Dean's update - December 2015


As we head into the break, I would like to wish every one of you a happy and healthy holidays. I am pleased to share a special video message and look back at what has been an exceptional year for the Faculty. 

Here are a few things to keep on your radar for 2016:

  • Earlier this month we hosted the Netherlands Health Attaché to the USA and Canada and the Consul General for a half-day introduction and tour of Applied Health Sciences. The event allowed us to share an overview of AHS research, showcase recent innovations in aging, and tour the Schlegel-UW Research Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging on north campus.
  • On behalf of the Faculty, I would like to extend my congratulations to Lora Giangregorio, who is the recipient of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. The $50,000 award, which will be put towards future research, is awarded to a researcher whose work has significant impact on the health and well-being of people in North America.
  • Construction continues on schedule for the AHS expansion building. The exterior bricking is expected to be completed within a week, and the roof is already a quarter of the way finished. With the exterior spray foam now in place, siding is set to begin. On the inside, planning and discussions continue around selecting the remaining finishes. Of special note: the work on the main foyer doors to BMH that was delayed earlier will begin around Dec 16 , with the plan to have it completed by Jan 4.  Some disruption to the main foyer entrance may occur, but access will be maintained. 
  • We are beginning work on two new strategic publications for the Faculty. The first publication, an impact report, will showcase AHS’ contributions to local and global health issues and highlight some of our success stories. The second piece, an annual report, will provide metrics related to our growth and progress made in our strategic plan, as well as alignment with the larger University strategic plan. The first piece will be released in early spring.
  • Thank you to all who contributed to the United Way campaign. Through our bake sale, pumpkin carving contest, pancake breakfast and our successful silent auction, we raised $2500. A special nod to all those involved in organizing the events.
  • The communications team has not lost sight of sharing a summary of the results from the internal communications survey. A link to a report of the findings will be included in my December update. Your feedback will allow us to begin evolving and enhancing our practices in the new year.

Upcoming events 

  • You may have noticed Your Waterloo. Your Voice kiosks around campus lately, including one in BMH this November. The kiosks are part of the University’s brand refinement project, which aims— through a consultative process—to develop tools, guidelines and visuals to more effectively communicate what Waterloo is all about. Starting in January, the project will begin phase two, developing a communication campaign to support cross-campus communications objectives and requirements. The entire three-phase project is set to be completed by September of next year.
  • On the topic of branding, the University has released a new and accessible PowerPoint template. I encourage you to use the slide deck whether you're representing the University of Waterloo internally, or with regional, national or international audiences.
  • Your replies to the internal communications survey have provided us with insight about what topics are most important to you, as well as areas in which you feel the least informed. Plans are already underway to improve information flow within AHS and ensure you are kept abreast of topics you identified as priorities. (Faculty-wide results of the internal communications survey were attached in Dean's Update email and are available upon request from Christine Bezruki.)
  • Senate recently approved a number of changes to academic plans in AHS, including modifications to degree requirements for RLS and SPHHS programs and minors in Kinesiology. Senate also approved the creation of a new Rehabilitation Sciences Minor in Kinesiology.
  • I am pleased to report that this year we met all our student recruitment targets in the Faculty, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. During a time when many universities and faculties are struggling to meet targets, this achievement is truly a reflection of the quality of our programs and the faculty and staff offering them, as well as the extraordinary efforts of our student recruitment personnel. 
  • If you haven’t seen a copy yet— three of our researchers are profiled in the fall issue of Waterloo Magazine. Corey Johnson and Diana Parry lend insight into gender equity issues, and Marina Mourtzakis is profiled as one of Waterloo’s “ceiling breakers” for her work in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related field. Copies of the magazine are available in the Dean’s Office.
  • Over the break, construction will continue on the expansion building. The upper roof is now complete and work on the lower roof has begun. Plumbing and electrical throughout the building is still in progress but coming along well within schedule. The courtyard landscaping has been roughed in and work on the area will continue in the spring.
  • Installation of the Georgian wire glass and doors in the existing BMH foyer is underway.  We expect some traffic flow rerouting through the foyer between now and December 24, but it is expected to be completed before we return in January.

Jim Rush.

Wishing you all a restful and rejuvenating break. See you next year.


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