Dean's Update - August 2020


Lili LiuDear colleagues,
At the recent President’s Undergraduate and Graduate Town Halls, I noticed a palpable sense of energy from new and returning students. I could appreciate the culmination of our joint efforts over the past five months to prepare for a safe return to campus for students, staff and faculty. Right now, we are in what’s called Phase 3 at the University, and won’t be in Phase 4 until November at the earliest. What does this mean for Applied Health Sciences?
A 'return to campus' during Phase 3 means that our courses will continue to be delivered remotely, to the greatest extent possible. In AHS, we are requesting that students, staff and faculty continue to work from home and not come into campus buildings unless absolutely necessary. Much of the research in AHS involves human participants; studies with healthy or less vulnerable individuals that were given ethics clearance can resume in early September. Graduate students should contact their supervisors about access to research facilities.
While AHS courses will be delivered remotely, there will be students from other Faculties using the AHS Expansion lecture hall. During these class times, the fobbed doors will automatically unlock, and lock at the end of classes. Signage and furniture have been arranged to allow for physical distancing. Unfortunately, during Orientation, no events that involve social congregation, even outdoors, will be held. We anticipate that such types of events will not be safe to take place until we enter Phase 4.
As the campus slowly opens up, it is important that we follow guidelines from the various levels of government, including monitoring of building occupancy. Campus community members are requested to check in with their location, arrival and departure times. This can be done online, or the information will be automatically entered if your device is connected by wifi to eduroam. I also encourage everyone to download COVID Alert, an exposure notification app that protects users’ privacy; its usefulness relies on the participation of a majority number of users within a cohort.

September, here we come.

All the best,
Lili Liu

AHS this monthEvents I Tips and reminders


Student satisfaction survey

YBallot with smiley faces indicating levels of satisfactionou may have already seen the University's overall feedback from students studying in the spring term, but here are some results from AHS students:

  • 648 responded, 98 per cent of whom were undergrads
  • 16 per cent said they were coping well, compared to 17 per cent for the university overall
  • 64 per cent said they had ups and downs, compared to 60 per cent overall
  • 18 per cent said they were not doing well, compared to 22 per cent overall

The biggest challenges they reported were: It's hard to stay motivated; It's easier to be distracted by other activities; Feeling disconnected from classmates; Feeling disconnected from instructor; The volume of work is heavier; It is hard to keep track of assignments; There are fewer opportunities to ask questions; It is difficult to schedule work or manage my time. Students also offered a couple of suggestions for improvement: Frequent but shorter lectures, and Ability to access additional tutorial sessions. To see the full report, please contact Leeann Ferries.

Senior executive changes in SPHHS

Ellen MacEachenEllen MacEachen will be Interim Director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems as of September 1, replacing Craig Janes while he is on sabbatical. Samantha Meyer will take on the role of Associate Director, Graduate Studies, representing all grad programs, as of September 1, replacing MacEachen and John Garcia, who will be retiring on that date.

Spring 2020 LITE seed grant recipients

Elena NeitermanWade WilsonCongratulations to Elena Neiterman (SPHHS) and Wade Wilson (Kinesiology) and their colleagues for receiving Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grants from the Centre for Teaching Excellence. These grants fund projects that explore innovative approaches to enhancing teaching and fostering student learning at the University.

Mental health widget on LEARN

Faculty and staff can point students to a mental health widget on LEARN that links to resources and helps students see pathways to support health and well-being. The resources were compiled by the Advisory Committee on Health and Well-being, and can be found - along with a printable PDF version - on the Get Mental Health Resources page on our website.

Bryan Smale receives leadership award

Bryan SmaleBryan Smale (Recreation and Leisure Studies) received an international Hall of Heroes Leadership Award from the Community Indicators Consortium for his work as director of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. The award is given to "a leader who has had significant, long-term impact on the indicators field and the improvement of community conditions and well-being."

Health Studies alumni win grant to support Muslim girls

Zainab MahdiShama SalehZainab Mahdi and Shama Saleh, both graduates of the Health Studies program, were part of a team that received an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant worth $225,000 to continue a local initiative they co-founded that supports young Black Muslim women and girls. The initiative is called Project UP (Unleash Potential), and was featured in The Record.

Recruitment this fall

AHSSIE in front of Welcome to Applied Health Sciences signMost of the undergraduate and graduate recruitment methods that we rely upon every year are having to be moved online. For example, because liaison officers cannot make individual school visits this fall, they will be hosting virtual class visits, webinars and online events starting in mid-September. The in-person Ontario Universities' Fair has been cancelled, so Waterloo has set up a digital event called Waterloo Virtual Fair on October 3. The in-person Fall Open House has also been cancelled, with details to come about what will replace it. Graduate recruitment activities have moved online as well, including the Grad Information Session, to be held in early October.


Please note that all in-person events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.

First-year Orientation: September 1-7

C-AHS-TAWAYS logoAHS has planned online programming that will help our incoming first-year students feel connected to their peers and their Faculty. First-year students will have the opportunity to participate in both pre-recorded and live events, where they will be able to meet upper-year students, learn more about their program and understand what it means to be an AHSSIE. If you’d like to see what Orientation programming entails this year, the schedule can be found on Portal.

Global climate connections: September 24

Bee in a plantThis webinar, "Global climate connections: How changes to our environment, food systems and health will shape our future," is the first in a series presented with the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3). Zahid Butt from the School is a panelist, and the keynote speaker is Megan Leslie from the World Wildlife Fund. Please register on the Global climate connections event page.

Alumni Black and Gold at Home: September 25-26

Three alumni sitting in standsAlumni will experience Black and Gold events online this year, including the Fun Run, which can be run individually between September 19 and 26. Also, bring the whole family together on September 26 at 10 a.m. for an AHSome workout, led by an AHS alumnus. Other events available as well; alumni can sign up on the Alumni Black and Gold Day web site.


Where to find brand information

Looking for banners to add to LEARN, templates for presentations, logos, or video guidelines for promotional purposes? The University has gathered all brand-related resources here; the AHS colour palette can be found here.

RIA seeks new executive director

RIA logoThe Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA), which is affiliated with the Faculty through the Schlegel-UW Research Chairs, is hiring a new executive director. It is a full-time position for an initial five-year term. Please forward the RIA job posting (PDF) to any qualified individuals; applications will be accepted until November 30.

Do you have a news item to share? Please email it to Eugenia Xenos Anderson.