Thursday, November 25, 2021

David Johnston to serve as Honorary Chair of the School of Optometry's fundraising campaign

The Right Honourable David Johnston

The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science (UWOVS) is announcing that The Right Honourable David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada and former UWaterloo president, will serve as Honorary Chair for the School’s $35-million campaign.

The campaign will support the School in its mission to address the growing national demand for eye care, to be at the forefront of vision-science research, and to deliver optometric education taught at North America’s highest scope of practice.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Waterloo Eye Institute.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Waterloo Eye Institute.

A key mission of the Seeing Beyond campaign is to create the Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI), which would become Canada’s premier eye and vision-care centre. The WEI will harness innovative research and the expertise of the School’s faculty to deliver direct applications to patient care and help address the growing vision-care crisis.

“I believe in the power of collaboration, and I know that this remarkable community within the University will come together to make a world-class institute,” Johnston said. “We are barn-raisers here at Waterloo. We know how to help one another and do things so much larger than ourselves. That’s why I’m happy to make a personal contribution toward this important project.”

Located on Waterloo’s north campus, the WEI will include leading simulation technology to promote education, enhanced clinical facilities that support and expand primary and specialty care (like low vision rehabilitation, dry eye and myopia), two research centres in biomedical sciences and ocular imaging, and a state-of-the-art surgical centre. 

Johnston will lend his voice to the initiative as Canada faces a growing vision crisis. One in five Canadians are currently at risk of losing their sight due to eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

For Johnston, his commitment to championing a world-class eye and vision-care centre at home is a personal passion after watching his mother struggle with vision loss for many years. “If she were here today, I know her vision would have been greatly enhanced if she’d had the chance to visit the WEI.” 

Johnston served as the fifth President of the University of Waterloo from 1999 to 2010 before becoming the Governor General of Canada. During his tenure as Waterloo’s President, Johnson oversaw the unprecedented growth of the institution’s global reputation, research capacity and leadership capabilities, paving the way for Waterloo’s emergence as a national leader in talent, ideas, and innovation.

For more information on the Seeing Beyond 2020 campaign, please visit

About the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science

The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science is a world-renowned centre for optometric education, vision science research and clinical care. As Canada’s only English-language Doctor of Optometry (OD) program, UWOVS graduates practice in communities across Canada, ensuring all patients receive the highest level of eye and vision care.

The SSO is Here to Help

An academic advisor assists a student.

A message from the Student Success Office.

The Student Success Office (SSO) has begun plans to welcome new and returning students for winter.  

A yellow "Here to Help" buttonFor many new and upper year students, this January will be the first time they step foot on Waterloo’s main campus. To provide wayfinding support and a warm welcome, the SSO will offer a winter version of the Here to Help campaign. Starting January 5, volunteers will provide high-level information about services, directions to buildings, and more. Booths will be set up indoors in high-traffic areas of campus.  

You can support our students by wearing a Here to Help button or sticker. If you don’t have a sticker, you can pick up a sticker at a booth in January. Wearing the sticker signals that you’re more than just a friendly face – it shows that you are ready to share your knowledge of our campus and support new students in our community. 

On November 26, the SSO will launch a new session of the Grad Ready program. Created to provide a virtual introduction to graduate life, Grad Ready leverages resources from the Student Success Office, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, faculties and departments to provide the more than 600+ incoming graduate students with insider tips on campus, key services, and builds peer-to-peer connections through live sessions and message boards. 

To learn more about all new student transition activities, visit

Purple 4 Prevention Banner

A message from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO).

Today marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (November 25 to December 10) and the first day of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office’s (SVPRO) consent campaign, #Purple4Prevention. This campaign is a partnership with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC), Conestoga College, and Wilfrid Laurier University to address sexual violence on campus.

SVPRO and SASC will be on campus today from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Davis Centre (beside the Fishbowl and across from Tim Hortons) selling the custom purple tee shirts. A tee costs $0 - $10 sliding scale, pay what you can, with proceeds going to SASC. Where your tee shirt throughout 16 Days and also continue to show your solidarity during other important times of the year like Consent Week, which takes place in January each year, and Take Back the Night, a march of solidarity that occurs in the fall.

By purchasing and wearing these t-shirts, it shows how many in our communities stand in solidarity on an issue that often feels very solitary and isolating. Wearing these shirts and sharing messages online also creates opportunity for discussion and learning about the role we all play in creating safer campuses and communities. 

Learn more about this initiative and other actions happening on campus during 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Administrative leadership positions available

A message from the Associate Vice-President, Academic.

The Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic is seeking expressions of interest in two leadership roles.

Director, Academic Leadership Program

The University of Waterloo is seeking a faculty member with a track record as a successful academic leader to be the next Director of the Academic Leadership Program (ALP). This role includes:

  • Primary responsibility for the successful design and delivery of the ALP;
  • Organizing training and information sessions (workshops, forums, etc.). These sessions have historically been organized for Department Chairs/School Directors but have recently expanded to occasionally include a broader audience, including Associate Deans and Associate Chairs/Directors.
  • Being available for consultation with individual Chairs.

