Dean's update - April 2018


This will be my final monthly update as Dean of AHS. That is not an easy thing for me to write. I have expressed my thoughts and feelings on leaving the deanship in several venues: in my previous note to the AHS community, at the farewell reception on April 19, and, in many individual and small group discussions over the past couple of months. So, here, let me just add one more sincere and simple thank you to all of you for your invaluable contributions towards AHS achievements of all kinds in these past several years, and my best wishes for what I know will be a continuing story of future successes based on my confidence in the fundamental strengths of the people who comprise the AHS community.

As has previously been announced by Provost George Dixon, Professor Paul Stolee has been appointed Interim Dean of AHS beginning May 16, 2018. I am pleased that Paul has accepted this responsibility, and I welcome him to the deanship.  I very much look forward to working with him through my new role.  

For the period of April 30 to May 15, the Associate Deans have each agreed to take on Acting Dean responsibilities according to the following schedule:
Leeann Ferries: Monday, April 30-Saturday, May 5
Richard Staines: Sunday, May 6-Thursday, May 10
Rhona Hanning: Friday, May 11-Wednesday, May 15

Highlights I Events I Nominations and more

Some highlights from this month

President's Reception for Excellence in Teaching and Research

President's ReportEvery year, the University recognizes faculty members who contribute their knowledge and expertise to enable student success, both academically and in our campus community. This year, several of our faculty were honoured on April 10 at the President’s Reception for Excellence: Robin Duncan, Mark Ferro, Steven Fischer, David Hammond, Mark Havitz, Susan Horton, Richard Hughson, Sharon Kirkpatrick, Scott Leatherdale, Elena Nieterman, Diana Parry, and Chris Vigna.

Propel Centre update

Congratulations to the Propel Centre for achieving a major milestone in its transition from a long-time national research program of the Canadian Cancer Society to a university-wide centre at the University of Waterloo. With strong support from myself, the Propel Board Chair, and several faculty members affiliated with Propel, I’m pleased to announce that through the Office of the Vice-President Research, Propel was recently awarded funding from the University for three years starting in 2019. 

Along with longer-term funding from UWaterloo will come significant changes at Propel, and new opportunities for faculty and students. Barb Riley, Propel executive director, is already hosting informal roundtables and looking forward to working with the Waterloo community and external partners to shape the future of Propel. Please reach out to Barb (x37562) or Mari Alice Jolin (x36552) if you’d like to learn more.

Associate Deans reappointed

Rhona Hanning, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, and Richard Staines, Research, have both been reappointed for another term in these roles. Congratulations to you both.

2018 Fun Run

The University's Advancement office will be taking the lead on the annual Fun Run going forward. Last year, the annual alumni event, which takes place on Waterloo’s Ring Road over Reunion, had a record number of more than 600 alumni and community members take part, raising $3,200. Hope to see you out there on September 22 this year! Please contact if you have any questions.

Board of Governors visit

Members of the Board of Governors came for a tour of the Faculty on April 3 to learn more about our research and teaching accomplishments. We received a lot of positive feedback and comments on how vibrant and productive our community is. It also helped the governors recognize the ways in which AHS contributes to the University's strategic mission and direction.

Photo gallery of 50th closing and farewell

For those who were not able to attend the closing 50th anniversary celebration – or for those who would like to see it from a different perspective – we’ve set up a photo gallery of the event. Faculty, staff, and students got a sneak peak of the 50th anniversary plaque that will be installed soon in the courtyard, as well as some renderings of what our courtyard could look like. After a quick lunch, we reconvened to say farewell to my Deanship. I was touched by the (sometimes) kind words and thoughtful gifts. Thank you all for the artwork and photo book! There is another photo gallery with scenes commemorating this event as well.

Advisory Committee on Health and Well-being

Over the next year the Committee will host a Health and Well-being day each term as an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to engage around common themes. They will also be developing a number of resources to support distress response and service navigation. Pop-up events will also occur throughout the year as a way to further enhance the already vibrant community within AHS. Finally, the Advisory Committee would like to congratulate Amy Bicknell, graduate student representative to the Advisory, and her graduate student sub-committee for successfully receiving Graduate Student Endowment Funding to host a Mental Health and Well-being workshop series throughout the spring term. These workshops will explore themes related to nutrition, mindfulness, productivity, the outdoors, and new skill development. Watch for notices of these workshops throughout the term. 

Upcoming events

You@Waterloo Day: May 26

Thank you to everyone who participates in You@Waterloo Day, which is taking place Saturday, May 26 this year. Newly admitted undergraduate students have been invited to attend this open house and our goal is to make them feel welcome.

Community Based Research Excellence Tool: May 28

Are you interested in learning more about a reflective assessment tool for conducting community-based research? This day-long workshop and launch of the tool is being organized by the Centre for Community Based Research. It will be held at Conrad Grebel College. Please register online.

AHS Convocation: June 12

Please consider joining us in the procession if you are faculty, or as a volunteer if you are staff. The new Convocation website has a form you can use to sign up for the procession or to volunteer

Nominations, awards and more

External awards for AHS faculty members

Did you know that Heather Keller and Catherine Maine represent AHS on the Waterloo Awards Committee? The Committee recently set up a Prestigious Awards web page for faculty members, and our representatives designed a complementary web page indexing external awards of interest to faculty members in AHS. Contact Heather Keller or Catherine Maine about nominations and assistance that they can provide.

Teaching Assistant awards

If you had an outstanding Teaching Assistant this term, you still have time to nominate them for the Applied Health Sciences Teaching Assistant award. Details and the application form on the website. 

Jim Rush.

Thank you all for your support over the years,


James W.E. Rush, PhD
Professor and Dean 
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences