On August 31 the following email was sent to current graduate students
To: Graduate students
From: Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
Subject: Preparing for the fall 2020 term
- Course information
- Physical return to campus
- Thesis proposals, comprehensive exams and thesis defence
- International student information
- Staying connected and supported
The fall 2020 term is about to begin – classes start on Tuesday, September 8. You may be studying remotely, attending in-person classes, or conducting research on campus. No matter what your circumstances, know that we are eager to ensure that you are safe and can also continue to advance your learning and academic progression. Below you will find some helpful hints and reminders to get you ready for the fall term.
If you are enrolled in courses, you should:
- Review the important dates for fall 2020 term.
- Check to see if you require textbooks or course materials for your class(es), and order to ensure timely delivery – details available on the W store website.
- Confirm personal details in Quest – make sure your addresses, emergency contact and other personal details are up to date; this allows instructors and the university to support you in delivering the most optimal course options.
- Check if you are eligible for the Academic Readiness Bursary (ARB) – intended to offset costs related to studying remotely, as a result of COVID-19.
For online courses:
- Reliable internet access will be required.
- Tools such as a webcam may be used in your course.
- In case your instructor is using LEARN:
- before classes start, check out LEARN's system, software, and internet requirements and find technical support on the LEARN help website or send an email to email@example.com.
- on September 8, log in to LEARN to see what courses will be using this platform.
- If instructors are using other platforms, you can expect:
- an email from your instructor, no later than Thursday, September 10, to your @uwaterloo.ca email address.
- after September 10, if you still haven't heard from your instructor, reach out to them via email.
If you are returning to campus for courses/research/teaching or are taking part in a practica/internship:
- Watch the Welcome Back Waterloo safety video and read this guide to learn more about the University's plans for a safe return and the steps you can take to help maintain a safe and healthy campus.
- Review the memo that was sent to Waterloo faculty about the “Next phase of Return to Research” and discuss the best option for a safe return to research activity with your supervisor.
- If you will be serving as a TA during the fall term, visit the Keep Learning website for resources and support.
- Visit the COVID-19 information website for updates on services and operations – check back frequently. Access to campus services and buildings will continue to expand with a staged approach, keeping your health and safety at the forefront.
- Learn about your transportation options on the GSA website or visit the Parking Services website to explore campus parking.
- If you will be taking part in a practica or internship during the fall term, review the new process created to ensure your experience is a safe one.
If you are completing your thesis proposal, comprehensive exams, or thesis defence:
- Review the process for a remote thesis defence
- Check out the remote defence: tips for success
- Discuss with your supervisor the possibility of a revised degree completion timeline and apply for an extension, if required. Speak to your graduate co-ordinator about the specific processes required for a program time extension.
International student information:
- Review the recently released measures on post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility, especially if you are beginning your programs online – visit the Government of Canada website for more details. If you have questions that are specific to your circumstance, please contact an immigration consultant in the Student Success Office (SSO).
- Review the frequently asked questions page for information on your study permit and travel to Canada. If you have questions that are specific to your circumstance, please make an appointment with an immigration consultant in the SSO.
Staying connected and supported
- Continue to engage with your fellow graduate students, as well as your research group and supervisors. Among many possibilities, you may consider some of the following.
- Visit the Graduate Student Association-University of Waterloo (GSA-UW) website for upcoming virtual events.
- Find an online writing community at the Writing and Communication Centre.
- Schedule frequent check-in meetings with your research group and supervisors. For more information, check out the work from home and remotes resources web page.
- Take some time to read through your weekly graduate student e-news (it arrives in your inbox each Thursday) and includes upcoming events, workshops and important dates.
- Refer to the set of university services and resources available for you.
- Explore the Campus Wellness website; know that wherever you are, Counselling Services is here to help you.
On behalf of the University of Waterloo, please know that we are here to support you during your fall term – and always. If you have any questions as you approach the start of the term, I encourage you to contact your supervisor or graduate co-ordinator, or send me an email. Stay well.