Friday, October 15, 2021

University responds to Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion review

A message from Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor, and James W.E. Rush, vice-president, academic & provost.

Last August, the University engaged a team of external experts to start a formal review of the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion at Waterloo. We are pleased to share that we have received the review team’s final report and we are moving ahead with plans to implement their recommendations.

We are extremely grateful to the review team for their comprehensive consultations, generous time and thoughtful recommendations that will help us strengthen our approach to supports for Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion here at Waterloo.

Our response to this review will begin with significant investment and a realignment of our structure, resources and mandates to ensure that the work of Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion here clearly serves the needs of our students, faculty, staff and community. To be clear, the responses we are announcing today come as we continue to commit to the important work of consultation and engagement across our campus and beyond.

Creating new organizations with a mandate to influence our institution

To start, we are acting on recommendations from the review team to create two new organizational units led by Associate Vice-Presidents (AVPs) that will report to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost.

The Office of Indigenous Relations will be led by Jean Becker, who will take on the new title of AVP, Indigenous Relations. For the last year, Becker has acted as the Interim Associate Vice-President of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. We are both extremely grateful to Jean for taking on this role so soon after joining the University in 2020.

Given the enormous importance and urgency in progressing our work to reconcile with the Indigenous peoples of our community and decolonize our university, we are fortunate to work with Jean and her team to understand and implement the substantive recommendations contained in the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We also agree with the review panel’s remarks on the importance of the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at St. Paul’s University College and look forward to strengthening our relationship with them under Jean’s guidance.

Recognizing that we must also create a clear focus on anti-racism, the new Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and anti-Racism will be led by Dr. Christopher Taylor. We are pleased to appoint Dr. Taylor to the role of AVP, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and anti-Racism as a faculty term appointment ensuring that he can continue his scholarship when his term ends.

Dr. Taylor’s team will include the Equity Office as well as the new Senior Manager, Anti-Racism Response. We know that anti-Black racism, colonization and all other forms of racism, are ongoing and impact people on our campus directly. Amongst other things, this new unit will have a renewed focus on serving our community by directing our equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy and focusing initially on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.

Both AVPs and their teams will fulfil mandates to influence academic planning, strategic planning and decision-making at all levels of the University. We have committed additional resources over the last year into these areas and we look forward to working with the AVPs on further recommendations for resources in the future. The AVPs will engage and consult with the community in the further implementation of the HREI review recommendations. We are committed to reporting regularly to the community on the comprehensive resource commitments to the work associated with the entire portfolio.

You can expect further information on the Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office and the Conflict Management & Human Rights Office in the near future as further discussions and processes occur. In the meantime, these units will continue to report to Jean Becker.

Leadership commitment

Among the recommendations in the review are points on how we as leaders of the institution can champion our efforts for equity and inclusion. We know we must take up the responsibility to strengthen our strategic focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, representation, Indigenous reconciliation and anti-racism. And we will.

In our strategic plan, we made a clear commitment to strengthen sustainable and diverse communities. We said that “Waterloo will make an impact on its campuses and around the world by fostering inclusivity, a sense of belonging and a culture of involvement.”

Beyond that foundational underpinning of the strategic plan, we have made progress over the last year to support actions recommended by the Black Faculty Collective, the community collaborative members of the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) and many others that are helping us advance a variety of issues. These include our Indigenous strategic plan process; cluster-hiring initiatives for Indigenous and Black scholars; new roles addressing anti-racism in a variety of units; joining the National Centre for Faculty Development and Diversity; and our signing on to the Scarborough National Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education.

In fact, our community has created an incredible amount of change in the last year that we appreciate and must build upon.

Our mission as leaders is clear: We will work together with the vice-presidents, deans, and AVPs for Indigenous Relations and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and anti-Racism to clearly articulate a shared vision for our work in this space and to embed measurable performance objectives into the annual integrated plans that flow from the strategic plan and the work of our teams.

The changes we are implementing because of this review are not the start, nor are they the end of our journey at Waterloo to create change. We have a long way to go, but we are committed to doing the work that will make our University a people-centered institution committed to genuine care, concern, respect, inclusivity and well-being for all. A place where we all belong. 

You can read more about the committee’s full report and recommendations at the Office of the Provost’s website. Further communications about these new roles will follow in the Daily Bulletin next week.

