young baby propped up on sofa with cushionsJack and his mom, kinesiology professor Paula van Wyk, have become Instagram sensations, using the social media platform to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis.

Kinesiology professor shares glimpse into having a child with cystic fibrosis

Kinesiology professor Paula van Wyk never intended to become a social media influencer.

But when her son Jack was born with cystic fibrosis 11 months ago, Dr. van Wyk saw her Instagram account as a way to raise awareness of the disease. As she would post photos and videos of Jack’s daily routines, the CF community and beyond were smitten. Her posts routinely garner thousands of views, the most loved clocking in at 107,000 and counting.

Van Wyk and her baby recently caught the attention of the makers of the Sit Down Stand Out Show, a podcast about people with physical and mental challenges. Van Wyk appeared on the latest episode, released Wednesday.

Van Wyk spoke about her life with Jack and their social media presence.

“For me, it’s not the rush of getting likes and followers,” van Wyk explained. “It’s about building community. It’s about education and research.”

Van Wyk said when her first child was born, she was intentionally sparing about what she posted about him on social media. Then, when Jack came along, she felt the need to advocate for him and children like him. Instagram seemed a natural fit.

“I’m not trying to exploit him in any way. I’m just trying to make things better.”

About 5,000 Canadians have cystic fibrosis, an inherited condition in which a faulty protein affects the digestive system and lungs, among other organs.

Van Wyk’s posts include videos of Jack using the nebulizer that helps him clear his lungs of mucous. She offers up information on the enzymes that help him digest the fats in food. The videos of Jack reaching developmental milestones like eating his first solids and taking his first steps offer hope to other CF families.

While many of van Wyk’s posts are not unlike other pictures of cute babies, the details are in the hashtags. With each post, van Wyk uses a string of them— #CFWarrior, #CFNutrition, #InvisibleIllness, and more.

It’s those hashtags that allowed Benen Dykstra, a.k.a. the Rolling Dragon, to find van Wyk and invite her onto his podcast.

Dykstra asked about the day van Wyk learned Jack had CF, about their recent family trip to Mexico, and about her own self-care.

“I don’t know all the answers. I can only share my experiences,” van Wyk said. “If I can be a difference for someone else, I would love to be.”

You can listen to the episode for free on Apple podcasts here.

Van Wyk’s Instagram account is @pvandubs.

—Sarah Sacheli

prof and students, several holding saplings in potsProfessor Cameron Proctor (kneeling) with members of his research team planted trees in Amherstburg for residents willing to allow researchers to monitor the trees’ health.

Map-and-grow project monitoring health of Amherstburg trees

Science students and faculty members rolled up their sleeves to plant trees for this year’s Piroli’s Map and Grow Program on Earth Day, April 22.

Participating residents got one free sapling if they agreed to let researchers plot where the trees are planted and monitor their continued health to ensure they prosper.

“Our students have been amazing helping out and volunteering and we’re using this to project to collect GPS and GIS information and students in the GIS certificate program will use it as part of some of their capstone projects,” says professor Cameron Proctor of the School of the Environment.

“There are a lot of talented and enthusiastic people who care about the environment and want to make a difference in their local communities. We couldn’t do this without them.”

The Faculty of Science partnered with Thrive Amherstburg and the town of Amherstburg for the tree planting.

Bachelor of Environmental Studies major Brian Kountourogiannis is one of the volunteers.

“I am really excited to be working so closely with the Town of Amherstburg,” says Kountourogiannis. “Increasing and monitoring their tree coverage over the next few years will be an incredible experience, and a great way to give back to the community.”

Residents chose from five species of tree:

  • Pagoda dogwood
  • Eastern redbud
  • Tulip tree
  • Red oak
  • Red maple

“All of this combination of resources really comes together to really help drive this forward and therefore get more trees in the ground a lot quicker,” says Dr. Proctor.

Proctor adds that his research team will take non-destructive measurements of each tree’s physical features, such as height and trunk width, and will revisit trees planted in previous years and take growth measurements.

