Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Waterloo marks Black History Month

A message from Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor.

The beginning of February marks the start of Black History Month 2023. The University of Waterloo is pleased to celebrate the diversity of people of African descent in Canada and their importance to the history and prosperity of this country. 

While Canada is the strong and thriving country it is today largely because of the incredible diversity of people residing here, there is no doubt that Black people have made, and continue to make significant contributions to the growth and development of our country. 

In 1995, former MP Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black woman to be elected to parliament, introduced a motion to recognize February as Black History Month, across Canada. Today, Black History Month helps to provide a more complete account of the contributions that generations of Black people have made to Canada, which has historically been ignored. 

Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black Excellence, a term used to describe the individual achievements and successes, contributions and perseverance of the Black community. As we celebrate Black Excellence, we must also reflect on the centuries of struggle and sacrifice that they have endured as a people and continue to face today. The tragic murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police and other incidents of hate-motivated violence recently in the news are a terrible and visceral reminder of the plague of racism in our society. 

Beyond the 28 days of February, I urge you to remember that Black people live their Blackness every day. Collectively, they are subjected to racism, discrimination, suspicion, profiling and a myriad of inequities, because of the colour of their skin. I encourage you to reflect on the courage and resilience of our Black community, who have prevailed and thrived in the face of oppression and injustice.  

Although UWaterloo has shown its commitment to confronting Anti-Black racism by signing on to the Scarborough Charter and working to implement the recommendations of the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce (PART), I recognize the tremendous amount of work that we have yet to do to continue to advance Black inclusion.  

Racism and oppression have no room in our community. We must work together to help end racial profiling, eradicate barriers to employment and advancement and dismantle policies and processes that perpetuate disparities during Black History Month, and beyond.  

We need the full commitment and support from the University community to continue to build and sustain a welcoming community that embraces diversity and inclusion. Together, we will overcome discrimination and oppression and create a fairer and more inclusive Canada for all.  

Please take this opportunity to learn more about Black History Month. Visit our Black History Month 2023 website for the latest events and stories.

Making space for racialized voices

An illustration of cube-like habitation modules in mid-air from the Global Futures report.

This article was originally published as part of the Global Futures report.

Celine IsimbiCeline Isimbi is an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Environment and works to support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives across campus. She was formerly the environmental education co-director with Black Girl Environmentalist, a non-profit aimed at creating space for underrepresented voices in the mainstream environmental movement.

The sustainability of our quality of life is intricately connected to our social, economic and environmental well-being. However, the realities of the climate crisis have not impacted everyone equally. We asked Isimbi how we should enact the intersectional changes required to ensure a prosperous future for the planet and everyone on it.

Opinion by Celene Isimbi:

Growing up in South Africa, I saw the lasting impacts of apartheid-era policies. It had been years since the apartheid system ended, yet many Indigenous South Africans and racialized people still did not have access to basic rights and resources to sustain themselves. I constantly wondered how a country could be so abundant in nature while its residents could not easily access clean drinking water or green spaces without being racialized. Those years in South Africa played a significant role in shaping my academics today and my future goals of working towards sustainability and environmental liberation.

There are multiple ways we can rebuild our communities to become more diverse and sustainable. There are steps we can take to address social and political challenges such as addressing unjust government policies that continue the legacy of colonialism and segregation that harm racialized communities, and understanding how our institutions can redress the exclusion of Black, Indigenous and racialized people within academic spaces.

Community-centred and place-based solutions

During my co-op work terms, I worked at the University of Waterloo as an equity project lead in the Centre for Career Action, where I helped implement an EDI framework that centralized the services and resources offered to students. Then as an educational programming assistant in the office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism, I assisted with training and staff workshops on EDI and anti-racism in the workplace. Through both placements, I could understand how an institution plans, develops and executes policies and programs around EDI initiatives.

