An Arts degree remains the best way to acquire a diverse skill set that prepares students for a flexible and dynamic career. At Waterloo, our programs emphasize transferable skills, experiential learning, career-readiness, and interdisciplinary strength.
We have made work-integrated learning open to all undergraduate and some graduate students, and provide our students with the ability to connect their learning experience with career readiness. The multiple opportunities we provide to Arts students encourage them to take charge of their own education, to exercise thoughtful choices, and to be agents in their own development.
Human development is not solely a matter of the acquisition of specific skills intended for employment readiness. Everything we do in Arts contributes to fundamentally human-centred learning and showcases the profound value of an Arts education at a deeper level. Our students are encouraged to pursue learning that sets them on a path to both wisdom and humility as they acquire knowledge and insight not only about the world, but about themselves. They gain an ability to problem-solve while also learning to cope with insoluble problems, the limits to knowledge, and the dangers of misinformation. They develop a cultural sensitivity and understanding that enables them to synthesize a global “big picture” view.
It is in part these broader aspects of an Arts education that result in the frequency with which Arts graduates appear in leading roles in the workplace. Regardless of the nature of the company or organization, whether it be software design, healthcare delivery, or biotechnology research and development, Arts graduates are often found across all sectors in leadership positions featuring management, strategic initiatives, and forward planning. Current planning at Waterloo recognizes and emphasizes the values of such an education for all students: “leveraging our strengths in integrating disciplines and working at the intersections,we can also be relied upon as innovators for social good.” (Waterloo @ 100).
None of us is able to predict the future, even in the short-term, let alone the long-term that is encompassed by the decades of the average career. We need to prepare students to be versatile, agile, and creative, “future leaders who leverage a Waterloo education that facilitates integrated knowledge and problem-solving within and at the intersections of our Global Futures.” (Waterloo @ 100). In keeping with aspirations identified at the institutional level, the Faculty of Arts will ensure that its students graduate with a broad set of future-ready skills: communication literacy, social and cultural literacy, information literacy, and digital literacy will all be critical. We will empower our students to realize their full potential and continue to improve their capacity to become socially-minded leaders.
We will continue to enhance the flexibility of our programming to provide students with the opportunity to design their own education.
- Removing barriers to program flexibility and exploring possibilities for more blended learning and more flexible scheduling
- Building upon the recent rapid growth in online programming to create new learning experiences
- Exploring new means of combining student programming interests, within and across Faculties
- Finding ways to appropriately capture and incorporate relevant student feedback on courses and programs
- Providing lifelong learning to our graduates
We will develop greater opportunities for all our students to gain competency and skills in the critical use of information.
- Providing students with strong fundamental skills in both qualitative and quantitative research, analysis, and communication
- Providing specific skills acquisition opportunities in areas such as data management and analysis, statistics, and digital skills
- Providing increased opportunities for formal recognition of specific competencies gained through curricular or community-based experience (e.g., certificates, co-curricular notations, diplomas)
- Enabling students to identify, reflect on, document, and articulate the skills they have derived from their Arts experience and its potential for social impact, personal growth, and skills development
We will continue to expand the number, type, and flexibility of work- and volunteer-integrated learning opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Exploring alternative formats for Co-op, including term and time flexibilities
- Creating more opportunities for internships, especially in programs featuring problem-based learning
- Expanding the Co-op for Social Good program
- Creating “micro”-experiential opportunities
- Integrating the experiential piece of our students’ education further into the academic piece
- Preparing graduate students for multiple non-academic career opportunities
- Continuing to connect students with alumni for networking and professional support
We will increase opportunities for student-driven project- and problem-based learning at both the undergraduate and the graduate level.
- Creating course-based capstone projects emphasizing solutions to local and global challenges
- Enabling students to develop and enact their ideas for social and commercial entrepreneurship
- Developing course-based opportunities for interdisciplinary teamwork
- Providing opportunities for all disciplines, including creative work, to engage in project- and problem-based learning
- Showcasing student solutions regularly through a problem-solving “challenge” competition
We will prioritize a campus culture centred on social justice in all its dimensions.
- Providing leadership, guidance, and incentives for creation/revision of courses and programs inclusive and reflective of perspectives of communities of colour and as a means to achieving appropriate decolonization of the curriculum
- Prioritizing recruitment, retention and membership of Indigenous, Black, and other students of colour, including targeted financial supports
- Developing strategies for supporting students from underrepresented and marginalized communities in general
- Practising mindfulness around accessibility and promoting the notion of “disability” as a culture and identity rather than a diagnosis
- Increasing opportunities for international graduate students in Arts
- Providing financial and other resources for student leadership and organizations to make progressive change on campus
We commit to supporting student health and well-being in the Faculty of Arts.
- Challenging and redefining dominant ideas about what is meant by “health”
- Developing Faculty-specific resources to support students’ mental and physical health needs and assisting students in understanding their own health needs
- Building familiarity with both university and the Kitchener-Waterloo community support resources and social opportunities
- Increasing opportunities for supportive connections among students, including peer mentorship and student-led clubs
- Creating supportive connections between students, faculty, and staff, including department advisors, department social initiatives, and collaborations with faculty
- Creating more student-friendly and/or student-dedicated spaces in the Faculty.
- Promoting more student involvement at all levels of governance