Welcome back message from the FAUW president

Bryan Tolson, FAUW president

Greetings members of FAUW!

I trust your fall term is moving forward smoothly. I’m excited about my new role as your FAUW president, and I thank our new past president Sally Gunz for helping make the abrupt September 1 transition from my sabbatical to this role go as well as possible. I’d also like to thank her on behalf of all members for her incredible dedication over the past two years as FAUW president.

One of my first tasks as president was to participate in a very nice new faculty welcome event. I tried to impart some wise suggestions on our eager new colleagues. But since welcoming new faculty properly is really a continual process, I ask all of you who are not new faculty to reach out to new colleagues in your department/school: Drop by their office or take them for a coffee and ask them what they need help or advice on.

For new faculty engaged in research, help jump-start their research by considering whether you could benefit by having a new colleague co-supervise one of your graduate students or maybe find a way to share lab space and equipment with them. I’m sure new faculty would appreciate any gesture you make, so give it a go!


Now that I’ve asked you to do something, let me return the favour by sharing something to make your teaching easier. Ever heard of Crowdmark? I know you probably have if you’re in Math. I get the sense other parts of campus don’t know what Crowdmark is and I expect many of you failed to parse or read the somewhat cryptic email sent to all instructors last week. So let me try and fill you in a bit. Here’s the sales pitch:

  • Are you tired of the slow, serial process of having to pass boxes of midterms or final exams between you and your TAs for grading?
  • Do you find it difficult to organize marathon group grading sessions so that all marking can occur within a day or so of the exam? 
  • Do you wish you could grade exams while travelling without having to cart around the paper copies?
  • Would you prefer distributing graded exams back to your entire class with the click of a button?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you really need to have a look at Crowdmark. It digitizes the grading process (with the help of Media Services) so that you can share the digitized documents online with your graders. Interested? Learn more about Crowdmark and how to use it at UW.

Back to FAUW

I’ll avoid a long list of all the issues and initiatives FAUW is currently working on. I’ll save that for our General Meeting in December and my winter term update in January. And this year we plan to release high-level summaries of our biweekly Board meetings on our blog. You can get these by signing up for automatic blog updates.

In closing, let me say that I’d be happy to hear from you and I know other FAUW Board members would be as well. So check out who your Board members are and who your department/school FAUW rep is. Feel free to chat with them or bring an issue, suggestion, or feedback directly to me.

Email (btolson@uwaterloo.ca) is probably most effective but in an effort to be regularly approachable, I will hold FAUW office hours on Mondays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in room MC 4001. Check our website on Mondays to confirm that I am actually there if you plan to drop by. 
Of course, I’m just as happy to chat at other times and you can drop by my main office as well in E2-2316 to see if I am free. Another fine location would of course be a pre-arranged Grad House chat.

Thanks for making it all the way though my welcome message – all the best in the fall term!


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