Thursday, December 1, 2022

New Vice-President, Administration and Finance arrives on campus

Jacinda Reitsma.

Jacinda Reitsma has officially begun her work as Vice-President, Administration and Finance at the University of Waterloo.

Her appointment was announced in September 2022.

A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, Reitsma began her career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a co-op student in 1997 and remained with the firm as an associate, senior associate, manager and senior manager until joining as an equity partner in 2011. In 2017, she left PwC for the position of Chief Financial Officer at Conestoga College and was soon named Vice-President Finance and Corporate Services and Secretary-Treasurer of the Board at Conestoga College.

“Jacinda brings with her an excellent background in audit, finance, and corporate administration, as well as post-secondary leadership and collaboration,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel in his announcement to the campus community.

Reitsma's arrival coincides with a senior leadership reorganization that will see Human Resources (HR) and Information Systems & Technology (IST) begin reporting to the Vice-President, Administration and Finance. Currently these units report to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost. Other units reporting to the Vice-President, Administration and Finance include Central Stores and Procurement and Contract Services, Finance, Plant Operations, and the David Johnston Research + Technology Park.

Reitsma will succeed Dennis Huber, who has been in the vice-presidential role since 2001 and will be retiring at the end of December.

Making mental health a priority

Two students converse on a bench.

This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

As students at Waterloo head into the final exam season, and with the holidays fast approaching, the University is renewing its focus on sharing both the mental health supports that are currently available for the community and the continual work we do to improve the options that we offer.

“The state of mental health in our country’s young people is arguably more fraught now than it ever has been,” says Vivek Goel, Waterloo’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “But there is reason for hope. Our young people are speaking about their struggles, they are destigmatizing mental health issues and they are asking for help. We as a University will continue to be led by their bravery. We will continue to examine our services and continue to make them better.”

Building on work undertaken in 2012 to increase mental health supports for students, the University established the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health in 2018. The goal was simple – to offer the best possible environment at the University for supporting student mental health.

Following hundreds of conversations with academic leaders, community partners and students — the committee released a report containing 36 recommendations about how to improve the student mental health experience. With areas of focus including social support, mental health awareness, early intervention and skills building, service levels and improvements and advocacy, it was a comprehensive plan. Since its release, the University has implemented more than 90 per cent of the recommendations.

This work continues now, with the new systems and support set-up as a result of that Committee sharpening the University’s ability to constantly examine and improve its offerings.

Funding for Campus Wellness now sits at more than $8 million dollars annually – a 50 per cent increase from 2018 levels, with the entire team dedicated to supporting student wellness. Faculties are also beginning to embed wellness staff to offer students a point of contact to help them navigate the system who is easily accessible and familiar to them.

People participating in a group discussion.

Campus leaders recognize that university life can be demanding, which is why they go to great lengths to support students before a mental health crisis develops. There are opportunities to be active through many different athletics and recreation programs and resources to learn about healthy habits, such as sleep, nutrition and mindfulness, through the Peer Health Education program. Additionally, many clubs and social activities are available through the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) and Campus Housing provides support for those living on campusMulti-faith spaces are also available in several different locations across campus for prayer, reflection and other faith-based activities.

In addition, students can meet with peer success coaches, who are upper-year undergraduate and graduate students from different faculties who teach students key foundational study skills and strategies for academic success. Decades of research have confirmed that positive time management practices, as well as skills related to managing test anxiety, can help to mitigate mental health challenges before they arise.

Students also benefit from the work of the Wellness Collaborative — a hub of activities and initiatives governed by the principles of the Okanagan Charter; an international charter for health promoting universities and colleges.

If a crisis does happen, the University offers same-day crisis appointments every weekday at Campus Wellness. Mental health professionals at Campus Wellness are passionate about ensuring a secure, supportive environment for students of all orientations and backgrounds. Counselling and medical services are provided in a private and confidential setting to all Waterloo students who are currently registered or on a co-op term. After-hours crisis support is offered through the IMPACT program as well as through the GSA/WUSA-administered program Empower Me.

Campus Wellness is also available to talk to family or loved ones concerned about their student’s wellbeing. Together, they will discuss the student’s options and the best way to get them connected to the right supports.

No student’s experience at Waterloo will be the same, and therefore finding the right services that match their needs is important. Waterloo is committed to continually assessing and improving the services available to our students so that we can do just that – ensure that each student has the help they need, when and where they need it.

It’s okay to ask for help

If students or their loved ones at Waterloo are struggling, here are just a few of the services offered at Waterloo:

Group therapy and workshops
Students can attend a group therapy, seminar or workshop at Campus Wellness to learn skills for coping with challenges. They can also watch pre-recorded workshops and seminars on their own time. 

Individual appointments
During an individual appointment, counsellors at Campus Wellness work with students to determine the best approach for them. This could include cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness exercises, and many other approaches that will be tailored to the student’s needs. If a student has specific needs or would like to request a counsellor with lived experience or identity (e.g., 2SLGBTQ+, BIPOC, and others) they can request this through our intake specialists. 

