Dean's update - September 2015


The start of a new year is often a time of reflection and resolutions— and the start of a new academic year is no exception. This year, together with the enthusiastic support of the Applied Health Sciences (AHS) communications team, I am committed to improving internal communications within the Faculty and providing information that is important and meaningful to you. 

Every individual in AHS plays a role in advancing the Faculty towards its goal of becoming a world leader in protecting and promoting health and well-being. As such, I see the value in sharing regular and transparent updates on new initiatives, the direction of the Faculty, and things identified as important to you. One potential point of connection is through monthly memos from me, such as this one. 

To help us shape internal communications overall, please complete a short online communications survey and share your thoughts on how we might improve information flow and delivery within AHS. Ten randomly selected respondents will have $10 loaded to their WatCard as a token of appreciation.

I know that this “generous” prize package will prompt many of you to complete the survey tout suite. But on a serious note, thank you for giving this your consideration. Please take five minutes to complete the survey before October 14. I look forward to sharing the results with you in coming weeks. 

In Faculty news

  • I recently had the pleasure of welcoming our class of 480 new undergraduate students as they began their academic journeys in the various AHS programs. Among the many outstanding students is Cindy Wei, a Schulich Leader Scholarship winner. At the graduate level, I also welcomed a new cohort of 263 incoming graduate students to AHS (approximately 203 full-time equivalent), including 83 research thesis students.  My message to all incoming students included how exciting of a time it is to be joining AHS during this current period of the Faculty's expansion and renewal: with new building projects and renovations, new curricula throughout the programs, new faculty and staff hires, etc. We really are not only building on our strengths in transformative research and outstanding academic programming, but boldly pushing forward in new areas.
  • Progress continues to be made on the AHS expansion building construction.  A seating plan to accommodate 345 seats in the lecture hall has been finalized, as has glazing (window) product selection. Design drawings regarding the Starbucks and food services area will be finalized within the next two weeks.  Masonry and roofing progress is expected to occur over the next several weeks to precede the onset of winter weather conditions. 
  • Construction has finished on the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging. This one-of-a-kind facility will allow Waterloo researchers, including AHS’ Schlegel Research Chairs, to collaborate with long-term care residents and partners from Conestoga College and Schlegel Villages to lead innovations in aging-related issues ranging from brain health and nutrition to coordinated health care delivery. A grand opening— and the chance to tour the facility— will be held later this fall.
  • I would like to congratulate Dave Hammond on being appointed a member of the College of New Scholars, Arts and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. 
  • In support of the Faculty’s goal of attracting the best and brightest graduate students as part of our commitment to outstanding academic programming at all levels, I am pleased to announce the hiring of a Graduate Studies Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator. Jasmin English, who many of you know in her role as my assistant in the Dean’s Office, was the successful candidate for the position. The Recruitment Coordinator will work in partnership with the academic units to attract the best graduate students and professionals from across Canada and internationally. Jasmin will begin her new role on October 5, and can be found in LHN 3734 or reached at extension 38054.
  • The newest issue of AHS’ alumni magazine, News To You, was published earlier this month. For the first time ever the issue is available online in a mobile and tablet friendly design.

Upcoming events of note to the AHS community

  • I encourage you to attend a lunch hour talk by our own Heather Keller on October 3. Part of the Research Talks series hosted by the Office of Research, this lunch and learn will look at finding solutions to nutritional vulnerability in older adults. Registration is required.
  • This weekend MAREP and AHS are co-hosting a two-day hackathon at the Accelerator Centre to create practical applications for people living with MS or Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re hacking skills aren’t up to snuff, you can watch the culminating pitch competition on Sunday to see the new software, hardware and social applications developed.
  • The Ontario University Fair takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 25-27.  I want to take this opportunity to thank, in advance, all of the AHS faculty, staff and student volunteers for giving of their time and talent for this important recruiting event. 
  • Reminder that the AHS Fun Run and Reunion Banquet is Oct 3.  

Administrative notes

  • Two parking spots in Lot M have been reserved for visitors to BMH/LHN on short-term business. This includes members of the AHS community who have offices elsewhere on campus. The spots must be booked through Outlook (like a room booking) to avoid being ticketed or towed. More information on how to do this will be available in the coming days. We request that individuals participating in research studies or classroom activities continue to use the paid scratch permits obtained from parking services (purchased by the academic units). Any questions, please inquire at the AHS reception desk.
  • In the August update I mentioned that some fire code work was to be completed on the doorways and glasswork on either side of the foyer connecting LHN and BMH.  This has been postponed until at least December, so that it can be completed during a low traffic time.

Enjoy the energy of the new academic year, and the beauty of the change of seasons that is upon us.

Jim Rush.All the best,


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