Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bob Lemieux heading to Queen's to serve as interim Dean of Arts and Science

The front entrance to Dunning Hall at Queen's University.

Dunning Hall at Queen's University, home of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Dr. Bob Lemieux.Former Dean of Science Robert Lemieux will be taking a leave of absence from Waterloo to serve as Queen’s University’s interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, effective August 1, 2024.

Professor Lemieux will be succeeding Dean Barbara Crow, who will be stepping down from her role in August 2024. Dr. Crow served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science for seven years.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Professor Lemieux, who was a faculty member at Queen’s University from 1992 to 2015, holding the position of professor in the Department of Chemistry and serving as associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Dr. Lemieux joined the University of Waterloo in 2015 and served as Dean of Science from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2023. During his tenure as Dean of Science, Lemieux initiated a modernization master plan for the Science building infrastructure on the University’s south campus, and the design of a new Science Centre for Innovation and Physics Complex. He created a Dean’s Undergraduate Teaching Innovation Fund to support the development of active-learning strategies, oversaw the installation of the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Chair in Astrophysics, and led the development of the Centre for Eye and Vision Research, a collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University that performs ground-breaking research in critical areas for vision health. He led the Faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Lemieux completed his BA (1984) at the Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, and his PhD (1989) at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois. As a scientist, Lemieux established a multi-disciplinary research program in the chemistry of organic materials that is recognized internationally for its innovative approaches to the design of compounds that form or induce ferroelectric liquid crystal phases found in high-performance microdisplay applications. His contributions to the field of liquid crystals research were recognized by the International Liquid Crystal Society with the 2012 Samsung Mid-Career Award and, earlier in his career, by an Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2000) and one of the inaugural Queen’s Chancellor’s Research Awards (1999).

“I would like to thank Dr. Lemieux for taking on this important role at Queen’s during what are challenging times across the post-secondary sector,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane in the Queen’s Gazette article announcing the leadership transition. “His previous experience here at Queen’s and, more recently, as dean of a large and prestigious faculty at Waterloo will benefit us immensely as we work together to balance our operating budget over the next year and into the future.”

Roadblocks that lead to beautiful destinations

Chris Wilson performing behind the decks as he is lit by purple lights and fog.

This is an excerpt of an article published in the 2024 issue of Waterloo Magazine: Happiness.

After experiencing a roadblock in his final year of undergraduate studies, Chris Wilson (BSc ’21) decided to pursue a full-time career as a DJ. 

That decision changed his life in unexpected ways, and taught him that leaning into your passion can lead to unimaginable opportunities.

Learn more about Chris and his unconventional journey.

Gautam Kamath and colleagues win 2024 Caspar Bowden PET Award

Dr. Gautam Kamath.

A version of this story appeared on the Cheriton School of Computer Science website.

Professor Gautam Kamath, along with his colleagues Professor Clément Canonne at the University of Sydney and Thomas Steinke, a Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, have been awarded the 2024 Caspar Bowden Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies. The prestigious recognition was given to the team for their paper, “The Discrete Gaussian for Differential Privacy,” research that was presented initially at NeurIPS 2020 and published in the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality.

Dr. Kamath is an Assistant Professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science and is a member of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI). He is also a Faculty Member at the Vector Institute and in 2023 was named a Canada CIFAR AI Chair in recognition of his contributions to differential privacy, machine learning and statistics. He obtained his PhD and SM degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

He leads The Salon, a research group of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergrads.

The Caspar Bowden Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, established in 2003, recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to the theory, design, implementation, or deployment of privacy enhancing technologies. Presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, the award includes a $3,000 USD cash prize and a monument.

“Congratulations to Gautam and his colleagues Clément and Thomas on their receiving this prestigious PET Award,” said Raouf Boutaba, University Professor and Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science. “Their groundbreaking work in differential privacy was quickly adopted and has already seen significant real-world impact. It was deployed in the 2020 US Census as the key primitive underlying the Disclosure Avoidance System, the most high-profile deployment of differential privacy to date.”

