Institutional structure

Board of Governors

The powers of the Board of Governors (the "Board") are set out in the University of Waterloo Act, 1972

The Board is governed by a bylaw that contains the rules regulating the operation of the Board. 

The Board’s responsibilities are set out in the Board Mandate.

The Board retains the ultimate responsibility and authority for governance of the University however under shared governance, the Senate is given primary authority over different areas of expertise and a voice in decisions affecting the University. 

The President and Vice-Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the University and has authority and responsibility for administering the affairs of the University and acts on behalf of the Board with respect to the operational management and control of the University.

The President and Vice-Chancellor has those powers, duties and functions that are legislated by the University of Waterloo Act, 1972 and assigned by the Board. 

Learn about the Board of Governors.


The powers of the Senate are set out in the University of Waterloo Act, 1972

The Senate is governed by a set of bylaws that contain the rules regulating the operation of the Senate. 

The Senate sets the University’s educational policies and is responsible for academic programs, educational policies, faculty appointments and tenure, qualifications for degrees and diplomas, conferring honorary degrees and appointing the Chancellor.  The Senate also has the power subject to the approval of related expenses by the Board of Governors to create and abolish faculties, departments, schools and institutes.

The President and Vice-Chancellor is the Chair of Senate.

Learn about the Senate.


Dominic Barton

Dominic Barton was appointed Chancellor of the University of Waterloo on July 1, 2018.

The office of Chancellor is established in the University of Waterloo Act, 1972.  The Chancellor is elected by the University’s Senate as titular head of the University, presiding over convocation ceremonies and conferring all degrees.  They are a key ambassador for the institution, connecting it with the board community and advancing the University’s interests locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

The Chancellor serves as a member of the Board of Governors and Senate.

Learn about the role of Chancellor 

University leadership

President and Vice-Chancellor

Vivek Goel

Dr. Vivek Goel, a distinguished scholar with extensive achievements in research, teaching and leadership across both public and private sectors, began his tenure as president and vice-chancellor in July 2021. 

Goel is recognized in Canada and around the world as a leading public-health research champion for the use of research evidence in health policy making.

The President and Vice-Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the University and has general supervision over, and direction of, the operation of the University, providing institutional leadership and oversight, developing and driving institutional vision and strategies, and acting as the University's principal ambassador and principal voice. 

The President focuses on enhancing the performance of the University as a leading institution of higher learning dedicated to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship, locally, nationally and internationally, in an environment of free expression and inquiry.

The President is an ex-officio voting member of the Board of Governors and also an ex-officio voting member of Senate (Chair) and all of Senates’ standing committees, an ex officio member of each Faculty Council and, in the absence of the Chancellor, Chair of Convocation.

Organizational chart - Office of the President

Vice-President, Academic and Provost

James Rush

James Rush

The Vice-President, Academic and Provost provides leadership, oversight, direction and linkages across a broad spectrum of university operations, including long-range academic and institutional planning, academic operations, student experience and budgeting and reporting.  The Provost also acts as a leader and champion for scholarly pursuits, teaching, learning and interdisciplinary education and working with the faculties, drive discovery, creativity and innovation across our campuses and within our community.

Organizational chart - Office of Vice-President, Academic and Provost

Vice-President, Research and International

Charmaine Dean

Charmaine Dean

The Vice-President, Research and International is responsible to lead Waterloo's research excellence for global impact expand internationalization and global engagement and build Waterloo's pre-eminent reputation for innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship, for the betterment of society and its people.

Organizational Chart - Office of the Vice-President, Research and International

Vice-President, Administration and Finance

Jacinda Reitsma

Jacinda Reitsma

The Vice-President, Administration and Finance provides leadership in the development and implementation of long-term plans, administrative strategies, operational priorities, and transformational change to support the University and enhance organization results.

Organizational Chart - Office of the Vice-President, Administration and Finance

Vice-President, Advancement

Nenone Donaldson

Nenone Donaldson

The Vice-President, Advancement champions the development and implementation of the University’s fundraising and alumni relations activities. The Advancement team aims to inspire and engage people in philanthropy to advance the University of Waterloo in becoming one of the world’s top innovation universities.

Organizational Chart - Office of the Vice-President, Advancement

Vice-President, University Relations

Eleanor McMahon

Eleanor McMahon

The Vice-President, University Relations develops recognition, support and commitment for the University of Waterloo’s teaching and research mandate with the ultimate goals of ensuring a strong public profile. University Relations is also responsible for government and community engagement.

Organization Chart - Office of the Vice-President, University Relations

Overview of faculties

Faculty of Arts

Sheila Ager

Sheila Ager
Dean, Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of Waterloo’s larger faculties with a diverse range of scholarship and programs in the humanities, social sciences and creative arts.  Arts leads Waterloo’s top ranking for SSHRC grant success and has the most Distinguished Teaching Awards.  Senior scholars in Arts hold top honours including the Killam Prize, Order of Canada and Royal Society of Canada fellowships. 

Faculty of Engineering

Mary Wells

Mary Wells
Dean, Faculty of Engineering

Waterloo is the largest engineering school in Canada. Waterloo Engineering’s reputation for excellence is built on the foundation of co-op education, dedication to transformational research and an unmatched culture of entrepreneurship.  

Faculty of Environment

Bruce Frayne

Bruce Frayne
Dean, Faculty of Environment

As the largest faculty of its kind in Canada, the Faculty of Environment offers interdisciplinary programs and supports research to create the sustainable solutions needed to address the complex environmental challenges facing our world. The Faculty’s newest building EV3 was the first LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified building on an Ontario campus. 

Faculty of Health

Lili Liu

Lili Liu
Dean, Faculty of Health

The Faculty of Health is a leader in the development of strategies that prevent disease and injury, protect and promote healthy living, optimize physical ability and improve well-being across the life course. The Faculty comprises three academic units: School of Public Health and Health Systems, Kinesiology, and Recreation and Leisure Studies. 

Faculty of Math

Mark Giesbrecht

Mark Giesbrecht
Dean, Faculty of Math

Waterloo is home to North America’s only dedicated Faculty of Mathematics.  The Faculty is also home to the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC), an outreach organization focused on providing resources for teachers and students with the goal of increasing confidence and ability in mathematics.  

Faculty of Science

Chris Houser

Chris Houser
Dean, Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is a research leader nationally and internationally, including Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland. Rooted in the core scientific disciplines and fundamental science research, Science also includes two professional schools: the School of Pharmacy, the only co-op pharmacy program in Canada, and the School of Optometry and Vision Science, Canada’s only English-speaking optometry program with clinics open to the community to provide patient care and support clinical education and research.