Thursday, March 16, 2023

President announces reorganization of the Secretariat

Needles Hall at the University of Waterloo.

President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel has announced a reorganization of the Secretariat, the unit responsible for providing essential secretarial and administrative support for Waterloo's governing bodies and for other university-wide committees.

"Over several years, the role of the Secretariat has grown to include a number of administrative functions that did not allow the focus to be on their core mandate," the president wrote in an email circulated to campus yesterday. "After the 2021 Board Governance Review, discussions within the Secretariat and working with a governance consultant on the future model of the Office, the Secretariat is being reorganized to focus on impartial governance processes."

"This work started with the move of Special Constables and the Safety Office to the Vice-President, Administration and Finance portfolio in January."

As part of the reorganization, the Privacy Office will move to Legal and Immigration Services on April 1 as the collaborative work between these portfolios continues to increase as privacy matters become more complex and often requires legal support.

The Secretariat will focus on:

  • Board Operations;
  • Senate Operations;
  • Employee and Student Relations Committees;
  • Tribunals and Appeal Bodies; and
  • Policy coordination and facilitation.

"There will be a period of transition leading up to the creation of a portfolio under the Vice-President, Academic & Provost to advise administrative decision-makers on policy," President Goel writes. "Moving this important work will ensure the Secretariat can focus on facilitation and coordination of policy development."

"With new leadership in the portfolio of the Vice-President, Administration and Finance, internal audit administration, statutory compliance and risk management activities will be consolidated within this Office," the president's memo continues. "A student Ombuds Office will be created with a reporting relationship with the Secretary to provide students with an arm’s length, single point of contact when seeking support in navigating administrative and operational structures."

"The search committee for the next Secretary will continue its work through the spring into the early summer. Reporting directly to the Chair of the Board of Governors and administratively to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the University Secretary will be responsible to ensure the effective, efficient operation of the University’s bicameral system of governance, facilitate and coordinate policy development, and manage stakeholder relations committees and quasi-judicial processes," the memo concludes.

Continuous improvement showcase issues call for proposals

Two people brainstorming with a transparent whiteboard and post-it notes.

A message from the Continuous Improvement, Change Management, and Project and Portfolio Management group.

Do you have a project you are proud of? Did you make a contribution towards your department's productivity? Is there a change on your team or in your unit that went well, and you’d like to share?  We would like to hear from you!

The Continuous Improvement, Change Management, and Project and Portfolio Management communities are excited to announce that we will be hosting our 4th annual Showcase event on campus on Thursday June 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and we’re seeking proposals.

The Showcase is a free, half-day in-person event that brings campus colleagues together to share best practices, successes, and connect. It will feature poster exhibits and poster flash talks—all centered around ideas and practices that contribute to continuous improvement, change management, and project management. The Showcase is open to all employees and students. Should public health measures change, the event will be hosted virtually on Microsoft Teams.

A QR code.We invite those interested to submit a proposal for a poster exhibit and/or flash talk by March 31, 2023. Proposals will cover topics related to Continuous Improvement, Change Management, and/or Project Management. Past posters can be viewed on the Showcase event page.

Procedure for submitting proposals

Successful proposals will meet some or all the following criteria: 

  1. Addresses projects or initiatives and the application of best practices in one or more of Continuous Improvement, Change Management, and/or Project Management. 
  2. Is geared to employees as the primary audience. 
  3. Promotes tools, methodologies, or practices others can use, apply and are supported by the campus. 
  4. Identifies clear learning outcomes and key takeaways. 
  5. Focuses on innovations or emerging trends, practices, or knowledge. 
  6. Offers a mix of information-sharing and engagement. 

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please register the proposal by March 31. Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated on the above criteria. You will be notified by April 7 whether your proposal has been selected. Support will be provided for all approved submissions. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Voting now open for GreenHouse People's Choice Awards

GreenHouse logo

A message from GreenHouse.

Each term, United College’s social impact incubator, GreenHouse, hosts the Social Impact Showcase. It celebrates the amazing work GreenHouse students accomplish through their journeys of social innovation and entrepreneurship, while also providing an opportunity for students to acquire seed funding for their ideas. You can vote for your favourite student-led social venture by participating in the People’s Choice Awards.

The People’s Choice Award will be granted to the social venture with the most community votes, alongside an additional $1,000 for their venture. This term, there are 11 ventures participating in the People’s Choice Awards. Some of the broad themes that this term’s ventures aim to address include food systems transformation, improved healthcare access, and building sustainable economies.