Registration now open for the 2021 Hagey Lecture

2021 Hagey Lecture banner dealing with climate emergency

Energy economist and author Mark Jaccard will deliver the 2021 University of Waterloo Hagey Lecture on October 27.

In this talk, Mark Jaccard speaks about how climate-concerned citizens can overcome myths that hinder us from acting in time to prevent extreme climate impacts. Actions can involve personal consumption choices (electric vehicles, heat pumps) but these only have an effect if citizens are also engaged in the political process and civil society to elect and support climate-sincere politicians. These personal and collective efforts must align with and foster a global strategy of decarbonization, especially in developing countries. Tune in to find out what is required on a simple path to climate success and what you can contribute.

Register now to watch the livestream.

The Hagey Lectures

The annual Hagey Lectures are jointly sponsored by the Faculty Association and the University of Waterloo. Established in 1970, the series honours the contribution of Dr. J. G. Hagey, one of the founders and the first President of the University of Waterloo (1957-1969). The lectures are intended to challenge, stimulate, and enrich not only the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Waterloo, but also all members of the community. Past speakers include Thomas King, Vandana Shiva, Atom Egoyan, Ursula Franklin, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Margaret Atwood.

This year’s speaker

Mark Jaccard.Mark Jaccard has been a professor since 1986 in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, interrupted in 1992–97 when he served as Chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission. His PhD is in energy economics from the University of Grenoble, and his research focus is the design and application of energy-economy models for assessing climate policies. Internationally, Mark has served on the IPCC, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, and the Global Energy Assessment, and domestically on the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the CD Howe Institute, and in 2009 was named British Columbia Academic of the Year. He is one of eight professors at Simon Fraser University awarded the title Distinguished Professor. He has published over 100 academic papers. In 2006, his Sustainable Fossil Fuels won the Donner Prize for top policy book in Canada. His latest book, released in February 2020, is The Citizen’s Guide for Climate Success.

D2L is going public

John Baker.

D2L founder and CEO John Baker.

By Brian Caldwell. This article originally appeared on Waterloo News.

An online learning company that was started by a Waterloo Engineering student who challenged himself to think big is now poised to go public.

D2L Corp., which was founded in 1999 while John Baker (BASc '00) was still an undergraduate student in systems design engineering, filed a prospectus with regulators this week to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DTOL.

The move comes after the Kitchener-based company got a boost from a shift to digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, with revenues rising to US $138 million in the year ending July 31, up 21 per cent from the previous year.

'Never more vital'

“D2L’s mission has never been more vital,” Baker, the founder and chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to investors included with the filing.

The company did not list a target share price for the initial public offering, which is being led by TD Securities and BMO Capital Markets.

Now boasting more than 900 employees worldwide, D2L – formerly known as Desire2Learn – was launched after Baker, then just 22, gave himself a tech-for-good challenge during the third year of his undergraduate engineering studies at Waterloo.

“I challenged myself to find the most important problem I could solve, that would have the biggest impact on the world,” he wrote in his letter to investors.

'An idea sparked my imagination'

“Inspired by my own family of educators and my experiences at university, an idea sparked my imagination one day as I walked across campus – learning is the foundation for progress and the impact of work in this area would have a ripple effect from one person to the next, and ripple through generations, communities, companies, and cultures.”

D2L’s core product is Brightspace, a cloud-based platform that helps users design and deliver courses, learning content, educational games and assessments.

Its customers include more than 500 post-secondary institutions, 150 K-12 schools and districts, 50 professional associations and industry groups, and 300 businesses, healthcare institutions and governments in over 40 countries.

Baker was honoured by Waterloo Engineering in 2010 as the recipient of its Young Alumni Achievement Medal for his success as an entrepreneur and ongoing commitment to the University of Waterloo.

Panel discussion looks to strike out baseball's founding myths

Unsettling Baseball lecture banner featuring a glove and ball.

The Renison University College and Waterloo Public Libary lecture series continues this month with a panel discussion entitled Stealing Home: Unsettling Baseball as America's National Pastime that examines the origins of baseball and its ties to North America's colonial past, and how that is reflected within current conversations about racist team mascots and the overall discussion of decolonization.

"Origin stories do work," says the lecture's background material. "Often shrouded in mystery and myth, they are meant to make people feel connection, belonging, and intimacy with the story told. Baseball's origin stories are filled with all these wonderful myths - from a 5-year-old Abner Doubleday inventing the game on the shores of Lake Otsego in Cooperstown, New York to the legendary called shot by Babe Ruth."

