A blended re-opening to support blended learning
A message from the Student Success Office.
The Student Success Office (SSO) will be open to students on campus this fall while continuing to offer a variety of services and resources online. Students can now drop by the office Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to connect with staff in-person, or virtually through our new Live Chat Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Check out new and returning student services and opportunities below.
- Online Learning Resources are available for students looking to independently build strong study habits. Students can use the Learning Skills Self-Assessment to determine their existing strengths and gain insight into which areas they should focus on developing if they’re unsure where to start.
- Warrior Virtual Study Halls are weekly supported study sessions facilitated by a Peer Success Coach to introduce new academic skills, help students create study goals and answer questions. This is a great alternative for students who are missing campus study spaces.
- Peer Success Coaches offer one-on-one appointments for personalized support addressing academic challenges and creating a plan for success. Our coaches are upper-year students with experience overcoming their own study roadblocks.
- Making the Most of Online Learning workshop can help students prepare for a successful online term. A Peer Success Coach will discuss course resources, how to create a routine that works and setting up a study environment for success.
- Student Leadership Program provides opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills and apply their new knowledge in a campus leadership role.
- Foundational Training Program for Peer Leaders can help students develop core skills for working in a peer-to-peer program at the University of Waterloo.
- Mentor resources are available online to support students in mentor or peer leader roles.
International student experience
- NEW - Students can chat live with an international student experience expert for support with travel and quarantine plans or other international student resources. We’re online Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.
- International student arrival supports like the Quarantine Warrior’s Support Group and International Travel Pre-departure Drop-ins are scheduled each week to support students who are planning to come to Canada.
- International Peer Community and Online Discussions continue to be offered to enhance the student experience from home.
- Immigration Info Sessions for international students to learn how to apply for and maintain their documents.
- Students who are interested in going abroad in fall 2022 or winter/spring 2023 can attend an information session to get started and apply during the month of October.
- The Global Experience Certificate is a good way for students to showcase their achievements in internationalization – even from home.
Whether they’re learning from home or campus this fall, students can count on the SSO to offer flexible, accessible support. If you have questions about any of the services listed above or how to better support the students you work with, please contact email@example.com.
WEEF hits $20M
By Angela Pause. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.
It’s September 1989. Two fourth-year engineering students are sitting in POETS drinking $2 beers.
Avi Belinsky (BASc ’90, electrical engineering) is regaling John Vellinga (BASc ’91, systems design engineering) with tales of his most recent co-op experience at Microsoft in Seattle.
He recounts how the young Princeton interns on his team had boasted of their well-equipped university labs stocked with the latest systems (Intel had just released the 80486 microprocessor) thanks to Princeton’s generous endowment fund founded in 1745 by 10 men pledging £185.
By the time Vellinga heard about Princeton’s endowment fund 245 years later, it had grown to over $7 billion dollars with hundreds of millions of dollars in interest invested back into the university each year.
It was no wonder the university had world-class labs and banks of up-to-date computers and monitors, then a hot commodity as students did not own personal computers, recalls Belinsky.
A far-seeing strategy
As the beers flowed, Belinsky and Vellinga figured Waterloo Engineering was just as good as the Ivy League engineering school, except Waterloo lacked the budget for cutting-edge equipment.
In those days, the Faculty's annual equipment budget was a paltry $200,000, roughly $409,000 in 2021 dollars.
With government funding cut to the bone during those recessionary times, engineering students constantly complained about the lack of resources.
Finishing their beers, they walked to the nearest computer lab in Carl Pollock Hall and sketched out a detailed draft of a student-run and funded endowment that would see each student voluntarily contribute $75 per term – $132 in today’s dollars.
Like Princeton’s fund, compound interest would eventually grow enough for equipment purchases and to financially support student success in other ways.
It was a far-seeing strategy designed to help students of the future as the early contributors would see nothing of their investment or the interest earned.
After a quick rubber stamping from the Senate and Board of Governors (who knew a good thing when they saw it), Vellinga, then EngSoc president, and Belinsky, acting as his de facto campaign manager, held two student referendums to pitch WEEF to both streams of students.
It was a resounding success with 95 per cent of students voting in its favour. WEEF was now official.
A Canadian first
Remarkably, three decades later the endowment has reached $20 million. All of those small $75 contributions added up to a significant amount of which the interest is then directed toward enhancing the educational experience of Waterloo Engineering students.
A critical ingredient to the Faculty's success, WEEF has funded the purchases of many significant – and necessary – pieces of equipment engineering students have put to good use over the years.
As the first student-funded and run endowment fund in Canada, WEEF has been repeatedly emulated by other schools.
“I remember thinking at the time, if not us, then who and if not now, when?” says Belinsky, now retired from a successful career at Microsoft. “We also were so young and stupid we didn’t know how hard it would be to do, so we just did it.”
