About the Associate Provost

Norah McRae headshot

Dr. Norah McRae
Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education
Adjunct faculty member, Department of Psychology
WACE Secretariat
University of Waterloo

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Norah McRae, PhD, is associate provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) at the University of Waterloo. Her involvement in co-operative and work-integrated education spans more than 20 years, over which time she has led strategic program development and research on student engagement, community-engaged learning and intercultural competency development.

In 2020, McRae was awarded the Dean Herman Schneider Award from the Co-operative Education and Internship Association (CEIA). This award recognizes McRae for her significant and comprehensive record of contributions to the advancement of the philosophy and practice of co-operative education. In 2017, she was awarded the Donald McLaren Jr. Academic Award from the World Association for professional achievement in co-operative and work-integrated education. In 2016, she was awarded the Albert S. Barber Award from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) for outstanding contributions to the field of co-operative education in Canada and was co-recipient for the BCCIE Award for Outstanding Program in International Education.

Her doctoral research examined conditions that enabled transformative learning during work-integrated education and led to the development of a preliminary theoretical model for learning during work-integrated education. McRae has been published in the International Handbook for Co-operative and Work-Integrated Education, the Asia-Pacific Journal for Co-operative Education, CEIA Journal and The World is my Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education.

McRae is a graduate of Rotman Directors Education Program (2023) — a leading national program for experienced board directors. She has served as a faculty member for the WACE Planning Institute for Global and Experiential Education and the WACE Assessment Institute. McRae also served as President of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education and is a member of the World Association for Co-operative and Work-integrated Education Executive Council and Global Strategy Council.

About Co-operative Experiential Education

At Waterloo, CEE is the unit responsible for preparing students for the future of work and lifelong learning through global leadership in co-operative and career education and experiential and work-integrated learning (WIL). Our mission to equip and empower learners includes advancing research and delivering quality programming to strengthen Waterloo’s sustainable and diverse communities. We do so through the work of our many portfolios, including:

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With your support, we’re making co-operative education and WIL more accessible and equitable for all students. Our advancement portfolio works with employers, alumni and donors to support programs like Co-op for Community, WE Accelerate and an unrestricted fund to support the areas of highest need for students enrolled in co-op and other forms of WIL.

Support the Co-op and Experiential Education Fund

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Brand, Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives

Brand, Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives develops opportunities to build and enhance CEE’s reputation and positioning as a global leader in co-operative education, WIL and career development. This work includes leading the development of CEE’s strategic plan and success measures and reporting, cultivating strategic industry partnerships and leading the development of innovative WIL programs such as Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate.

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Centre for Career Development

The Centre for Career Development (CCD) supports all students, alumni and employees. Career advisors help with career planning, career management strategies, graduate and professional school preparation, work search methods and setting career goals. The CCD supports CEE’s mission through high-quality in-person and online services for students, alumni, employers, faculty and staff.

Centre for Career Development

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Centre for WIL

The Centre for Work-Integrated Learning (Centre for WIL) is a leader in pedagogy and practice of work-integrated learning. The department offers a range of courses and programs to support students to be ready for the future of work, see how their WIL experiences and classroom learning are connected, and find their sense of purpose. Alongside WIL experts, faculty, students and community and industry partners help design and deliver our courses and programs including, PD courses, EDGE and Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate.

Centre for Work-Integrated Learning

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Co-operative Education

The University is home to the world's largest co-operative education program with more than 25,000 active students enrolled in 120+ accredited co-op programs across six faculties. Co-op opportunities come from our global hire waterloo network of 8,000 employers in more than 60 different countries. Co-op work term experiences are an important way to help students develop critical skills for a complex future workforce.

Hire Waterloo | Co-operative Education

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Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism

The associate director of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism (EDI-R) in CEE works closely with the University’s office of EDI-R to focus on strengthening CEE’s approach to this critical area. As CEE helps to prepare the next generation of talent for the workforce, this portfolio is empowered to disrupt barriers to inclusion and to future-proof students and staff through awareness, engagement and education.

Learn more about CEE’s commitment and actions towards Inclusion and Belonging.