"In this presentation, Dr. Craig Fortier, assistant professor of social development studies at Renison University College, unravels some of the myths of baseball's origins in America to expose the soft cork of the American settler colonial project. How do we reconcile baseball's origins with current struggles against racist mascots and team monikers like those of the Cleveland and Atlanta baseball teams? This presentation will lead participants in a discussion on how we might unsettle baseball as we unsettle (North) America."

Joining Professor Fortier is Dr. Christopher Taylor, who currently teaches in the Department of History and the Arts First program.

The event takes place on Tuesday, October 19 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Registration details are on Eventbrite.

Your Daily Inspiration continues and other notes

Keeping Well at Work Daily Inspiration banner

Today's Daily Inspiration

Supporting troubled co-workers? Is your manager causing you stress?

Prevent burnout from workplace relationship management.

Check out these Workplace Strategies for Mental Health or sign up for OHD's Managing Compassion: Staying Well While Helping Others workshop on October 27.

See all Daily Inspirations on the Keeping Well at Work conference site. Questions and contest entries can be sent to or tweet @OHDuwaterloo.

Women's Entrepreneurship Week banner image.

Women's Entrepreneurship Week 2021 kicks off on Monday, October 18 and runs until Friday, October 22. The Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business is hosting a Speaker Series to celebrate that features presentations from technology lawyer Joanna Ma and Professor Nada Basir of the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business. 

Link of the day

World Students' Day

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 looking for targeted support for developing online components for blended learning courses, transitioning remote to fully online courses, revising current online courses, and more please visit Agile Development | Centre for Extended Learning | University of Waterloo (

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) is offering some in-person services for fall 2021. The Tatham Centre is open with front-desk support, limited in-person appointments and co-op consults. Services are also available virtually. Book an appointment online or Live Chat 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)

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.

W Store Faculty and Staff Appreciation sale, Tuesday, October 12 to Friday, October 15. Visit for more information.

Naismith Classic Basketball Tournament. Thursday, October 14 to Saturday, October 16. Cheer on your Warriors as they battle against teams across Ontario. Purchase your tickets today.

IT Seminar: Online Faculty Application System (OFAS), Friday October 15, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Join online.

NEW - Women Entrepreneurship Week 2021, Monday, October 18 to Friday, October 22, Virtual Speaker Series, details and a link to the virtual talk will be sent to those who register through Zoom.

Move to Thrive: Thrive Walk, Monday, October 18, 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

University Senate meeting, Monday, October 18, 3:30 p.m.

Keeping Well at Work conference, Tuesday, October 19.

Spanish and Latin American Studies presents Dr. Dolores Figueroa Romero, Binational Dialogues on the Challenges to Document Violence Against Indigenous Women in Mexico and Canada,” Tuesday, October 19, 11:00 a.m. RSVP to Jorge Castaneda Ochoa,

GEDI Exchange Webinar - A 30 Minute Exchange with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen, Tuesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. Join this discussion with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen as they discuss Microbiomes: Building a business and feeding the world. Register online.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised" Wednesday, October 20, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event.

NEW - Noon Hour Concert: Music of South India, Wednesday, October 20 at 12:30 p.m., online.

WaterTalk: Water Resources and Food Supply Chains, Presented by Megan Konar, Thursday, October 21, 10:00 a.m.

Fall Convocation PhD reception, Thursday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.

2021 Benjamin Eby Lecture, “Composing Louis Riel's Dream: Exploring the history of the Red River Settlement through family stories and music”, Thursday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College. Virtual event.

Fall Convocation ceremonies, Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23.

Lectures in Catholic Experience, "Religion and Vaccine Hesitancy in the Age of Anxiety," Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Warriors Football vs. Western, Saturday October 23, 1:00 p.m. Think Pink in support of the Breast Cancer Cause at the Canadian Cancer Society, Donor Appreciation Day. Purchase tickets.

WaterLeadership training seminar: Create engaging virtual presentations, Presented by Elise Vist, Tuesday, October 26, 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, October 26, 1:30 p.m.

Pivot-RP Training Session for Waterloo faculty and staff who support research proposal development. Tuesday, October 26, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please register to receive a link to this session on Teams.

NEW - Emergency: The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success – The 2021 Hagey Lecture, October 27, 8:00 p.m. Register to watch the livestream.