The President's Forum in focus
More than 928 people attended the virtual President’s Forum for a conversation with President Vivek Goel on Wednesday, October 6.
This forum was the first of three sessions that will explore themes from the University’s strategic plan. President Goel was joined by a panel of Waterloo’s senior leaders including Jeff Casello, associate vice-president, graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs, David DeVidi, associate vice-president, academic, Sanjeev Gill, associate vice-president, innovation and Norah McRae, associate provost, co-operative and experiential education to explore the future of work and how the University develops talent for a complex future.
"As institutions of higher learning, we have an important role to play in preparing our students not only for a complex job landscape but for their role in civil society as we build back after the pandemic," said President Goel. "I’m joined by some of my colleagues today to explore what the next 10 years look like for the university in terms of how we develop talent for this complex future ahead."
Topics at hand included WatSPEED, a new unit that aims to transform lifelong learning and professional education to support the workforce of the future, as well as work-integrated learning, upskilling talent, and teaching and learning spaces, to name just a few.
Following the discussion, Provost James Rush gave an operational update on the fall term and discussed the University’s plans for the Winter term and beyond. Associate Provost, Human Resources Marilyn Thompson also fielded operational question.
Attendees asked questions about work from home, student support, vaccinations, and equity, among others.
Questions and answers as well as a complete forum transcript are available on the Office of the President's website.
New AVP roles for Jean Becker and Christopher Taylor
In a memo circulated to University employees last Friday, President Vivek Goel and Vice-President, Academic & Provost James Rush announced that they have acted on recommendations from the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion office review team to create two new organizational units led by Associate Vice-Presidents that will report to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost. These units replace two of the functions of the former Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. Both appointments are effective immediately.
The new Office of Indigenous Relations will be led by Jean Becker, who will take on the new title of Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Relations.
Jean Becker joined the University of Waterloo in January 2020 in the newly-created Senior Director, Indigenous Initiatives position, providing strategic leadership to articulate a University of Waterloo-specific response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and identifying systemic and systematic changes that move beyond the Calls to Action by creating a long-term vision for the University. She took on the role of interim associate vice-president of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion in August 2020.
Becker, known for her work locally, provincially, and nationally, was Senior Advisor for Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University prior to her appointment at Waterloo. Becker is Inuk and a member of the Nunatsiavut Territory of Labrador, and has a Master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Guelph.
“I am delighted that the university has demonstrated the strength of the commitment to de-colonization, Indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism with this action,” says Jean Becker. “I am confident that this is just the beginning of creating a more just, inclusive institution.”
The new Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism will be led by Dr. Christopher Taylor in the new role of Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism.
Dr. Christopher Taylor is a Black equity strategist, anti-racism advisor, and assistant professor in the Department of History and the Arts First program. His previous administrative roles at the University of Waterloo include serving as the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisor for the University’s Equity Office, and acting as the Faculty of Arts’ Black Equity Strategist & Anti-Racism Advisor. He is a facilitator with the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism (EDI-R) consultant.
His book, Flying Fish in the Great White North: The Autonomous Migration of Black Barbadians, is available from Fernwood Publishing. Taylor is also the author of the e-learning module Confronting Anti-Black Racism, based on his ARTS 130 course.
Taylor also worked in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and began his career as a Policy Coordinator Intern in the Deputy Minister's Office at the Ministry of Labour. He was the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator in the Ministry of the Attorney General's Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility Office; a Senior Policy Advisor at Ontario's Anti-Racism Directorate; and Manager of Social Justice & Change Cluster at the Ontario Correctional Services College.
“I am pleased and grateful for the support from the UWaterloo community on this appointment as the new AVP, EDI-R,” says Dr. Taylor. “In this role, I will lead with empathy, grace, and courage as an innovative changemaker. I will do this by embodying, and actively demonstrating, the principles of an Inclusive Leader: introspection, intention, and implementation."
“I am thankful and inspired by Jean’s and Christopher’s willingness to take on these important roles at this important time,” says James W.E. Rush, vice-president, academic & provost. “I very much look forward to working with them as the University builds on our achievements by fulsomely responding to the recommendations of this review, and realigning our structures, resources and mandates to ensure that the work of Indigenous reconciliation, anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion is implementation and impact focussed and clearly serves the needs of our students, faculty, staff and community.”
Illness-and death-related messages found to be significant motivators for exercise
Fitness apps that emphasize illness- or death-related messaging are more likely to be effective in motivating participation than are social stigma, obesity or financial cost messaging, according to a recent study.
Previous studies, especially on smoking cessation and risky sexual behaviour, found that messages related to mortality could be a barrier to acknowledging health risks, but the study found this is the opposite for fitness apps.
The study asked 669 research participants to indicate how persuasive these five types of messages were in terms of motivating them to work out at home with a fitness app, to uncover their effectiveness, connection with social-cognitive beliefs such as self-regulation (goal setting), self-efficacy and outcome expectation, and seeing what role male/female gender played.
