residences will remain open as normal. Students who live on campus need to wear masks in all common areas of the residences, but not in their main living area."

Lab research continues

"On-campus lab research is not affected by the new emergency measures," Hamdullahpur writes. "Faculty members, postdocs, graduate students and research staff may continue lab research that is compliant with the approved safety plans. Please ensure you go home as soon as your on-campus research activity is complete. You can check our note from Tuesday, December 22, 2020 for more guidance on research during this period of lockdown."

Help is available to you if dealing with the lockdown gets difficult

"I know that many of you may have questions and concerns about balancing dependent care with work. You may have anxieties related to the lockdown in general. As you prepare to navigate the next few weeks, please rest assured there is support available to you. 

If you have questions or concerns about your work, please talk to your manager or supervisor about your plan. You can check on the following University policies, guidelines and resources to help you, too:

  1. Employee policies and guidelines including information on school closures and childcare
  2. Tips for staying healthy while working at home
  3. Additional work from home resources

"These resources are also available on the University’s COVID-19 website."

"Above all else, your health and wellbeing is our priority," writes President Hamdullahpur. "Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other. If you need support, our Employee and Family Assistance Program is available 24/7 for counselling, coaching and support. We encourage you to access this valuable service by calling 1-800-663-1142 or visiting"

"Wellness Together Canada is an excellent alternative available through the federal government. To access this resource please use the link provided or call 1-866-585-0445. This service is available to anyone needing support, including friends and family."

Please do your part to stop the spread

"I know we are all tired of the changing conditions, rules and of being confined to our homes," Hamdullahpur writes. "We will only get through this if we look out for one another and do our part to stay home and stay safe."

"Please, only leave home for the most important things like grocery shopping or medical appointments. Whenever you go out, wear a mask to protect those around you – even outdoors – and keep a physical distance of two metres or more."

"Thank you for everything you are doing to lead your team through this pandemic. Help is available if you need it."

Shawn Wettig named assistant vice-president, graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs

Shawn Wettig."On February 1, 2021, Professor Shawn Wettig will begin his two-year tenure as the Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs," wrote Jeffrey Casello, associate-vice president, graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs in a memo circulated to associate deans, graduate studies and graduate program coordinators earlier this week.

"Since 2007, Shawn has been a faculty member in the School of Pharmacy and is cross appointed to the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering. Shawn will be working alongside Professor Liz Nilsen, who began her appointment as the Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs on July 1, 2020."

Since November 2018, Shawn has been the associate dean, graduate studies for the Faculty of Science. During this time, Shawn has worked collaboratively with departments and schools to support students’ timely completion of their programs and has focused on increasing graduate student enrolment in the Faculty of Science. Prior to this role, Shawn was the associate director for graduate studies and research in the School of Pharmacy (2015 – 2018), where he led the self study for the first (2-year) program review of the Pharmacy PhD program. He also led the self study for the first cyclic review of the Pharmacy MSc program and was part of the committee to develop the new MPharm (Master of Pharmacy) in Advanced Pharmacy Practice program, as a new option for Pharmacists seeking to add skills in leadership and specialized clinical training to their CV and as an alternative to limited residency options. Wettig is also a Chartered Chemist with the Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario and a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.

"Shawn replaces Professor Kirsten Müller, whose term as the assistant vice-president, graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs ended in 2020; we wish Kirsten the best of luck in her new role as the Chair of the Department of Biology," Casello writes.

As the assistant vice-president, GSPA, Shawn will lead in the implementation of initiatives arising from the Strategic Plan. These include the creation of new, interdisciplinary options for our graduate students that are being developed in partnership with the Faculties.  

"Liz will continue to focus on work-integrated learning opportunities, ensuring graduate studies representation within the University of Waterloo Strategic Plan on those topics – and will continue to work on initiatives aimed to enhance the experience of graduate students," Casello writes. "Additionally, both Liz and Shawn will work with me to provide academic leadership and oversight on graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs at the University of Waterloo."

"Please join me in welcoming Shawn to the GSPA leadership team," Casello's memo concludes.

OHD launches Waterloo Staff Conference Speaker Series

Waterloo Staff Conference Speaker Series logo.

A message from Organizational and Human Development (OHD).

