New bike cage is a corral for your cycles
A message from the Sustainability Office.
As we return to campus, riding your bike just got a little better. Waterloo’s new bike cage has opened and students, staff, and faculty may now purchase spaces.
Located between EV3 and ML, the bike cage has fob access and security cameras, and has a covering to keep off the worst of the elements. The cage can park up to 62 standard sized bicycles, and is an important new tool to support cycling as a safe and sustainable way of travelling to campus.
Similar to the bike box program, users of the cage will purchase a permit and fob from Parking Services for $10 per month plus tax. Permits can be purchased on a monthly, termly, or yearly basis.
The project was initiated by students in 2018, and received funding from Parking Services, WESEF, the Faculty of Environment, VP Administration and Finance, Sustainability Action Fund, Faculty of Arts, and the Faculty Association, with design and construction support from Plant Operations.
For more information on the cage and to register, visit the Parking Services website.
Waterloo and Indonesia: a case study in international co-operation
A message from Waterloo International.
During 2021, the University of Waterloo continues to work with the Government of Indonesia – and leading Indonesian institutions – by signing an agreement to catalyze activity across a range of areas and by welcoming 30 of the country’s brightest university students for a term of study.
Waterloo has a history of meaningful and successful cooperation with Indonesia, most recently through the Risk Management, Economic Sustainability and Actuarial Science in Indonesia (READI) project. This project, which ran from 2015 to 2021, spurred sustainable economic growth and financial resilience by building the capacity of universities in Indonesia to train actuaries.
Launching a new chapter in collaboration, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Waterloo and the Directorate General of Higher Education (DGHE) in Indonesia on 22 March 2021.
At a virtual ceremony attended by university and governmental officials from both countries, as well as journalists and invited guests, Dr. Nizam, Director General of Higher Education, Indonesia, said he anticipates advancing mutually beneficial initiatives between the two. “The University of Waterloo is a very respected university, with many fields of development, especially in the areas of technology and sustainable development,” he said. “It’s an honour for us to have this agreement.”
For Waterloo, Professor Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International, highlighted the importance of internationalization to the University’s vision of strengthening connections and interactions on a global scale to bring about meaningful impact. “With this agreement, we are opening the door to detailed discussions about how cooperation may be deepened in a variety of educational areas,” he said. “By bringing together people from different disciplines, sectors, and communities, we bring together diverse knowledge-sets, experiences, and perspectives. That is when discovery, innovation, and application can be advanced.”
One of the areas identified in the MoU – student mobility, internationally – has already seen significant activity and achievements.
Waterloo is one of more than 60 global partners, and one of only two Canadian institutions, chosen for the Government of Indonesia’s International Student Mobility Awards program. Following a competitive process in May 2021, 30 selected students chose to advance their undergraduate studies by spending Fall 2021 term at Waterloo – doing a selection of Waterloo’s courses that will contribute towards their ‘home’ (Indonesian) university degree.
These students arrived in Canada in late summer, completed their quarantine obligations successfully, and have settled nicely into the residence community at St. Paul’s University College and into their academic communities across the Faculties of Arts, Environment, and Science. These 30 students are being supported by many offices across Waterloo, including the Registrar’s Office and the Global Learning team in the Student Success Office.
Sherine Febriana, one of the Indonesian students now at Waterloo, expressed her – and the other students’ – appreciation to the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology for the opportunity. She also reflected upon the group’s first days at Waterloo and in Canada as they settled in: ‘We have met such wonderful lecturers, team, friends, and community! We are hoping to do more wonderful experiences for the next three months until the end of our stay!’
There is great potential to continue to build the meaningful connections between Waterloo and Indonesia: these 30 students will build links themselves, acting as global ambassadors this term and beyond as they return to Indonesia; Waterloo International anticipates discussions with our counterparts at many of their home universities in Indonesia to explore additional areas for collaboration; and colleagues across Waterloo are working to advance other parts of the MoU. It is anticipated that impact will continue to grow.
Waterloo International will continue to keep the Waterloo community informed of the university’s connections with Indonesia. For any questions or comments, please contact the Waterloo International team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She stitched stars (try saying that five times fast)
By Wendy Philpott. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.
The Department of English faculty boasts an impressive group of published poets and novelists, giving great credibility to their new specialization in Creative Writing. Now they can add a children’s author to this complement of expertise with the publication of Professor Jennifer Harris’ picture book, She Stitched The Stars: A Story Of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt (Albert Whitman & Company), available in bookshops this October.
You could say the book is very Waterloo Arts in the way it tells a tale rich in STEAM themes — that is, science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
The story’s subject, Ellen Harding Baker, was an Iowa housewife with a fascination for astronomy who, in 1876, began sewing a quilt that accurately depicted our solar system. Today, the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Recuperating lost stories
While Harris is a seasoned scholar, she’s new to writing and publishing children’s literature. “I'm a literary historian. I do a lot of work recuperating lost 19th century writers, particularly women writers, and I'm always on the lookout for interesting topics,” she says.
