Tuesday, February 7, 2023

GRADflix winners named

Vivek Goel, Jeff Casello, and the four GradFlix winners.

A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA)

Please join us in congratulating the winners of the 2023 GRADflix competition.

On January 31, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs hosted its fifth annual GRADflix Showcase, a hybrid red-carpet event featuring the 25 best 60-second videos made by graduate students to describe their research.

After a tough deliberation, a judging panel comprising Tania Del Motto (GreenHouse), Nam Kiwanuka (TVO), Matt Regehr (Creative Studio), and Candace Stewart-Smith (Centre for Career Action) selected four winning videos that best exemplified and communicated the amazing research being carried out by UWaterloo grad students. For the first time ever, they also selected a winner for a Social Impact award. This prize has been sponsored by GreenHouse and is awarded for the research video representing the most compelling social impact story. Last but certainly not least, our audience decided the People’s Choice Award winner live during the 2023 GRADflix showcase.

The winners are:

All of this year’s GRADflix videos can now be viewed online.

Extended Reality Community of Practice event tomorrow

A message from the Centre for Extended Learning and the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

The Centre for Extended Learning and the Centre for Teaching Excellence organize termly events to raise awareness about extended reality (XR) technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). We invite you to register for the upcoming XR CoP event.

Sharing Ideas and Brainstorming (CTE7511)

Please join us for a session designed to bring those interested in XR on campus together to share ideas, discuss current projects, and engage in brainstorming centered around Extended Reality technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality. The event will provide an opportunity for faculty members to learn from each other's experiences, ask questions, and share their expertise. This event is a great opportunity for instructors and staff to network and collaborate with their peers to advance the use of extended reality in higher education. All levels of experience and interest welcome.

The event takes place Wednesday, February 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and is open to everyone in the campus community. It will be hosted online via Microsoft Teams. Registration is closed, but please contact Gillian Dabrowski (gdabrows@uwaterloo.ca) to participate.

Q and A with the experts: Bill 56, Fewer Floods Safer Ontario Act 2022

A flooded suburban landscape.

Kathryn Bakos.Severe weather in 2022 caused $3.1 billion in insured damage – making it the 3rd worst year for insured damage in Canadian history. Kathryn Bakos of the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation discusses the recently tabled Bill 56, which addresses the need to prevent residential basement flooding – the most financially costly climate disaster impacting Ontario.  

What are the costs of climate change-related weather events in Canada?  

Extreme weather risk is becoming more severe and costly across Canada. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (2023), insured damage for severe weather events reached $3.1 billion in 2022. This ranks as the third worst year for extreme weather-insured losses in Canadian history.  

In Ontario, residential flooding - specifically basement flooding - is the most financially costly climate disaster. The average cost of a flooded basement is $43,000, yet insurance coverage cap limits for basement flooding have generally decreased into the zone of $10,000 - 20,000. If a basement floods, with a cap limit of $10,000, an Ontario homeowner would be on the line for $30,000. 

Over the period 2010-2020, homes across Canada experienced an 8.2 percent reduction in sold price in communities impacted by catastrophic flooding; this trend is true in Ontario. In addition, 10 percent of Canadian homes are uninsurable relative to basement flood risk.

What is Bill 56, and what problems is it trying to solve? 

Flooding puts Ontario residents’ homes, and financial security, in peril. In response,  homeowners and renters need guidance to reduce these risks. 

Bill 56 calls for the last week of March each year to be Flood Awareness Week in Ontario. In addition, the Bill requires the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to publish information on a government website about flooding issues and supports distributing the infographic “Three Steps to Home Flood Protection”  to homeowners in their yearly Property Tax Notices. 

Since the Government of Ontario does not currently provide sufficient flooding education and prevention tools to Ontarians, a comprehensive educational campaign would help educate homeowners and renters on ways to prevent basement flooding.

What are some benefits of the Bill? Are there any drawbacks?

The benefits of Bill 56 include only an upside for homeowners and renters in Ontario. 

By creating a residential flood risk awareness program, homeowners and renters across Ontario will be better equipped to avoid the otherwise unrelenting costs of flooding.

Kathryn Bakos is the Director of the Climate Finance and Science Program at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.

Join Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays and beat the winter blues

A message from the W3+ Coordinating Crew.

W3+ (Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays) is a space to meet, network, and learn from other womxn and nonbinary folks working at the University of Waterloo. Join our listserv and/or Teams channel to connect and learn about a variety of virtual and in-person events. All womxn and nonbinary staff, faculty, grad students, and postdocs are welcome.

Events are always free and have included:

  • Roundtables on Blackness in Academia, reproductive health policy, digital storytelling, and managing screentime
  • Informal chats about self-care and community-care, fitness, and project management
  • Yoga, walks, skill-shares, and picnics

Visit bit.ly/w3-plus for more information or to join (UW login required).

We can’t wait to meet you!

P.S. Wondering why we spell womxn with an “x”? It signals our commitment to making a warm, supportive space for a wide range of gender identities and racial backgrounds—especially those that the most visible women’s groups and spaces have tended to ignore. Check out this quick explainer (including some critiques of the term) by the UCI Womxn’s Center.

Board of Governors meets today and other notes

Snow art mural on the exterior of the Douglas Wright Engineering building, with the words "you can do it" clearly written.

Daniel Legault of the Special Constable Services snapped this pic of inspirational snow art on the Douglas Wright Engineering exterior wall. it's nice to know there are such artists among us.

The University's Board of Governors has its first meeting of 2023 today at 1:30 p.m. in NH 3407. Among the agenda items:

  • A motion to approve sabbatical and special leaves in accordance with policy 3 – Sabbatical and Other Leaves for Faculty Members;
  • A motion to approve the student services fees for all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students effective 1 May 2023; and
  • A motion to approve campus housing 2023/24 residence fee rates, effective Fall 2023.

From the Board's various committees:

  • A motion to approve a revised project budget of $50.34 million (previous approval was $45.25 million) for the Waterloo Eye Institute and that the project proceed to final design and tender;
  • A motion to approve the Math 4 building constructed using a Construction Management form of contract rather than the previously contemplated Stipulated Price Contract form of agreement;
  • A motion to approve the appointment of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. (DSAI) as the prime consultants to prepare design and construction documents for a proposed 500-bed undergraduate student residence;
  • A motion to approve the Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) Group to provide an open-ended real estate fund (CBRE Global Alpha) for the Registered Pension Plan (RPP), the university endowment fund, and the IQC trust fund;
  • A motion to approve amendments to the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures for the University of Waterloo Endowment;
  • A motion to approve the 2023/24 Tuition Fee changes and Co-op Fee for 23/24;

The Board will also hear an update on the Strategic Plan: Talent, featuring a panel discussion on the Indigenization of curriculum and anti-racist pedagogies.

The full agenda and supporting documentation is available on the Secretariat's website.

Link of the day

40 years ago: David Cronenberg's Videodrome

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 (uwaterloo.ca).

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: svpro@uwaterloo.ca 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 caps@wusa.ca.

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.

Takin’ It To The Streets: La Cartonera ExhibitThursday, February 2 to February 13, Dana Porter Library lobby.

Pathways for Addressing (with care) Disclosures of Racism, Tuesday, February 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online. 

Applying for Tenure workshop, Tuesday, February 7, 1:00 p.m., online.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, February 7, 1:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Applying for Promotion to Full Professor workshop, Tuesday, February 7, 3:00 p.m., online.

Structures of Care and Accessibility, Thursday, February 9, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., online.