Resources to support a friend or family member
Students may notice that a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health. They may want to help, but it can be hard to know how, or if they should approach them. When trying to support your friend or family member, it’s important to remember the limitations of your own knowledge. Campus Wellness has resources to help students navigate these situations and more. 

Medical Appointments
Campus Wellness physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse practitioners and a social worker are available to work with students who are experiencing physical and social symptoms of mental health issues. Together with the counselling team, the Campus Wellness medical clinic provides wrap-around care for students in need. 

Mental health training opportunities
Campus Wellness also offers a broad range of suicide intervention and mental health training programs to equip staff and faculty in supporting our students. Our goals are to raise campus mental health awareness, reduce mental health stigma, and support early intervention for those in need within our Waterloo campus community.  

Campus Wellness counselling
The Campus Wellness team provides in-person services as well as remote appointments via phone and video.  To book an appointment, students can call 519-888-4096.  


  • Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST 
  • Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. EST  (4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. for pre-booked appointments) 

If it’s after hours, students can call Empower Me at 1-833-628-5589 or Here 24/7 at 1-844-437-3247. Empower Me is provided through GSA and WUSA.

Campus Wellness services and individual appointments are available to registered Waterloo students in classes or on co-op terms.

Celebrating Excellence in Online Teaching

A message from the Centre for Extended Learning.

Every year the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic and the Centre for Extended Learning recognize the great work that Waterloo’s instructors are doing in the virtual classroom. Please help us identify these remarkable people by nominating an instructor or an online course author.

Were you a student in a fully online (ONLN) course this term? If you had an exceptional experience in your online course, consider nominating your instructor for the Online Teaching Award.

Students, teaching assistants, instructors, chairs, directors and deans can also submit nominations for the Online Course Design Award.

The University of Waterloo’s Online Teaching Awards recognize teaching and course design excellence in fully online undergraduate or graduate-level courses and programs and are sponsored by the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic.

Professor Zbig Wasilewski named IEEE Fellow

This article was originally published on the Electrical and Computer Engineering website.

Zbig WasilewskiECE Professor Zbig Wasilewski has been elevated to Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to molecular beam epitaxy growth technology and photonic devices.

IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity and is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.

Congratulations Zbig!

Hagey Lecture video, end-of-term concerts, and other performances

Antoni Cimolino speaks on stage in the Modern Languages Theatre.

Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Festival, received a standing ovation after his 2022 Hagey Lecture at the University of Waterloo last month, and now you can watch it—or rewatch it—online.

In his talk, "Holding the Mirror up to Nature," Cimolino explores why we can be so moved by theatre, and how even stories written hundreds of years ago can help us to see and understand ourselves, and each other: "New plays can reflect the world that we live in today; old plays tell us we have done this before."

Cimolino contends that a democratic society needs theatre. From its beginnings, he explains, theatre served to develop "communal values and cohesion.... In laughing together, people would decide what is ridiculous, what is contemptible, and in crying, they would recognize the pain of tragic miscalculation and human fallibility."

We use theatre, Cimolino argues, to ask questions and navigate ambiguity, to understand each other and build empathy, something that "we sorely need right now." Theatre, he says "is an antidote to the isolation and anger caused by social media. Therefore, theatre is vital to democracy."

The Music Department's end-of-term ensemble concert series continues this weekend with two concerts on Sunday, December 4 at Conrad Grebel University College.

The University's jazz ensemble performs.

Jazz Ensemble: The Canadian Connection takes place at 2:00 p.m. in the Conrad Grebel Great Hall. Directed by Michael Wood, this 20-member ensemble will play pieces by Canadian composers. Tickets are available for $5 student, and $10 general admission and are available at the door. A reception will follow.

At 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, the Instrumental Chamber Ensembles concert will take place in the Conrad Grebel Chapel. Directed by Ben Bolt-Martin, 5 different chamber ensembles will play a selection of classical music ranging from the Shostakovich Piano Trio to Handel’s Trio Sonata. Admission is free and a reception will follow the concert.

One final note: the Region of Waterloo is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Student Life Centre's Lower Level today from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Link of the day

Christine McVie, 1943-2022

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 (

Faculty, staff, post-doc and graduate student instructors can find upcoming teaching and learning workshops, self-directed modules and recordings of previous events on Centre for Teaching Excellence Workshops and Events page.

Instructors can access the EdTech Hub to find support on Waterloo’s centrally supported EdTech tools. The Hub is supported by members of IST’s Instructional Technologies and Media ServicesCentre for Teaching ExcellenceCentre for Extended Learning and subject matter experts from other campus areas.

Supports are available for employees returning to campus. Visit IST’s Hybrid Work and Technology guidelines and workplace protocols to assist with the transition.