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Indigenous Relations

The associate director of Indigenous relations in CEE works closely with the University’s Office of Indigenous Relations to indigenize our unit and better support Indigenous staff, employers and community. This work is aligned with the University’s Indigenous Strategic Plan and includes a vision to promote reconciliation and decolonization, understanding and relationship-building between Indigenous Peoples and communities alongside the transparent and collaborative actions of the University.

Learn more about CEE’s commitment and actions towards Inclusion and Belonging.

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International and Strategic Initiatives

The International Strategic Initiatives (ISI) portfolio designs and delivers CEE's internationalization strategy. In collaboration with CEE units, ISI helps to advance CEE as a global leader in work-integrated learning via sustainable pathways for quality growth and innovation including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

International Strategic Initiatives | CEE's commitment to the UN SDGs

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Strategic Enablement Team

The Strategic Enablement Team plays a stewardship role in providing centralized services to all CEE departments including systems, processes, data, resources, communications and technology. As stewards, the Strategic Enablement Team is accountable for ensuring solutions are equitable, maintainable, documented, secure and compliant.

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Work-Learn Insitute

The Work-Learn Institute (WxL) establishes quality standards for meaningful, high-quality co-operative education and work-integrated learning programs. Leveraging the world’s largest co-operative education program, WxL uses its large data set to study, understand and advance research that informs programming and helps employers improve their talent pipelines. It is the only research unit of its kind researching the development of talent through quality work-integrated learning (WIL) programs.

Work-Learn Institute

Awards and Accolades

Waterloo's Judene Pretti receives Co-operative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) Ralph W. Tyler Award 

The CEIA Ralph W. Tyler Award recognizes excellence for outstanding and distinguished research in co-operative education and internships. The winning publication, The Routledge International Handbook of Work-Integrated Learning (3rd Ed), was edited by Pretti and Karsten Zegwaard, director of work-integrated learning research at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. The publication also features four contributing authors from the University of Waterloo: Anne-Marie Fannon, Shabnam Ivkovic, Norah McRae and Jennifer Woodside.

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QS Power of Partnerships Education Award - Partners for Prosperity, future–proofing today’s learners for tomorrow’s workforce

CEE’s focus on ensuring academic integration between students’ work experiences and the classroom earned the Power of Partnership Award - Gold at Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Reimagine Education Conference and Awards.

2023 WACE Outstanding Professional Contribution Award

Awarded to Dr. Judene Pretti, director of CEE's Strategic Enablement Team, for notable and enduring contributions to executive leadership, marked by the implementation of innovative initiatives that led to transformative outcomes.

Work-Learn Institute receives the Co-operative and Internship Association (CEIA) Ralph W. Tyler Award

The national award recognizes excellence for outstanding and distinguished research in co-operative education, internships and WIL. The winning article, titled The Work-Learn Institute: A Living Lab for Work-Integrated Learning Research, was authored by Katie Knapp, research associate at WxL.

QS Sustainability Education Award – Advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through WIL

CEE’s focus on sustainability through international work terms earned the Sustainability Education Award - Silver at Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Reimagine Education Conference and Awards.

International PIEoneer awards recognize WACE Global Challenge program

Waterloo is an active participant in the WACE Global Challenge, a program supporting international experiences for students, which won an award for helping to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Waterloo Awarded Best Paper for study outcomes on UN SDGs work-term activity

Dr. Norah McRae and Director of International Strategic Initiatives, Shabnam Ivković were awarded best paper at WACE’s 4th International Research Symposium on Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education in 2022. Their winning paper is titled Value and impact of an internship activity to increase awareness of and engagement with the UN’s SDGs.

University of Waterloo’s Anne Fannon recognized with prestigious work-integrated learning award

Anne-Marie Fannon wins the 2019 Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) Volunteer Service Award for her incredible work in the WIL field. 

University of Waterloo’s Dr. Judene Pretti recognized with prestigious Graham Branton Research Award

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) awards Dr. Judene Pretti, director of Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL), the Dr. Graham Branton Research Award.

International CANEU Co-op program wins CBIE Award, celebrates 10th anniversary

The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) recognizes the landmark international student work/study exchange program for its achievements and a decade of successful experiences abroad.

University of Waterloo’s Dr. Norah McRae awarded the 2020 CEIA Dean Herman Schneider Award – Educator

McRae is awarded The Dean Herman Schneider Award for her significant and comprehensive record of contributions towards the advancement of the philosophy and practice of co-operative education.