Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Join disability advocate Rick Hansen for a Hallman Lecture

Rick Hansen sits in a wheelchair.

A message from the Faculty of Health.

Through the power of his own story and the inspiration he’s found in others, athlete and disability advocate Rick Hansen shares his vision and inspires audiences to join his journey to create an accessible, healthy, and inclusive world where people of all abilities can fully participate and contribute. By reflecting on our own actions and beliefs, we can challenge existing standards and dream up new ones – ones that foster hope, inspiration, and acceptance. Hansen encourages us all to fight for accessibility as a human right.

Hansen is best known as the “Man in Motion” for undertaking an epic 26-month, 40,000 km journey around the world in his wheelchair. He is also a three-time world champion, nine-time Pan Am gold medalist, and six-time Paralympic medalist.

For more than three decades, Hansen and his team have been focused on the removal of barriers. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) is the only program that rates, certifies and showcases accessible building based on their level of meaningful access for persons with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. To date, more than 1,915 sites across Canada have been rated through the program, including the Faculty of Health at the University of Waterloo.

Join us for this free Hallman Lecture on Monday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m., in HLTH EXP 1689 with a community reception to follow at 8:00 p.m. A livestream is also available.

Hansen will be presented with an honorary doctorate the next day at the Faculty of Health convocation ceremony.

Make memories this summer on Toronto Island

Alumni Family Day banner showing a view of the Toronto skyline including the CN Tower from the islands.

A message from Advancement.

Don’t miss out on the fun — all alumni and friends are welcome to join us at Alumni Family Day on Toronto Island, Saturday, July 20.

Family fun on the island includes face painting, caricature portraits, lawn games, crafts and frozen treats. You can include a BBQ lunch when you purchase your ticket or bring your own picnic. Tickets include ferry rides to and from the island.

After mingling with alumni at the picnic, spend the rest of the day on the island exploring the beaches, taking in rides at Centreville and meeting barnyard creatures at the Far Enough Farm.

Alumni Family Day always sells out, so get your tickets soon!

New guide makes it easier to improve course accessibility

A professor speaks from behind a desk to students in a lecture hall.

A message from the Disability Inclusion Team. National AccessAbility Week is May 26 to June 1 and is just one opportunity to share initiatives that advance accessibility and disability inclusion. Share your initiative at Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Initiatives.

The new Postsecondary Course Accessibility Guide, developed by Dr. Christine Zaza, Workplace Accessibility Specialist at the University of Waterloo, addresses a sector-level need for resources that reflect the impact of accessibility on students. The guide was developed to support the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Postsecondary Education Standards 185 recommendations (2022) and reduce the overwhelm of meeting these accessibility requirements.

The Guide adopts a checklist format that links each accessibility criterion to comprehensive support in the form of definitions, rationale, examples of impact on students, and how to meet the criteria and explains their importance. It is designed to help instructors and instructional support staff identify how a course already meets accessibility criteria, how quick and easy changes can improve accessibility, and where additional support is needed.

With funding from eCampus Ontario, the Guide was peer reviewed and user experience testing was conducted through the Centre for Extended Learning. Participants included instructors, students, instructional support staff, and subject matter experts, with and without disabilities, from Ontario universities and colleges.

“Typically, instructors ask me ‘which practices will have the biggest impact on students.’” To begin to address this question, the project’s next step will be to research students’ perceptions of the importance of each accessibility criterion to their learning experience, incorporating feedback from both students with and without disabilities to continually refine and enhance the Guide.

Graduate valedictorian applications are due May 31

Three female PhD graduates stand dressed in traditional academic regalia while holding their diplomas.

A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) is excited to share that for the first time, the University of Waterloo is seeking five graduate valedictorians for the fall (October) 2024 convocation ceremonies.

Graduate valedictorians will have the unique opportunity to reflect on their journey, share their insights, and inspire their peers, faculty, and guests at convocation.

Eligibility criteria

To be considered, candidates must have a strong academic background, demonstrated leadership skills, and effective communication abilities. Involvement in university and community activities as well as professional experiences will be valued in the selection process. Candidates must be able to attend the fall 2024 in-person convocation ceremony.

