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.

Using Your Resources: A Different Approach to Mentorship

Jo Atlee is a professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science and the director of Women in Computer Science. She helped us prepare our faculty guide section on mentorship and has agreed to share here what she’s learned from her experiences—both positive and negative—with various mentoring models. Here’s Jo:

I’m not a big believer of the formal-mentor model of mentorship. Such a model of mentor and protégé makes sense for supervisor-student (or supervisor-postdoc) relationships, because there is an aspect of apprenticeship in the progression from student to faculty member. But outside of these relationships, I think that people have unrealistically high expectations of being able to find and establish a really strong relationship with some singular mentor or mentee. This is especially true with respect to finding a mentor within one’s department who is worth meeting with regularly.

I prefer a model of having a network of colleagues—peers, senior colleagues, junior colleagues, preferably at multiple institutions—that you can draw on for advice, feedback, or ideas on how to navigate a sticky problem. A wide network provides the obvious advantage of diversity in advice and expertise. I also like this model because the time commitments on mentors are relatively lightweight. Mentoring interactions tend to be a lunch, a phone call, or a quick email response that is purposeful, as opposed an expectation to meet regularly with a mentee. As a busy person, it is easier for me to say “yes” to an invitation to lunch with someone looking for advice than to a request to be a mentor, not knowing what kind of time commitment the requestor is expecting.

In my years of work with Women in Computer Science and Women in Math, one problem with the formal-mentoring model has always been that, while senior students recognize the value of mentoring and are interested in being mentors, junior students are not interested in being mentored. They believe that others have gotten by without this extra “help,” so they can as well. I’ve seen junior faculty take a similar view of formal mentoring programs within their departments; these pre-tenure faculty would prefer to be acknowledged as peers within their departments than as formal mentees or protégés.

An advantage of the network model of mentoring is that the vocabulary surrounding mentoring is devoid of this power differential. There is no notion of protégé. Best of all, the network model changes the vocabulary associated with “seeking advice”: by reaching out to members of your network for advice, you aren’t “asking for help”—you are simply “using your resources.”

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

President’s Report

Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This is my last report as president of FAUW. Tomorrow, Bryan Tolson will return from his sabbatical and assume his rightful position in my stead. Bryan is an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has represented FAUW in many roles, and for the past two years has been its vice president. The membership made a fine selection. Bryan cares deeply for FAUW and its members, and I have no doubt he will bring a whole new level of positive energy to this position.

How do I feel at this stage? Of course there is inevitably a real sense of relief. This is, to all intents and purposes, a full-time job that brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to make decisions, offer opinions, and take initiatives that are in the best interests of the membership. Fortunately, the FAUW board of directors comprises a strong set of people with a vast array of experience, and we have many people on campus whose past experience with FAUW can be very useful. Issues are seldom new, even if they are new to me. Thoughtful people have always been there to offer advice and support and I thank them.

Further, FAUW has recently built up a team of permanent staff members who are highly skilled, tactful and always generous with their time. Volunteers will come and go with FAUW but our staff provide our memory and our continuity. We are most fortunate that all three of our staff are not only excellent at what they do, but are genuinely decent and caring people. Those of you who come by our offices in MC will know the value of the warmth and friendliness with which we are always greeted.

My goal coming into this position was to ensure that I left it with a strong organizational structure, sound staffing, a talented successor, and a strong board and, while any achievements are hardly my doing alone, I can say that as a group we have met all these expectations. FAUW is in very good hands. Here are some further observations, particularly relating to the months since I last reported.

New faculty

Summer is one of the really enjoyable times of year when we greet new faculty members. I gather we have approximately 40 new members of our academic community. In July and August, we held informal get-togethers for those who had just joined the University and these were fun. The newcomers are filled with enthusiasm and the pleasure they take in joining this university is infectious. We look forward to many more gatherings like this as the new academic year begins.

New administrators

The past months have once again seen major changes at the senior administrative levels of the University. Provost Ian Orchard’s retirement was not the best news, but, fortunately, George Dixon is well known to us all, and of course he knows the university through and through. It is good to have a University Secretary once more, especially as Karen Jack already has a sound understanding of the operations of the university. We also welcome Cathy Newell Kelly in her new role as Registrar and Beth Sandore Namachchivaya as University Librarian. But we remain engaged in hiring for top level administrators and there will be the obvious next transitions and adjustments.