Key contribution and impact

This research introduced a new mechanism for releasing data subject to differential privacy. The algorithm developed by the research team was deployed in the 2020 US Census, protecting the confidential data of more than 300 million people in the United States. 

“This discrete Gaussian paper is one of the most important papers for differential privacy deployment of all time,” wrote Daniel Kifer, Professor of Computer Science at Pennsylvania State University, in his nomination statement. “It provides exact and provably secure algorithms for sampling from the discrete Laplace and discrete Gaussian distributions. There are very few papers that go from theory to practice, and this one was adopted right away and had immense practical impact.”

Read the full story on the School of Computer Science website.

Participants needed for Writing and Communication Centre grad student focus groups

Grad Student feedback banner featuring six backpacks with colours representing waterloo's faculties.

A message from the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC).

The Writing and Communication Centre (WCC) wants to hear from you about your experience and needs as a graduate student! We're looking for your feedback about three potential new program models to support graduate students in developing their communication skills throughout the entire life cycle of their graduate programs. 

We invite graduate students to participate in online focus groups to respond to and help shape these proposed new programs. Focus group participants will receive an invitation to a Teams meeting the day before the session.

Participants will be entered into a draw to win one of four $25 gift cards.

Share your experience to shape future WCC support for graduate students!

Register via Portal.

Link of the day

25 years ago: The Blair Witch Project

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!

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

WatITis 2024 call for proposals, Saturday, June 15 to Friday, August 30.

Green Labs Water Month, Monday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 31.

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility Web Accessibility User Survey to collect feedback from persons with disabilities, July 10 to July 31. Learn more about the short survey.

University of Waterloo Knowledge Mobilization Community of Practice, “Municipal NetZero Action Research Partnership (N-ZAP),” with Dr. Amelia Clarke, Thursday, July 18, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Contact Nadine Quehl to request a Teams invitation or for more information.

Invasive Species Pull, Thursday, July 18, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., DWE parking lot.

Community Corner for Staff and Faculty from Racialized Communities, Thursday, July 18, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Climate Action Event – Food as Climate Action Social with GreenHouse and Waterloo Climate Institute, Thursday, July 18, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., United College UTC-164. Register today!

Shad Design Project Conference, Friday, July 19, 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Great Hall, Conrad Grebel University College.

Wild Forces: University of Waterloo Choir, Saturday, July 20, 7:30 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, 22 Water Street, Kitchener. $5 students/$10 general
tickets available at the door.

Instrumental Chamber Ensemble concert, Sunday, July 21, 7:30 p.m., Chapel at Conrad Grebel University College. Free admission.

Student Led Individually Created Course (SLICC) Instructor Workshop: Introduction to the SLICC Framework (CTE7030), Tuesday, July 23, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., MC 2036. 

Biomedical Engineering and Technology Research Day, Wednesday, July 24, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, poster showcase from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Register on the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology website by July 10 to reserve a poster space.

Afternoon Art Social for Students, Thursday, July 25, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.

Wicked Problem of Precarity Symposium, Thursday, July 25, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., SLC Black & Gold Room. Event details - Ticketfi.

WICI World Café and Social: Intro to Complex Systems, Thursday, July 25, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., MC 4042 (Optional social from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Grad House).

Shad Waterloo 2024 Open Day Exhibits, Thursday, July 25, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall. 

NeuroMinds Collective for Students, Thursday, July 25, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. To learn more and/or to register, please contact Chris Martin.

NEW – Chemistry Seminar,Recent development and applications in U-shaped mobility analyzer - Mass spectrometry,” featuring Dr. Wenjian Sun, Managing Director, Shimadzu Research Laboratory, Shanghai, China, Friday, July 26, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 Reading Room.

Sweet Dreams: UWaterloo Jazz Ensemble, Sunday, July 28, 2:00 p.m., Great Hall (room 1111) at Conrad Grebel University College. Free admission.

Serenades, Ships, and Tombs: Orchestra@UWaterloo, Sunday, July 28, 7:30 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. West Waterloo. Free admission.

