Senate votes to make Fall Reading Week permanent
By Megan Lambe.
On Monday, September 20, the University’s Senate passed a motion to make the Fall Reading Week a permanent part of the campus calendar.
In 2014 and 2015, faculty, staff, and students formed a Task Force to examine testing a fall term break at Waterloo. The University’s first fall reading week was introduced as a two-year pilot in 2016, which consisted of a two-day break following Thanksgiving Monday in October. The second pilot, introduced in 2019 and in effect until 2021, was extended from the Saturday before to the Sunday after Thanksgiving Monday.
The Task Force released a campus survey for each pilot to help inform recommendations for the future of a fall term break. In both cases, the surveys were completed by over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Most students said they used the time to do schoolwork, take time for rest and personal wellness, and spend time with friends and family. Graduate students also talked about spending time on academics and personal growth. Compared to the shorter break in 2016, students stated the 2019 break was more useful in supporting academic success and physical/mental wellbeing. Most students reported the extended break was also more useful in reducing stress levels (78 per cent undergraduate and 63 per cent graduate).
A recurring recommendation from students was the promotion of wellness initiatives on campus, particularly during the period before reading week. More students (44 per cent) accessed at least one campus resource during FRW 2019 compared to the Fall Break 2016 (38 per cent).
“This is an important step for the University,” said David DeVidi, associate vice-president, academic and chair of the Task Force “It empowers students to make decisions about how to spend the time the Reading Week makes available to catch up on work, to see friends and family, for recreation, or whatever else will help them succeed and contribute to their wellness.”
In addition to the recommendation to Senate to continue with the Fall Reading Week, the Task force made the following recommendations, which are being considered (or already being implemented) by various units on campus:
Encourage instructors to avoid deadlines/exams immediately before/after FRW
Encourage students to self-assess to determine what they need from their break;
Further disseminate findings through the University community;
Use consistent language across the University around Fall Reading Week;
Ensure TAs can benefit during the break, within the limits of their positions
Ensure cross-campus UWaterloo surveys include items about ‘breaktaking’
This year, Fall Reading Week will take place from Saturday, October 9 to Sunday, October 17, 2021. Faculty, staff and student leaders are encouraged to use use the following resources to share information about the upcoming break.
Tatham Centre welcomes students back
By Michelle Radman.
“We need to go bigger,” said Sean Sprayson, facilities co-ordinator, about the installment of a new “welcome back” sign on the Tatham Centre (TC). It’s been a year and a half since students could access TC and our Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) team is excited to see more students in the building.
Filling most of TC’s main floor windows and doors, Sean and the team timed the installation perfectly to welcome students back to school. “We want students to know that we are open and available to support them for any CEE-related service,” says Jeremy Reed, Director, Co-op Services. “With students entering from University Ave. and our proximity to the UWaterloo sign, we knew that we needed to share that we are here to help.”
Staff have seen students taking photos with the new signs. “We’re happy to see smiling faces walk back inside our doors,” said Sprayson.
Still giving after 45 years
Sharon’s story is one of several donor stories featured in the just-launched 2020-2021 Report on Giving.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sharon Lamont (BA ’80) has touched the lives of hundreds of people, both through her work at the University of Waterloo Library and through countless acts of generosity. It’s also not surprising that she chose to mark her retirement in May 2021 with a gift that reflects more than 45 years of experiences as a Waterloo student, staff member and volunteer.
Sharon married young and started her family right away. Those early years weren’t easy. “I was working part-time as well as going to school, and there were times when we literally had no money,” she says. At one point, she couldn’t afford her studies, and she recalls how grateful she was to receive a bursary that allowed her to continue.
Early in her career, Sharon began volunteering with the Staff, Faculty and Retiree Giving Program, among other initiatives. And, as her career progressed, she started giving back to the University through monthly gifts, making her first donation in 1990.
“It was always easy for me to give my time because I so enjoyed the camaraderie of working together to achieve a goal. And it eventually became easy to be a Waterloo donor because I had a surprisingly — to me, anyway — successful career at the University,” Sharon says.
As retirement approached, she created an award that benefits students who work at the Library and who are committed to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion. And in true Sharon style, she asked colleagues to contribute to the award, rather than to a retirement gift.
