Thursday, April 8, 2021

    Brandon Sweet
    University Communications

    What the provincial stay-at-home order means for campus operations

    "The provincial government has announced a new stay-at-home order effective April 8, 2021 lasting for a period of 28 days," wrote President Feridun Hamdullahpur in an email circulated to the University community yesterday. "The stay-at-home order restrictions will be very similar to the restrictions currently in place under the previously announced provincial shutdown."

    The restrictions are as follows:

    • In-person course activity can only continue for subject matter or instruction that requires that it be taught in-person, such as clinical or hands-on training, with a limit of 10 students per section, with some exemptions in health care disciplines. 
      • Faculty associate deans have been contingency planning for the remaining class days of the winter term and have identified courses that will continue in person or remotely during a lockdown. 
      • Students whose classes have been moved online under the shutdown will see their classes remain online – any other changes will be communicated to students by faculty as soon as possible.
    • Details on what is and is not permitted as it relates to Research activities currently remains the same as under the previously announced shutdown order, and details can be found on the coronavirus website.
    • Student residences remain open as normal with additional security and shared space safety measures already in place due to the ongoing outbreak. 
    • All food services are take-out and/or delivery only. Dine-in seating is not permitted. 
    • Athletics facilities are closed. 
    • Print + Retail Solutions will continue to operate W Store with online ordering and curbside pick up 
    • Libraries will be open for curbside delivery and pick-up. Visitors may be permitted to enter libraries for contactless drop-off and pick-up, or similar services. Most research-related services may continue. Study spaces within the Davis Centre library will be closed temporarily.  
    • General office activity is limited to work that must occur on campus. Any work that can occur remotely should be done from home. Leaders and department heads will need to communicate their areas’ specific priorities and plans.  
    • At this time, the stay-at-home order does not impact the arrival of international students and does not change any of the federal or provincial quarantine requirements or the provincial COVID-19 testing requirement. 

    "Please continue to do your part and don’t travel outside the region. If you have to travel and are returning to Waterloo from another province, please make a plan to self-isolate before re-integrating with housemates or other community members. Remember that students are not permitted to quarantine in residence." 

    "Please continue to follow all University  safety protocols. As we approach a period of heightened uncertainty, it is also important to take care of yourselves and each other.  Help is available if you need it," Hamdullahpur writes. "Thank you for your perseverance, patience, and support as we all do our part to stop the spread."

    Waterloo students win Canadian Finals in venture capital investment competition

    By Keidon Robert Giles. This article was originally published on the School of Accounting and Finance website.

    The six School of Accounting and Finance student team members.On March 5, 2021, for the second year in a row, students from the University of Waterloo Student Venture Fund (SVF) captured the 2021 Undergraduate Canada Regional Finals Championship for the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC). The University of Waterloo claimed the title over the University of Alberta (2nd) and Acadia University (3rd) and has advanced to the International Finals being held on April 10.

    The University of Waterloo’s VCIC team will be competing in the Global Finals on April 9 and 10 against eight prominent US universities: Berkeley, Brigham Young, Cornell, University of Chicago, Georgetown, Miami of Ohio, Oregon, and Pomona College.

    VCIC is the world’s largest venture capital competition with over 120 university and graduate school teams competing. This year, undergraduate student venture teams from 48 universities across the US and Canada competed in eight regional competitions.

    The six team members of the undergraduate team are all veterans of the University of Waterloo’s SVF. Clockwise from top left: Yigga Zhang, 4A AFM; Tony Shi, 4B CFM; Sean Mark, 4A AFM; Noah Simao, 4A AFM; Roberto Babaran, 3A AFM; Megan Boyd, 3A AFM.

    As members of the University of Waterloo Student Venture Fund, the team already had experience in evaluating management, completing market research, valuing companies, conducting due diligence, and recommending investments in early stage companies.

    Waterloo team member Yigga Zhang said, “I wanted a challenge and was pleasantly surprised when I got what I asked for.”

    In VCIC, the team reviewed live pitches from early-stage technology companies to select and prepare an investment proposal and defend their investment proposal to a panel of VC judges.

    “VCIC in my opinion is the fastest way to get exposure to the world of venture capital. Through an in-control, top-down approach, VCIC allows undergraduate students to experience the full investment process in just 48 hours – a perspective rivalling even an industry role,” said Roberto Babaran.

    “The complexity of VCIC combined with its compressed schedule made the event very exciting. As with winning any challenging competition, it was extremely satisfying to learn that our efforts were rewarded with a first-place victory,” said Tony Shi.

    Although the VCIC undergraduate team is made up of brilliant students, the students couldn’t have done it on their own. As with all SAF competition teams, the students benefited from the guidance and support of faculty mentors Ranjini Jha, Frank Hayes, and Mark Arnason.

    “We played on each other’s strengths and split up the work accordingly and worked together through many Zoom calls. I enjoyed being able to work with this group of students, some who I already knew and some who I did not know, and I am looking forward to working with them for the Global Finals in April,” said Megan Boyd.

