Friday, September 24, 2021

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

The Tatham Centre with a prominent "Welcome Back" sign in the first-floor windows.

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.

One of the Tatham Centre's entryways with welcome back messaging.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.

For a complete list of services available in-person or virtually visit the Centre for Career Action and Co-operative Education websites.

Still giving after 45 years

Sharon Lamont stands next to the University of Waterloo sign.

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)
  • Q&A

OCI offers two main programs to support the collaboration between Academia and Industry:

VIP-NSERC Alliance

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.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 JaberAnwar 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 LubkeDaniela 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 TetuiMoses 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:

Speak like a Scholar banner image.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

Alumni Black and Gold banner collage.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. 

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 103

Beyond the Bulletin logo featuring two vintage microphones.

The latest episode of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast is now live. The launch of the equity data survey is an important step in addressing inequities, and as Jermal Jones tells us in the interview, the Equity Office would like everyone — especially students — to fill it out before October 31. The University is preparing for a return to in-person academic experiences in the Winter term. Registration for the Keeping Well At Work conference is open, and employees can sign up for workshops about nutrition, mental health, community wellness, and more.

Link of the day

The cover of Jamiroquai's 1996 album "Travelling Without Moving."

25 years ago: Travelling Without Moving

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 (CCA) will be expanding some in-person services for fall 2021. The Tatham Centre will be open with front-desk support beginning September 7, with limited in-person appointments and co-op consults beginning September 20. All services will continue to be offered virtually this term. Book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help.

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.

While the Library continues to focus on digital resources and consultations, our spaces are open for the fall term. Dana Porter Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Davis Centre Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drop-in individual study space, bookable individual study rooms, drop-in access to computers and printers, book pick-up services and IST Help Desk support. Special Collections & Archives and the Geospatial Centre will be accessible by appointment. Library staff are available for questions via Ask us. Full details on current services and hours are available on the Library’s COVID-19 Update webpage

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 Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: or visit the SVPRO website.

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 either in person or online for the Fall term!

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk 24/7 in the Student Life Centre. Drop off locations are also open again in SLC, DC, DP, SCH and all residences.

Co-op Connection all available online. Check for more details.

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 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)

Warrior Rec Registration. Starts September 7. A wide range of programs are being offered this term. Intramural deadline: September 13, 11:00 a.m. Instructional deadline: September 19, 11:59 p.m. Register online.

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

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.

Alumni Black and Gold Day at home, Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25. Various events including a virtual concert, panel event, trivia, and more.

IT Seminar: Mapping, Analysis & Design (MAD) Update, Friday September 24, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online

Humans and Interconnectivity, Friday, September 24, 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.

Virtual Workshop: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Part 1 with Ela Smith, Friday, September 24, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Lectures in Catholic Experience: Apocalypse and Salvation: Faith in Catholic Miracles in Twentieth-Century Germany, Friday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.

Alumni Black and Gold Day Women’s Rugby vs. Trent. Saturday, September 25, 2:00 p.m. Reserve your free tickets in advance and come cheer on your Warriors at Warrior Field.

Information session for Waterloo faculty and staff: NSERC Alliance and Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) Joint Program, Tuesday, September 28, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please register.

Noon Hour Concert: Fire and Rain, Wednesday, September 29 at 12:30 p.m. online.

Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays (W3+) presents Invisible Stories, Sound(Mapping) Inequality, and Responsible NEW - Representation with panelists Lai-Tze Fan, Jessica Thompson, and Jin Sol Kim, Wednesday, September 29, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. MS Teams.

NEW - Truth & Reconciliation, and Indian Residential Schools: Keynote for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with Dr. Kathy Absolon, Wednesday, September 29, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Continuous Improvement and Change Management Community of Practice (CI&CM CoP) meeting, Thursday, September 30, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event.