The President’s Forum in focus

Banner image showing President Vivek Goel.

More than 500 members of the University community tuned in Thursday morning to a President’s Forum that discussed the recently-released President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce final report and its 88 recommendations to address racism at the University of Waterloo.

President Goel provided opening remarks before turning the proceedings over to Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International and PART Executive Designate, who gave some context-setting remarks about the events leading up to the completion of the PART report. Following Professor Dean’s comments, Vice-President, Academic & Provost James Rush provided an update on actions the University has been taking in recent months on the anti-racism file.

Joining the University’s senior leaders were Jean Becker, Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Relations and PART taskforce/implementation team member); Lili Liu, Dean, Faculty of Health and PART Working Group co-chair; Colleen Phillips-Davis, PART Working Group co-chair; and Angeline Ram, PART Working Group co-chair. President Goel, acting as moderator, engaged the panelists in a discussion about their experiences with PART and their perspectives on the University’s next key steps.

The panelists then fielded questions submitted in advance and through the Teams Q&A chat feature on issues including hiring and career progression; supports for racialized employees; the processes PART used in developing its report; implementation of recommendations; and safe discourse around equity, among others.

If you were unable to attend the virtual forum, a video recording of the event will soon be available on the President’s website and on the University of Waterloo’s YouTube channel.

Baby, don’t forget Campus Wellness’s number

Health Services building.

A message from Campus Wellness.

Booking an appointment for Campus Wellness services is going to become easier. Starting Friday, May 20, Campus Wellness will only have one phone number: 519-888-4096. 

In the past, Campus Wellness had separate numbers for Health Services and Counselling Services. For students seeking help, having to navigate multiple numbers and lists of services creates unnecessary complications and can sometimes delay access to the services they really need. With the switch to one number, Campus Wellness will have new options to direct callers to Health Services, Counselling Services, Specialized Care, Occupational Health, as well as referrals, cashier, and appointment cancellations. This change seeks to provide a single point of contact to provide students with timely and accurate assistance.

We will have new promotional materials ready in late summer, which will be available to order. If you would like to order updated Campus Wellness postcards for fall semester, please fill out this form.

Remote classes affected students and teachers differently worldwide

A student watches a teacher conduct a class on a laptop screen.

As schools moved to a mode of emergency response teaching (ERT) at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were distinct differences in the effect it had on students and teachers whether they were in developed or developing countries, a new study shows.

Using data science, researchers at the University of Waterloo analyzed the impact the shift to ERT in early 2020 had on both learning outcomes for students and teaching objectives for instructors. They collected data from developing countries, including Bangladesh, Malaysia and China, and developed countries, including the U.S., Canada, Germany and Spain.

The research team generated the data for their study through a combination of surveys and interviews with students and teachers. They then used data science methods and statistical analysis to sort through the massive amounts of information and draw conclusions.

“There were distinct differences in developed and developing countries,” said Enamul Haque, a PhD student in computer science at Waterloo and lead author of the study. “Students and teachers in developing countries experienced difficulties linked with infrastructure issues, such as lack of internet connectivity in some rural areas. This was also an issue in some rural areas in developed countries, but not to the same extent.”

The researchers also found that students in developing countries faced related difficulties around financial constraints. Because there was no reliable broadband internet connectivity, some students had to attend classes on their smartphones and use large amounts of data, which could be expensive.

In the developed countries they studied, students faced more difficulties related to distractions or to not having a dedicated space for their online learning inside their homes. For the teachers, they found that they consistently experienced a far higher workload when preparing and delivering classes remotely. In addition, for many teachers, it was their first time using a tech-only approach, which presented unique challenges, depending on their experience or whether they needed labs for hands-on teaching.

“One important take-away is that planning and preparation for moving to ERT are vital, and educational institutions that had plans in place did much better,” Haque said. “The experience of ERT can show cracks and weaknesses in educational systems where improvements can be made to increase resiliency and better support students.”

The new research from Haque and co-authors Tanvir Mahmud, Shahana Shultana, Iqbal H. Sarker and Md Nour Hossain, “A Tale of Two Zones: Pandemic ERT Evaluation,” was recently published as a chapter in the book Smart and Sustainable Technology for Resilient Cities and Communities.

What’s open and closed this long weekend

The holiday that marks the unofficial start to the summer season is upon us. Victoria Day is a federal Canadian public holiday, celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25. It’s also a statutory holiday in several provinces and territories across the country.

The holiday began as a celebration to honor Queen Victoria, whose birthday was May 24, 1819, and in 1901, the year of her death, the day was made a federal holiday.

Like all statutory holidays, what this means for Waterloo is a number of operational changes (and a few operations that stay the same) including:

  • All W Store, W Store Essentials and W Print locations will be closed on Monday, May 23 for Victoria Day. All locations will re-open for regular business hours starting Tuesday, May 24.
  • Most Food Services operations will be closed over the long weekend, with the exception of The Market at UWP, open Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Check the Food Services Hours and Locations page for more information.
  • The Student Life Centre and the Turnkey Desk will be open and operating 24/7 all weekend long. The Turnkey@DC location will be closed on Monday for the holiday.
  • The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open on Monday, May 23 from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. Check the Library’s hours of operation page for more details. Chat assistance will be available from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. and email will be monitored from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m.
  • The Physical Activities Complex and the CIF/FH on the north campus will be closed Sunday, May 22 and Monday, May 23.

As always, even on holidays, the Special Constable Service (ext. 22222, or 519-888-4911), and the central plant will monitor campus buildings (24-hour service and maintenance line, ext.33793) in case of problems or emergencies.

Enjoy the long weekend. The Daily Bulletin will return on Tuesday, May 24.

Latest issue of WATtimes available and other notes

The spring/summer edition of WATtimes, the newsletter published by the University of Waterloo Retirees Association, is now available on the UWRA website.

At almost 40 pages, this edition, entitled “The One with all the Lists,” has something for everyone. “Please share WATtimes with fellow retirees who may not be members of the UWRA—and encourage them to join,” says a note from the UWRA. “Send your feedback and suggestions for future WATtimes to [email protected].”

Zero Work banner image from Concept.

Concept has issued a final call for applications for their Zero programs, Zero Work and Zero Experience

Zero Work is a free weekend workshop and the application deadline is May 27. “Get clarity on what to do after you graduate, and how to get a job this term,” says a note from Concept. “In partnership with CCA, it draws from research done at Stanford, MIT, and Yale to produce a single-weekend event that teaches you how to craft resumes, shows you how to network without feeling like a fraud, and helps you discover a career you actually want to do.”

Information on the Zero Work program and how to register.

“The Zero Experience is a series value-packed weekly workshops, fireside chats with diverse guests (like NASA’s Mission Commander for the Hawaii simulation) to help you find a problem, an idea, and a team in just 2 hours a week,” says Concept. “Plus if you get busy, you can leave at any point.” The application deadline is Tuesday, May 24.

Information on the Zero Experience program and how to register.

The next PDAG seminar takes place today from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. “Jira Service Management for Clients” will feature presenter Matt Harford and moderator Lawrence Folland. The event takes place on Microsoft Teams.

The seminar will explore the customer portal for Jira Service Management, how to interact with tickets, settings you can customize and control, talk about future plans, and answer any questions you may have.

Matt Harford is the Manager for the IST Service Desk team. He has been working on campus since 2009, initially as student staff. When he is not helping people at work, he likes to spend his time woodworking and enjoying the outdoors.

This session will be recorded and shared on MS Teams via the PDAG Channel.


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