Watch a video of Proctor describing the project. This is the second year for the project; read about the first year here.

—Sara Elliott

UWindsor president Robert Gordon posed casually and smiling in suitThe University of Windsor president and vice-presidents will provide quarterly updates through the Top Ten Campus Community Updates newsletter.

Executive Leadership Team newsletter to enhance understanding of institutional matters

A digital newsletter launched last week will act as a mechanism for the University of Windsor president and vice-presidents to provide regular updates to the campus community.

To be published four times per year, the Top Ten Campus Community Updates newsletter highlights stories, initiatives, and updates on behalf of the University’s Executive Leadership Team.

“We understand that reading institutional reports and meeting minutes on top of regular work duties and studies can be daunting,” said president Robert Gordon. “We hope this newsletter will help summarize a few of the key things happening at the University of Windsor in a digestible way.”

The newsletter is expected to be shared with the campus community quarterly to help faculty, staff, and students stay up-to-date with the latest decisions from the Board of Governors, Senate, University administration, and beyond.

Newsletter metrics will be reviewed regularly to assess effectiveness and readership.

Read the first edition of UWindsor’s Top Ten Campus Community Updates newsletter.
group of students and professors posing in front of wall sculpture of shellsCanadian and Brazilian students gained in-depth understanding of Brazil’s business environment through a study-abroad course in partnership with Universidade Federal de São Paulo.

Exploration of international business sends Odette students to Brazil

Odette School of Business students seeking in-depth understanding of Brazil’s business environment visited the country on a study-abroad course trip April 23 to May 7.

Working in partnership with Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), the group included both Canadian and Brazilian students, led by Odette professor Francine Schlosser and UNIFESP professor Marcia Carvalho de Azevedo.

Dr. Schlosser said the trip was an opportunity for students to learn more about a significant global trade partner.

“By collaborating with UNIFESP students and faculty, Odette students learned more about Brazil’s language and culture, and had the chance to build their own long-lasting international relationships,” she said.

The visit included technical tours of UNIFESP, healthcare facilities, Carnival samba school Acadêmicos do Tatuapé, Sao Paulo football museum Museu do Futebol, a business accelerator, coffee and sugar cane plantations, a sugar mill and ethanol processing facility, the Canadian consulate in Sao Paulo, and wrapped up with a barbecue featuring churrasco and a Brazilian band.

Afnan Alhussainawi and Jack Gesuale, two of the nine Odette students on the trip, said the experience expanded their understanding of global business.

“Having the opportunity to have exclusive visits to different Brazilian organizations provided phenomenal and highly educational insights,” said Alhussainawi.

“It was an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to all students,” added Gesuale.

—Sienna Ducharme

dramatic stage design -- wooded area in blue lightUWindsor faculty member David Court will teach a course in set design for Stratford’s “Off the Wall” program, July 17 to 21.

Drama instructor offering Stratford course in set design

Drama instructor David Court (BA 1996) will lead a one-week course in set design through Stratford’s “Off the Wall” program, which promotes artistic growth and professional skill development in theatre production arts.

Students will learn how to analyze and break down a script, envision a set concept, and communicate design ideas to the director, set builders, and other behind-the-scenes collaborators, July 17 to 21.

With a target enrolment of just eight, participants will have individual guidance in practising hand-drafting skills, building a design from thumbnail sketch to three-dimensional model, and techniques for presenting their designs.

University of Windsor students can earn a transfer credit on completion of this 40-hour course. It is also suitable for theatre directors, actors, teachers, and community theatre volunteers.

Court’s education in scenic design includes a certificate from the Moscow Art Theatre School and an MFA from Wayne State University. For the School of Dramatic Art, he teaches courses in Drawing for the Theatre, Rendering for the Theatre, Scene Painting for Theatre, Studies in Design, and Scenic Design.

Find more information, including learning outcomes and registration details, on the Off the Wall website.

