People You Should Know: Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee chair

This is Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee chair

Our “People You Should Know” blog series interviews key people and offices at the University of Waterloo so you can make the most of their services. 

We’re kicking off this series with Lori Curtis. Lori is the new chair of the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee (AF&T), which helps faculty members at Waterloo with a wide range of workplace questions and problems. We sat down for an interview in her office in November.

This is Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee chair

FAUW: Lori, What is the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee?

Lori: It’s senior faculty members who can act as an academic colleague for other faculty—a peer who knows the academic situation that you’re in. They can attend meetings with you, help you work through issues, or just listen.

We get a lot of questions on tenure, promotion, and contract renewal. We also, unfortunately, talk to faculty who are having issues with other faculty members.

What do you bring to this role?

I have an eclectic background. I used to be a nurse, I’ve worked in government, and in a couple of universities. I’ve worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments so I can talk people through the difference between us and a unionized organization.

I think I bring a bit of logic to academia. Sometimes academics haven’t worked outside the university environment, and I don’t want to say they don’t quite understand the real world, but sometimes they don’t quite understand the real world. I also bring a bit of experience with mental health work.

Continue reading “People You Should Know: Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee chair”

Behind the Scenes of AccessAbility Services’ Exam Centre

Hello faculty members! It’s Jennifer Gillies here, the associate director of AccessAbility Services. In my last blog post for FAUW, I talked about the general operations of AccessAbility Services. This time, I’m going to share some ‘behind the scenes’ information about our Exam Centre.

Why is there an AccessAbility Services Exam Centre?

AccessAbility Services’ Exam Centre is both a student and faculty service. The Exam Centre enables students to write tests with their approved accommodations, without requiring faculty to facilitate the accommodations themselves. Accommodations such as securing scribes, purchasing and setting up assistive technology, monitoring supervised breaks, providing additional writing time, and securing rooms that have natural light or ergonomic furniture can be difficult to coordinate, so our office is here to help.

Who writes in the Exam Centre?

AccessAbility Services provides academic accommodations and support to approximately 2,500 students, almost all of whom receive testing accommodations. The Exam Centre facilitates approximately 6,000 tests a term, for students with a variety of disabilities.

Where do students write their tests?

A student writing a test with AccessAbility Services will be scheduled to write in one of five locations, based on factors in their accommodation (e.g., the need for a scribe or natural lighting). Continue reading “Behind the Scenes of AccessAbility Services’ Exam Centre”

Did you know that UW has a faculty writing support group?

Just because you do a lot of it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Whether you want to improve your writing skills or habits, need some direction, or could use a push to get the work done, you might benefit from the Writing and Communication Centre’s Faculty Writing Group. We’ve heard great things from our members about this and want to make sure you’ve heard about it before registration closes on October 1.

Here’s what the Centre says about the group:

The writing group will take place every Wednesday from 4:30pm to 5:30pm for eight weeks: October 17th to December 5th, 2018. During this hour faculty will set and share writing goals, report on their progress, give and receive feedback on excerpts of group members’ works-in-progress, and learn about and discuss new writing strategies.

All faculty are also welcome to attend the weekly drop-in Faculty Writing Cafe, which takes place every Wednesday from 2:00pm to 4:30pm in SCH 228F. The Writing and Communication Centre also offers free 50-minute consultations with their Faculty Support Specialist.

Learn more about all of these programs on the WCC website.

Want more professional development opportunities? Check out the professional development page of our Faculty Guide.

How to Get a More Memorable UW Email Address

What is a “friendly” email address?

A so-called “friendly” email address is one that uses your actual name instead of your userID. Like zhang.san@uwaterloo.ca instead of z4san@uwaterloo.ca.*

Why would you want one?

Why wouldn’t you? It’s more professional-looking and easier for people to remember – and it makes it easier for people to be sure they’re emailing the right person!

What if you don’t go by the “first name” on record?

If, for example, your name is Rajwinder but you go by Raj, or your colleagues know you by a nickname or a middle name, you can specify that! See steps 3–5 below to update your “Familiar Name.”

What happens to your userID email address?

It will still work. The friendly email address is an alias, and the two addresses are interchangeable.

