Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Pride Month message from the President

The Dana Porter library lit up with rainbow colours.

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

Each year in June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity, history, contributions, and achievements of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, while also raising awareness about further progress needed for equity and justice. We acknowledge that we have a lot more work to do on campus to create a safe and just environment for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff and faculty, and we are committed to that work. 

While Pride Month is a time for celebration and joy, it is important that we stand in solidarity with 2SLGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the year to ensure that all members of our community can access the same rights and privileges.  

We do not tolerate hateful, harmful or violent rhetoric targeting campus community members and would encourage anyone  experiencing harm, discrimination, marginalization, or struggling during Pride Month or any time throughout the year  to seek  support from  Campus Wellness  or the  Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism

At the University of Waterloo, we are grateful to be the home of the Glow Centre – the oldest continuously running queer and trans student organization in Canada. We are proud of, and thankful for, the work they do to support and advocate for students.   

Pride Month serves as a platform for advocacy and education. In our most recent equity survey results, 26 per cent of student respondents did not identify as heterosexual or straight. While progress has been made in recent years, 2SLGBTQIA+ people continue to face significant challenges, including discrimination, violence and a lack of legal protections, which disproportionately impact racialized trans and non-binary people. Pride events and activities provide opportunities for University community members to gather with one another, raise awareness, deepen relationships, share information and advocate for change.  

Beginning this month, Pride colours will be on display at the main campus, as we unveil rainbow walkways outside the Dana Porter Library and at campus main entrances (University Ave. and Columbia St.). These walkways are a visible symbol of the importance of inclusion on our campuses, specifically, that every member of our community belongs here and plays a unique role in our success. 

The intersex Progress Pride Flag and the two-spirit rainbow flag.

For the first time on our campus, the Two-Spirit Pride flag will be flown this month, alongside the Intersex-Inclusive Progress flag. The Two-Spirit Pride flag represents our on-going commitment towards the indigenization of our campuses.   

Both flags reflect the intersectional work being done across our institution to ensure that everyone at Waterloo feels like they belong. Many other activities are planned this month to celebrate Pride Month across our campuses, and I would encourage you to take part. 

Strong, engaged communities are those that provide a voice and a sense of belonging to all members  and we are committed to centering the voices of the 2SLGBTQIA+ campus community.   

Thank you for your contributions to making our community more inclusive. Happy Pride Month! 

Waterloo celebrates Indigenous History Month

 moccasins, drums, eagle feathers, pipes, etc. laid out on a blanket.

A message from Jean Becker, Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Relations.

The month of June is National Indigenous History Month. National Indigenous People’s Day takes place on June 21, also known to many as the summer solstice.

It is the shared responsibility of all peoples on this land to acknowledge the historic and ongoing colonial relationship with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations, who make up the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and actively work towards truth, reconciliation and decolonization.

It is equally important that we make space for the celebration of varied historic achievements of Indigenous Peoples, as well as current contributions on UWaterloo’s campuses and further afield. National Indigenous History Month is a time for celebration, gratitude and knowledge-building around the diversity, rich history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples and communities.

I am pleased that the University of Waterloo is committed to building long-term relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on respect and reciprocity.  We are delighted to share the University of Waterloo Indigenous Strategic Plan 2023-2028, which guides the University towards its goal of indigenizing and decolonizing the institution. The plan outlines a clear path for the University to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This June, we also have an exciting range of events planned in honour of National Indigenous History Month, which you can learn more about below. It is our hope this month and every month that we move beyond words and take meaningful and direct actions on this shared journey towards reconciliation and decolonization.

Visit this webpage to learn more.

Accessibility in teaching

Lecturer Diana Skrzydlo with several students at a desk.

By Dr. Christine Zaza, Disability Inclusion Office. This article is presented as part of a series highlighting National AccessAbility Week in Canada.

Diana Skrzydlo"Good teaching should be inclusive,” says Faculty of Mathematics teaching fellow and continuing lecturer Diana Skrzydlo.

Recipient of a 2023 University of Waterloo Distinguished Teaching Award, Skrzydlo uses universal design for learning (UDL) to make her courses more inclusive.  

Skrzydlo first heard about UDL at the 2019 University of Waterloo Teaching and Learning Conference, which explored teaching and designing for diverse learners. That conference was transformative for Skrzydlo and challenged her to reflect on the question What do we, as instructors, ask our students to do?  

“There isn’t just one way to demonstrate knowledge.” Skrzydlo explains. 

For example, Skrzydlo provides a variety of options for earning participation grades so that students who aren’t comfortable speaking up in class can still demonstrate their engagement with the course.  

Similarly, she offers student groups the option of delivering an in-person presentation or submitting a pre-recorded presentation.  

Skrzydlo also recognizes that students miss class for a variety of reasons and that the classroom learning environment poses barriers for some students. By providing out-of-class alternatives to in-class learning activities, those who miss class aren’t penalized.   

