KI updates

January 2024 KI update

Please join us at the following events in 2024!

  • February 2 - KI Alumni Panel Seminar + Social: Our KI alumni panel will take place this year on Friday, February 2, at 2:30pm with representation from Joan Ang (2012), Patrick Famaran (2016), Erin Jamieson (2017) and Karissa Manning (2019). We’ll host our yearly social afterwards from 4pm-5:30pm in the EV1 Courtyard. Please join us for the seminar and the social!
  • March 18-23 - KI Museum Exhibits (KIX): The theme for KIX 2024 continues to be the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s exhibits will focus on the history and benefits of dream therapy, how susceptible we are to behaviour control, the importance of Third Places to health and wellness, pretend play for adults, and why we buy so much “stuff” in the name of sustainability. You can visit the KI exhibits between March 18-23 in the St. Jerome’s gym.
  • March 20 – KI’s 15th Year Anniversary & KI Exhibit Celebration: Mark your calendars – on the evening of March 20th, we’ll be hosting a special reception to celebrate the program’s 15 years and the third-year students’ museum exhibits! There will be food, memorabilia from the past 15 years, and lots of opportunities to reconnect with friends, peers, and professors.

Some changes in the KI Hallway:

  • After over a decade of being Chair in KI, Rob Gorbet has passed on the torch to Katie Plaisance! Thank you, Rob, for your valuable service to KI, your visionary leadership, and your support of the KI community. Welcome Katie: we look forward to working with you over the next few years and can’t wait to see what you have in store for KI!
  • Kim Boucher has accepted a new position at the Centre of Teaching Excellence in September 2023. We miss her terribly but are excited for her new journey and thank her for her ongoing support of KI these past 15 years. Kim was a founding member of KI and contributed so much to the strong sense of community in KI, including the INTEG 10 seminar series and connecting with alumni throughout the years.
  • Solène Jollivet (BKI ’20), who has been covering advising and working on KI’s Marketing strategy this past year, has now taken on Kim’s role of Outreach & Administrative Manager. With her experience as Undergraduate Advisor, and as a KI alum herself, Solène is looking forward to connecting with the alumni and implementing her marketing strategies to raise further awareness of KI among high school students.
  • Jess Martinson, KI’s undergraduate advisor on leave this past year, will be exploring a new career path outside of UW. We wish her the best on her new career journey!