“I stumbled across Ellen Harding Baker and was riveted. Yet, there isn’t much preserved about her beyond the quilt and some vital statistics, so I couldn't quite figure out how to approach her as an academic topic.”
But the story of the quilt so enchanted Harris that she thought she might try to write a children's book that imagines how the quilt was created. “I know a lot about children&’s literature, but I don’t know a lot about children’s publishing, so that was where I started. I sat down and wrote this story.”
With beautiful illustrations by Louise Pigott, Harris’ story shows Harding Baker as the mother of three daughters who are encouraged to explore and follow their curiosity about the world around them. Together, they plan, research, and sew the quilt, while still attending to their traditional domestic tasks.
In a glowing review, Kirkus magazine says, “the lively portrayal of the girls and their mother sparkles with curiosity and joy; it’s sure to inspire questions in young listeners as it embraces feminism, history, creativity, and science.”
A compelling pitch
Writing a wonderful story is one thing, but to have it published was another new experience for Harris, and one that began in a classroom with computer science majors.
“I was teaching a professional writing course and I was having the students write a formal letter,” she recounts. “How do you write a letter that's compelling? I thought I should model that for the students and wrote to a literary agent about my manuscript.” Amazingly, she was signed by the first agent she pitched, which is particularly impressive considering writers must often pitch dozens or hundreds of literary agents. “I think it says a lot about the value of professional communications.”
For Harris, writing Harding Baker’s story was also a political act of reclamation. “It's such a shame when we don”t write about people who did great things because they were undervalued in their historical moment and the details of their lives weren't preserved.
“So, imagining Ellen’s life was the way I could get around that — to honour and celebrate her in a literary fashion — and I felt did her justice with this kind of lyrical imagining of the genesis of the quilt.”
Harris wanted to inspire creativity and scientific curiosity for the children and parents reading the book. “Historically there’s this kind of derision around women’s work and crafting combined with scientific inquiry. I think there&’s far more recognition of those intersections now, but I still wanted to draw attention to the way in which we can have these creative approaches, where vibrant and interesting things can come out of it. Of course, today we have all kinds of science institutes that have artist-in-residence programs, and that&’;s a very valuable thing. In that way, I think Ellen Harding Baker was ahead of her time in marrying those two worlds.”
With a book launch there’s often a book tour. But during the pandemic, publishers have been pushing authors to engage on social media “in a meaningful way,” says Harris.
So, of course, she involved her own children in a very creative solution.
“When we realized we wouldn't be able to put the children in camp this summer, we needed a project that we could do as a family. Instagram was the answer.”
The concept was to depict a book tour with scenes featuring dolls and a perfect mini replica of the book set in bookshops, museums, galleries, as well as an airport lounge (and there’s more). “The project also allowed me a little bit of time to work while the children were on scavenger hunts for things around the house to build our Instagram scenes. It’s been entertaining for the whole family.”
She Stitched the Stars in not a one-off for Harris. Her second picture book, When You Were New, will be published by HarperCollins in 2023. And she has several other manuscripts under submission.
With this first book, Harris hopes its young readers will see that there is room for different kinds of explorations. “Ellen Harding Baker did things in an unconventional way, and there’s value in that kind of creativity and in sharing it with others.”
Postdoc Appreciation Week continues and other notes
A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA). This is part of an ongoing series of posts in support of Postdoc Appreciation Week.
Kristie Poole is a postdoc with the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts. She is currently working at the Social Development Lab, studying the socio-emotional development of children, with a focus on the origins and outcomes of temperamental shyness.
Pankaj Gupta is a postdoc with the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, in the Faculty of Environment. He started as a postdoc in 2019, and his current research involves studying the migration of hydrocarbon pollutants into groundwater systems and developing remediation strategies.
Stuart Hallifax is a postdoc with the School of Computer Science in the Faculty of Mathematics. His research involves tailored and integrated gamification as a method of increasing motivation and engagement in audiences across diverse systems. Currently, he is working on adapting this approach to address issues involving eye-health in young children.
Are you also a postdoc doing important work here at the University of Waterloo? If so, please Share Your Story with us so that we can add you to our collection of People Profiles celebrating the contributions of other amazing postdocs in the UWaterloo community.
Postdoc fact of the day: Postdocs aren’t students
People use many different titles to refer to postdoctoral fellows: postdocs, postdoctoral researchers, research trainees, and the like. One common mistake is referring to postdocs as students. Postdocs are not students – they’re employees. Postdocs already hold doctoral degrees (the highest academic credential one can earn) and so, while at Waterloo, they do not receive a degree and do not pay student fees.
In other campus news:
"UW Fitness (part of CCCARE – Centre for Community, Clinical and Applied Research Excellence) will once again offer livestream exercise classes to UWaterloo staff and faculty this fall," says a note from CCCARE. "Thanks to the Staff Excellence Fund, we are able to offer these programs at a 50 per cent subsidy for UWaterloo staff. Participants can register for our popular Express Home Workout, Bootcamp or Express Core programs with lunch hour and after work sessions available."
These 6-week sessions start November 1 and registration is now open. For more information and how to register, visit the CCCARE website.