In the summer term of 2020, due to long-time student advocacy and organizing, we witnessed the University create the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce (PART). At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, students were able to encourage the University to take action. As a result, faculty members, students and staff have established a framework to engage the community and address systemic racism across Waterloo campuses. Our individual experiences and intersectional identities allowed us to address the issues on campus and make change happen. Now, the University holds a particular responsibility to students to build sustainable and diverse communities on campus.

Celine Isimbi speaks with a student next to the Environment Living Wall.

I have learned the importance of community-centred and place-based solutions. Advocating for marginalized groups can start small by setting up community fridges and making housing more accessible in local areas. It can allow students with multiple marginalized identities to contribute to EDI initiatives and policymaking. It is imperative to make space for Black, Indigenous and other racialized students to break existing cycles of oppression.

I envision a world where future generations will face fewer barriers in all aspects of life, and that begins with acknowledging how to make space for racialized voices in the sustainability movement. If we can understand the interconnectedness between humanity and nature and acknowledge the history of colonialism and systemic racism, I am hopeful we can finally move toward healing our relationship with nature to create sustainable, diverse communities. I believe hope sustains us in difficult moments while we strive to build a more sustainable future so humanity and the planet can thrive.

Facilitating a sense of belonging in the workplace

This article was originally published in The Catalyst.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and belonging in the workplace to combat bias and discrimination, and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive, will be a key feature of the Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) inaugural virtual Employer Impact Conference: The Talent Revolution, on February 15, 2023. 

The Employer Impact Conference will provide a platform for attendees to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversations about implementing direct actions to foster belonging, creating an environment of trust and understanding between employees, and building a culture of inclusion and respect, among other topics. 

Colleen Phillips-DavisCEE’s Colleen Phillips-Davis, associate director, EDI and Anti-racism and Bryanne Smart, associate director, Indigenous Relations will both be speakers on “The Journey Forward: Building awareness and capacity for an EDI-R and Indigenization strategy in your organization.” This session will highlight how creating a sense of belonging in the workplace can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, which will benefit an organization overall. 

“Having conversations about EDI and implementing sustainable direct actions to nurture belonging can create an environment of trust and understanding between employees and support a culture of inclusion and respect,” said Colleen Phillips-Davis. “It is important for employers to make space for these dialogues as this is a key factor in building a diverse and inclusive workplace.” 

Bryanne Smart“Indigenous communities often say, ‘nothing about us without us’ so including these voices in the evolution of the workplace is important,” said Bryanne Smart. “Acknowledging other ways of knowing and doing is a collective responsibility and we all have a responsibility to move forward with what we know now, and not relying only on the colonized approach to systems.” 

Both Phillips-Davis and Smart look forward to further integrating EDI into outreach and community events and hope that future conferences can focus on increasing representation of traditionally marginalized groups in leadership roles, including speakers, panelists, and keynotes. 

David Markin, senior manager, R&D Algorithms & Analytics, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging lead at Lumentum will be the guest speaker at this session. To register or to learn more about the event, please click here.

Sign up for The Catalyst

WatSPEED brings you up to speed on ChatGPT

 What Executives Need to Know banner image.

A message from WatSPEED.

Join this free webinar, hosted by WatSPEED, on February 16 at 12 noon ET to learn about how generative artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting businesses, governments, and our society. Designed specifically for executives but open to all, this event will highlight the evolution of AI technologies like ChatGPT and their impact on Canada's workforce.  

You will also have an opportunity to get your questions answered by Waterloo.AI expert Jimmy Lin, during a live Q&A session.  

Register now

FASS tells you the Other Side of the Story and other notes

FASS "The Other Side of the Story" image showing Little Red Riding Hood embracing the Big Bad Wolf.History is written by winners, but what about the losers? The FASS Theatre Company (emphatically not made up of losers, according to FASS company coordinator Thomas Broadley) diabolically presents The Other Side of the Story, a not-so-malicious musical comedy redeeming all your favourite villains, from the Big Bad Wolf to Waluigi. Packed to the brim with musical parodies, puns, plot holes, and an alarming amount of cannibalism, FASS’s Winter 2023 performance is sure to huff, puff, and bring the house down.