How do you get one?

  1. Sign in to WatIAM
  2. Select “Update Profile.” 
  3. If you need to update your Familiar Name, enter it here. If not, skip to step 6. 
  4. Select “Save” to save your Familiar Name. 
  5. Select “Update Profile” again. 
  6. Select the “Email Configuration” tab. 
  7. Select the friendly email address option you want to use. 
  8. Click the “Save” button.

Don’t like the options you’re provided?

Make sure you’ve updated your Familiar Name first (steps 3–5 above). IST says: “In exceptional circumstances, if the email choices are not appropriate, please contact helpdesk@uwaterloo.ca to assist with an appropriate address which meets University guidelines.”

More information is available on the IST website, including screenshots.

*This is not a real user ID at Waterloo. We checked.

8 Lessons from our ‘Making the Most of your Mid-career Years’ workshop

Here are some of the key lessons shared by experienced faculty members at our recent workshop for newly tenured/continuing faculty. Workshop slides, notes, and background reading are available on our website.

  1. The post-tenure slump is real. You need to plan how you’ll avoid it. Set goals; have a vision of what you want your career to look like in the end, and do things that move you toward that.
  2. Service work is not the dark side. Participating in collegial governance is “superb but challenging,” and it can be extremely rewarding to make a difference in your colleagues’ work lives. It’s also necessary: If we want the University to continue being run by academics (versus giving control over to administrators), we all need to take a turn. 
  3. You can still learn new things about teaching. Don’t be afraid of new technologies. 
  4. A scholarship slump is common. Imposter syndrome often kicks in hard now. Do what you can to stay active in scholarship in any way. Do something small. Learn new methodologies that allow you to start a project you’re excited about. Make use of the resources available (talk to the Office of Research!) to figure out how to keep doing research, whatever your specific situation. 
  5. Take chances and try new things. Lecturers, remember that you’ve gotten to this point because your chair/director has confidence in you. Don’t worry about the new things you’re trying until your chair/director complains. 
  6. Lecturers: Ask for the things you need. Chairs and directors are still getting used to the different needs of lecturers. If you have a project you want to do, figure out how to make it count as a teaching task. Explain how it adds value and renews your skills. 
  7. Be a complete colleague. Contribute and participate in all areas of your professional life.
  8. If things don’t go well, get help from FAUW

Meet Lori Campbell, Director of the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre

On April 18th, the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC) was awarded the 2017 Equity and Inclusivity Award. Kathleen Rybczynski, Chair of the Status of Women and Equity Committee (SWEC), described why the Centre was selected for this year’s award: “The Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre exemplifies community strength, and with tremendous success has established decolonized spaces that celebrate and share Indigenous knowledges. Developing networks within our campus and broader communities, the centre brings people together: supporting, educating, and working toward respect and reconciliation.”

FAUW asked WAEC’s new director, Lori Campbell, to introduce herself to our community. In this post, Lori tells us about her background, WAEC’s initiatives, and what we can do as faculty members to support Indigenous perspectives and projects. Continue reading “Meet Lori Campbell, Director of the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre”

Unveiling AccessAbility Services

—Jennifer Gillies, PhD | Manager, AccessAbility Services

AccessAbility Services (ASS) can be a bit of a mystery. The purpose of this post is to help break down the wall between AAS and rest of the campus and shed light on its purpose, function, and benefits.

Why does AccessAbility Services exist?

Offices that support academic accommodations for students with disabilities are present in every postsecondary institution in Ontario. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development provides financial support and oversight of these offices. At the University of Waterloo, AccessAbility Services fulfills its mandate by collaborating with the university community to support equitable access to post-secondary education by designing academic accommodation plans and facilitating the implementation of accommodations.

The office is accountable to the Ministry concerning documentation requirements and service offerings, but it is also accountable to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and the integrity and academic standards of the University.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that postsecondary instructors have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. However, students’ medical information is private and needs to be reviewed and stored appropriately. Our office acts as a bridge: We receive and hold the sensitive medical documentation, and relay to you the ways you can fulfill your duty to accommodate. Essentially, our office is a faculty resource. We help you understand your duty to accommodate.
Continue reading “Unveiling AccessAbility Services”