The past couple of weeks have been a new adventure for all of us. I want to thank everyone for their patience, flexibility and hard work in the last couple of weeks. We are living in a new world where we’re working remotely, and all of our classes have moved online.

The Math COVID-19 Response Team has been busy planning with our instructors so that our students can complete the Winter 2020 term, and we’re getting ready for an online Spring 2020 term. It’s great to see the creativity of our instructors as they move everything online to deliver courses to people spread across time zones.

I want to stress how important it is to take care of yourself. These times can mean uncertainty, increased stress, and even social isolation. We do have some positive news to share about things happening around the Faculty and on campus:

  • The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) has developed a new resource called CEMC at Home which is now included on the province’s web page as per an email from the Deputy Education Minister to the University President. (Look for a press release about CEMC at Home today!)
  • The CEMC is also receiving a lot of emails from teachers thanking them for their online resources that are helping them, their students, and parents.
  • The Math Virtual Water Cooler (on What’s App) banded together and purchased supplies for the Student Food Bank to help those students in need.
  • Any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the CEMC purchased for use to open contests is being donated to medical workers.
  • MS Teams is being used creatively by different groups to hold unit meetings, have daily “ice breaker” questions, virtual cryptic crosswords, and even virtual happy hours, Tutte socials and Grad House meet-ups on Fridays.
  • Warriors Athletics has Warriors Online Yoga classes that you can take.

In a time where it feels like everything around us is changing, we have some positive changes to share. Congratulations to Lakshmi Shankar on her new position as the Research Financial Analyst with the Mathematics Research Office and welcome Robin Morden, who joined the Math Advancement team as the Senior Communications Officer. Make sure you e-introduce yourself to Robin.

We have some sad news to pass on about someone you may remember who kept the Faculty running smoothly before she retired from the Dean of Mathematics Office. Shirley Thomson passed away on March 12.

Celebrations have needed to change in the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that we still shouldn’t celebrate what happens in our Faculty. As we start getting back to more “normal” communications, you’ll begin to see more celebration stories about how our community is working to do something positive.

Kevin Hare
Interim Dean, Faculty of Mathematics – University of Waterloo

Kevin Hare