Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Virtual Convocation dates and times announced

The University of Waterloo's mace.

The University has announced the dates and times for this spring's virtual convocation ceremonies in June. Upcoming graduates will celebrate their respective virtual convocation on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 17 | 7 p.m. – PhD virtual celebration
  • Friday, June 18 | 1 p.m. – Faculty of Health
  • Friday, June 18 | 4 p.m. – Faculty of Environment
  • Friday, June 18 | 7 p.m. – Faculty of Mathematics
  • Saturday, June 19 | 1 p.m. – Faculty of Arts
  • Saturday, June 19 | 4 p.m. – Faculty of Science
  • Saturday, June 19 | 7 p.m. – Faculty of Engineering

Based on student feedback, virtual convocations will more closely resemble the traditional components of an in-person convocation. All will be welcome to attend the free online events and support the success of our graduating students.

Upcoming graduates are set to receive a convocation communication every two weeks, providing them with more information and resources related to convocation. 

If you have any questions, visit www.uwaterloo.ca/convocation or contact convocation@uwaterloo.ca.

Co-op connections for a stronger community

People putting their hands together.

By Adriann Kennedy. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed a bright spotlight on the need to collaborate and work together to meet community needs.

It’s also presented a unique set of challenges for Waterloo’s co-operative education students, who set out each term to apply their skills and education to solve real-world problems.

To tackle these issues, Co-operative Education and Experiential Learning launched Co-op for Community for the Winter 2021 work term. The program, largely funded by donor dollars, creates jobs for Waterloo co-op students in not-for-profit organizations struggling to afford talent.

The idea came to life on Giving Tuesday 2020 when Waterloo challenged its alumni and friends to make a donation to an area they’re passionate about. The response was overwhelmingly positive: with the generous support of Waterloo donors, including the Menich Family Challenge Champions, and funding from the Federal government, three co-op students joined the United Way Waterloo Region Communities earlier this year, at no cost to the organization. United Way hired another group of students for the spring term and with continued donor support, the program continues to grow.

For Norah McRae, associate provost, co-operative and experiential education at the University of Waterloo, using experiential learning to give back to the community was a no-brainer.

Co-op for Community is a way for students to take their skills and energy and apply it to the challenges facing the communities where they live and study,” says McRae. “Regardless of a student’s career path, having the opportunity to work in a not-for-profit can be life changing and help to develop key competencies for the world of work. We’re grateful to the donors who stepped up to get this program off the ground.”

Making an impact in Waterloo Region

With 129 agencies that have received funding across the region, United Way has been putting the students to work in a variety of ways.

“We have students working on a wide range of things,” says Nancy Bird, senior director, community investment and engagement for United Way Waterloo Region Communities.  

“It's not just that more hands are doing the work. It's actually allowing us to get to things we wouldn't otherwise be able to get to. And especially for a small not-for-profit staff, that's a huge benefit, and it just makes such a difference.”

The program is just getting started, but there is an excitement building about what the future can bring. With a diversity of skill sets, Waterloo students bring endless possibilities to local organizations in need.

“In our last agency call, we talked to them about the Co-op for Community program, and they just lit up,” says Joan Fisk, chief executive officer of United Way Waterloo Region Communities. “We talked about what they need and where we can collectively create projects that are impactful for everyone. It might be in web development; it could be in communications, it could be community engagement – it could be many things where staff just don't have the bandwidth inside their organization to make it work.”

Learning from giving back

It’s not just about what the students can give to the community and learn more about the non-profit world. Both Fisk and Bird are hoping that the co-op terms bring value to the students as well.  

Co-op student Delina Temelso, a fourth-year Honors Arts & Business student, reflects on her time with United Way: “This is the first time I’ve worked in a not-for-profit and I feel like I’m finally able to put my skills into action to make a real difference. It’s been shocking how many people are in need.”

Fisk has already reached out to her cohorts in neighbouring regions to talk about the potential for expansion down the road, but for now, she’s looking forward to the day when students can see the impact of their efforts.

“Co-op for me is all about taking diverse and different learning opportunities,” reflects co-op student Kissor Nithiananthan from Brampton. “This experience has given me a new lens to look at things and I’m really appreciative to those who want to fund student experiences like this.”

Join the Indigenous Speaker Series online

Art works hanging from a scaffold in a gallery.

A message from the Indigenous Speaker Series.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted our ability to host on-campus events, but the Faculty of Arts’ Indigenous Speakers Series has successfully carried on! On March 16, the Series welcomed Dr. Evan Adams, an actor and physician from the Tla’amin First Nation in British Columbia, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Indigenous Services Canada. Adams offered personal stories about his work as an actor, including portraying Thomas Builds-the-Fire in the well-loved film Smoke Signals, and now as a physician working on the response to the pandemic in Indigenous communities. In his medical work, Adams stressed the value of “two-eyed seeing,” a term first developed by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall that refers to learning to see Indigenous knowledges with one eye, Western knowledges with the other, and using both eyes together to benefit everyone.

Evan Adams was joined by Lori Campbell, Director of Waterloo’s Indigenous Student Centre, and Stephanie Marr, a Waterloo alumni now in medical school. Together, they discussed the unique challenges Indigenous students face at university and in medical school and they called for enhanced attention to making programs culturally safe. Thanks to Dr. Adams for joining us.

A recording of the talk will be soon available on the Faculty of Arts Youtube page.