With this performance, FASS celebrates 61 years of presenting amateur, amateur theatre to the University of Waterloo and the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

The shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts. Thursday is pay-what-you-can at the door. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are available online, over the phone (519-888-4908, Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.), or at the door. 

FASS's website is down for the count at present, but they are active on Instagram.

The four members of the Anima ensemble with medieval instruments.

Conrad Grebel University College's Noon Hour Concert Series continues today with Navré de ton dart...

The Anima Ensemble, led by Daniel Cabena, will be performing songs of Gilles Binchois and John Bedyngham, with their associated parody Masses — and new adaptations of poetry by Christine de Pizan — this program tells a late-medieval transition story, which is also a story of the progress of love, both sacred and profane.

The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the Conrad Grebel University College Chapel and is free and open to the public.

The Ecohydrology Research Group is hosting the 11th Annual World Wetlands Day Research Symposium as part of World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day event poster.World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated each year on February 2, which marks the day when the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. The Convention is an international government agreement acknowledging the importance of wetlands and plays a central role in the wise use and conservation of these critical ecosystems. To learn more about the Convention, visit

The University of Waterloo’s WWD event is being held in person tonight from 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Federation Hall. The event will consist of a poster session and reception followed by a distinguished lecture by Dr. Line Rochefort and a panel discussion from wetland expert panelists on the topic of Wetland Restoration moderated by Dr. Rochefort.

Line RochefortDr. Line Rochefort has been a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at Université Laval since 1991. She is the leader in peatland ecological restoration in Canada and one of the world's pioneers in this field. She has nearly 170 peer-reviewed scientific papers to her credit. In 1992-1993, Dr. Rochefort founded the Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG). This group brings together researchers from several universities, industrial partners and federal and provincial government agencies, creating a fertile and stimulating field of exchange for students and researchers.

Panelists include Dianna Kopansky (United Nations Environment Programme), Marie-Claire LeBlanc (Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association), Kristyn Mayner (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Line Rochefort (Université Laval), and Rebecca Rooney (University of Waterloo).

There's still time to register for the lecture and panel discussion.

The Age of Anarchy poster featuring keynote speaker John Hancock.

Also tonight, Dr. Jatin Nathwani and the Balsillie School of International Affairs are hosting “The Age of Anarchy: Navigating a World Where Everyone is Connected and No One is in Charge."

"The old international system may be struggling but a new more decentralized, diffused and democratized global system is emerging," says the note from the Balsillie School. "John Hancock will examine how unprecedented access to information, technological empowerment, and global integration is reshaping world politics – and ask what we can expect from a complex, turbulent global system that’s increasingly run, not by the G7 or the G20, but by the G8 billion."

John Hancock works at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he has served as senior policy advisor to the Director-General, representative to the IMF and World Bank, and head of policy development. He spearheaded the launch of the WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Initiative, as well as the recent ‘Joint Initiatives’ on investment facilitation and other emerging issues. John is a Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. 

The event is open to the public and is being offered in-person at the Balsillie School's CIGI Auditorium and online via Zoom. Register now.

The Board of Trustees at St. Mary’s General Hospital is currently recruiting new Board and Board Committee members.  

"We are seeking applicants from all areas of our diverse community, including members from all faiths, with an emphasis on individuals who have experience in clinical/health systems, quality and safety, DEI and/or faith community leadership experience," says a message from the SMGH Board. "Our governance structure consists of a Board, three formal Board Committees, and one non-standing Board Committee. Currently, we are looking for Board and Board Committee members, to fill a minimum of two vacant positions.

For more information on SMGH and the Board, please visit the website at andview a video message from Marion Thomson Howell, Board Chair. The deadline to apply is end of day, Friday, February 24, 2023.

Anyone with questions is invited to contact Carol Lammers via email to

Link of the day

20 years ago: Space Shuttle Columbia

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.

