Dean's update - May 2016


I hope you’ve all been enjoying the long-awaited arrival of warm weather. As we get into the swing of the spring term, there are a few items I’d like to call your attention to:

  • Our spring convocation ceremony will be held on June 14 at 10 a.m. I encourage all faculty to attend the ceremony in a show of support for our graduates. All are also encouraged to attend the pre-convocation reception in the BMH foyer from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. or stop by the Great Hall in the SLC following the ceremony for refreshments.
  • This year, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, known as “the father of positive psychology” will receive an honorary degree during our convocation ceremony. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow, a metaphorical description of mental states associated with optimal satisfaction and fulfillment, is key to the study of Recreation and Leisure. On June 15, he will participate in a panel discussion on the legacies of flow with several of our faculty members. All are invited to attend the event, held in STC 1012 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Some of you may be aware that as part of the federal government’s commitment to infrastructure, the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (PSIF) was created through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.  PSIF is a time-limited program aiming to generate economic activity and to enhance research and innovation infrastructure at post-secondary institutions.  Funds are directed to accelerating construction, repair, and maintenance activities, with several restrictions regarding timing, eligible costs, etc.  There was a very tight timeline between announcement of the program and the submission deadline mid-May.  As I announced at the last Faculty Council meeting, I am pleased that as part of the University of Waterloo’s submission, we were able to include a proposal to fund renovations and renewal of B.C. Mathews Hall to address priority items brought forward by the Faculty Space Committee.  We expect to hear results of the PSIF competition in June, and I will follow-up in my June update.
  • Our Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) is spearheading a national project to develop a Canadian standard to address issues of work disability prevention. Developed in collaboration with the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) and the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), the standard will allow organizations to systematically manage disability prevention programs, return to work policies and the recruitment and retention of workers with disabilities. Canada is the first country in the world to develop such a standard.  If you’re interested in learning more about the initiative and what this project will mean for employees and workplace regulations, you are invited to participate in a webinar on June 7 at 1 p.m. Registration in advance is requested. For more information, please contact  Amin Yazdani.
  • I’m pleased to share several student award announcements this month:
    • I would like to congratulate SPHHS PhD candidate Chi-Ling Joanna Sinn on being honored with the Rising Star Award from the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research. Joanna was recognized for her work creating a standardized assessment method for individuals who are seeking homecare assistance in Ontario. To learn more about Joanna’s research, you can watch her Three Minute Thesis presentation.
    • Congratulations are also extended to Jacobi Elliott, who won Best Conference Poster at the International Conference on Integrated Care in Barcelona. Jacobi recently defended her PhD thesis in the School of Public Health and Health Systems under the supervision of Paul Stolee.
    • Recognition is in order for Fitsum Areguy, a Recreation and Leisure Studies student who won the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers — the highest honour a young person can achieve for volunteer contributions to the province. On top of working on the Young Carers Project with the  Murray Alzheimer Research Education Program, Fitsum is involved in several youth and teen outreach initiatives, including programs with the YMCA, Facile Waterloo, and the City of Kitchener’s Youth & Inclusion Services. Fitsum was nominated for this prestigious award by MAREP.
    • The winner of the Brain Bee competition hosted earlier this year by our Department of Kinesiology has won the national competition. Nooran AbuMazen, a Grade 12 student from Waterloo Collegiate Institute, was coached by the Department before competing in the national Bee. She will now represent Canada at the international competition held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Congratulations to everyone involved!
  • Waterloo’s central Marketing and Strategic Communications unit is once again holding half-day media training and op ed writing workshops for faculty. Registration is now open for interested participants.
  • The AHS expansion building continues to evolve inside. The atrium area ceilings and bulkhead framing are finished and dry-walled. Foam, siding, and elevator installation are complete, as well as roofing. Resilient floor in the third floor labs is complete and the anatomy lab is currently underway.

Atrium area.

View of the atrium area looking north

Third floor foyer.

Third floor foyer

  • Finally, a reminder that the AHS HeForShe June meeting will be held on Monday, June 6 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in BMH 3119. The meeting will discuss our progress in promoting gender equality over the winter term, and look forward to plans for the fall. Staff, faculty, and students are all welcome to attend.

Jim Rush.As always, wishing you all a productive month ahead,


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