Friday, May 14, 2021

A decade of prioritizing student growth and development

Feridun Hamdullahpur, King Warrior and student-athletes at the opening of the Field House.

By Melanie Scott. This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo News.

During his time as president and vice-chancellor, Feridun Hamdullahpur has invested deeply in the success, support and development of Waterloo students. Known for approaching students on campus to chat or say hello, Hamdullahpur often took the time to make connections. Over the past decade, he has overseen the growth and development of our campuses, a renowned co-op program and many diverse initiatives, all designed to foster student learning and growth.

Chris Read.

“Feridun’s genuine care for our students has been a hallmark of his leadership,” says Chris Read, associate provost, students. “Over the last decade, he’s championed and supported initiatives and programs that focus not just on student academic success, but on every aspect of the student experience here at Waterloo. These initiatives have elevated our campus culture, allowed students to thrive during their time here and set them up for success as they continue into the workforce as industry leaders and change makers.”

A growing campus

Under Hamdullapur’s leadership, 17 innovative spaces have been added to the University of Waterloo. These include our Stratford Campusthree engineering buildingsMath 3 as well as the Student Success Office and The Centre — all added to support new and growing programs.

Students spend much of their time on our campuses, and for many, it’s their first time away from home. Buildings and spaces like Claudette Millar Hall, Waterloo’s newest residence, the upcoming PAC-SLC expansion, the Field House and Hagey Hall Hub were designed for comfortable living, studying and recreation. Waterloo’s campuses have evolved to feel like home for students.

Other supports and initiatives, such as the Student Success Office (SSO) and The Centre were created to enhance the student experience by centralizing services and making more resources available to students. Both offices were crucial supports for students when Waterloo transitioned to online learning during the global pandemic. 

President Feridun Hamdullaphur poses with students from different faculties at the opening of the Student Success Office in 2011.

President Feridun Hamdullaphur poses with students from different faculties at the opening of the Student Success Office in 2011.

A leader in experiential learning

Hamdullaphur’s focus on experiential learning has ensured the successful and continued growth of North America’s largest co-op program. Hands-on work experience through Waterloo’s renowned co-op program has enriched student learning, provided students with valuable job experience and prepared them for the workplace. Co-operative education opportunities are now available for the majority of undergraduate programs and many graduate programs at Waterloo. Students are better prepared to enter the workforce with 96 per cent of co-op grads, employed six months after graduation, working in positions related to skills they acquired at Waterloo.

Meeting student needs with the right supports

Through the efforts of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH), which began in 2017, Hamdullaphur has ensured that student mental health and wellness are pressing priorities on campus. The PAC-SMH developed 36 recommendations to improve student mental health and wellness on campus, and as of March 20, 2021, 86 per cent of those recommendations have been completed through the Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH).

“In 2017, when the University community rallied around concerns about student mental health, Feridun became fully engaged in the discussions. He was convinced that the University needed to demonstrate an immediate strong commitment to action on mental health,” says Walter Mittelstaedt, director of Campus Wellness. “His sponsorship of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH), and the follow-up Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) has changed the University. His leadership in this area has been consistent in calling for a culture of caring at the University and a balance between academic success and student wellness.” 

In 2018, President Feridun Hamdullahpur, along with Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt and others participated in the student mental health forum.

In 2018, President Feridun Hamdullahpur, along with Director of Campus Wellness Walter Mittelstaedt and others participated in the student mental health forum.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo News.

Event will explore Asian identity

Explorations of Asian Identity banner image.

A message from the President's Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART).

The President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) is pleased to present Explorations of Asian Identity, Perceptions and Belonging, in honour of Asian Heritage Month.

The virtual event will take place on Tuesday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m. and feature a moderated panel discussion that explores Asian-Canadian identity and anti-Asian racism, particularly in light of the rise in hate crimes over the past year.

Panelists bring a breadth of perspectives from human rights law, private-sector diversity, equity and inclusion work, critical race studies, Asian diasporic literature, and their lived experiences.

The four speakers at the Exploring Asian Identity event.


  • Tanya "Toni" De Mello, Assistant Dean of Students, Ryerson University Faculty of Law
  • Vinh Nguyen, Associate Professor, Renison University College
  • Jason Tham, CEO and co-founder Nuology
  • Moderator: Anne Galang, Associate Director, Executive Communications, University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is addressing systemic racism on campus through the work of PART. This panel is the latest in a series of events dedicated to race, culture and ethnicity awareness. All University employees, students, alumni and the wider community are invited to join.

Learn more and register through Ticketfi.

Quest is moving to Oracle Cloud

Students sit physically distant on a bench while a masked person walks nearby.

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

The University’s student information system Quest will move from its current on-premises environment to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The Oracle Cloud offering is pre-configured and tightly integrated with PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, the foundation on which Quest is built, and comes with Oracle’s database software Cloud Manager, a tool that enables optimization of resources, streamlines processes, and improves performance. 

Leveraging Oracle Cloud’s high-performance computing capabilities to optimize your overall experience

Oracle's next-generation cloud infrastructure will provide a modern, high-performance environment for our Quest system. Leveraging real-time data analytics, the student information system team will be able to quickly scale development and production environments to meet demand. This leading-edge technology will ensure the Questsupport team is in the best position to respond to feature and functionality requests, better supporting and enhancing your overall experience. Visit the project web page to view a full list of benefits.

How will this change impact me?

