Dean's update - July 2017


In my early years as a faculty member I did a lousy job of planning summer vacation time. I left it until the last minute, and frequently took very little concentrated vacation in the summer. I allowed myself to let the endless opportunities for conducting research with my graduate students, and writing papers and grants to set the pace rather than being more strategic about balancing my time. I regret that I wasn’t better at taking more time away during those years and reaping all of the benefits; I think in the end I would have been more productive had I done so. I have gotten much better in the past few years in blocking off vacation well ahead of time, and actually taking the time away. There is no substitute for this approach in terms of rejuvenation and fostering perspective. I hope that you all have had or will have an opportunity for time away this summer. Our work — all of our work, no matter what your role — is varied, plentiful and important. It deserves our dedicated effort and attention. So too do the many other important aspects of our lives that are also varied, plentiful, and important.  For two weeks beginning August 4 I hope to divert significant attention to some of those other aspects!

In news this month:

  • Construction in BMH continues at full speed. The Kinesiology area on the first floor is now complete and lab instructors have moved into the remodeled workspace. Installation of the entranceway to the BMH green is scheduled for completion on August 18. Upstairs, the asbestos removal has begun, and along with it, ample construction noise. I’d like to extend thanks to everyone affected by the ongoing construction — I realize it has been a significant inconvenience for many in our community, and genuinely appreciate your tolerance as we work to improve our building.  
  • The AHS Committee on Health and Well-Being has been very active, meeting bi-monthly, developing processes for better understanding student, staff, and faculty perspectives on mental health. The Committee has also started developing tools to improve how students can navigate health and well-being support services that exist on and off campus. Additional information on mental health supports are being provided to the incoming cohort of students this September, including PASS Kits. The Committee will be reaching out to the AHS community for more feedback in the coming months. 
  • I’m pleased to share that two co-op students working with CRE-MSD were selected as finalists for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) National Academic Challenge. Kayla Wierts (Health) and Michelle Boileau (Kin) pitched their ideas for a CSA standard at the national conference in Halifax.  While they just missed winning the competition, being selected as a finalist is a tremendous accomplishment.
  • The Office of Research has launched a new website for the Research Gateway Program to keep faculty members and research administrators up-to-date on the development of the Pure, Kuali, and Policy 73 systems. When implemented, these new platforms will reduce the administrative burden, accelerate application processes, and create opportunities for collaboration. 
  • In recognition of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is creating a crowd-sourced digital storybook of health researchers whose work is changing lives. Researchers, regardless of funding source, are invited to submit a 150 summary of their work for the project. The finished product will showcase both stories from researchers and stories of patients who have been involved in or touched by health research. 
  • AHS grad Benjamin Lee (MSc Kinesiology ’13) and his business partner Abdelhamid El Bably were one of five grand-prize winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held earlier this month. Their start-up, Altius Analytics Labs, helps occupational groups predict, prevent, and manage musculoskeletal injuries. They will receive $25,000 in funding and space at Velocity to accelerate their business.
  • On July 1, Charmaine Dean began her five-year term as vice-president, university research. Dean comes to Waterloo from Western University, where she was dean of science. Prior to her role at Western, she played a major role in establishing the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in her capacity as associate dean. She takes over the role from George Dixon, who is now acting as interim vice-president, academic and provost.
  • Congratulations are extended to Mark Havitz, who was selected by the National Recreation and Parks Association as the 2017 recipient of the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research. This award is presented to an individual whose scholarly contributions have significantly advanced the cause of the parks and recreation movement and is recognized as the highest honour in the field.
  • On August 23 students in Kinesiology’s MSc coursework program will be participating in their Capstone Colloquium. Everyone in the faculty is invited to watch as students present on their practicum experiences.  Presentations will begin at 9 a.m. in AHS 1686 and will run until noon. The Capstone Colloquium is the final milestone for students in the program, and is a great opportunity to get an idea of the types of experiential learning placements that our coursework students take part in. If you are able to attend please RSVP to Denise Hay by August 9.

Jim Rush.

Best wishes,


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

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