Application process

Interested candidates must complete an application form, submit a CV, provide an unofficial transcript, and receive endorsement from three members of the university community. These members can be fellow students, staff, faculty, or alumni.

Selection criteria and process

The selection process involves an assessment of academic excellence (30%) and personal characteristics (70%). Academic achievements, including past results, scholarships, and program rigour, are considered alongside interpersonal skills, leadership experience, and community engagement. During the selection process, faculties will review submissions and shortlist their top three for institutional review; these shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview and to present their proposed five-minute speech to an institutional selection committee.

Visit the graduate valedictorian webpage for more information about the eligibility criteria and selection process.  The deadline to apply to be a valedictorian is Friday, May 31.

Euclid space telescope releases early images and data

A collage of five images from the Euclid telescope exploring deep space.

By Jordan Flemming. This is an excerpt of an article originally published on Waterloo News.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid space mission, which involves collaboration with researchers from the University of Waterloo, has released five new portraits of the universe. These never-before-seen images showcase Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos, enabling scientists to hunt for rogue planets, using lensed galaxies to study mysterious matter and explore the evolution of the universe.

“The science that Euclid was designed to do requires surveys of large areas, which will take Euclid many years to complete,” says Dr. Will Percival, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and a primary science coordinator for the Euclid space mission.

The full set of early observations targeted 17 astronomical objects, from nearby clouds of gas and dust to distant clusters of galaxies, ahead of Euclid’s main survey. This survey aims to uncover the secrets of the dark cosmos and reveal how and why the universe looks as it does today.

Read the full article on Waterloo News.

Wednesday's notes

Sexual Violence Awareness Month banner featuring lavender colours and a heron.

The Sexual Violence Awareness Month webinar series continues tomorrow on Microsoft Teams with Get to Know About SVPRO. "Join SVPRO's own Jay Love and Taneah Ugwuegbula to learn about SVPRO's response services and how we support students, staff, and faculty who have experienced ongoing or historical sexual violence and abuse and how we work to make our campus community feel safe, supported, and validated," says a note from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO).

The webinar takes place on Thursday, May 30 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. You can register for this webinar and learn more about the series on Portal.

Food Truck Wednesdays continue today in the Arts Quad from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On offer today are fried dough delights courtesy of Beaver Tails.

Employers hosting Employer Information Sessions this week and next week include Formlabs, Robinhood, Brock Solutions. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates. 

Upcoming office closures

The Office of Indigenous Relations will be closing at 12 noon today for a staff event. Staff will be delayed in responding to email inquiries.

The Science Undergraduate Office will close at 2:15 p.m. today for an advisor meeting.

Register for the "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding" conference

Registration for the upcoming international conference, "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding," is now open. The conference will take place from June 27 to 28 at Federation Hall.

Link of the day

"Uh oh!" ICQ to shut down after 28 years

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

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

Safeguarding Science workshop and more, throughout May and June. Public Safety Canada invites faculty, staff and students to attend a series of virtual event via MS Teams. Register to receive a link.

Food Truck Wednesday, Wednesday, May 8 to Wednesday, July 24, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

Together|Ensemble Conference, Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29.

Climate Change Planning, Projects, and Pathways at the City of WaterlooWednesday, May 29, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Presentation ad Networking Lunch, SLC – Black and Gold room (2nd floor). RSVP.

Foundations of Collaborative Leadership, Chapter one of the Community Leadership Certificate (CLC), Wednesday, May 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (virtual).

WISE Public Lecture: Solar Powering Ontario's Clean Grid Economy” by Steve Dyck (President, Guelph Solar), Wednesday, May 29, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Engineering 7, 7303/7363, in-person and on Zoom. Register today!

Tri-Agencies webinar on Sensitive Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy (in French), Thursday, May 30, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Register.

Chemistry Seminar: Advanced catalyst discovery for clean energy transformation using computational material design, featuring Samira Siahrostami, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Thursday, May 30, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 reading room.

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series, Thursday, May 30, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MS Teams.

Reunion 2024, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1.