On April 8, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Series is proud to present Logan MacDonald, professor in Waterloo’s Department of Fine Arts and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Art. MacDonald is a visual artist of mixed European and Mi’kmaq ancestry, and belongs to the Elmastukwek people of Ktaqmkuk territory (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland). His interdisciplinary and multi-media practice explores notions of belonging in contexts of cultural erasure, queer and disability experiences. MacDonald has exhibited his work throughout Canada and the world, and in 2019 he was longlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award. Logan McDonald will be joined by Lori Campbell and history graduate student and artist Emma Smith.

This event is free and open to all. No event registration is required and ASL Interpretation will be available.

For more information, visit the Indigenous Speaker Series website.

The Indigenous Speakers Series is co-presented by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre and the Faculty of Arts. The Series highlights the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island, offering UWaterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand, and engage with Indigenous issues.

Board of Governors meets today and other notes

The University's Board of Governors meets this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Among the agenda items:

  • The Board will grant a number of sabbaticals and administrative leaves to University faculty members;
  • The Board will receive a report on the granting of University Professor designations to two active faculty members;
  • a motion to change the name of the Department of Kinesiology to the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences;
  • a motion to change the name of the School of Public Health and Health Systems to the School of Public Health Sciences;
  • a motion to approve incidental fee changes for 2021;
  • a motion to delegate the Board's authority to approve the university’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended 30 April 2021 to the Board Executive Committee;
  • a motion to approve the new Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (including Adoption) and the Return to Work;
  • a motion to approve the terms and conditions of the three-year compensation agreement with University staff;
  • a motion approve the appointment of Diamond Schmitt Architects (together with their sub-consultants) for the $30 million renovation to the Joseph Street Warehouse on the Health Sciences Campus;
  • a motion to approve a $45.25 million total project budget for the Waterloo Eye Institute and appoint HOK architects as prime consultant;
  • a motion to approve Mirova Global Equity Fund and RBC Global Equity Focus Fund as investment funds/managers for both the registered pension plan and the University endowment;
  • a motion to approve the 2021/22 Operating Budget; and
  • a motion to approve amendments to the extended health benefit to add a basic vision care plan to reimburse $85 for eye exams every two years for eligible University of Waterloo employees, retirees, and their eligible dependents as described in this report and effective 1 May 2021.

"The last day to register for Employee Wellness Session: COVID-19 – Calming Your Mind During these Challenging Times is today," says a note from the Healthy Workplace Committee. "The workshop is offered on Wednesday, April 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and does not conflict with any of the Staff Conference sessions." In addition, the last day to register for Employee Wellness Session: Beyond Stigma – Increasing Our Understanding of Mental Health in the Workplace is today. The workshop takes place on Friday, April 9 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and does not conflict with any of the Staff Conference sessions.

Both employee wellness sessions are offered by Homewood Health and the Employee and Family Assistance Plan.

Link of the day

Tartan 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.

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.

Introduction to PebblePlus (CTE7527), Wednesday, April 7, 1:00 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 a student or faculty member, the Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help you with all of your academic writing needs. This term we have added evening and weekend one-to-one appointments with our peer tutors, and our NEW one-to-one workshops, where you can learn the content directly from one of our writing advisors.

  • Undergraduates: Work with us to brainstorm, draft, revise, and polish your assignments in one-to-one appointments. Ask questions and learn writing tips at our Instagram Live Q&A sessions, and beat isolation while improving your writing skills at the weekly PJ-friendly writing groups.
  • Graduates: Meet with our advisors in one-to-one appointments. Join the online writing community at the Virtual Writing Cafés, learn how to present your work at Speak Like a Scholar, or get moving on your dissertation at Dissertation Boot Camp.
  • Faculty and Instructors: Request custom workshops for your courses, join the Waterloo writing community at the Virtual Writing Cafés, or make progress on your article, book, or chapter in one-to-one meetings with our faculty specialist.

Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

The Centre for Career Action assists undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni through navigating career services that are right for them. You can attend a one-on-one appointment or same day drop-in session at the CCA for assistance with cover letter writing, career planning and much more. You can also book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help you.

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 TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

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 Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

WUSA supports for students:

Peer support (Visit https://wusa.ca/peersupport to book an appointment):

  • MATES – Available Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (online only)
    • Support sessions available in the following languages: Cantonese, English, Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.
  • Glow Centre – Available Monday to Friday,  4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (online only)
  • RAISE – Available Monday to Friday – Varied hours (online only)
  • Women’s Centre – Available Monday to Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (online only)

Bike Centre – Will be reopening soon

Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check https://wusa.ca for more details.

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at foodsupport@wusa.ca.

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 caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

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)

Athletics & Recreation Facility Information (Red Control Zone)

In-Person Fitness Classes ($4/class)

Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

Livestream Exercises for Waterloo staff: Join us for an energy boosting Bootcamp or a fast and effective Express Home Workout! Open to UW Staff and subsidized by the Staff Excellence Fund.

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 blood.ca account already. Questions? Contact WarriorsInfo@uwaterloo.ca.

Waterloo Staff Conference, Tuesday, April 6 to Friday, April 9.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, April 6, 2:30 p.m.

Global Engagement Summit: Pandemic, Wednesday, April 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Register online to attend.

Living Dialogs webinar, Wednesday, April 7, 12 noon.

NEW - COVID-19: Calming Your Mind in Challenging Times, Wednesday, April 7, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Solve Climate by 2030: 4 key steps for climate action, Wednesday, April 7, 1:30 p.m.

Indigenous Speakers Series presents Logan MacDonald, Thursday, April 8, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Beyond Stigma: Increasing Our Understanding of Mental Health in the Workplace, Friday, April 9, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Monday, April 12, 9:30 a.m.

Conrad School Connect: Ask-Me-Anything with Cassie Myers, Thursday, April 15, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.