Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Greg Smith named Chief Information Officer

Greg Smith."I am pleased to announce the appointment of Gregory Smith as the Chief Information Officer of the University of Waterloo, effective June 1, 2023," wrote Jacinda Reitsma, Vice-President, Administration and Finance in a memo circulated to employees yesterday. "Smith is currently Director of Information Systems in Information Systems & Technology (IST) at Waterloo, where he leads a team of over 60 people with a focus on strategic management of the University’s portfolio of information systems, the Web Content Management System, and data platforms."

After studying and working at Western University, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business, Smith joined the University of Waterloo in 2009. He started his career as a Residence Life Coordinator and then moved on to Manager, Living-Learning Programs shortly after.

Smith joined IST in 2011, advancing throughout his career in the roles of Business Analyst; Manager and then Director, Departmental and Campus Applications; and moved into his current role in 2022. Smith’s expertise and experience will help advance the University’s future-oriented strategy as he leads IST and partners with IT leaders across campus.

"His keen insights in both business and technology, his passion for post-secondary education, and his focus on campus-wide collaboration to create digital transformation opportunities, has helped Smith achieve an excellent track record of success that has benefitted the entire University," Reitsma writes. "Please join me in congratulating Greg on this important appointment."

Celebrating Black Communities at Waterloo

Fed Hall full of attendees at the Celebrating Black Communities event.

By Angelica Marie Sanchez. This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo News.

On Friday, May 26, the University of Waterloo held its inaugural Celebrating Black Communities event at Federation Hall. The evening’s program featured a reception and a sit-down dinner, followed by a keynote address and a fireside conversation with the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, former 27th Governor General of Canada and current chancellor at United College.

More than 300 guests from campus and the community joined together for a special evening as we celebrated Black communities at Waterloo. President and Vice-Chancellor, Vivek Goel, addressed the audience and gave thanks to all existing donors for their support of the Black Student Opportunities Fund  — a scholarship program designated to support current and future Black students.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Vivek Goel, with the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Dr. Christopher Taylor, associate vice-president of the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism

President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel, with the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Dr. Christopher Taylor, associate vice-president of the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism.

“We are here today as a testament to many years of effort and persistence of many individuals,” Goel said. “As we celebrate Black communities today and recognize the progress to-date, we need to also reflect that there's so much more work to be done.”

Goel also thanked Dr. Christopher Taylor, associate vice-president of the office of Equity Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism (EDI-R), and the Black Faculty and Staff Collective for their work together in creating a difference in the Waterloo community over the past two years.

A video was presented during the dinner, where Black students, alumni and University leaders share what Black communities mean to them and how donors have helped their journey at Waterloo. Attendees were also moved by a special performance by Waterloo alumnus, Graham J. Edwards (BA ’21, MA ’23) also referred to as Hamgrady, who expressed his personal experience and multiple identities within Black communities through his spoken word poetry.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo News.

Shifting perceptions of disability

A man in a wheelchair contemplates an inaccessible set of concrete steps.

By Jon Parsons. This article is presented as part of a series highlighting National AccessAbility Week in Canada.

For those who subscribe to what’s known as the social model of disability, disability is a form of human diversity and should be thought of as an identity, just as we think of race, gender, and sexual orientation as identities.

Yet disability is often thought of primarily as something that is wrong with a person or something that needs fixing through medical interventions, what is called in disability studies the medical model of disability.

Dr. Meg Gibson.“The typical approach is around diagnosis and impairment, and then trying to fix things,” says Dr. Meg Gibson, an associate professor in the School of Social Work and the Department of Social Development Studies, who researches and teaches in the field of disability studies. “The medical approach is dominant in our culture. A lot of us have learned about our relationship to disability through the language and concepts of medicine.”

But as Gibson points out, disability is in many ways less about any medical diagnosis and more about the ways society treats disabled people and creates barriers to access. Disability is, in this sense, socially constructed, and so rather than the human body needing to be repaired, it is social conventions and the built environment that need to change and become accessible.

Accessibility tip: Take time to learn about how a person’s intersecting identities shape their lived experience of disability.

Along with shifting views around disability being something “abnormal” and in need of fixing, Gibson says it is also important to understand that disability is not something tragic.

“As soon as we come along with stories that make it seem that disabled people are always and only tragedies, we’re making it seem like their lives aren’t worth having,” she says. “That’s not an experience anybody would sign up for. Who would like to have their life understood as a life that was not worth living? Sometimes we do this thinking we’re being compassionate or seeing disabled people as inspirational, but it’s another example of thinking there is something wrong with being disabled.” 

While Gibson recognizes there is still lots of work to be done, she sees National AccessAbility Week and other days of observance as an important opportunity to raise awareness.

“Disability is such a big issue, and there’s definitely some difficult conversations that we all need to have. But I’m encouraged by focal points like National AccessAbility Week.”

Remembering Distinguished Professor Emeritus Patrick Harrigan

A message from the History Department. This is an excerpt of an article originally published on the History website.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Patrick Harrigan.We are saddened to announce that Dr. Patrick Harrigan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former two-term chair in the Department of History, passed away on 13 May 2023. Dr. Harrigan had a long and distinguished career at the University of Waterloo that began in 1969 and continued long after his regular retirement in 2007 as professor emeritus. He was a leading authority on the history of modern France and of education, subjects upon which he published numerous books and scholarly articles. His path-breaking books included School, State, and Society: The Growth of Elementary Schooling in Nineteenth-Century France and Mobility, Elites, and Education in French Society of the Second Empire, the latter of which was one of the first to use sophisticated statistical analysis in historical writing. Dr. Harrigan was extremely erudite, possessing an enormous and ever-expanding knowledge of European history. His quench for reading could hardly be slated, with four books considered a light week. 