There will be no change to visual elements within Quest, or in how students and/or employees interact with the system; this work will impact Quest's infrastructure only (i.e., work will be completed "behind the scenes"). Once Questhas been moved to the Oracle Cloud environment, hosting of Quest data will move from the University's on-premises data centres to Oracle Cloud's secure Canadian data centres, hosted in Toronto and Montreal.

Ensuring the privacy and security of Quest data

The continued privacy and integrity of Quest student information is and will continue to be the project's top priority. A security review and two privacy information risk assessments have been completed and no issues or risks were identified.

This project will take a security by design approach, where Security Information Services will participate throughout the duration of the project, helping to design and review system configurations, conduct regular security assessments, and review and measure risks against the NIST-800-171 security standard. Summaries of this work will be made available on the project site.

Learn more

You are encouraged to visit the Quest moving to Oracle Cloud project page to learn more about this work, view the privacy and security assessment documents, see the project timeline, and project FAQs.

Sustainability committee recruiting new members

An aerial view of campus showing Environment 3's rooftop solar panels.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES) is currently recruiting new members. Formed in 2015, PACES represents a cross-section of stakeholders on campus, including students, faculty, staff, and administration, who work to advance Waterloo’s sustainability efforts and activities. The following positions are open for a two-year term from May 2021 to April 2023:

  • One faculty position
  • One staff position

The committee meets at least once per term. If you are interested in joining, please submit an application by Friday, May 21 at 11:59 p.m. For more information and to apply, please visit the PACES webpage.

Upcoming talk on sports and gender and other notes

Field of Dreamers event banner.

Renison University College and the Waterloo Public Library are teaming up for a lecture on May 18 entitled Field of Dreamers: Recreational Sports Outside the Gender Binary.

"How do we imagine recreational sports outside of the gender binary and the forms of toxic masculinity that often permeate these spaces?" asks the lecture's promotional material. "The Field of Dreamers Cooperative Softball Association and Sqwish recreational basketball drop in have been asking these questions for the last 5 years in Toronto. This panel will discuss the basics of creating queer and non-binary sports leagues, the political work of recreational sports, and the need for municipalities to re-imagine adult recreation post-pandemic."

The event will be moderated by Sam Toman, communications officer in the Faculty of Environment, and will feature a panel including:

  • Craig Fortier, professor in Social Development Studies at Renison;
  • LJ Robinson;
  • Amina Mohamed; and 
  • Mingus.

The event takes place on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. For more information on the panellists and to register, visit Eventbrite.

The next meeting of the University's Senate takes place on Monday, May 17 via MS Teams videoconference. "Guests are welcome to join the open session of the meeting similar to a normal "in-person" Senate meeting," says a note from the Secretariat. "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 noon Monday 17 May 2021. The agenda is posted on the Senate webpage."

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 88

Beyond the Bulletin Podcast logo featuring two vintage microphones.

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast is now live. Christine Purdon, professor of psychology, discusses the possible mental health effects of more than a year of restrictions and stress we’re trying to manage. More than 1,600 people attend the Return to Campus Town Hall virtually. The President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce launches The Catalyst, an anti-racism newsletter. And the University and Microsoft offer free online training.

Link of the day

It's still more fun to compute: Kraftwerk's Computer World at 40

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.

Course templates are 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):

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.

The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

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  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit to book an appointment

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)

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.

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

Engineering Term Olympics, Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15.

IT Seminar: Improving the way we work with Jira Service Management, Friday May 14, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

Lectures in Catholic Experience presents The Black Church in Canada featuring Carol Duncan, PhD, professor, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday, May 14, 7:30 p.m., online. 

Centering Indigenous engagement in the work of wellbeing and health promotion, Monday, May 17, 1:00 p.m.

NEW - University Senate meeting, Monday, May 17, 3:30 p.m.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture featuring featuring Leonard Kleinrock — Origins of the Internet, Monday, May 17, 1:30 p.m.

Ballet After Dark: Strength & Healing Through the Arts, Tuesday, May 18, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

GEDIx: A 30-minute Exchange, Tuesday, May 18, 1:00 p.m. 

Health Challenges Forum, Tuesday, May 18, 2:00 p.m.

Warriors Athletics and Recreation Spring Virtual Open House. Tuesday, May 18, 4:00 p.m. Learn about how to stay active and engaged this spring term. Register now.

NEW - Renison Lecture Series, "Field of Dreamers: Recreational Sports Outside the Gender Binary," Tuesday, May 18, 7:00 p.m. Register on Eventbrite.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Integrating EDI with Stakeholder Management in Projects" Wednesday, May 19, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event.

How faculty members can counter anti-Black racism in universities, Wednesday, May 19, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch & Learn: The Secret Lives of Lawns, Wednesday, May 19, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.

A Year of COVID-19: Innovative Research, the second in a three-part series, Thursday, May 20, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Please register to receive a link to this online event.

Registration deadline for Microsoft certification program courses, Friday, May 21.

NEW - Victoria Day holiday, Monday, May 24, most University buildings and operations closed.

NEW - Explorations of Asian Identity, Perceptions and Belonging, Tuesday, May 25, 1:00 p.m. Register through Ticketfi.

Resilient Warriors Virtual Panel presented by President’s Golf. Wednesday, May 26, 4:00 p.m. Panel featuring Mandy Bujold (Olympic Boxer), Dr. Kim Dawson (Mental Performance Consultant), Tre Ford (Student-Athlete) and Garrett Rank (NHL Referee, Canadian Amateur Golfer). Free tickets for students, staff, faculty and Alumni. Register now.