Monday, June 12, 2023

Waterloo  updates online student information system to include personal pronouns

A framed sign saying "ask my pronouns" against a rainbow flag background.

A message from the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Office (EDI-RO).

Starting Monday, UWaterloo students will have the option of choosing their pronouns in Quest, the student information system. This initiative, a collaborative effort between the Registrar’s Office, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Office (EDI-RO) is one of several equity-related plans that the University has implemented to create an inclusive and welcoming environment, where everyone feels valued and affirmed for who they are.  

Quest is the system where pronoun information will be collected. The University is also working to update pronoun information on other systems across campus, such as LEARN and Waterloo Works to support the use of pronouns across all platforms. 

Students, some staff and faculty have started to receive emails to provide them with information as the University undertakes this important initiative. Instructors, academic advisors and program co-ordinators are being advised to use the pronouns on their class rosters when engaging with students and to regularly check for updates.  

As there is no mechanism in Quest to automatically notify instructors of updates in pronoun information, instructors will have to re-download their class roster at regular intervals. This means that some instructors may not see changes in student pronoun information immediately, depending on when they refresh their class roster.​ 

“Allowing all undergraduate and graduate students the option of choosing their pronouns helps to create a supportive environment that contributes to their overall well-being,” said Registrar Cathy Newell Kelly. “Being referred to by incorrect pronouns can be distressing and harmful to students’ mental health and well-being.” 

“We are committed to creating warm, welcoming and inclusive spaces for people of all gender identities on campus,” said Gina Hickman, director of Equity (EDI-RO). “Many of our students use a variety of pronouns. Our hope is that this initiative will contribute to a reduction in misgendering and enhance student support and experience. Using the right pronouns is the bare minimum in treating campus community members with respect.”   

Other equity-related projects at the University of Waterloo include inclusive washrooms, the name change project, training to create inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the University community, and the Menstrual Equity project, among others. 

Learn more about the use of pronouns at EDI-RO. For information about the difference between sex assigned at birth, gender identity and pronouns,  please email

Eagle staff to be part of Convocation ceremonies this week

The eagle staff, with antlers and feather, held up at the recent ceremony in Fed Hall.

This spring marks the the inaugural use of an Eagle Staff in the University of Waterloo's Convocation ceremonies. 

An Eagle Staff is an important element of the Indigenous relationship to Earth and those that have protected it. It reflects the wisdom, strength and honour of those that carry it in representing different Nations across Canada. In welcoming the staff, which was done in a ceremony at Fed Hall in March 2023, the University acknowledges the responsibility to recognize, accept and incorporate Indigenous perspectives in the ways it teaches, governs and behaves as an institution. 

The Eagle Staff honours the University’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit community members, as well as their traditions, cultures and strengths. 

The staff will lead the Chancellor's procession into each Convocation ceremony in the Physical Activities Complex.

Exploring the human side of health and illness

Health Humanities banner image featuring an open book with caricatures growing out of it.

A message from St. Jerome's University.

The pandemic has illuminated gaps in our approach to health care. The need for humanities-based thinking and methodologies to respond to complex problems, nurture leaders to respond holistically to health-related challenges, and guide and foster action in a compassionate, human-centred way is necessary to bring systemic change to our healthcare system.

In collaboration with the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Arts, St. Jerome's University is launching a new Health Humanities diploma for the fall 2023 term. This diploma will draw upon multiple humanities disciplines to encourage students to cultivate core competencies in the human, subjective, and qualitative side of health and whole-person care. The diploma requires the completion of five comprehensive courses. It is open to current undergraduate students, non-degree or post-degree students or anyone with a role in healthcare where this type of training will augment their recent experience. 

“The Health Humanities diploma draws upon the research expertise of faculty across many disciplines at St. Jerome’s including, for example, recent SSHRC funded scholarship on end of life care. Catholic organizations have long been involved in both education and health care. This new diploma aligns with our institutional commitment to fostering the development of graduates who will contribute to the creation of a more compassionate and just society and who respect the dignity of all persons. We look forward to welcoming students from a variety of degree plans into our classes in SJ1 and SJ2 this Fall.,” says Dr. Carol Ann MacGregor, vice president academic and dean at St. Jerome’s University.

Many post-graduate programs in health-related disciplines, including medical schools, are increasingly expecting candidates to show proficiency with humanistic skills, including those related to effective communication, narrative interpretation and ethics. The diploma will give these graduates a credential that showcases their expertise in humanities training pertaining to the health field. Students completing this diploma will learn the importance of a historical perspective, develop their ability to think critically and reflectively, engage in ethical deliberation, and acquire a range of interpretive skills while increasing their sensitivity and understanding of cultural differences and inequalities in healthcare.

“The Health Humanities Diploma offers a wonderful opportunity for interdisciplinary learning for degree-seeking students and lifelong learners. Combining the insights and analytical techniques of humanities practice with the knowledge-base and modes of understanding of health sciences, the courses open doors to insights and approaches that our communities and society urgently need,” says Dr. Kathy Acheson, associate dean, undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Arts. 