Organizational and Human Development (OHD) is pleased to announce the launch of a winter term speaker series as a lead-up to the 2021 Waterloo Staff Conference. Each month a keynote address originally scheduled to present at the 2020 event will be part of a monthly speaker series launching this January with the first speaker and Waterloo alumna, Liane Davey, delivering her remarks on Friday, January 22 at 11:00 a.m. EST.

In this virtual session, Liane Davey equips teams with the tools needed to deliver, even in the midst of chaos. Leaders have always been expected to manage change. But this is different. Change has changed. Reality is shifting daily, if not hourly, and there are no orderly phases or playbooks to get us through. In these unprecedented times, even the best employees will struggle to stay productive. While we can’t stop the current tsunami, we do have the power to create calm within the storm. With the right mindset and language, leaders will be able to surface and move through resistance and drama rather than getting stuck in it. Most importantly, Davey will share strategies you need right now, so you have the energy, patience, and endurance to be there for your employees throughout this ordeal. 

Register for this virtual event.

Thursday's notes

The next meeting of the University's Senate will be held on Monday, January 18 via Microsoft Teams videoconference, according to a note from the Secretariat. 

Guests are welcome to join the open session of the meeting similar to a normal "in-person" Senate meeting. If you would like to attend the meeting as a guest observer, please contact Emily Schroeder to request to join the meeting. All requests must be received by Friday, January 15.

The agenda is posted on the Senate webpage.

Information Systems and Technology (IST) will be hosting an IT seminar on Friday, January 15 entitled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Update. Leading the session will be Daryl Dore, director of ERP within IST and responsible for leading IST efforts for Quest, HR, Financial and data systems.

The seminar will provide an update on some of the major projects across Daryl's team with specific emphasis on:

  • Longer term planning for Quest
  • Data environment and agile approach to supporting campus needs
  • Integration technologies
  • Update on CRM and Dubhub
  • ERP landscape at other universities across Canada

The seminar will run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

Link of the day

World Logic 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.

Updated Course templates are now available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly. Support for Winter 2021 is available.

The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

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

Getting Ready to Facilitate Online Courses: TA Training, Monday, January 18, 2021, 8:30 a.m. to Friday, February 12, 4:30 p.m. 

LEARN for TAs (CTE6550), Monday, January 18, 2021, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

Whether you’re student or faculty, the Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help you with your academic writing needs. 

  • Undergraduate students - come brainstorm, draft, revise and polish your assignments with us by meeting with one of our writing and multimodal communication specialists at a virtual appointment. Chat with our awesome peer tutors at our virtual drop-ins, PJ-friendly writing groups and Instagram Live Q&As. Or check out our online workshops at anytime, anywhere.
  • Graduate students - meet with one of our advisors at any step of the process at our virtual appointments. Take an online workshop at anytime, or join a virtual writing session at our Virtual Writing Cafés and #WaterlooWrites groups.
  • All UWaterloo instructors and faculty can request and access WCC workshops for use in your courses. You can also 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.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre facilitates the sharing of Indigenous knowledge and provides culturally relevant information and support services for all members of the University of Waterloo community, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty.

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

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.

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a account already. Questions? Contact

Warrior Reset, January 11 to February 4. Free online program with three live fitness classes per week along with tips, tricks and worksheets to help you define your path to better health while being part of an online community. Register by January 10.

Engineering Undergraduate Admissions Webinar Series: Admissions tips & tricks, Wednesday, January 13 and Thursday, January 14.

Distinguished Lecture Series: Using Technology for Health, Wellbeing and Empathy, Mary Czerwinski, Partner Research Manager at Microsoft Researchs Human Understanding and Empathy Research Group, Thursday, January 14, 1:00 p.m.

NEW - IT Seminar: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Update, Friday, January 15, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online

Mathematics presents Virtual Networking in Academia, Monday, January 18, 9:30 a.m.

University senate meeting, Monday, January 18, 3:30 p.m.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Tuesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m.

Benefits plan information sessions, Tuesday, January 19, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Register online.

Launching a Waterloo chapter of the Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society, Tuesday, January 19, 12:00 p.m.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Project Management Community at uWaterloo in 2021" Wednesday, January 20, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event

Benefits plan information sessions, Wednesday, January 20, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Register online.

NEW - Concept Intro Session: The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Wednesday January 20, 6:00 p.m., Virtual Event.

Master of Taxation Virtual Information Session, Saturday, January 23, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register at