Upcoming events

There are many issues FAUW will continue to work on over the next year. For now, I will let you know of the new events we have planned:

Workshop for mid-career faculty – September 29

This is for all of you who have become a continuing lecturer or acquired tenure in the recent past. You are officially “mid-career.” The workshop is offered in recognition of the relatively poor job we do of introducing faculty to the full range of options available in an academic career (as all universities do). We are often asked how people become administrators, journal editors, policy advisors, etc. Often it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, which is obviously not good enough. Acquiring career security marks a significant transition in your life as an academic and this half-day workshop will introduce you to many of the options now open to you. Shannon Dea will lead the event and has brought in others with really solid experience at this university and others in a range of capacities. Please register in advance.

Celebrating our birthday – October 26

Yes FAUW too is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. We understand we are competing with many special events, but we believe ours will be the best. Please mark your calendar for October 26th, when we will have an afternoon panel session followed by a reception. We will be providing more information soon.

FAUW service awards – October 26

At our 60th anniversary event, FAUW will present its inaugural service awards. These will be given on an annual basis to members of the university community who genuinely have made significant and lasting contributions to the well-being of FAUW members.

Mental health workshop

We are currently exploring an event that would help faculty better understand mental health concerns in academe to complement other, more student-focused initiatives on campus. Stay tuned for more information.

Thank you

Thanks all of you for the support over the last two years. FAUW belongs to its members. It is an inclusive and transparent organization. We welcome all of you who wish to work with us on any of the important issues that arise in our academic community.

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”

President’s Report to the 2017 Spring General Meeting

– Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This is the last official general meeting report of my term as president of FAUW. Technically, the changeover to Bryan Tolson is on July 1, 2017 but it will actually take place as of September 1 since Bryan is on sabbatical.

At this meeting the names of new FAUW Board members are announced. We had an excellent slate of candidates and all of us on the Board are particularly grateful to the new people willing to offer their services to FAUW. It has been my obsession in my role as president to ensure that FAUW is an association that genuinely seeks new people to join our ranks and, in time, take over key roles. There is also a learning curve to being on the Board so we do need some returnees at each election – terms are only two years and it would be sad to lose people just when they are really hitting their stride in terms of experience. I believe our present and new Board represent a good balance of experience and new voices.

It is tough each year to say goodbye to those people whose terms are done or who did not or could not run again. We have two outstanding Board members who are leaving. Elise Lepage will be a big loss. She has been our main Board person working with Laura McDonald on communications and many of the very valuable improvements to the website, events, and notifications have involved a large amount of Elise’s time. Paul Wehr’s departure will also be a significant loss. Paul is always willing to focus on the detailed elements of our activities that are necessary in order for FAUW to be successful. Paul was also a key part of the success of the Lecturers Committee and we hope he will continue to find the time to participate in that committee’s work.

I want to stress the many other aspects of FAUW where we need strong participation from all of you. Bryan Tolson has worked hard to revive and revitalize the Council of Representatives. If you do not have a person in your department or school routinely reporting about FAUW activities, please contact us to see if you are missing a representative.

There are other key standing committees of FAUW: the Status of Women and Equity Committee, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, Lecturers Committee. Please contact any one of us on the Board or our staff to find out how you can become more involved.

I now will summarize some recent events:

  1. We have been giving you updates on the progress of the review of Policy 42 – Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence. As of the time of writing, we still do not have terms of reference to review. We know that there have been delays because of the limited resources in the Secretariat, but the review was slated to commence in January. David Porreca asked about this at the Board of Governors on Tuesday (April 4) and he was assured things were “imminent.” I hope real progress will have occurred by the time you receive this report.
  2. We discussed the Course Evaluation Project Team (CEPT) Draft Report at the fall meeting and we used your input as the basis of the FAUW response that you can read on our website. You can see other responses on the CEPT site. There is a good deal of consistency in terms of the key concerns: bias, faulty measures of teaching, etc.