    In addition, Waterloo’s Graduate division VCIC team finished a close second to the Rotman MBA team from the University of Toronto against a competitive field of MBA schools. “I’m so proud of the students on both our teams and am excited to see our undergrad team compete against the best in the world,” said Mark Arnason, lecturer, strategy and international business.

    You can read more about the students VCIC experiences and winning the 2021 Undergraduate Canada Regional Finals through their blogs:

    Yigga Z, 4A AFM; Tony S, 4B CFM; Roberto B, 3A AF ; Megan B, 3A AFM.

    Finance, Office of Research announce new researcher dashboards

    A screenshot of the Power BI researcher dashboard in use, with sensitive information blurred out.

    A message from Finance and the Office of Research.

    Finance and the Office of Research are excited to announce the release of two Research Power BI dashboards, which after successful development, testing and piloting, were launched on April 1 for campus use. 

    Employees across campus often extract and combine data from multiple systems to obtain information needed for decision making and analysis. The central data environment supported by IST provides integrated tools to store, transform and visualize data. Backed by Microsoft tools, this central environment provides a data lake to store all types of data, and leverages Power BI to visualize and analyze this information. 

    There is an ongoing effort to integrate the major information systems to bring student, financial, HR, co-op and other data into the central environment and help make it more readily available while maintaining the integrity and appropriate access rights to this data.

    The new integrated reporting tools are:

    • Researcher Dashboard (Audience: Researchers) - This report contains both summary and detailed information about the spending on research and research-related work orders; and 
    • Research-Related Activity (Audience: Research and Department Administrators) - This report contains both summary and detailed information about the spending on research and research-related work orders. In addition, department-level information on research activity (spending, unspent, budget vs. actuals) and pages to analyze expenses and view recently created work orders are included.

    These research reports are among the first dashboards that have been developed using Power BI to help meet campus information and reporting needs. There are other reports currently in various stages of development or planned for the future, including salary budget reporting, budget analysis and management, as well as dashboards specific to the needs of individual areas. 

    As reports are built, various factors are considered during development to optimize them in the long term for all stakeholders, including:

    • Understanding needs of the end users
    • Fully documenting data and logic used, and decisions made in building the reports
    • Ensuring report and data access and security
    • Conducting pilot testing and soliciting feedback
    • Preparing instructions for end users
    • Performing ongoing maintenance and updates, including maintaining and publishing a road map for future updates

    Looking for more information?

    If you are interested in the general capability and how you can reduce manual reporting and data manipulation, please contact John Kemp or Daryl Dore in IST.

    Thursday's notes

    Bamboo, polished rocks, and placid water.

    If you're looking to get away from your desk and get moving this spring, Sandra Gibson is offering 30-minute lunchtime express wellness activities for Waterloo staff and faculty.

    Barre Fusion is a series of exercises that includes aspects of barre toning, light weights, and abdominals. This full-body workout is designed to fatigue muscles and build muscular strength and endurance. You will feel the burn but come back from more.

    Ab’lates Express is a 30-minute Pilates class that is quick and effective. The focus is to maintain the functional toning aspect of Pilates with two 15-minute sections: 1) core-powerhouse and 2) legs-glutes. Each section is strategically planned to strength and tone in the least amount of time.

    Zen Yoga blends together breathing, centering and light yoga postures. This practice is ideal to help you feel grounded, release stress, and bring a sense of calmness and ease to the mind and body. Gentle movement and stretches with mindful breathing are the foundations nurtured throughout the 30-minute practice.

    For move information, please contact Sandra Gibson by email

    The latest in the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Collaborative Works-in-Progress event, "Bawdy Medieval Badges," is set for April 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. 

    In this special event, University of Waterloo Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen, author of Medieval Badges: Their Wearers and Their Worlds (forthcoming, 2021), will be joined by multidisciplinary artist Melanie Jackson to discuss the world of bawdy medieval badges. This event will feature Melanie Jackson’s recent reimagining of these bawdy badges in her artistic project, “Spekying Rybawdy,” where she brings these infamous badges to new life. Their conversation will be moderated by Professor Steven Bednarski from St. Jerome’s University.

    Medieval badges are small, brooch-like objects that were mass-produced in the High and late Middle Ages in Europe. Over 20,000 of these lead-tin alloy badges survive into our times. They feature image or symbols that were familiar to medieval people. Often referred to as pilgrim badges because so many surviving badges are religious, many medieval badges in fact belong to the secular sphere of life. Among these are over three hundred obscene badges whose iconography displays explicit, and at times puzzling, bawdy imagery and scenes.

    The talk will be held on Zoom. 

    Link of the day

    International Roma 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.

    NEW - Introduction to Assessments in PebblePad (ATLAS) (CTE7512), Monday, April 12, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 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 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 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

    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)

    Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

    Free Exam Fitness Classes (April 6 – 16). Tuesday - Kickboxing, Wednesday- Zumba & Friday-Yoga. All classes are online at 5:00 p.m.

    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 account already. Questions? Contact

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

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

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

    NEW - Distinguished Lecture Series, "Solving Software Security Challenges with Artificial Intelligence," featuring Laurie Williams, North Carolina State University, Friday, April 9, 1:30 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.