Last day of lectures and classes, Tuesday, July 30.

Pre-examination study days, Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1.

WICI Workshop: People Need People – A Warm Data Lab Approach, Thursday, August 1, 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online via Zoom.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ allies who are employees (staff and faculty), Tuesday, August 6, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., virtual. Register.

Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Consultation Sessions: 2STNBGNC+ allies who are employees (staff and faculty), Wednesday, August 7,11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in person. Register.

Safeguarding Science: Raising awareness of security risks and mitigation tools in the research ecosystem, Wednesday, August 7, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp, Sunday, August 11 to Friday, August 23. 

WICI Speaker Series: Embracing Complexity in Sustainability Transitions with Dr. Enayat Moallemi, Monday, August 1910:00. a.m. to 11:30 a.m., DC 1302.

PhD oral defences

School of Accounting and Finance. Jillian Adams, "Examinations of the Relations Between Tax-Motivated Income Shifting and Private and Public Country-by-Country Reporting." Supervisor, Dr. Ken Klassen. Available upon request from the Faculty of Arts, Graduate Studies and Research Officer. Oral defence Monday, July 22, 1:00 p.m., PAS 2464 and hybrid.

Chemical Engineering. Manh Kien Tran, "Improving Lithium-Ion Battery Management Systems Using Equivalent Circuit Models, Cloud Platforms, and Machine Learning Estimation Techniques." Supervisor, Dr. Michael Fowler. Thesis available via Sharepoint: email to request a viewing link. Oral defence Tuesday, July 23, 9:00 a.m., remote.

Sociology and Legal Studies. Damian Sycz, "Flying the Flag: A Mixed-Methods Study Examining Policing Subjectivity in a Canadian Auxiliary Police Service." Supervisor, Dr. Daniel O'Connor. Available upon request from the Faculty of Arts, Graduate Studies and Research Officer. Oral defence Tuesday, July 23, 1:00 p.m., remote.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Wenhan Hu, "Fabrication of Silicon Out-of-Plane Microneedles for Drug Delivery and Interstitial Fluid Extraction." Supervisors, Dr. Bo Cui, Dr. Guo-Xing Miao. Thesis available via Sharepoint: email to request a viewing link. Oral defence Tuesday, July 23, 1:00 p.m., remote.

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:

  • MC to QNC Pedestrian Bridge temporary closure, Monday, June 17 to Friday, September 27, no access to bridge between QNC to MC due to construction.
  • UW Place sidewalk construction, Monday, July 15 to Friday, July 26, roadside parking lots, local community roads and sidewalks will be strategically closed for a temporary period, vehicles and pedestrians will be directed to alternative routes.
  • Hagey Hall, Tatham Centre, and Psychology steam shutdown, Thursday, July 18, 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., loss of steam heating, humidification, and steam-derived hot water.
  • Commissary corridor concrete removal and drain repair, Friday, July 19, corridor 134 from entrance to room 136 to entrance of room 118A will be closed off and there will be loud noise in the morning due to concrete cutting and removal.
  • Physics, Earth Science and Chemistry, Chemistry 2, Centre for Environment & Information Technology fire alarm testing, Friday, July 19, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Village 1 fire alarm testing, Friday, July 19, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Biology 1 Greenhouse main path crane operation, Saturday, July 20, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., main path will be temporarily closed for the crane operation, signage will be placed to direct people to alternate routes.
  • Village 1 electrical shutdown, Sunday, July 21, 8:00 a.m. for 6 hours, normal power will be off, emergency power will be available.
  • EV1 1st floor power interruption, Monday, July 22, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., most lights and receptacles will be without power for approximately 2 hours.

  • Physical Activities Complex, Student Life Centre, Federation Hall, East Campus Hall, Engineering 5, Engineering 6, Engineering 7 fire alarm testing, Monday, July 22, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.

  • ESC building electrical shutdown, August 24, 6:00 a.m. for 14 hours, building will be closed, all power to ESC will be shut down, elevators will not be functional.