May the Fifth Force be with you
A group of researchers have used a groundbreaking new technique to reveal previously unrecognized properties of technologically crucial silicon crystals and uncovered new information about an important subatomic particle and a long-theorized fifth force of nature.
The research was an international collaboration conducted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dmitry Pushin, a member of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing and a faculty member in Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, was the only Canadian researcher involved in the study. Pushin was interested in producing high-quality quantum sensors out of perfect crystals.
By aiming subatomic particles known as neutrons at silicon crystals and monitoring the outcome with exquisite sensitivity, researchers were able to obtain three extraordinary results: the first measurement of a key neutron property in 20 years using a unique method; the highest-precision measurements of the effects of heat-related vibrations in a silicon crystal; and limits on the strength of a possible “fifth force” beyond standard physics theories.
In collaboration with researchers from Japan, the U.S. and Canada, the latest work resulted in a fourfold improvement in precision measurement of the silicon crystal structure factor.
Pushin, whose research specializes in neutron physics and interferometry, was instrumental in collecting neutron data and chemically etching samples, which led to examining unexplored forces beyond Standard Model.
“This was a multi-year experiment, and we had great results that are technically exciting and opens the door to future technologies,” said Pushin.
The Standard Model is currently the widely accepted theory of how particles and forces interact at the smallest scales. But it’s an incomplete explanation of how nature works, and scientists suspect there is more to the universe than the theory describes.
The Standard Model describes three fundamental forces in nature: electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear force. Each force operates through the action of “carrier particles.” For example, the photon is the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. But the Standard Model has yet to incorporate gravity in its description of nature. Furthermore, some experiments and theories suggest the possible presence of a fifth force.
The researchers are already planning more expansive pendellösung measurements using both silicon and germanium. They expect a possible factor of five reduction in their measurement uncertainties, which could produce the most precise measurement of the neutron charge radius to date and further constrain — or discover — a fifth force. They also plan to perform a cryogenic version of the experiment, which would lend insight into how the crystal atoms behave in their so-called “quantum ground state,” which accounts for the fact that quantum objects are never perfectly still, even at temperatures approaching absolute zero.
The study, Pendellösung Interferometry Probes the Neutron Charge Radius, Lattice Dynamics, and Fifth Forces, was published this week in the journal Science.
This project is supported in part by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund through the Transforming Quantum Technologies programs.
Read more about the research from NIST.
Welcome Week returns and other notes
"WUSA is welcoming all new and returning students back to class with a week of fun and free events," says a note from the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA). "Students can attend free in-person and virtual events to meet new friends and connect with old classmates. They can test their knowledge at Virtual Boombox Trivia, and unwind at Headphone Disco or the Wes Barker Comedy & Magic Show. There’s also Sex Toy Bingo or our in-person Outdoor Movie Night. Events run from September 13 to 17. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and students are asked to register for events by visiting the WUSA Welcome Week page."
Human Resources has announced that the following employees have retired as of August 1, 2021:
- Philip Regier, who started working at Waterloo in May 1982, retired as Network Systems Specialist in Electrical Engineering;
- Paul Ludwig, who began his career at the University in November 1983, retired as Manager, Infrastructure Support in Electrical Engineering;
- Wayne Whetstone, who started at Waterloo in April 1974, retired as Operations Assistant in Food Services;
- Shelley Knischewsky, who began working at the University in July 2006, retired as Event and External Relations Coordinator in the School of Planning;
- Walter Mittelstaedt, who joined Waterloo in January 1997, retired as Director, Campus Wellness;
- Dianne Bader, who started at the University in January 2001, retired as Director, CEE Services in Co-operative and Experiential Education;
- Sheila Hurley, who began her career at Waterloo in March 1980, retired as Safety Administrator in the Safety Office;
- Mark Griffett, who started working at the University in November 2011, retired as Materials Engineering Technician in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering;
- Scott Desomeaux, who joined Waterloo in January 1981, retired as Senior Mechanical/Civil Technologist/Designer in Plant Operations;
- Liana Kreamer, who began working at the University in February 2014, retired as Canadian Water Network Staff in the Canadian Water Network;
- Kevin Durst, who started at Waterloo in April 1999, retired as Stationary Engineer 2nd Class in Plant Operations;
- Carolyn Stanley, who began working at the University in September 2006, retired as Food Services Assistant in Food Services;
- Jane Moores-Stuart, who started at Waterloo in April 2006, retired as Patient Care Coordinator in the School of Optometry and Vision Science clinic; and
- Professor Barry Ferguson, who joined the Unviersity in August 1986, retired as a Lecturer in the Centre for Education in Math and Computing (CEMC).
Congratulations all on reaching this milestone and best wishes in your retirement.