Voting opens today, March 16and closes on March 19 at 11:59 p.m. The winners of the People’s Choice Award will be announced live at GreenHouse’s Social Impact Showcase on March 22.

Register to attend today.

Waterloo runs second summer research program for students from Ukraine

The banner for the Ukraine summer student program featuring a robotic hand.

The University of Waterloo invites applications for its second summer research program for students from Ukraine. This program will run from May to August 2023 and is designed for 4th year bachelor, master, and doctoral students from Ukrainian universities whose studies were affected by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The program is open for students registered at their home institutions for the current academic year (2022/2023), and applications are particularly encouraged from candidates interested in research fields associated with Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Mathematics, but other research specializations pursued at the University of Waterloo will also be considered. The summer research program will cover all travel expenses and will provide on-campus housing and a research stipend.

Selected participants will engage in research and study with leading scientists in their field of specialization. To be eligible, the student must be a senior undergraduate (4th year), master's or PhD student enrolled in the current academic year at a Ukrainian university, with a specialization in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, or other research area present at Waterloo, and must meet English proficiency requirements for efficient academic communications.

For more information on how to apply for the summer research program, visit the website.

Library to host town hall meeting on March 28

Library Town Hall event banner.

A message from the Library.

As a partner in learning, research and innovation, the Library invites you to attend our Town Hall on Tuesday, March 28. 

As the world’s information ecosystem becomes increasingly more complex, the Library is continuously innovating to support faculty, students and staff. At this Town Hall, we'll share more about how we’re catalyzing research and learning on campus, the various ways we’re connecting with the community to re-imagine library spaces of the future, and taking on new initiatives as we grow as a learning organization. 

Beth Namachchivaya, University Librarian, will be joined by Jim Rush, Vice-President, Academic & Provost and Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International to share these updates and take questions about the future of the Library. 

When: Tuesday, March 28 | 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Where: QNC 0101 | MS Teams

Please register to attend the event (either in person or virtually). 

Register to attend the Town Hall.

WUSA cautions against shamrocks and shenanigans; other notes

"This St. Patrick’s Day, we’re asking students to stay safe and be respectful of one another and the community," says a note from the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) in advance of tomorrow's celebration. "Consider avoiding all large gatherings like house parties, backyard parties, and street parties happening on Friday, March 17. Nuisance bylaws will be in effect in Waterloo and bylaw officers and police will be out in full force. Consent matters! If you know anyone impacted by sexual violence the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office is here to help."

Former President David Johnston.Former Governor General of Canada and the University of Waterloo's fifth President and Vice-Chancellor the Right Honourable David Johnston has been named a special rapporteur on foreign interference by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The news release from the Prime Minister's Office states that Johnston's appointment is "a new role as part of a suite of measures to help combat foreign interference and strengthen confidence in our federal electoral process and democratic institutions."

"In this new role, Mr. Johnston will have a wide mandate to look into foreign interference in the last two federal general elections and make expert recommendations on how to further protect our democracy and uphold Canadians’ confidence in it," states the PMO. "The Government of Canada will comply with and implement his public recommendations, which could include a formal inquiry, a judicial review, or another independent review process. We will be working with Mr. Johnston to finalize his mandate in the coming days, and it will be made public."

Johnston was president of the University of Waterloo from 1999 to 2010. This isn't his first rapporteur rodeo: in 2007, while he was Waterloo's president, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tapped him to serve as an Independent Advisor into the so-called "Mulroney-Schreiber Affair" involving dealings between former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Johnston's current appoint comes amid allegations of Chinese government interference in Canada's last two federal elections. "The Government of Canada takes any attempts at undermining our democracy very seriously and will continue to take action to protect our institutions and uphold Canadians’ confidence in our democracy," says the PMO statement.

Read the full news release

Link of the day

35 years ago: The Wonder Years

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 

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.

KIX 2023: Knowledge Integration eXhibition, Monday, March 13 to Saturday, March 18, St. Jerome's University, Siegfried Hall Residence Wellness Centre Gym.

NEW - Black at Waterloo Black Film Festival, Wednesday, March 15 to Friday, March 17, 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Princess Twin cinema

WIN Industry Speaker: Aaron Guan, Friday, March 17, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

NEW - Equitable Recruitment and Selection, Friday, March 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online.