Friday, March 1, 2024

Waterloo to host Times Higher Education Digital Health 2025

A collage of health-related images including blood sample vials and viruses.

By Jordan Flemming.

The University of Waterloo will take up the banner as host of next year's Times Higher Education Digital Health Summit. The announcement was made at the THE Digital Health 2024 summit held in Stanford, California this week. The event, slated for April 10 to 11, 2025, will mark an important occasion in the University's continued commitment to pushing the boundaries of health care delivery through technological innovation. 

President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel underscored Waterloo's commitment to sustainable and responsible innovation in a video message. "Our work goes well beyond 'what' we build. As a community of innovators, we continue to hold ourselves accountable to 'how' we build — always considering the social, economic and sustainability impacts of our work," Goel said. "Digital health innovations often fail because they don’t meet the needs of patients and frontline health providers. At Waterloo, we are well-positioned to help shape technology to meet society’s needs." 

Waterloo has long been recognized as a powerhouse in technology and innovation since its inception in 1957. Our researchers and entrepreneurs are leading health innovation in Canada. From fighting cancer with code to transforming operating rooms with novel technologies, Waterloo is at the forefront of tackling global challenges with unconventional spirit and determination. 

Nenone Donaldson, vice-president of Advancement, made the announcement in person at the close of this year’s summit.  

"Here, in the Valley, many will be familiar with the University of Waterloo," Donaldson remarked, emphasizing Waterloo’s deep connections with California through its expansive alumni network. "We have a large, vibrant and highly connected Waterloo alumni community in California — many of whom are leaders in technology, driving innovations across sectors and industries." 

As the host of the Digital Health 2025 summit, Waterloo will bring together diverse perspectives and interdisciplinary expertise to drive meaningful change in health tech.  

"Technology continues to help optimize, improve and reinvent how health care is delivered," Donaldson said, setting the stage for the Digital Health 2025 summit. 

Digital Health aims to spark conversations, cultivate valuable connections and generate inventive ideas that will shape the future of health tech. The summit highlights case studies of successful collaboration between big tech, life science, non-governmental organizations and academia in the research and development of health tech solutions to improve global health outcomes. 

Nenone Donaldson announces THE Digital Health 2025.

Nenone Donaldson announces THE Digital Health 2025. 

"The conversations, connections and ideas generated at this inaugural Digital Health summit serve as a positive reminder that we are a community of changemakers ready to come together to improve the lives of all," Donaldson said. 

Hosting the Digital Health 2025 summit is significant for Waterloo and the advancement in the fields of health and technology. It's a step forward that promises to bring new ideas and interdisciplinary collaboration that could fundamentally change how digital health works in Canada and globally. 

"On behalf of the University of Waterloo, I look forward to welcoming you all at the 2025 THE Digital Health summit. Let’s connect, inspire and innovate digital health together," Goel concluded. 

Learn more about Digital Health 2025.

IST publishes learning management system final report, introduces improvement project

Information Systems & Technology (IST) has published an update on the Learning Management System (LMS) project and a new LEARN Improvements initiative.

LMS Review project update

The Learning Management System (LMS) Review project Final Report, which consists of data and additional information collected throughout the project and helped inform the recommendation to continue with LEARN (D2L’s Brightspace), is available for review (authentication is required). Information about the project is available on the Learning Management System (LMS) project page. 

Introducing the LEARN Improvements project

Findings indicated that while there are concerns or issues with LEARN, the majority of faculty, students, and staff would prefer time and effort be spent on improvements to the current LEARN environment versus implementing a brand-new platform. To support this work, a LEARN Improvements project has been initiated. A list of the in-progress or planned improvement efforts, categorized by common theme or area of focus, is available on the project web page. You are encouraged to visit the page to stay up to date with this work as the project list will continue to be updated as other actions to improve faculty, student, and staff experiences with LEARN are identified. 

Piloting new functionality: Creator+, Performance+

"Two projects we are excited to announce, in partnership with the Teaching Innovation Incubator (TII), are the integration of D2L’s Creator+ and Performance+ tools," says the announcement from IST. "Creator+ is a content authoring package that provides opportunities for clients to create highly engaging, interactive, accessible digital content from within their course, with no training required. Performance+ provides access to course and learner data, helping to clarify what happened, why, and even how to predict learner performance." More information about these projects, including how to participate in the pilots, is available on the Teaching Innovation Incubator website

Comments or questions about the LMS Review Final Report or LEARN Improvements project can be submitted to Pam Fluttert, Director, Instructional Technologies and Media Services (ITMS), Information Systems & Technology (IST).

And the Oscar goes to...

Mike Perkins stands with his technical Oscar in front of an Academy Awards banner.

By Val Maloney. This is an excerpt of an article originally featured on Waterloo News.