“These past few years have opened my eyes to other peoples’ experiences. Even when it felt like I had nothing, I had so much more than some. This award recognizes the need to treat others with respect and allows me to share the advantages I’ve been given.”
Inspired by Sharon’s story? Learn how you can make a gift through the Faculty, Staff and Retiree Giving program.
NSERC Alliance and OCI Voucher for Innovation and Productivity info session coming up
A message from the Office of Research.
University of Waterloo faculty and staff are invited to an information session about the Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) Joint Program.
The program through NSERC Alliance and the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) is scheduled for Tuesday, September 28, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Please register to receive a link to this virtual event.
The session will cover:
- OCI at a glance – Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) Program (presented by OCI)
- NSERC at a glance – Alliance Program (presented by NSERC)
- OCI-NSERC Partnership Overview (presented by OCI)
- Joint proposal VIP-Alliance University Stream Overview (presented by NSERC)
OCI offers two main programs to support the collaboration between Academia and Industry:
In partnership, NSERC’s Alliance grant and OCI’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) will support post-secondary R&D collaborations with the highest potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Ontario.
Individual proposals can request at least $20,000 up to $30,000 from NSERC (Alliance grant) and at least $20,000 up to $30,000 from OCI VIP, with a corresponding $20,000 to $30,000 contribution (cash + in-kind) from the industry partner (at least 50 per cent must be cash provided to the academic institution). The streamlined joint application and decision process enables companies to quickly undertake new research collaborations with Ontario-based researchers and have their cash contribution leveraged by both NSERC and OCI. The mutually beneficial projects are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and to Ontario and build impactful longer-term collaborations between the researcher and the company.
Individual proposals can request at least $20,000 up to $150,000 from OCI, with a corresponding 1:1 match from the industry partner (at least 50 per cent must be cash provided to the academic institution).
Postdoc Appreciation Week concludes with final showcase; other notes
A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
Today for National Postdoc Appreciation Week, we are proud to showcase Sebastian Dys, Anwar Jaber, Daniela Lubke, and Moses Tetui. Follow these links to their profiles if you want to learn more about them and the work they do.
Sebastian Dys is a postdoc with the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts. He is currently working at the Social Development Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Heather Henderson. His research focuses on examining the causes or impediments to prosocial behaviour in children, and specifically how temperamental shyness influences such behaviour.
Anwar Jaber is a postdoc and adjunct profession with the School of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering. An architect and urban scholar, she joined the postdoc community in September 2021 as part of the second cohort supported by the AMTD postdoctoral fellowship. She is currently working with Professor Robert van Jan Pelt, conducting research into the role of architecture in cities facing political transitions and extreme conditions, focusing on museums that aim to address national narratives of war, memory and violence.
Daniela Lubke is a postdoc with the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization in the Faculty of Mathematics. She works with optimization problems, using her expertise to help address real-world issues. Her current focus is developing a new model to integrate personnel allocation and machine scheduling problems for large-scale industrial production.
Moses Tetui is a postdoc with the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science. He is passionate about public health, and his research involves investigating methods of building public trust between health agencies and the general public. The goal of his work is to create responsible and responsive health systems in collaboration with communities and stakeholders.
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 fun fact of the day: postdoc services and resources
There is a misconception that, because postdocs are not students nor permanent ongoing staff, they don’t have access to many resources or services. In fact, postdocs at University of Waterloo have access to lots of great campus services. Waterloo offers postdoc career advising services through the Centre for Career Action, Writing support through the Writing and Communication Centre, teaching development through Centre for Teaching Excellence, and lots more.
In other campus news:
Today is the last day to register for Speak Like a Scholar, according to a note from the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC). Learn the skills needed to plan, practice, revise, and design an academic presentation and get intensive, personalized feedback on your presentation skills. This program is open to Masters and PhD students. The deadline to register is today at 5:00 p.m. For more information or to register for the program, visit https://uwaterloo.ca/writing-and-communication-centre/current-graduate-students/speak-scholar.
Also, a reminder that Alumni Black and Gold Day at Home takes place on September 24 (today) and September 25. It promises a full weekend of virtual entertainment, learning opportunities, and stories from campus for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Register today and join us to celebrate your Warrior pride with classmates, friends and family.