Dean's Update - March 2024

Lili Liu.

Dear faculty, staff and graduate students,

In light of the provincial government’s response to the Blue Ribbon Panel report (see the Council of Ontario Universities' response) and the federal government’s cap on international undergraduate students, you may be wondering what lies ahead.

Alongside discussions about how best to address these budget constraints, the University is continuing with its transition to a new budget model that will provide greater transparency. Currently, deans and academic support units are working with the Associate VP, Academic Operations on high-level planning, to be followed by budget preparation in fall 2024.

With respect to planning, I am working with the chairs, directors and other members of administrative council to articulate our plans in the immediate and longer-term future. Related to this exercise is our case for the upcoming advancement campaign, and I am grateful to those of you who have stepped up to showcase your impressive scholarship and academic initiatives to potential external partners, donors and sponsors.

I will share more as these budget discussions and plans develop. Our goal in this tentative time is to prepare for as many eventualities as possible and to be ready to seize new opportunities.

Lili Liu

News I Events I Did you know?


Two faculty members named Canadian Research Chairs

Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens and Zahid Butt

Dr. Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Dr. Zahid Butt from the School of Public Health Sciences have been named Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), with appointments worth $100,000 per year for five years. The CRCs recognize exceptional emerging researchers for having the potential to lead in their field. Dr. Ehgoetz Martens also received a Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) grant worth $100,000.

Two faculty members receive Early Researcher Awards

Karla Boluk and Paolo Dominelli

The Ontario government announced funding through the Early Researcher Awards program for five Waterloo faculty members, including Dr. Karla Boluk from Recreation and Leisure Studies and Dr. Paolo Dominelli from Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Each award from the government is valued at $100,000 and will be matched with an additional $50,000 from the University.

Faculty of Health Teaching Assistant Awards announced

Rachel Almaw, Jasmine Nijjar and Megan Dol

The winners of the Faculty of Health Teaching Assistant Awards for the fall 2023 term are Rachel Almaw of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Jasmine Nijjar of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Megan Dol of Public Health Sciences. The three women have demonstrated a strong commitment to the learning and personal growth of students.

Recreation and Leisure Studies announces next chair

Heather Mair

Congratulations to Dr. Heather Mair, who has been appointed chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) for a four-year term, beginning July 1. Mair has been a faculty member in RLS for 20 years and has served in many roles. Thank you, Dr. Troy Glover, for your leadership and contributions over the past eight years.

Dr. Rhona Hanning named Canadian Nutrition Society Fellow

Rhona Hanning.

Dr. Rhona Hanning, professor emeritus in the School of Public Health Sciences, has been named a 2024 Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) Fellow, a distinction given in recognition of exemplary achievement in the field of nutrition. Hanning has been a member of CNS for more than 35 years, and has been active on the CNS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee. She is also a Fellow of Dieticians Canada.

Health's Co-op Student of the Year

Danielle Lebowitz

Congratulations to the Faculty of Health's 2023 Co-op Student of the Year: Danielle Lebowitz from the School of Public Health Sciences.Lebowitz provided lifesaving information to patients and created a big impact with her research during her co-op work term as a genetic counselling assistant at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Dean's Office staff changes

Please welcome two new members of the Dean's Office staff. Tijhiani Thobani is Health's new Alumni Engagement Officer, working in the role while Katelyn Gordner is on parental leave. Thobani graduated from Waterloo in 2022 with an Honours Bachelor of Public Health degree and has been completing a Master's degree at the University of Toronto. Siyavash (Sia) Izadi is the new Social Media Specialist, taking over from Irfan Mohammed. Izadi is a Kinesiology and Health Sciences alum (BSc '17, MSc '20) and is close to completing a PhD in the department.

March Open House wrap-up

The Faculty of Health saw more than 250 guests for tours and more than 450 prospective students joined one of our program sessions at March Open House last weekend. This undergraduate recruitment event is directed toward applicants and admitted students and gives them a chance to explore our buildings, tour our academic spaces, and hear from current students, faculty and staff. Thank you to all who helped make the Open House a success!

Faculty of Health Land Acknowledgement project

A photo of Dean Lili Liu alongside her own personal land acknowledgement stating "As an immigrant and a settler now residing on lands within the Haldimand Treaty of 1784, I am grateful to the generosity of the Indigenous peoples who foster a sense of belonging for someone like me who calls Canada home."

Faculty of Health students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in a new land acknowledgement project, reflecting on your own experiences and sharing what it means to be in a relationship with the land and Canada's First Peoples. To participate, write a land acknowledgement no longer than 50 words, include a photograph of yourself or another meaningful image and submit them to with details of how you would like the acknowledgement attributed to you. Submissions will be featured on TV screens in EXP, the BMH lobby and in RLS. If you have any questions, contact Gabrielle McInnis.


Winter Pivot-RP training: April 5

The next virtual Pivot-RP workshop for faculty members, postdocs and graduate students is scheduled for Friday, April 5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. via MS Teams. After an overview of Pivot-RP, a live demo will cover topics such as claiming your profile, searching for funding, tracking, sharing and exporting funding opportunities and highlighting available resources, followed by a Q&A. For more information and to register for this workshop, visit the Pivot-RP training webpage.

Planning your research trajectory: April 10

A person stands between two arrows pointing in opposite directions.

Attention all early career researchers! The Office of Research invites you to attend the award-winning workshop, Planning your research trajectory: Strategies for success, on April 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will provide an overview of how to navigate through your first few years at Waterloo, and it's a great opportunity to meet new faculty from across campus. Visit the Planning your research trajectory event page for details and to register.

Teaching and Learning Conference registration: April 19

Registration is open for the 15th annual University of Waterloo Teaching and Learning Conference taking place on May 1 (online) and May 2 (in person). Keynote speakers include Jessie Moore (director of the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University), Craig Fortier (professor, Social Development Studies, Renison University College) and Suzanne Kearns (professor, Geography, and founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics), who will showcase some of the excellent teaching being done on campus. The registration deadline is April 19.

Red Dress Day: May 3

Red dresses hang on trees on the B M H green.

Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People, will be commemorated on Friday, May 3 from 12 to 1 p.m. on the BMH green. The day was established as a call to action to address the ongoing crisis in gender-based and racialized violence due to the effects of colonialism. You are also invited to register for an Indigenous beading workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. following the ceremony.


April Wellness Bingo

2024 April Bingo Card

Organized by the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Health and Well-being, Wellness Bingo is open to everyone in the Faculty to promote healthy habits and behaviours. When you complete a line, send a picture to to be entered for a monthly prize draw. You may also request an accessible version of the card. April's prize is a $50 gift card to Skip the Dishes! Download the April Wellness Bingo card here. Congrats to Thenugaa Rajeswaran, who won last month’s Wellness Bingo draw!

Not too late for Anti-racism training course

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Committee encourage everyone to complete the online Anti-racism Anti-oppression (ARAO) course via LEARN. The ARAO training takes approximately three to four hours to complete, and aims to help build, enhance and transform the competency and capacity of our campus community. So far, 47 people have started the modules, with 27 fully completing the training. If you have any questions, please contact the Health EDI committee. Thank you to all who have participated so far!

Do you have a news item to share? Please email it to Jenna Braun.