January 2017 KI update

Seven year program review

Our seven year program review process included valuable feedback from alumni and other Friends of KI, and helped us to reflect and develop an action plan for the future. The process started in fall 2014 with surveys and focus groups which helped inform the self-study report delivered in June 2015 as the background for the reviewers' visit in November 2015. The department created a response report in Winter 2016, and the final assessment report was approved by Senate in September 2016.

Here are a few things we’ll be working on in the coming years in response to the report. These are not faits accomplis but rather things that we’re thinking about. If you have feedback, questions, or suggestions we’d love to hear from you!

  • reaffirming the vision and brand of KI, and updating our marketing materials
  • reviewing curriculum and program requirements to include greater connection to Environment and environmental issues, conflict resolution, and more structure around students’ specializations, while maintaining the breadth and flexibility in the program
  • developing new large-enrolment courses to help bring KI to the broader campus

Read the complete final assessment report prepared by the Office of the Associate Vice-President Academic.

Research progress

Vanessa Schweizer has been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery grant for her work on "Uncovering 'perfect storms' among possible events affecting complex systems".

John McLevey received the Early Researcher Award (ERA), for his work using new computational methods to better understand the development of free/libre open source (FLOSS) software in massive inter-organizational collaboration networks. He has also been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant for his work on "Remaking the Boundaries of Open and Proprietary Science: A Longitudinal Study of Biomedical Research and Development Networks in Canada".

Katie Plaisance, in collaboration with John McLevey have been awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for their work on "Increasing the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains".

Rob Gorbet and the Living Architecture Systems Group have been awarded a SSHRC Partnership Grant for their "Living architecture systems". Rob’s involvement includes the development and implementation of engineering systems to promote intelligent and empathic interactions with the architectural space, and inter-disciplinary working methods: studying and facilitating within the partnership itself, and developing related curriculum for grade school classrooms.

Learn more about their projects

KI Works work-integrated learning program

In summer 2016, we piloted an optional program for KI students with relevant summer jobs, encouraging them to explicitly connect their work to their academics. We’re calling it KI Works. Although it is not an accredited co-op program, KI Works shares most of the same requirements and will thus be evidence of the same kind of experience and learning that employers have become used to in Waterloo graduates.

Three students participated in the summer pilot, working at Blackberry, the Waterloo Regional Museum, and the Conestoga Bible Camp. Students completed two reflections to connect their personal, academic, and professional experience and growth, and received mid-term and final employer evaluations. On graduation, each student participating in KI Works will receive a letter from the Chair describing KI, the KI Works program, and listing their employers and evaluations.

Compared to traditional co-op at Waterloo, the one thing we can’t do yet is find jobs for students: the program is currently open only to those students who are able to find their own relevant summer employment. We hope that over the years that will change, as news gets around of our students and the great work they do.

If you know someone who might be interested in hiring a summer student or a grad, please let us know!

New profiles of KI students

One degree. Endless opportunities. Meet 3 of our students, including our first to go on to medical school.

The C2C tradition continues

KI students successfully hosted their third Combining Two Cultures Conference, an interdisciplinary student-led conference for students from across Canada to improve interdisciplinary education through collaboration. The theme was Explore: Past, Present, Future.

Other great KI news:

  • We thanked Ed Jernigan at his retirement reception for his 40 years of dedication and inspiration to Waterloo
  • Katie Plaisance was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award
  • Two of the KI-X 2016 exhibits were selected to be displayed at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener from March 23-May 23. We are excited about the future of this community collaboration, which helps to build connections, increase the impact of the students’ work, and raise awareness of KI program.
  • Vanessa Schweizer led the only English-language Canadian component of a global citizen consultation initiative called "World Wide Views on Climate and Energy", in collaboration with the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
  • Ed Jernigan and Paul McKone, along with recent KI grads, facilitated workshops for the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada at the Launch + Link event for their Roots & Shoots program, working on ways to address some of our most urgent sustainability issues.
  • Students from INTEG 475 Special Topics: Team Science Pedagogy Design, working with Katie Plaisance, hosted “UW Collaborates”, a successful workshop on collaborative skills for Waterloo students from all faculties. They also offered a very impactful workshop for instructors, helping them to enhance their students’ group work in the classroom. Here's the web site of resources that they created: Compendium of Collaboration
  • INTEG 452 Real World Problem Solving students, under the guidance of Vanessa Schweizer and Paul McKone, worked with their client imagiNation 150, a volunteer organization working to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. They created the “Generation Eh” website to empower older immigrants to tell their stories online through youth and their words and photography.
  • The second group of students convocated in Spring 2016 with the new KI Collaborative Design Specialization
  • And KI is now on Instagram, follow us!