Reporting to the Associate Vice-President, Academic, the Director of the ALP works closely with the Director of Organizational and Human Development and receives input from senior academic leadership, including the Vice-President Academic & Provost.

The Director of the ALP will have an ongoing academic appointment at Waterloo and will continue to report to their Chair/Director for such matters as performance reviews. They will have control over and responsibility for the ALP budget and administrative support from the AVPA office for ALP activities. The role normally comes with a two-course teaching reduction. Length of term is negotiable.

Chair, Undergraduate Communications Requirement Group

We are also seeking a candidate to fill the role of Chair for the Undergraduate Communications Requirement Group (UCRG). The candidate will identify the value of and be acquainted with UCR programming in at least one part of the University and be able to work successfully with UCR contributors in various roles (instructors, associate deans, chairs).

Over the past several years, many faculty members and staff at Waterloo have contributed to the development of the Undergraduate Communications Outcomes Initiative. The University moved from a test-based assessment of “competency” (via the English Language Proficiency Exam) to a robust teaching regimen focused on student development. The results have won praise from many stakeholders, including students and co-op employers.

More recently, the University has taken steps to secure this new approach academically, administratively, and financially. These steps have been approved by the University’s senior academic leadership and endorsed by Senate. A key part of operationalizing this new framework is the Undergraduate Communications Requirement Group (UCRG).

The Associate Vice-President, Academic is seeking expressions of interest in serving as the inaugural chair of the UCR Group. This is an important role as the UCR Group develops its processes and details of the new framework are sorted out. The role will report to the AVPA and will involve occasionally providing updates to others in the academic leadership of the University.

The Chair of the UCRG will have an ongoing academic appointment at Waterloo and will continue to report to their Chair/Director for such matters as performance reviews. Length of term is negotiable. The role is anticipated to require more work in the first year of UCRG operation than in subsequent years. For the first year, the role will come with a two-course teaching reduction funded by the AVPA Office. This will be reviewed after the first year once the ongoing workload becomes clear.

If you are interested in either of these positions, please see this news item on the Associate Vice-President, Academic's website for position descriptions and for information on how to apply. The application deadline is Friday, December 10, 2021. 

Queries regarding this role can be directed to David DeVidi, Associate Vice-President, Academic, c/o Ruth Huard,

Remembering Nagula Sangary

This article was originally published on the Faculty of Engineering website.

Professor Nagula Sangary.Nagula Sangary, a researcher with the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS) and an adjunct associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, died on Monday, November 15.

Sangary was involved in the forming of CIARS and was well known for bringing his broad industry experience to his research and student mentorship.

After completing his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at Texas A&M University in 1988, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at McMaster University. Sangary also earned an MBA at University of Oxford.

He worked as a principal scientist/technical director at BlackBerry. As part of the company from its early startup days when it was known as Research In Motion, he was a member of the team that pioneered the concept of internal antenna and miniaturization of wireless handheld devices. 

Recently, he was the CEO and President of Prudential Technology, a consulting company working with firms in the wireless and IoT industries.

The Faculty is grateful for Sangary’s tremendous contributions to the launch of CIARS and his research efforts in advancing Canada’s capabilities in electromagnetic and wireless technologies and the corresponding applications in satellite communication and phased array antenna systems.

Link of the day

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, immigration consulting, 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 Office of Indigenous Relations is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the University's 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.

Registration deadline for 2021 WatITis conference, Thursday, November 25.

WaterTalk: Microplastics and Human Health: Moving the Field Forward, presented by Juliette Legler, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Thursday, November 25, 10:00 a.m.

How I Got Into Quantum: A Graduate Student Perspective, Thursday, November 25, 4:00 p.m., Virtual Panel, streamed live to YouTube.

Concept $5K Finals, Thursday, November 25, 5:00 p.m.

Praxes of Care: Delineating nation state capital — Bonnie Devine & Luis Jacob, Thursday, November 25, 6:00 p.m. Virtual Speaker Series, details and a link to the virtual talk will be sent to those who register.

History Speaker Series presents Austerity, Experimentation and Opposition: The Global and Local Politics of Biomedical Contraception in Uganda, Friday, November 26, 10:00 a.m.

"Who doesn’t file a tax-return? Estimates of non-filing and implications for measuring and addressing poverty," featuring Dr. Jennifer Robson, Professor of Political Management, Carleton University, Friday, November 26, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Women’s Hockey vs. Western, November 26, 7:00 p.m. Employee Day. Free tickets available for Staff and Faculty; email for the coupon code. Purchase your tickets today.

WaterLeadership: Improving Bibliometrics for Early Career Researchers, presented by Laura Bredahl, Tuesday, November 30, 1:00 p.m.

W3+ presents Shop & Plan Meals Like a Dietitian, Wednesday, December 1, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., online.