Jewish Heritage Month reception: in recognition of Jewish Heritage Month, the Rohr Chabad Centre for Jewish Life and the University of Waterloo are pleased to host a reception for UWaterloo students, faculty, staff and alumni, Friday, May 31, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., remarks at 4:30 p.m., Student Life Centre Black & Gold Room (SLC 2136.) Kosher refreshments will be served.

Velocity pitch competition application deadline, Sunday, June 2.

Pride Month flag-raising ceremony, Monday, June 3, 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., outside South Campus Hall.

Generative Artificial Intelligence and the Literature Review, Wednesday, June 5, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., LIB 323 learning lab.

The Future-Ready Workforce Series: Building inclusive workplaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ students, Wednesday, June 5, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Engineering Graduate Studies Fair, Wednesday, June 5, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Engineering 7 second floor event space.

Inert Atmosphere Fabrication and RAC Capabilities Open House, Thursday, June 6, 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Research Advancement Centre (RAC).

WISE Public Lecture, “The Role of Nuclear Energy in Ontario's Clean Economy," by Danielle LaCroix (Sr. Director, Environment, Sustainability & Net Zero, Bruce Power)., Friday, June 7, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., W.G. Davis Computer Research Centre (DC), Room DC 1302., in-person and on Zoom. Register today.

Soapbox Science Kitchener-Waterloo, Sunday, June 9, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Victoria Park near the playground and picnic area. Hear from twelve STEM researchers as they take to their soapboxes with short discussions and fun demos. Questions from the public are encouraged!

University Senate meeting, Monday, June 10, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407 and Zoom.

Hallman Lecture featuring Rick Hansen: In motion towards building an inclusive and healthy world without barriers, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., EXP 1689.

Spring 2024 Convocation, Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15.

School of Planning Graduation Luncheon, Tuesday, June 11, 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Federation Hall.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture featuring Vint Cerf, "Internet: Past, Present and Future," Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

NEW - Staff Association open meeting featuring the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office, Thursday, June 13, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., online.

Indigenous Community Concert | Sultans of String "Walking Through the Fire", Monday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

NEW - How to Disconnect from Work (for staff), Tuesday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., online.

Positions available

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

  • Job ID# 2024-11804 - Finance Administrator - Science Technical Service, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2024-11863 - Managing Director, Climate Science - Dean of Environment Office. USG 13
  • Job ID# 2024-11851 - Science Resource Shop Technician - Science Technical Services, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2024-12018 - Undergraduate Program Coordinator and Advisor - School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2024-11984 - Associate Director, Digital Communications - Marketing & Strategic Initiatives, USG 12
  • Job ID# 2024-11802 - Assistant Registrar, Admissions - Office of the Registrar, USG 12
  • Job ID# 2024-12041 - Administrative Officer - Recreation and Leisure Studies, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2024-12014 - Executive Assistant, Engagement – Advancement, USG 7

Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

  • Job ID# 2024-11914 - Technologist, Architectural Engineering - Civil and Environmental Engineering, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2024-11803 - Office Manager & Executive Assistant – WatSPEED, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2024-11964 - Project Manager - Office of Advancement, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2024-12053 - Senior Alumni Officer, Volunteer Engagement - Alumni Relations, USG 10 - 11

Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo opportunities

Upcoming service interruptions

Stay up to date on service interruptions, campus construction, and other operational changes on the Plant Operations website. Upcoming service interruptions include:

  • Biology 1, Biology 2, Health Services, Quantum Nano Centre, Science Teaching Centre fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Hagey Hall Room 1814 elevator maintenance, Thursday, May 30, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., loss of service for 4 hours during the maintenance window.
  • School of Architecture fire alarm testing, Friday, May 31, 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • E7 Bicycle Shelter snow guard installation, Friday, May 31, areas around and under the E7 shelter will be blocked off for vehicle and personnel access.
  • Mathematics & Computer Building electrical shutdown, Saturday, June 1, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., power will be disrupted to several areas in the building.
  • East Campus 3 electrical shutdown, Sunday, June 2, beginning at 8:00 a.m., power to the building will be shut off for approximately four hours
  • Quantum-Nano Centre electrical panel shutdown, Wednesday, June 5, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., affecting all floors of QNC. Occupants with sensitive equipment and/or research have been pre-notified. HVAC and controls could be affected in some areas of the building.