Call to Action: For more ideas on how to implement UDL, visit the Centre for Teaching Excellence’s resource Universal Design: Instructional Strategies.

When asked why she implements UDL, Skrzydlo refers to the “curb-cut effect,” which uses the example of curb cuts in the built environment to explain that designing for disabled people also benefits non-disabled people. 

For those who are new to UDL, Skrzydlo recommends starting with the principle of flexibility.  

“Things like having flexible grading or flexible deadlines are super easy to implement,” she says. “If you have 12 assignments or tutorials or activities or anything, just count the top ten out of 12.”  

She explains that this kind of flexibility not only benefits students living with disabilities such as chronic pain, or a traumatic brain injury, it also benefits students who are juggling multiple deadlines in their courses and those experiencing challenges in their personal life.  

Skrzydlo often encounters skeptics who argue that UDL coddles students and doesn’t prepare them for the “real world.”  

She adamantly disagrees, saying, “it's just not true that the real world is inflexible. In fact, the real world is often more flexible and more forgiving than the academy”.   

She also emphatically refutes the suggestion that UDL compromises academic rigor. “It's not about reducing the requirements. It's about giving people support to reach the bar that you've set and maybe reach it in a different way,” she says.  

Skrzydlo emphasizes that a very small change can make a huge difference to students. 

“You can make a tiny, tiny change that’s almost zero work, and make your teaching accessible to a larger number of people. Why not do that?” 

Accessibility Tip: Provide clear instructions for assignments and communicate your expectations, and when possible, provide some choice in how students demonstrate their learning.   

WatIAM reset coming tonight and other notes

The University is currently responding to an attempted ransomware attack on the campus email system (that was not connected to yesterday's Internet outage). Only on-campus Microsoft Exchange email services have been affected, meaning that most users who work with cloud-based email have not been affected.  However, as a result, IST has temporarily disabled Waterloo’s WatIAM system, which doesn't affect current users but prevents new accounts from being created. IST will initiate a complete authentication system shutdown and reset tonight at 6:30 p.m. to restore systems, with an estimated outage time of two to six hours, during which time WatIAM logins will not be available. Access to the Library’s online resources including Omni and course reserves will be impacted.

Details about the fix to this network issue were circulated in an email from Vice-President, Administration and Finance Jacinda Reitsma to the University community last evening. Please consult your email or the Employee Communication website to learn about how the University is responding to this issue, and for a link to an online town hall that will be held today at 2:30 p.m. where you can get further details about the situation.

Renison "See the Ability, not the Disability" event featuring illustrations of people with various disabilities.Renison University College's Accessibility Committee is hosting an event to mark National AccessAbility Week today from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Renison atrium.

"There will be food provided, and booths set up featuring information from UWaterloo AccessAbility Services, Independent Living Waterloo Region, United College’s Supports for Neurodivergent Students, and student champions sharing about their experiences living their student lives with disabilities," writes chaplain Scott McLeod. "There will also be some experiential activities for people to get an idea about what it can be like living and navigating everyday life with disabilities."

Link of the day

World Milk Day

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.

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 - See the Ability, not the Disability, Thursday, June 1, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Renison Atrium.

Ribbon-Cutting: Gender Neutral Washrooms on Campus, Thursday, June 1, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., outside SLC 3103.

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.

Expert & Acolyte: Finding Ways to Cultivate Curiosity & Respect in Learning & Clinical Contexts, Monday, June 5, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.

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

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.

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.

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.

NEW - Food Truck Wednesday brought you by UW Food Services, Wednesday, June 7,  11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

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.

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.

NEW - Staff Association monthly meeting, Thursday, June 8, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., MS Teams. All staff welcome.

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.

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).

Safeguarding Research Town Hall, Monday, June 12, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Enterprise Theatre, EC5 or on MS Teams.

Spring 2023 Convocation ceremonies, Tuesday, June 13 to Saturday, June 17, Physical Activities Complex.

NEW - Food Truck Wednesday brought you by UW Food Services, Wednesday, June 14,  11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project, Introduction to Spoon carving (Green Woodworking), Wednesday, June 14, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pride Movie Night, "But I'm a Cheerleader," Wednesday, June 14, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., LHI 1621.

Cans for S’mores Bonfire Night, Wednesday, June 14, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Laurel Creek fire pit.

GreenHouse presents Storytelling for Social Impact, Thursday, June 15, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., UTD 164.

Therapy Dogs, Friday, June 16, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., SLC Lower Atrium Multipurpose Room.

Rock Your Thesis Part 1: Plan your Project, Friday, June 16, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

NEW - Engineering presents Discover the Power of Leadership with Rola Dagher, Friday, June 16, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., E7 event space, 2nd Floor Engineering 7.

When and Where to get support 

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

Additional position available

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

  • Job ID# 2023-10133 - Research Coordinator - Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, USG 7