“I did not expect only illness- and death-related messages to be significant and motivational,” said Kiemute Oyibo, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health Sciences. “Not only were illness- and death-related messages motivational, they had a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief and outcome expectation, and there was no significant difference between males and females.”
Oyibo said he had expected obesity-related messages (such as “one in four Canadians has clinical obesity”) to be motivational and have a significant relationship with self-regulatory belief, given that obesity is associated with the leading causes of global mortality.
“This study is important because it helps us – especially designers of health apps – understand the types of messages that individuals, regardless of gender, are likely to be motivated by in persuasive health communication, and that are likely to influence individuals’ social-cognitive beliefs about exercise,” Oyibo said.
Oyibo said future studies should consider other demographic characteristics besides gender, such as age, culture, race and education, to uncover the role they play in persuasive health communication.
The study, “The Relationship between Perceived Health Message Motivation and Social Cognitive Beliefs in Persuasive Health Communication”, was published in MDPI. It was authored by Oyibo, with Julita Vassileva, a Persuasive System Design professor at the University of Saskatchewan, assisting with the data collection.
WCMS 3 training now available through LEARN
A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).
What is happening? Waterloo Content Management System (WCMS) 3 training course, WCMS 3 Fundamentals, is now available for self-registration through LEARN.
How to register: Individuals will self-register for the WCMS 3 training course.
Log in to LEARN
From the administration toolbar, select Self Registration.
From the Self Registering Course Offerings list, select the link WCMS 3 Fundamentals in the Course Offering Name column.
Select Done to complete your registration.
Next steps: Send an email to WCMS Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the following information (Note: Your username is a combination of your initials and surname - not your student number):
Subject: WCMS 3 Fundamentals LEARN registration
Department you are working for:
Co-op (yes or no):
You will receive a confirmation email with further instructions, required materials, and a link to your training site within one business day. The training site will be available for approximately four months. If the site is required beyond this timeframe, please contact the WCMS Training and Support team.
Note: Training and how-to documents will be continually updated as features and functionality are added to WCMS 3.
Your Daily Inspiration continues and other notes
Today's Daily Inspiration
Did you know faculty and staff have access to incredible fitness classes and training at UWaterloo?
Through the Centre for Community, Clinical and Applied Research Excellence (CCCARE), staff and faculty have access to small group training sessions and specialized fitness programs from UW Fitness Services?
The next session of live stream classes start in early November. (Bonus: Staff are eligible for a 50 per cent subsidy for these already very affordable classes.
The latest Noon Hour Concert series event, Music of South India, takes place online today at 12:30 p.m. and will feature world-renowned musician and scholar Trichy Sankaran, along with Suba Sankaran and Dylan Bell - well renowned musicians in their own right who have appeared at Grebel before with Autorickshaw.
"Indian classical music is the art music of the Indian subcontinent," says a note from Conrad Grebel. "The origins of this music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition dating back to 1500 BCE. The salient elements of Indian classical music are raga (melody) and tala (rhythm) as well as solkattu (south Indian rhythmic solfege language, not dissimilar to western beatboxing or vocal percussion). Today’s concert features improvised solos, traditional classical compositions and contemporary original works."
Waterloo Architecture's Fall 2021 Arriscraft Speaker Series kicks off Thursday, October 21 with Designing relations with land featuring speakers Brian Porter, Two Row Architects, and artist Tiffany Shaw-Collinge in conversation moderated by Mkomose (Andrew Judge) of Algoma University.
Designing relations with land is the first of five conversations on the theme of attention, according to the speaker series background information. "Paying attention is the initial step of the caring process. Western technoscience theorists, Aryn Martin, Natasha Myers, and Ana Viseu, describe attention as “a mode of inquiry mediated by hesitations, questions, and observations: it is a practice of not knowing what to do even as one wants to respond.”"
The event takes place Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Register for this event.
General member recruitment for the Integrated Natural Sciences & Computer Sciences Club in the Faculty of Engineering is now open and runs until Wednesday, October 27.
"The University of Waterloo Integrated Natural Sciences & Computer Sciences Club aims to foster collaboration between natural sciences and computer sciences," says a note from the club. "From bioinformatics to protein prediction to genome analysis, the collaboration of the two fields became increasingly important. The club aims to provide opportunities for niche learning opportunities including seminars, hackathons and conferences. Furthermore, the club aims to form a team to compete in international competitions such as Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP) and iDASH Secure Genome Analysis Competition." You can register for the club online.
Finally, this is a reminder that the 2021 Gairdner Lecture, Acting Early: From Developmental Science to Scalable Prevention, will take place on Friday, October 22 from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. The lecture features keynote speaker and Gairdner Global Health Award winner Vikram Patel, a world-leading researcher in global mental health.
Every year, recipients of the Gairdner Award visit universities across Canada to give academic lectures on their areas of expertise. The award is conferred annually to a researcher who has improved the health and well-being of those facing health inequities worldwide.