Most people don’t leave the cinema commenting on the picture’s colour contrast, saturation and brightness levels. Yet, the look of the movie can influence our enjoyment of it, and how well it does on the cinema circuit.  

University of Waterloo alumnus Mike Perkins (BASc, '90), a principal product developer at local audio-visual solutions company Christie, led the development of a digital projector that takes movie-watching to a whole new level — illuminating the theatre screen with darker darks, brighter brights and colours not seen before in the cinema.  

Built in collaboration with Dolby Laboratories, the Christie E3LH projection system presents audiences with imagery enhanced by high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide colour gamut (WCG). Perkins recently won an Academy Award in Scientific and Engineering for leading the team creating this innovative work. 

"It’s been more than a little overwhelming,” Perkins says. “The Academy Awards is one of the best-known and highest respected awards in the world. They are given by a panel of experts who are truly passionate about cinema. To earn their respect is humbling. What I wasn’t prepared for is the incredible number of people who have heard about this and are genuinely proud for both Christie and me to be recognized. I am very grateful to everyone who has reached out to say congratulations.” 

Read the full article on Waterloo News.

A former Prime Minister remembered, Computer Museum Hardware Day and other notes

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila hold up University of Waterloo sweatshirts during a visit to the campus in 1987.

Mila and Brian Mulroney hold up souvenirs of their visit to campus in March 1987.

Flags will be lowered at government buildings across the country to mark the passing of Brian Mulroney, Canada's 18th Prime Minister, who died yesterday in Palm Beach, Florida a few weeks shy of his 85th birthday. Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative party won back-to-back majority governments in 1984 and 1988. Like many long-serving Prime Ministers, he leaves behind a complicated legacy, and is remembered for things he did (the GST, NAFTA, cleaning up acid rain and fighting Apartheid in South Africa), things he didn't do (the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords), and things he maybe did but got away with (the Airbus Affair). Mulroney and his wife Mila visited the University of Waterloo campus—via helicopter, no less—on March 4, 1987, and during their short tour they met with then-president Douglas Wright, visited the Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, and the Prime Minister delivered a speech in the Engineering Lecture Hall. Legend has it that an unidentified student might have lobbed a snowball Mulroney's way during his visit, but that's politics for you.

Two cute robots fashioned from electrical components.

The University of Waterloo Computer Museum is hosting a hands-on hardware day event featuring a variety of vintage computers and associated artifacts on Tuesday, March 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the DC 1301 fishbowl. At 2:00 p.m., Information Technology Specialist Devon Merner will give a talk about how the PowerMac G5 was used to develop Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console.

The Computer Museum has some notable bits and pieces of vintage computing hardware, proving that old computer equipment doesn’t become obsolete – it becomes collectible.

In other news:

An illustration of two people pointing at interconnected dots.Information Systems & Technology (IST) has published the latest in the Atlassian blog series. This week's blog entry is entitled Jira Software Premium is now available!

Silver Medal Lecture banner image featuring archaeologists conducting an excavation.

Talk about your signs and wonders: The Department of Anthropology invites members of the University community to join them for the 2024 Silver Medal Award Guest Lecture on March 6. The guest speaker is Professor Edward Swenson, Director of Archeology from the University of Toronto, whose remarks are entitled “The Semiotics of Religious Landscapes: An Archaeological Perspective.” 

“Anthropologists have long recognized that symbolically charged places of a religious nature exhibit a remarkable “semiotic density,”” says the talk’s abstract. “However, the interpretation of the semiotic affordances of ritual contexts in the archaeological record remains under-theorized. Based on research conducted in South America and Southeast Asia, I compare the semiosphere of the Moche temple of Huaca Colorada, Peru (650-900 CE) with that of the royally endowed āśramas (monasteries) founded by King Yaśovarman I (889-910 CE) in ancient Angkor. The comparison demonstrates how an analysis of the sign properties of ceremonial architecture and related “structured depositions” can permit interpretation of the underlying meanings and intended function of past ritual practices. My approach relies on a semiotic investigation of the material manifestations of repetition, substitution, intimate parallelism, and accumulation characterizing specific building traditions and other archaeological remains, including burials and offerings. Ultimately, I analyze the Andean and Angkorian religious constructions as exceptional spaces of semiosis, powerful machines in the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari that assembled distinct political worlds.”

The event takes place on Wednesday, March 6 and begins at 5:00 p.m. in HH1104. A reception will follow in the PAS lounge starting at 6:30 p.m.  

Upcoming office closure

Finance (including Student Financial Services) will be closed Monday, March 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a staff event. The front counter in East Campus 5 (EC5) will be closed during this time. Normal operations will resume Monday, March 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Link of the day

Brian Mulroney, 1939-2024

When and Where

The Student Health Pharmacy (located in the lower level of the Student Life Centre) is offering flu shots with no appointments needed daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for more info. COVID shots will be available on appointment basis only. You can register online at

Waterloo Warriors Youth Camps. Winter, March Break and PD Day camps available for boys and girls ages 5-18. Baseball, Basketball, Football and Multi-Sport and Games camps available. Register today!