Noteworthy News

  • The second-years visited Barcelona in 2023, and had a great time, including attending an FC Barcelona game, exploring the city, studying museum design and getting to know one another. This year’s cohort will be off to Berlin in April!
  • This year, we honoured the founding members of KI by dedicating the KI bookshelf to them: Kim Boucher, Linda Carson, Rae Crossman, Darlene McGeer, Paul McKone, Stephanie Schmitke, and Ed Jernigan. A heart-felt thank you to all those who made, and continue to make, KI possible. Like the plaque reads, “As we develop and become tomorrow’s problem-solvers, we remember and honour those whose vision gave rise to the program.”
  • The Anti-Oppression Knowledge Integrators (AOK) hosted a three-part seminar series on Addressing Climate Complexity with Two-Row Learning: Indigenous & Western Knowledges. Thank you to the AOK team for continuing to identify opportunities to advance anti-oppression in and outside of KI.
  • For the classes of Copenhagen I and Barcelona II, this year is a milestone reunion!  Whether you travelled with this cohort, graduated with them, or would just otherwise like to connect, check out the ENV reunion website to see how we’re celebrating. We rely heavily on Class Champions to organize and connect the cohorts for Reunion. If you would like to help make this Reunion as awesome as it can be, please consider volunteering as a Class Champion.
  • Mathieu Feagan has had a busy year, including: leading a publication in Urban Transformations about critical pedagogy and knowledge co-production by and for early career green infrastructure experts; co-leading with AOK the INTEG10 sessions this fall on Two-Row Learning; and co-leading the submission of a New Frontiers in Research Fund proposal entitled, Just transitions as consciousness change: Learning with front-line communities.
  • John McLevey published his 4th book, The Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis, co-edited with John Scott and Peter Carrington. On a personal note, John and his partner Ally welcomed twin girls in November 2023, Nora and Quinn! John will be on parental leave for most of 2024 to spend some quality time with his family.
  • In July Rob left the Chair role after 9 years, only to pick up another service task as a Director of the UW Faculty Association. Aside from service and teaching the museum sequence, Rob is keeping busy helping with cross-faculty interdisciplinary teaching efforts on campus. In one facet of his research, Rob is working with WLU Faculty of Education collaborators to explore the potential for early learning interventions based on interactive environments such as Meander. Early projects underway include the impact of immersion on children on the Autism Spectrum, and the development of a kids’ book promoting interdisciplinarity and wonder using Meander as a context. He continues to lead the Living Dialogs podcast as executive producer, and is thankful for the assistance of some KI students on that project!
  • In Vanessa's final year as Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity & Innovation, she co-organized the Math for Complex Climate Challenges workshop in May with the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences based at the University of Toronto. Her interdisciplinary research project Robust Decision Making Using Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways for Direct Air Capture Deployment in Canada convened its first expert workshop in Ottawa in September. As an outgrowth of this project, she has been developing a new Special Topics elective for Winter 2024 on "climate interventions", which are responses to climate change that go beyond adapting to global warming or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate interventions include accelerating atmospheric carbon dioxide removal (for example, direct air capture technology) or modifying how much sunlight is reflected away from Earth and back out to space. As the impacts of climate change become more obvious, questions about climate interventions have become timely.   
  • Katie spent much of 2023 working on her SSHRC-funded research project, “Engaging Science with Philosophy: Fostering Best Practices for Effective Interdisciplinary Collaboration.” She and her collaborator, Sara Doody, were invited to present their work at a workshop in Barcelona last spring. Katie also had the chance to talk about her work at a conference in Toronto last summer, where she was surprised and delighted to see two KI alumni in the audience (proof that posting upcoming presentations on social media has its benefits!). For the third year in a row, Katie also helped organize an online panel of KI alumni to speak about interdisciplinary education as part of Ohio State University’s graduate course on “Interdisciplinary Team Science.” She is developing a formal partnership with Ohio State to ensure that KI students and alumni have opportunities to share their valuable expertise and experience – and so other students and researchers have a chance to learn from and connect with students in KI. Of course, Katie’s biggest news from 2023 is her new role as Department Chair. KI students and alumni are welcome to drop by and say hi!

Other exciting things on the horizon – stay tuned!

Solène’s Marketing and Recruitment work over the last year culminated in 19 actionable strategies for the KI department to consider and implement over time to help raise awareness of KI to the public, increase enrolment rates, and strengthen KI’s reputation as a hub of interdisciplinary expertise. Thank you to everyone who participated in Solène’s focus groups in early 2023 – your feedback, stories and ideas helped inform these strategies and we’re looking forward to implementing them. Here are some sneak peaks at the alumni engagement strategies you’ll be hearing about:

  • Mentorship program amongst the KI community – we heard from many of you, especially recent graduates, that you’d love to connect with more KI alumni. We’re currently working on developing a mentorship program to connect alumni together, and with current students.
  • Alumni photoshoot, video interviews, and testimonials – share your story on how KI led you to where you are now! In the next year, we’ll be working to increase our storytelling content on our website. Want to share an overview of your story now? Contribute to our alumni post-it note wall, and reach out Solène if you want to be engaged in this project further.
  • Stay connected though our (new) socials – we heard you: you want different ways to connect with our community and engage with KI! Be sure to follow us and tag us at @KIWaterloo on Instagram and X (Twitter), and @Knowledge Integration, University of Waterloo on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Keep connected and engaged!

Many great ways to get involved.