Kinesiology professor Terry EddyKinesiology professor Terry Eddy writes that sport superstitions may make very little sense to non-fans, but should be indulged, nonetheless.

Superstition ramps up during playoffs, writes kinesiology prof

You sit in your lucky spot on the couch, wearing socks and boxer shorts bearing your favourite team’s logo. The players haven’t shaved in weeks, and Florida Panther fans are again tossing plastic rats onto the ice.

Yes, it’s NHL playoff season: when irrational superstitions take hold.

Kinesiology professor Terry Eddy, who touches upon fan behaviour in his Sport Management and Leadership classes, writes in a recent article in The Conversation about how superstitious behaviour ramps up during the playoffs.

“Superstitions help us feel like we have some control over the uncontrollable,” Dr. Eddy writes. “There have only been a handful of academic studies on fan superstition, but the findings tend to be consistent. By engaging in superstitions, fans feel as if they’re doing their part to help the team.”

Eddy says superstitions and rituals can benefit athletes.

“For some athletes, superstitions aren’t just meaningless, irrational behaviours; they can have positive effects on mental state and performance,” he says. “Superstitions can boost confidence and sense of control, as well as reduce anxiety.”

The Conversation publishes news and views academics and researchers. Read Eddy’s article, Plastic Rats and Playoff Beards, here.

—Sarah Sacheli

Frank Simpson at lectern with Polish flag behindPoland conferred its Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit on UWindsor professor emeritus Frank Simpson.

Professor emeritus lauded for service to Poland

Recognition by the president of Poland of his service to the country left him “immeasurably grateful,” says Frank Simpson, professor emeritus in the School of the Environment.

Dr. Simpson received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland at the Polish Consulate General in Toronto on May 2.

“I am deeply moved by the Polish community of Windsor showing approval of my activities in this way,” Simpson said in his acceptance speech.

The Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland honours foreigners and Polish people living abroad for great service to Poland. The Knight’s Cross is the fifth class of the Order. Simpson was honoured in recognition of his service to the Republic of Poland and for activities of many years on behalf of the Polish community in Canada.

Polish Consul General in Toronto, Magdalena Pszczółkowska, made the presentation during celebrations of Polonia Day and the 232nd anniversary of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791.

bank of servers labelled "Server Modernization Project"Maintenance of computer servers will take several University systems and applications offline May 25.

Server modernization maintenance planned for May 25

The Server Modernization Project’s first maintenance date is planned for Thursday, May 25, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. The work is in line with the University of Windsor’s cybersecurity work plan, which aims to migrate systems to more resilient and secure hardware.

Efforts have been made to limit downtime, however, several key systems and applications will be unavailable during maintenance. Mitigating strategies are being put in place to ensure limited productivity loss during this period.

Cloud-based and non-application specific systems will continue to be available including:

  • Internet (wired and wireless)
  • Brightspace
  • Microsoft 365 applications including Outlook Email, Calendar, Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint sites
  • the University website,
  • UWindsor Self-Service Client Portal
  • UwinCard for use at food services and door key
  • Parking gates

Some of the unavailable systems, services, and applications include:

  • UWinsite Student
  • My Attendance
  • Online and in-person parking permit purchases
  • UwinCard for use at the libraries
  • eGAS (graduate applications)
  • eCV (electronic CV system)

Information on the Server Modernization Project, including the full list of affected systems, is available on the IT Services website.

calculator, pen, Scrabble tiles spelling "Funding"Apply now for awards through the University Diversity, Indigeneity, and Anti-Racism Professional Development Funds.

Applications open for professional development funding in Indigeneity and anti-racist pedagogy

Applications are now open for the June 2023 disbursement of awards through the University Diversity, Indigeneity, and Anti-Racism Professional Development Funds.

Awards of up to $5,000 — and over, depending on availability — are open to UWindsor faculty and librarians. Applications are due by June 15.

Find more information, including the application form, on the Office of the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion website.