Warriors Youth Summer Camps. Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Multi-Sport and Volleyball. Register today!

PDAG seminar: Together we can make UW secure, Friday March 1, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., MS Teams.

Design Thinking for Climate Action: Innovation Skills Workshop, Friday, March 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., United College – GreenHouse, UTD-164. Registration required, pizza lunch provided. Co-hosted by Waterloo Climate Institute and GreenHouse.

Alison Wylie, visiting Humphrey Professor, on "Philosophy of the Field, in The Field, Reckoning with Settler Colonial Practice in Archaeology", Friday, March 1, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EV2 2002.

Peace and Conflict Studies by donation film screening, "Peace by Chocolate," Friday, March 1, 7:00 p.m., CGR 1111.

Master of Taxation Virtual Information session, Saturday, March 2, 9:00 a.m. 

Warriors Women’s Hockey vs. York, Sunday, March 3, 4:00 p.m., CIF Arena. OUA Semifinals Game 3 (if necessary)Buy your tickets today! 

Quantum for Environment Design Challenge application deadline, Monday, March 4. 

Accessibility Workshop: Communications, Marketing and Events, Monday, March 4, 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Federation Hall.

Equitable Recruitment and Selection, Monday, March 4, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., online.   

RLS Professional Community Networking Fair, Monday, March 4, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., HLTH EXP 2691 (second floor foyer at top of stairs).

You Don't Know What You Don't Know Part 3, Monday, March 4, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., online.

University Senate meeting, Monday, March 4, 3:30 p.m., NH3407 and online.

Velocity Presents - Startup 101: Incorporation & Cap Tables, Monday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., EIT 1015.

Keeping Well at Work winter warm-up, Tuesday, March 5, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., online.

Chemistry Seminar, “Oxo metal clusters in water splitting and bond activations,” by T. Don Tilley, Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, Tuesday, March 5, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 Reading Room.

2024 TD Walter Bean Public Lecture featuring Dr. Denis Aheto, “Africa’s Plastic Revolution: Advancing Global Solutions for Healthy Oceans,” Tuesday, March 5, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Noon Hour Concert: Café MusicWednesday, March 6, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel, Free admission.

Community-Based Research Canada: University of Waterloo Information SessionWednesday, March 6, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Department of Anthropology 2024 Silver Medal Award Guest Lecture, “The Semiotics of Religious Landscapes: An Archaeological Perspective,” featuring Professor Edward Swenson, Director of Archeology, University of Toronto, Wednesday, March 6, 5:00 p.m., HH 1104. Reception to follow.

WaterTalk: Déjà vu or Jamais vu? Using a 20-y record to discern how coastal wetlands of eastern and northern Georgian Bay responds to climate-induced water-level disturbances, Thursday, March 7, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, DC 1302.

Employer Impact Conference - Talent for a Better Future, Thursday, March 7, 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.

Early stage company building: Demystifying the 0 to 1 with BoxGroup, Thursday, March 7, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., SCH 228.

NEW - Women in Mathematics Committee presents an International Women's Day Panel Discussion, Friday, March 8, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., MC5501.

Women in Innovation Mixer, Friday, March 8, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., MC 2037.

International Women's Day Breakfast, Friday, March 8, 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., Federation Hall. This event is currently SOLD OUT but you can join the experience through the live stream. 

Safeguarding water values through collaborative water governance, Wednesday, March 13, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., online via Zoom.

Noon Hour Concert: Storytelling through Music, Wednesday, March 13, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel, Free admission.

Figure Skating Drop-In Skills Session, Wednesday, March 13, 6:00 p.m., Columbia Icefield rink.

NSERC Alliance Information session, Thursday, March 14. 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, EC5 1111 and online. Please register to attend.

NEW - Retirement reception for Marilyn Thompson, Thursday, March 14, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., University Club. Please RSVP.

University of Waterloo Knowledge Mobilization Community of Practice, “Integrating Knowledge Mobilization and Work-Integrated Learning ” with Dr. Sean Geobey, Friday, March 15, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Contact Nadine Quehl at to request a Teams invitation for this session.

UW History Society 2024 MacKinnon Dinner, Friday, March 15, 6:00 p.m., University Club. Buy your tickets today.

Deadline to submit applications for the Strategic International Experience Grants, Monday, March 18.

Research Impact Canada Quarterly Touchpoint: New Members, Wednesday, March 20, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Contact Nadine Quehl at if interested in joining this online meeting.

NEW - Noon Hour Concert: Patchwork, Wednesday, March 20, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel, Free admission.