For more information about the Health Humanities diploma, please visit the St. Jerome’s website or contact Dr. Andrew Stumpf, professor of Philosophy and acting director of health humanities.

Congress 2023 honours French Studies professor as a true Renaissance Man

Dr. Guy Poirier receives a lifetime achievement award plaque from a representative of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies.

A message from the Department of French Studies.

At Congress 2023, our colleague Dr. Guy Poirier received the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award recognizes researchers who, through their scholarly work, have made a major contribution to Renaissance studies in Canada or abroad.

The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, known colloquially as Congress (and even more colloquially as The Learneds), is organized by the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. It is a convergence of scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella at a Canadian host university, and is Canada's largest gathering of academics.

You can see a description of the award and a photo of the event on the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies website

Three colleagues from French Studies department have now won this award: Hannah Fournier (2006), François Paré (2009) and now Guy Poirier (2023).

These well-deserved awards testify to the very high quality of Renaissance studies research undertaken in the Department of French Studies over the years.

Safeguarding research town hall today and other notes

Join the conversation at this afternoon's Safeguarding Research town hall meeting. Hosted by President Vivek Goel and Vice-President, Research and International Charmaine Dean, the event will feature a discussion about safeguarding research in an ever-changing geopolitical climate, and how the University's administration is helping faculty members pursue safe and productive international research relationships. 

The event will take place in EC5's Enterprise Theatre on the University campus, or virtually on Teams. Refreshments will be served at 3:00 p.m. followed by opening remarks at 3:30 p.m. and a short presentation from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., President Goel and Vice President Dean will field questions from the audience.

There's still time to register.

Writing Cafes graphic featuring a woman typing on a keyboard.Do you want some company while writing? Join the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC) Writing Cafés for focused writing time and community support. "We have both virtual and in-person cafés that are open to grad students, postdocs, and faculty at UWaterloo," says a note from the WCC.

Rock Your Thesis banner image.And the WCC's not done: "Woohoo! Get ready to rock your thesis on June 16! Time to plan and make it happen." The first in the three-part Rock Your Thesis workshop series will equip participants with the skills needed to plan a large academic writing project like a thesis or dissertation.

"This workshop is best suited for Master’s and Ph.D. students who are near completion or have completed their coursework but have not yet begun actively writing their thesis or dissertation project," says the note from the WCC. Follow along on social media with the hashtag #RockYourThesis.

Register today.

Reminder: change your WatIAM password if you haven't already

The deadline for employees to change their WatIAM passwords has passed and accounts will begin to be locked. If you have been locked out, please contact Information Systems and Technology (IST) or your Faculty IT helpdesk to regain access. Students and alumni must change their WatIAM passwords by June 22.

Link of the day

World Day Against Child Labour

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.

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.

Guidance for an effective application for a Master and PhD - Electrical Engineering, Wednesday, June 14, 10:00 a.m., Zoom.

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.

Part-Time Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Information Session, Wednesday, June 14, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., online.

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.

Storytelling for Social Impact Part I: The Art of Storytelling: What is your why and your call to action? Thursday, June 15, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., UTD 164.

Garlic Mustard Pull, Thursday, June 15, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., DWE parking lot.

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.

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.

Lupina Foundation Postdoctoral Research showcase, Monday, June 19, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m., HH 373.

WISE Public Lecture,Understanding the potential and challenges of DERs in Chile” by Daniel Eduardo Olivares Quero, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Sciences, and Director, Center for Energy Transition (CENTRA), Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI)., Tuesday, June 20, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., EIT Third floor 3142., In-person and on Zoom. Register today.

Polishing the Eagle Feather, Tuesday, June 20, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., BMH courtyard.

Retirement celebration for Tina Roberts, Tuesday, June 20, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., GEDI (East Campus 5, 2nd floor). Registration form.

Food Truck Wednesday brought you by UW Food Services, Wednesday, June 21, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

NEW - Universal Design for Learning & Wellbeing - Reflections and Pathways Forward, Wednesday, June 21, 1:00 p..m to 2:30 p.m.

Land Skills for Wellness and Sustainability Project, Nature Weaving Wednesday, Wednesday, June 21, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Queer Trivia Night, Wednesday, June 21, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., SLC main floor multipurpose room.

Deadline to change your WatIAM password, Thursday, June 22. Instructions.

Storytelling for Social Impact Part II: Connecting with your Audience: build and test your pitch, Thursday, June 22, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., UTD 164.

Graduate Studies Fair 2023, Thursday, June 22, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Engineering Event space (E7 second floor).

Food Truck Wednesday brought you by UW Food Services, Wednesday, June 28,  11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

Ozhawa Anung Kwe/Yellow Star Woman (Teddy Syrette): 2Spirit & LGBTQ+ Pride, Thursday, June 29, 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Faculty of Health Expansion Building, Room 1689 .

When and Where to get support 

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