Dean's update - October 2017


Over my seventeen years as an Applied Health Sciences (AHS) faculty member I have been aware of many examples of how multidimensional and involved our students are in significant endeavours outside of their studies. There are so many ways that our students distinguish themselves. One specific example of this was obvious last week at the reception honouring Waterloo’s Academic All-Canadians (students who maintained an academic average of 80 per cent or higher while also being a varsity athlete). Of the 210 students who were recognized, over a third were from AHS! Given that the AHS student population is below 10 per cent of the overall university student population, this is truly outstanding. This reminded me that, while we appropriately focus on the academic development of our students, we should also celebrate and take pride in our students’ other achievements and contributions.

In news this month:

  • Karla Boluk and a team of researchers from across campus, UNBC and Ryerson University will host a special photo exhibit “Documenting Downtown Change” at the MUSEUM tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Part of a project entitled Collaborative Solutions to Inequitable Urban Change, the exhibit provides a deeper look at everyday places and highlights the social distance that often exists between people who inhabit the same physical space. Following the exhibit viewing, join the team behind the project as they lead a panel and community discussion on what downtown change means to you.
  • For the tenth consecutive year, the University of Waterloo is Research University of the Year among Canadian comprehensive universities, according to Research Infosource. The announcement comes just weeks after Maclean’s magazine ranked Waterloo the most innovative university in Canada for the 26th consecutive year. Maclean’s annual ranking of Canadian universities also named Waterloo second for best overall, highest quality and leaders of tomorrow out of the 49 universities surveyed.
  • Thank you to those who joined the Teaching Fellows for the October Teaching Fellow Monthly Meet-up. The next event on the topic of Kahoot will be held on Wednesday, November 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in AHS 1686. Kahoot is a free, game-based learning platform that instructors can use to promote student engagement. Learn how to use Kahoot in your classroom, including quizzing, games and other social learning strategies. Lunch will be served, online invitation to follow. Please visit the Teaching Fellow website for information on this and future events. 
  • The AHS Advisory Committee on Health and Well-being would like to thank everyone who made it out to the Mental Health Wellness Day activities on October 24. The event was very well-attended, providing a great opportunity for our community to come together in a variety of ways, share stories and support mental health. We are thankful for the over 150 survey responses that will provide further direction for our work over the next year. The committee is grateful for the logistical support of Bernice Ma and Catherine Maine and to Karen Kirkpatrick (Sharon’s sister) for volunteering her time and talents to design banners for the event and for arranging to bring in a team of therapy dogs in training.
  • Upcoming Hallman lectures to note:
    • November 8| It’s about the science, stupid
      Alumni Award recipient, Dr. Patrick Brill-Edwards will share his experience working on the Gardasil vaccine, from initial development to the on-going tension between the science and the pseudo-science of its implementation.
    • November 15 | Measuring the future we want
      The global movement to redefine social progress “beyond GDP” is a fascinating, but still unfinished story. Mike Salvaris, Director of the Australian National Development Index (ANDI), will share how Australia is modelling its own initiative off of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing and discuss the latest in international cross-disciplinary research.
    • December 1| Are we ready for radical leisure? and The relevance of leisure in optimizing life transitions: personal knowledge and alternative facts

      Join the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies for Hallman lectures by the 2017 Shaw-Mannell Award recipients, Dana Kivel and Doug Kleiber.

      A Professor of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration at Sacramento State University (CSUS), Dana Kivel is an expert in community recreation, and leisure and identity. She holds the role of Director of the Community Engagement Center at CSUS.

      Douglas Kleiber is Emeritus Professor of Counseling and Human Development Services and adjunct faculty in Psychology and Gerontology at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on the social psychology of leisure, as well as leisure and aging. He is a charter member of the Association of Psychological Science, a past president of the Academy of Leisure Sciences and a recent inductee into the World Leisure Academy.
  • I am pleased to share that RBC will continue its partnership with AHS through a new commitment of $100,000 for projects concerned with health and well-being in aging and retirement. RBC has reserved the right to renew this partnership at $100,000 per year for up to an additional two years. In addition, the Faculty has received a gift of almost a quarter of a million dollars from two members of the extended AHS community, which will help us launch our fundraising efforts towards two priorities: the Global Health Institute and CCCARE. I would also like to thank all the individual donors who give us the confidence to designate their gifts. From an accumulated $100,000 in gifts, we are directing $25,000 towards students’ experiential learning through the undergraduate research experiential fund, $25,000 to AHS’ departmental priorities and $50,000 to launch the support of the Global Health Institute’s first student social venturists.
  • On November 4, we will open our doors for the largest on-campus recruitment event of the year: Fall open house. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. we will be offering program information sessions and student-led tours of our facilities (which for Kinesiology includes a visit to the anatomy and biomechanics labs). Faculty, staff and students will be on hand in the AHS atrium to answer questions from prospective students. Our recruitment specialists expect AHS registration to surpass 2000 people for the day.
  • Congratulations are extended to four SPHHS graduate students who received CIHR Impact Fellowships: Renata Valaitis, Sandra Jutilainen, Christine Czoli and Margaret Saari. The awards are part of CIHR’s new program to modernize training and develop capacity to improve the Canadian health system.
  • Renovations on the second floor of BMH are almost complete, and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies will begin its move back into the space beginning on January 5. Thank you to everyone for their patience throughout the construction process.
  • From November 10 to 12, the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program will host the third annual Hack4Health competition. The two-day event provides an exciting forum for post-secondary students and recent graduates to create practical applications (software, hardware, and social solutions) for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) or dementia. The competition is free of charge for Applied Health Sciences students. All staff, faculty and students are welcome to attend the opening event on Friday, November 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the final pitch competition starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 12. Both will be held in AHS 1689.

Jim Rush.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Halloween,


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

Have a news item for the monthly update?

Submit to Christine Bezruki, Manager Marketing and Communications for consideration.