Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Faculty of Engineering, staff association mourn Michael Herz

Michael Herz stands next to a classic convertible.It is with great sadness that the Faculty of Engineering and the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) share that Michael Herz, laboratory director, mechanical and mechatronics engineering and past UWSA president, passed away on Saturday, January 14.

Michael has had a long and impactful career at the University of Waterloo, spanning over 28 years. He was a diligent and dedicated lab director who was kind and welcoming to everyone he met. He forged many friendships on campus with his smile, warmth and caring heart.

In addition to his work in engineering, Michael was very dedicated to UWSA. In 2013, he joined the nominating committee and became a well-respected leadership voice within the association for close to a decade. His many roles included President Elect (2014), President (2015), Past President (2016), Board member (2017-2022) and Secretary (2021), member of the Staff Relations Committee, the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation, UW Pension & Benefits Committee, the Policy 33 Review and Development Committee, and the UWSA Members’ Advisory Committee.

In recent years, he became the driving force behind UWSA’s efforts to bring a new UW-UWSA Memorandum of Agreement to life starting from writing the very first draft, to his tireless, multi-year efforts to see it approved by UWSA membership and the Board of Governors.

There is no doubt that Michael has helped to improve the working lives of his fellow Waterloo colleagues. He will be missed beyond words. The Faculty of Engineering and UWSA extend our deepest sympathies to Michael’s family, friends and colleagues who are grieving his tremendous loss.

Michael's family will receive relatives and friends from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, January 22 at the Henry Walser Funeral Home (507 Frederick St., Kitchener). A memorial service will follow. As per his family’s announcement in the obituary, in lieu of flowers, Michael would have greatly appreciated donations to Homewood Research Institute.

If you are struggling to cope with this loss, please know that there are counselling services available to help you deal with this painful news that can be arranged through Waterloo’s employee assistance plan, employee extended health benefits and occupational health.

Peer support model makes a monumental impact

By Matthew King.

Finding your first co-op role can be challenging. But for more than 900 first-work term students in the Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program, having support from like-minded peers has proven successful.

WE Accelerate is a work-integrated learning (WIL) program that provides students with career training from the Centre for Career Action and skills development from industry collaborators. Students also get the opportunity to work on a real-world project with a small team. The skills development and project work in each WE Accelerate stream is facilitated by a Team Lead, a role that provides a combination of content expertise and mentorship throughout the term.

“Team Leads are co-op students employed by the Centre for WIL and are the first point of support for WE Accelerate students,” says Jamieson Cox, manager, Centre for WIL strategic initiatives. “Many of our Team Leads are past WE Accelerate participants and relate to the issues students face throughout their work term.”

Much like the WE Accelerate program, the peer support model in the Centre for WIL was born during the COVID-19 pandemic. The model was initially part of the senior online learning assistant (SOLA) and online learning assistant (OLA) programs from the Centre of WIL. In these programs, senior students stepped up to lead others online out of necessity during the pandemic.

“When WE Accelerate was just coming together, we decided to use the SOLA/OLA method and hired former SOLAs as our first Team Leads,” says Cox. “They knew what it was like to mentor people and to lead people virtually. They understood how to use tools like Microsoft Teams and Waterloo LEARN (web-based learning management system), and they were a critical part of getting the program off the ground.”

Team leads give back

Bobby Wu, a WE Accelerate Team Lead in the Manulife stream during the spring 2022 term, relished the opportunity to give back.

“I was thrilled going back to WE Accelerate to give back to the community and be what my Team Lead was for me. To pass that experience along to the students,” says Wu. “One of the things that really made me proud is to have students say, ‘you really made an impact, and you really helped me here.’ I think that's way more rewarding than I thought it would be.”

Wu was also a speaker at the WE Accelerate information day— an event where previous participants and current team leads speak about their experience in the program for prospective participants.

Abigail OtterbeinAbigail Otterbein, also a WE Accelerate team lead and past participant, wanted to help other participants have a similar experience to her own experience going through the program.

“I felt that I had a really good connection with my Team Lead. And, I feel like I have the tools I need to be able to help other students and to help improve the program,” says Otterbein. “So, when I went into that application, I was passionate and I think I had a lot more confidence. I have developed all these skills and I want to give back.”

Creating connections

Connecting with the students is a crucial part of the Team Lead role. That is something Wu excelled at, according to one of his former students.

“I think it was much easier to bond with him,” says Connor Kendall, an Engineering student who completed WE Accelerate. “As a student, Bobby knows us. He knows the situation of co-op and I did appreciate that. I think he did an excellent job at connecting with us and then raising any issues to the appropriate person.”