In the last fifteen years of his career, he turned his attention to the history of sport, completing a book on the history of the Detroit Tigers baseball team and its social impact in Detroit, as well as numerous articles on the history of interuniversity sport in Canada. The city of Detroit and baseball were lifelong passions for Dr. Harrigan, and the opportunity to combine the two was one of the joys of his professional career. His commitment to scholarship was an inspiration for many of his colleagues, current chair Prof. Gorman recalls.

Read the rest of the tribute on the History department's website.

Link of the day

World No Tobacco Day (is actually tomorrow, LOL)

When and Where 

Warrior Recreation Registration for the spring term is now open.

Waterloo Warriors Youth Camps. Spring and Summer camps available for Boys and Girls ages 5-18. Baseball, Basketball, Football, Volleyball, Hockey and Multi-Sport and Games. Register today.

Fitness and Personal Training - Registrations now open for Personal Training and Small Group Training, as well as a Free Warrior Workout Program.

Warrior Rec FREE Club Try-It Sessions: Karate, Judo, Chinese Martial Arts, Triathlon, Women's Football, Lacrosse, Quidditch, Running, Artistic Swimming, Lifesaving, SERVE, Table Tennis and more), Monday, May 8 to Wednesday, May 31. Find out more. 

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.

Anti-Racism Reads Book club event, Tuesday, May 30, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., Dana Porter Learning lab, third floor.

Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project: Introduction to Spoon carving (Green Woodworking), Tuesday, May 30, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays Year-end Picnic: Mapping Community and Care at UWaterloo, Wednesday, May 31, 12 noon, St. Jerome’s courtyard.

NEW - WUSA Bike Centre bicycle auction, Wednesday, May 31, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., SLC green space.

NEW - GreenHouse presents Building Your Team: Pitching to Engineers, Wednesday, May 31, 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., UTD 164.

Alumni Weekend, Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, "CVE-2022-23491, or Why PO boxes can't be root certificate authorities anymore,"featuring Joel Reardon, University of Calgary, Friday, June 2, 2:00 p.m., DC 3317 and Zoom.

Colin Linden Live: WEI Fundraiser, Friday, June 2, 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, ML – Modern Languages.

2023 Summer School: Water and Energy Security in a Changing Climate, Monday, June 5, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., onlne.

Spring 2023 PhD graduates dinner reception, Monday, June 5, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Fed Hall. 

NEW - GreenHouse presents MentalED Design Sprint, Monday, June 5, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., UTD 164.

Inclusive Research Team presents First Nations Principles of OCAP® Virtual Presentation, Tuesday, June 6, 10:00 a.m. Register today.

NEW - Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, June 6, 1:30 p.m., NH 3407 and Zoom.

Quantum for Environment Design Challenge Launch Event, Tuesday, June 6, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

NEW - Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project, Herbals for Managing Stress, Tuesday, June 6, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Together/Ensemble 2023, Wednesday, June 7 to Friday, June 9.

Dr. John Hirdes, School of Public Health Sciences, presents Back to the future of gerontology: Opportunities, Challenges, and Uncertainties in the Next 40 Years of an Aging World for the University's Network for Aging Research's fourth annual William F. Forbes lecture, Wednesday, June 7, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., LHS 1621 (Sunlife Auditorium) and online. Please register in advance.

NEW - Dissertation Boot Camp applications close, Wednesday, June 8.

Continuous Improvement, Change Management, Project & Portfolio Management Community of Practice Showcase, Thursday, June 8, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 1301.

Decoding happiness: Understanding the science behind..., Thursday June 8, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., United College Alumni Hall 201.

Speed Hack, Thursday, June 8, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., South Campus Hall 228.

Indigenous Movie Night: Night Raiders, Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., LHI 1621. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

NEW - Mix, Mingle & Roll the Dice: UW Co-op Student Mixer, Friday, June 9, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., SLC Student Lounge (formerly the Bombshelter Pub).

When and Where to get support 

Check out the support listings for faculty, staff and students.

PhD oral defences

Physics and Astronomy. Mohammed Hibit-Allah, “Exploring many-body Physics with Recurrent Neural Networks.” Supervisors, Dr. Juan Alvarez Carrasquilla and Dr. Roger Melko. Please visit the Faculty of Science Thesis Submission Notices website for details on requesting a copy. Oral defence Thursday, June 1, 10:00 a.m., remove via MS Teams.

Physics and Astronomy. Ruochen Ma, “Symmetry and Topology in Disordered Systems.” Supervisors, Dr. Yin-Chen He, Dr. Roger Melko. Please visit the Faculty of Science Thesis Submission Notices website for details on requesting a copy. Oral defence Thursday, June 8, 2:00 p.m., remote via MS Teams.

Physics and Astronomy. Yuba Amoura, “Cosmology with Cluster Structural Properties.” Supervisor, Dr. James Taylor. Please visit the Faculty of Science Thesis Submission Notices website for details on requesting a copy. Oral defence Tuesday, June 13, 10:00 a.m., Physics Building (PHY) Room 308

 Chemistry. Daniel Ramirez, “Solid Solution Tetrelides and Pnictides for Thermoelectric Applications.” Supervisor, Dr. Holger Kleinke. Please visit the Faculty of Science Thesis Submission Notices website for details on requesting a copy. Oral defence Wednesday, June 14, 1:00 p.m., Chemistry 2 Building (C2) Room 361.