Students with permanent, temporary and suspected disabilities and disabling conditions (medical conditions, injuries, or trauma from discrimination, violence, or oppression) can register with AccessAbility Services for academic accommodations (classroom accommodations, testing accommodations, milestone accommodations).

Instructors can visit AccessAbility Services' Faculty and Staff web page for information about the Instructor/Faculty role in the accommodation process. Instructors/Faculty members are legally required to accommodate students with disabilities. AccessAbility Services (AAS) is here to help you understand your obligations, and to offer services and resources to help you facilitate accommodations.

The Writing and Communication Centre has in-person and virtual services to support grad and undergrad students, postdocs and faculty with any writing or communication project. Services include one-to-one appointmentsdrop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and custom in-class workshops.  

Research Ethics: Find yourself with an ethical question, unsure if your work requires an ethics review, or need advice about putting together a research ethics application? Reach out to one of our friendly staff by booking a consultation or email us with your questions.

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) has services and programs to support undergrads, grad students, postdocs, alumni, and employees in figuring out what they value, what they’re good at, and how to access meaningful work, co-op, volunteer, or graduate/professional school opportunities. Questions about CCA's services? Live chat, call 519-888-4047, or stop by our front desk in the Tatham Centre 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Drop-in to in-person Warrior Study Halls on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in DC and DP. Join a Peer Success Coach to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

Renison's English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

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.

The Library is here to help, both in person and online. Our spaces are open for access to book stacks, study space, computers and printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Access our resources online for anywhere, anytime learning and research. 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 United 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 - MATESGlow CentreRAISEWomen’s Centre - Click on one of the links to book an appointment either in person or online for the 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. 

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

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.

GSA-UW supports for graduate students: 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) supports students’ academic and social experience and promotes their well-being.

Advising and Support - The GSA advises graduate students experiencing challenges and can help with navigating university policies & filing a grievance, appeal, or petition.

Mental Health covered by the Health Plan - The GSA Health Plan now has an 80 per cent coverage rate (up to $800/year) for Mental Health Practitioners. Your plan includes coverage for psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and clinical counselors.

Dental Care - The GSA Dental Plan covers 60 to 70 per cent of your dental costs and by visiting dental professionals who are members of the Studentcare Networks, you can receive an additional 20 to 30 per cent coverage.

Student Legal Protection Program - Your GSA fees give you access to unlimited legal advice, accessible via a toll-free helpline: +1-833-202-4571. This advice covers topics including housing disputes, employment disputes, and disputes with an academic institution.

The Graduate House: Open Monday to Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We’re open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Graduate House is a community space run by the GSA-UW. We’re adding new items to the menu. Graduate students who paid their fees can get discounts and free coffee.

When and Where 

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join our “Waterloo Warriors” team on the website or app. #ItsInYouToGive

Warriors Game Day Tickets and Season Passes, on sale now. Cheer on your Warriors W/M Basketball, Football W/M Hockey and W/M Volleyball teams at home during the 2022-23 season. Purchase today.

Free Staff Workouts, Tuesdays and Thursdays until December 22, 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. Bootcamp-style classes in the CIF Field House and PAC. Open to all staff and supported by the Staff Excellence Fund. Find out more/register now.

Flu shots available at Student Health Pharmacy, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., dial ext. 33784 for info.

Quantum Perspectives: Simulation, Thursday, December 1, 12 noon via YouTube.

NEW - Region of Waterloo COVID-19 vaccine clinic, Thursday, December 1, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., SLC lower level.

NEW - Indigenous Speaker Series featuring Dr. Talena Atfiield, Thursday, December 1, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Master of Taxation, Virtual Information Session, full-time program, Thursday, December 1, 6:00 p.m. To register visit

Sitting Volleyball in recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Friday, December 2, 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., PAC Main Gym. Come watch a sitting volleyball exhibition game, meet the athletes, and give the sport a try. Register now.

NEW - Demystifying Commercialization, Friday, December 2, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., IQC 0101.

WISE Public Lecture Webinar, “Battery fundamentals & Applications as Electrical Vehicles: State-of-the-art and Future Trends by Dr. Eng. Mohamed M. Elkadragy, Friday, December 2, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Zoom.

Games Institute Brown Bag Talks: Feminist and Responsible Design with Drs. Brianna Wiens and Daniel Harley, Friday, December 2, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., East Campus 1.

Listening to our elders about leisure, a Shaw-Mannell lecture with Karen Fox (professor emerita, University of Alberta), Friday, December 2, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Please register in advance for this hybrid event.

Warrior Men’s Hockey vs. Toronto, Friday, December 2, 7:00 p.m., CIF Arena. Employee Day, Donor Appreciation Day. Purchase Tickets.

NEW - Jazz Ensemble: The Canadian Connection, Sunday, December 4, 2:00 p.m. Conrad Grebel Great Hall. Tickets available at the door, $5 students, $10 for others. Reception to follow.

NEW - Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Sunday, December 4, 7:00 p.m.  Conrad Grebel Chapel, free admission. Reception to follow.