In spring 2022, 89.1 per cent of students that completed the WE Accelerate experience survey rated the support provided by their team lead as “Very Good” or “Excellent”.

“I feel like we connected on a deeper level than we would have with a regular staff,” says Ehsan Syed, a Mathematics student who completed WE Accelerate. “When we asked him for advice, he was very knowledgeable and relatable, so that really reassured us and helped us progress towards our goals.”

To learn more about being a Team Lead and working on the WE Accelerate program, check out the Centre for WIL website.

ECE hosting Nobel Lecture with Dr. Donna Strickland

Dr. Donna Strickland in her laser lab surrounded by instrumentation.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will be hosting a special Nobel Lecture featuring Nobel Laureate Dr. Donna Strickland on January 26.

Dr. Strickland's lecture is entitled "Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses."

"With the invention of lasers, the intensity of a light wave was increased by orders of magnitude over what had been achieved with a light bulb or sunlight," says the talk's abstract. "This much higher intensity led to new phenomena being observed, such as violet light coming out when red light went into the material. After Gérard Mourou and I developed chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA, the intensity again increased by more than a factor of 1,000 and it once again made new types of interactions possible between light and matter. We developed a laser that could deliver short pulses of light that knocked the electrons off their atoms. This new understanding of laser-matter interactions, led to the development of new machining techniques that are used in laser eye surgery or micromachining of glass used in cell phones."

The lecture takes place on January 26 at 2:30 p.m. in E7 7303/E7 7363. The event is free and open to the University community.

Dr. Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester.

Strickland earned a B.Eng. from McMaster University and a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She was named a 2021 Hagler Fellow of Texas A&M University and sits on the Growth Technology Advisory Board of Applied Materials.

Strickland served as the president of the Optica (formerly OSA) in 2013 and is a fellow of Optica, SPIE, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society. She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics, an international member of the US National Academy of Science and member of the Pontifical Academy of Science. Strickland was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. She recently launched and was named co-director of the Trust in Science and Technology Research Network.

Public health programs receive new accreditation

CEPH accredited bachelor and master banner.

A message from the School of Public Health Sciences.

The School of Public Health Sciences is pleased to announce that three of its programs have received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH): the Bachelor of Public HealthBachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Master of Public Health

The U.S.-based CEPH is the world’s main public health accrediting agency. Accreditation with CEPH ensures that programs remain aligned with internationally recognized public health standards.

“We’re delighted to have received this accreditation,” said Ellen MacEachen, the School’s director. “We have top-notch programs in public health and we’re happy to join other institutions with similar-minded goals.”

CEPH accreditation carries several important benefits, not only for the accredited institution, but for students, employers and the general public. It ensures that educational requirements reflect the current training needs of the profession and helps promote professional mobility and employment opportunities for graduates. It also provides assurance that the curriculum covers essential skills and knowledge needed for today’s work force.

Collaborate with Waterloo International

A pictorial symbol of three people engaged in collaboration.

This article was originally published in Issue 4 of the Key Notes e-newsletter.

At Waterloo International (WI), we develop relationships with institutions and governments around the world to internationalize the work of the University of Waterloo. We actively engage with these partners to increase awareness of our scholarship, research and service activities with the aim of advancing and stewarding the university’s strategic goals.

As part of our work to support and progress Waterloo’s internationalization efforts, we look for opportunities to advance individual unit’s global prominence on campus. There are three key ways we can support you and your unit in promoting your presence on a broader scale.


First, we can amplify messages involving internationalization through Waterloo International’s Twitter account, reaching broader international audiences and augmenting the global awareness of your work. 

A screenshot of a Tweet from Waterloo International.


Second, we can co-create internationalization messaging with you through a written piece, presentation, or other communications to broaden your network, increase your connections on campus, and open doors for further collaborations.


  • The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) published an article in ACS Nano – an international forum for communicating ways in which various disciplines in the sciences and engineering connect for impact. Dr. Sushanta Mitra (executive director, WIN) and Dr. Ian Rowlands (associate vice president, international) collaborated on a short article that was cross posted on WIN’s site and on Waterloo International’s site.


Finally, we can work collaboratively to seek out an opportunity to present your international work on a global stage. Such longer-term collaborations can result in multiple ways of showcasing both your work and the work of your collaborator(s), fostering additional global connections, and offering opportunities for international work to be explored and shared in greater detail (potentially leading to other projects etc.).


