Dear staff, faculty, and graduate students,
This month, we have all ventured into uncharted territories, figuratively. We are now wrapping up the Winter 2020 term, and ramping up the Spring 2020 term with alternative teaching and learning approaches to replace in-person interactions.
Our research activities have been curtailed or put on hold. Physical distancing as a global public health measure to contain COVID-19 has replaced our routine behaviours of meeting, catering, conferencing and traveling. Lecturers have quickly pivoted their courses to be delivered online. The UWaterloo leadership teams have been working around the clock to gather and assess information, including queries from students, staff and faculty. Administrators have worked tirelessly to consult with stakeholders and collaborate on preparing consistent messages to our current and incoming students, and to you. Consistently at these meetings, the well-being of the students, staff and members of the UWaterloo community has been a priority.
I am comforted by the goodwill and care that our community is demonstrating. We see a bigger perspective beyond ourselves. We understand that our individual actions to physically isolate and take care of ourselves helps others stay safe, especially our health professionals. This pandemic has shifted our perspective on other essential service providers, such as grocery staff, some of whom now receive extra compensation similar to hazard pay.
Although the end is not yet in sight, I hope that this perspective of better appreciation of our essential service providers and ways of service delivery stay with us after the pandemic.
As one colleague puts it, after this pandemic, there will be enough research questions for the Faculty of AHS to last a lifetime. Meanwhile, I hope that your daily routines include self-care as a way of caring for others. Be mindful of your diet of both food and news. Even if we can’t connect physically, we can connect socially with each other to get perspective when we feel anxious or fearful. When you have to cross the street to avoid encroaching on your neighbours’ space, wave hello anyway.
COVID-19 information and updates
To stay up to date on all the changes taking place around the University because of COVID-19, whether it's building closures or service modifications, please visit the Coronavirus website. Note that important dates in the course calendar have changed as well. Graduate student important dates are as follows:
- April 6 - May 31: Class enrolment period (revised from March 30 - May 24)
- April 8: Tuition fee bills viewable in Quest
- April 8: End of winter 2020 term evaluations begin - no on campus exams
- April 25: End of winter 2020 term evaluations conclude
- May 11: Spring term begins, including classes and co-op work terms (revised from May 4)
- May 15: Deadline to pay tuition and fees or become fees arranged (revised from April 24)
- May 16: Late fees begin (revised from April 25)
- June 1: 100% tuition and fee refund deadline (revised from May 22)
Kinesiology helps out with protective equipment
The Department of Kinesiology was able to collect personal protective equipment in response to a government request for supplies that could help avoid equipment shortages on the frontlines of the pandemic. The department was able to send off boxes of latex and non-latex gloves, N95 masks, disposable lab coats, hand sanitizers and Clorox wipes that are normally used in the labs.
COVID-19 media experts
The University and AHS have been compiling a list of experts who can speak to various aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. Many of our faculty members are already on it, but if you can contribute to the conversation based on your field of research, please contact Eugenia Xenos Anderson to be included.
How are you working from home?
What does your new workspace look like? Do you have cute new 'co-workers?' Share them with us on Instagram! We've launched a contest to help lift the spirits and stay connected during these days of physical distancing. Members of the AHS community can enter to win one of several prizes. See the details on AHS's instagram account, or view the AHS Facebook album.
Spring 2020 News to You now online
For the first time, the Faculty has produced a spring edition of News to You, the AHS alumni magazine. The issue is now online, and features stories on alumni and researchers who are working to keep their respective communities healthy — the importance of which we have been starkly reminded recently.
Diana Parry wins equity award
The Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada have awarded the 2020 Angela Hildyard Recognition Award in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to Diana Parry, Recreation and Leisure Studies professor and associate vice-president, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. The award recognizes an individual "who has shown exceptional leadership, initiative and commitment in fostering or furthering diversity and inclusion at their institution."
Please note that all in-person events have been cancelled or postponed for the time being.
Email auto-replies not needed
The University is advising that auto-replies from your email accounts need not be used to let people know you are working remotely. Working from home is the new normal across Canada, so auto-replies should be used to communicate that you are absent from work and when you will return.
Thesis defence updates
New Governor-General Gold Medal application process
Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) has a new streamlined application process for convocation medals and distinguished dissertation awards. The deadline for supervisors and faculty members to nominate their students is April 13 at the department level. Nominating a student early allows them to be automatically considered for other convocation medals and awards throughout the remainder of the year. Please contact Tracy Taves for more information.
Do you have a news item to share? Please email it to Eugenia Xenos Anderson.