Did you know that the Writing and Communication Centre offers many in-person and virtual services to support you with any writing or communication project? This term we've added The Write Spot: a new student space in South Campus hall, complete with bookable workspaces, drop-ins with our peer tutors, and free coffee and tea. We also have one-to-one appointments with our writing and communication advisors and peer tutors, email tutoring for grads and undergrads, drop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and even custom in-class workshops. For any communication project, the Writing and Communication Centre is here to support you.

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 spaces, computers/printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Visit the Library’s home page to access our online resources for anywhere, anytime learning and research.

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.

Student Health Pharmacy in the basement of the Student Life Centre is now offering Covid booster shots (Pfizer and Moderna) and flu shots. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for an appointment. Walk-ins always welcome.

NEW - BE-STEMM 2023 Virtual Conference, Wednesday, February 1 to Saturday, February 4, online.

NEW - Noon Hour Concert: Navré de ton dart…, Wednesday, February 1, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Free Admission.

World Wetlands Day 2023 symposium, Wednesday, February 1, 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Federation Hall.

Warrior Basketball vs. Laurier, Wednesday, February 1, (W) 6:00 p.m., (M) 8:00 p.m., PAC. Shoot for Change, Alliance “We Are One” Game, Mike Moser Day. Buy your tickets today.

The Balsillie School presents The Age of Anarchy: Navigating a World Where Everyone is Connected and No One is in Charge, Wednesday, February 1, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., CIGI auditorium and online.

UWAG presents Mobile Sweat, Thursday, February 2 and Friday, February 3, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., East Campus Hall adjacent to UWAG entrance across from Parking Lot B.

FASS presents "The Other Side of the Story," Thursday, February 2, Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Tickets are pay what you can Thursday, $12 Friday and Saturday.

Quantum Today: Metamaterials for Broadband Light Absorption, with Professor Michael Reimer from the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Friday, February 3, 12:00 noon, live on YouTube.

NEW - Warrior Volleyball vs. Brock, Saturday, February 4, (W) 6:00 p.m., (M) 8:00 p.m., PAC. Employee Day (free tickets sponsored by Hilton. Email for free coupon code), Donor Appreciation Day. Buy your tickets today.

Positions available

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

  • Job ID# 2023-9850 - Associate Director, Assessment - School of Pharmacy, USG 13
  • Job ID# 2022-9697 - Associate Director, Government Relations and Communications - Office of Research, USG 13
  • Job ID# 2023-9793 - Collections Maintenance Assistant – Library, USG 5
  • Job ID# 2023-9832 - Director, HR Operations & Systems - Human Resources, USG 15
  • Job ID# 2023-9848 - Financial Analyst - Dean of Arts, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2022-9618 - Laboratory Technician - Optometry and Vision Science, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2023-9857 - Manager, Client Services - Dean of Science, Computing, USG 11
  • Job ID# 2023-9826 - Manager, Counselling Services (Specialized Counselling and Advocacy) - Campus Wellness, USG 14
  • Job ID# 2023-9861 - Manager, Workforce Planning and Analytics - Human Resources, USG 13
  • Job ID# 2023-9873 - Marketing Outreach Coordinator - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9617 - Research Manager - School of Optometry and Vision Science, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2023-9868 - Scheduling, Examination and Resource Specialist - Office of the Registrar, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2023-9864 - Student Services Coordinator - AccessAbility Services, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2023-9852 - Total Rewards Specialist - Human Resources, USG 8 – 9
  • Job ID# 2023-9860 - Workforce Planning Advisor - Human Resources, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2023-9859 - Workforce Planning Coordinator - Human Resources, USG 6

Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

  • Job ID# 2023-9863 - Administrative Assistant - Physics & Astronomy, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9655 - Assistant Manager, Desk Services and Operations - Campus Housing, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2023-9851 - Environmental Services Coordinator - Plant Operations, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2023-9874 - Manager, Client Services & Supply Hub - Plant Operations, USG 12
  • Job ID# 2023-9856 - Technical Support Specialist - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2023-9870 - Undergraduate Program Manager - Statistics and Actuarial Science, USG 9

Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo opportunities