  • Waterloo International and the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute presented together at the conference of the Americas on International Education (CAEI). They were joined by the Groundwater Research Center (CEPAS/USP) in presenting at the University of São Paulo and São Paulo’s State Government.

If you are interested in any of these options, please reach out to Waterloo International’s communications specialist, Tawnessa Carter, to discuss further. We would be delighted to work with you.

Wednesday's notes

Python and Public Data course info banner.

WatSPEED is running an 8-week course entitled Python and Public Data as part of its Data Analytics for Behavioural Insights certificate.

"There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day (Forbes, 2018)," says a note from WatSPEED. "By equipping yourself and your team with the ability to manage, sort, analyze, process, and draw conclusions from big data, you can make better decisions for your organization and the customers or communities you serve."

"This eight-week course teaches you to draw key insights from complex data sets and Canadian public data using the programming language Python. It is a practical, introductory coding course focused on key applications within public policy and decision-making. You will also learn modern technologies and programming techniques that will help you use data to draw meaningful insights and stories."

You can this course individually, or as part of the three-course Data Analytics for Behavioural Insights certificate program. The course kicks off January 27 and runs on Fridays until March 31. Register now. 

Employers hosting Virtual Employer Information Sessions (VEIS) this week and next week include Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, TribalScale, Connor, Clark, and Lunn Investment Management, The Regional Municipality of Halton, Morningstar, FDM Group Canada Inc. and Definity. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates.

Link of the day

30 years ago: Marge vs. the Monorail ushers in The Simpsons' Golden Age

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 Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism (EDI-R) works with students, faculty and staff across campus to advance equity and Anti-racism through evidence-based policies, practices and programs. If you have a concern related to Anti-racism and/or equity, please complete our intake form.

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 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.

Fitness and Personal Training - Registrations opened January 5 this winter with Personal Training and Small Group Training as well as a Free Warrior Workout Program.

WaterTalk | John Cherry: Groundwater is the key to a sustainable Earth, Wednesday, January 18, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., ML Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages. Reception to follow. 

Women’s Hockey Battle of Waterloo at the Aud, Wednesday, January 18, 7:00 p.m., Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Single tickets and student packages available. Buy your tickets today.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Future Cities, featuring speaker Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Caivan Communities Assistant Professor, School of Planning and the Faculty of Environment, Friday, January 20, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

NEW - Research Talks, “The AI Tsunami – Where will it take us?” Tuesday, January 24, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Jobsite Brewing Co., 45 Cambria Street, Stratford, Ontario. Registration is required as seating is limited.

Deadline to register for Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) "Getting Ready to Facilitate Online CoursesTA Training – Winter 2023" course, Monday, January 30.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):

  • Job ID# 2023-9795 - Network Technician (Security Specialist) - Information Systems & Technology, USG 7 – 9
  • Job ID# 2023-9781 - Project Manager - Information Systems & Technology, USG 11 – 13
  • Job ID# 2023-9803 - Team Project Coordinator - Marketing & Strategic Initiatives, Creative Services, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2023-9800 - Project Coordinator – Infrastructure - Plant Operations, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2023-9798 - Project Manager – Infrastructure - Plant Operations, USG 9 – 12
  • Job ID# 2022-9500 - Supervisor, After Hours Services - Campus Housing, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9730 - Laboratory Manager, Groundwater Geochemistry and Remediation Group - Earth and Environmental Sciences, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2023-9794 - Administrative Coordinator and Advisor, Undergraduate Studies - School of Accounting and Finance, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2023-9790 - Recruitment and Digital Media Coordinator - School of Accounting and Finance, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2022-9675 - Advancement Operations Manager - Dean of Engineering - Advancement Unit, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2023-9756 - Automotive and Control Technician - Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2023-9797 - Engineering Student Machine Shop CNC Instructor - Sedra Student Design Centre, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2023-9766 - Conference Services Assistant Supervisor - Food Services, USG 5 – 6
  • Job ID# 2022-9673 - Manager, Data Analytics and Reporting - Co-operative and Experiential Education Business Services, USG 12

Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

  • Job ID# 2023-9780 - IT Specialist – Web Administrator - Mapping, Analysis & Design, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2023-9802 - Alumni Engagement Program Specialist - Dean of Mathematics Office, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2023-9776 - Research Manager - Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2022-9697 - Associate Director, Government Relations and Communications - Office of Research, USG 13
  • Job ID# 2023-9796 - Faculty Services Manager - Dean of Engineering, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2023-9778 - Co-op Student Experience Manager - CEE - Co-operative and Experiential Education, USG 10

Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo opportunities