    We also are concerned about the assumption that all numeric data will become available to members of the University community by sign-in. This is available now in certain Faculties, but by no means all, and FAUW’s position is that change should be by Faculty vote. We will express our disappointment in the current version of the report that will be going to the provost. If the provost accepts the report, the next stages will be held at Senate, I assume. We will keep you informed as this proceeds.

  3. On the positive side, there are a number of initiatives that are moving forward well:
    1. Workshop for newly tenured faculty: newly-tenured and newly-continuing faculty members will be invited to a brand-new FAUW workshop in the fall. The workshop will help newly-tenured and continuing faculty members plan their next career stage.
    2. Our Memorandum of Agreement revision project continues. This is a really time-consuming and picky exercise. You should be invited to vote soon on proposed changes that are of a somewhat technical nature. 
    3. Mental health: FAUW recognizes that issues with students affect faculty members directly, and indeed that many of our members struggle or have struggled with mental illness. We plan to conduct an event in the fall, the exact nature of which is still taking shape. We also continue to work directly with members, Occupational Health, the Employee and Family Assistance Program Committee, Healthy Workplace Committee, and the Pension and Benefits Committee to ensure appropriate support and care are available to our members. 
    4. In November we will be hosting an event in celebration of FAUW’s 60th anniversary. More on this to come.
    5. Communications: you should now be aware of many of the wonderful initiatives spearheaded by Laura McDonald, Elise Lepage and others. This is far more than the logo though we are proud to see that on the banner, letterhead etc. Our social media presence continues to improve and we are always open to further suggestions. We have a “FAUW Five” initiative that disseminates information through the Council of Representatives. The Status of Women and Equity Committee also has a fine equity newsletter.
    6. For those of you who attended the Hagey Lecture, you will know of its success. Planning is already underway for the next lecture. Jasmin Habib has come to the end of her term as chair and these are big shoes to fill. Watch out for information about showing your interest in being considered as a member for the committee if you are in one of the Faculties where new representatives are required: Arts and Math. This is a premier event for the University and our committee comprises outstanding representatives from each Faculty appointed by the provost and myself. 
    7. We continue to work on ways to engage new members. We recently repeated our drop-in sessions and are planning fall events. 
    8. It is lead-up time to salary negotiations – that will be a major preoccupation for 2017–18.
    9. We continue to work with others on the ongoing policy review processes. There is some semblance of light I believe I can see at the end of the Policy 33 – Ethical Behavior and Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments tunnels and you will be fully informed in due course.
  4. We remain closely involved in OCUFA and CAUT events. Some of the latter events had to be canceled because of labour issues amongst CAUT staff, but it is our understanding that these are now over. I will be attending the CAUT Council in May in Ottawa. 

In sum, our plate is very full. There are so many more things we could and should be doing. We have outstanding staff. We have really committed Board members. We can always do with more volunteers. If yo
u are interested in offering your services or have good suggestions for how we can do better, please speak up. This is your association and it will be successful only if it represents what our members expect of us.

And finally a couple of “formal” personal comments. I have very much enjoyed my two years as president. I look forward to a quieter life, but that is no reflection of the genuine pleasure I have experienced while serving my term. Our staff and Board are all, to a person, fun, interesting, committed, smart, and hard-working people. I think all of us look forward to being together at our bi-weekly meetings. The members I meet through other events and committees are equally committed, compassionate and dedicated.

As for the University staff and senior administrators with whom I interact frequently, for the most part they are also committed to working with us as representatives of faculty and not against. At times we have to take firm positions, as do they, but I think it is safe to say that administrators are also human beings and generally pretty decent, hard-working ones at that! There have been times when I have feared for the future of the collegial governance process at Waterloo. My sense is that we are in a better place now and I hope this trend continues. We must, however, recognize that collegial governance can be fragile and requires nurturing and genuine respect on the part of all parties. 
It can also only be successful with strong representation from FAUW and our Board headed by Bryan Tolson will be in an excellent position to provide this. To all of you, thanks for your support. I will no doubt be writing more in the next five months, but this is the last formal sign off.