WCGS Charter

Approved at the WCGS Executive Committee meeting – 24 September 2015

The Waterloo Centre for German Studies was founded and approved by Senate in 2004, with renewals in 2009 and 2014. Most of its operations are supported by private endowment.


The Waterloo Centre for German Studies has the following mandate:

  • To conduct research on the language, culture, and society of German-speaking peoples, from both historical and contemporary perspectives;
  • To provide a wide range of educational and cultural activities for the academy and the broader community;
  • To engage with German-Canadian heritage.

Organizational and Reporting Structure

The structure of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies shall be as follows:

  • The Executive Committee shall be the governing body of the Centre and has the authority to execute and monitor the affairs of the Centre, subject to all applicable University policies, including Policy 44 (Research Centres and Institutes).
  • The Director of the Centre shall manage the Centre, its employees, and its activities.

The Executive Committee


  • The Director of the Centre, who will also act as chair of the Committee*
    • Term of office: ex officio
  • The Associate Dean of Arts (Research) as delegate of the Dean of Arts (the Responsible Officer of the Centre as per Policy 44)
    • Term of office: ex officio
  • Chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
    • Term of office: ex officio
  • Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies
    • Term of office: ex officio
  • Two at-large members the Executive Committee:
    • Eligibility: members of the Centre who are also Regular Faculty at the University of Waterloo as defined in Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments), and at least one of whom is normally not a member of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
    • Term of office: two years (renewable)
    • In consultation with Centre membership, the Director nominates at-large members to serve on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee must approve the nominations.
    • Only the Dean of Arts may remove an at-large member of the Executive Committee.

*Although Policy 44 states that the Responsible Officer for the Centre (here, the Dean of Arts) or his/her delegate will function as the Chair of the Committee, the Centre in consultation with the Associate Dean of Arts has decided that it is better to have the Director chair the Committee.


The Executive Committee serves as the primary executive authority of the Centre and oversees the Centre’s activities. The Executive Committee shall:

  • Enact rules and regulations for membership of the Executive Committee and the conduct of its affairs;
  • Recommend appointment of the Director and other leaders to the Dean of Arts;
  • Appoint and remove Members, and establish categories of membership and associated fees;
  • Plan and implement the Centre’s development;
  • Establish processes to manage and monitor the Centre’s financial affairs;
  • Establish and enforce rules and regulations governing the Centre’s activities, provided such rules and regulations are consistent with University policies, procedures and guidelines; and
  • Establish such Committees as it deems necessary to discharge its responsibilities; this may include establishing advisory bodies comprised primarily of external Members for the purpose of providing strategic or scientific advice to the Executive Committee or the Director.
  • Vetting the applications of prospective Members of the Centre.


  • The Executive Committee will meet at least once annually and additionally as appropriate.
  • The Executive Committee will conduct its business transparently. Meetings of the Executive Committee will be open to Regular Members of the Centre, with advance notice of at least seven days being given of any meeting. Minutes will be taken at all meetings of the Executive Committee and will be available to the Members of the Centre.

The Director

Appointment and Term of Office

  • The Director must be Regular Faculty at the University of Waterloo as defined in Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments).
  • The Director is appointed by the Dean of Arts on the recommendation of the Executive Committee. In making this recommendation, the Executive Committee will seek the views of the Centre’s membership.
  • Appointment process:
    • At least nine months prior to the expiry of the current Director’s appointment, the Dean ascertains the director’s his/her interest in continuing.
      • If the Director wishes to continue, the Dean approaches the Executive Committee (less the Director) to ascertain its opinion on reappointment before making a final decision.
      • If the Director does not wish to continue, the Dean instructs the Executive Committee (less the Director) to form a Director Nominating Committee.
    • The Director Nominating Committee will be comprised of the Executive Committee (less the Director) who will also elect a committee chair from amongst themselves.
    • The Director Nominating Committee should make its recommendation to the Dean of Arts at least six months prior to the expiry of the current Director’s appointment.
  • The Director’s term is determined by the Dean of Arts and is normally for a five-year period. The Director’s term may be extended or renewed by the Dean of Arts with the support of the Executive Committee.
  • The Director’s performance is reviewed annually by the Dean of Arts. With prior knowledge of the Director, the Dean will seek confidential input from the Executive Committee, Members of the Research Centre, and its staff by any means s/he deems appropriate.
  • The Director may only be removed from office for cause, which is to be understood in relation to the duties of the Director as described herein. Causes for removal include negligence, incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and inability to maintain the confidence of the Members. The procedures governing removal for cause shall be those set out in section 4 of Policy 40 – The Chair, except that all references to the “Chair” shall mean the Director.
  • In the event of the Director’s absence for any prolonged period, arrangements should be made for the Dean to appoint an Acting Director for a period of no more than one year.
  • If permitted by the Executive Committee, the Director may delegate some of his/her responsibilities to one or more Associate Directors and/or to one or more staff members. 
  • The procedures followed by the Director in all matters shall be governed by prevailing departmental and/or Faculty practices, as applicable, and by University policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Compensation: normally, the Director receives an annual course release paid for by the Centre, or the equivalent amount in the form of an RAship for a student if the Director wishes to forego the course release.


  • Overseeing the Centre’s operations and managing its budget;
  • Recommending appointment and removal of staff to the Dean of Arts;
  • Supervising staff members;
  • Establishing working groups or Committees to provide appropriate guidance and advice in support of his/her responsibilities;
  • Preparing an Annual Report to the Executive Committee;
  • Discharging all responsibilities set out in the Centre’s charter, and as directed by the Executive Committee.

Centre Membership: Categories and Responsibilities

Membership categories and criteria

  • Regular Members: members of the University of Waterloo faculty (as outlined in Policy 76)
  • Student Members: graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo or other universities
  • Research Members: non-faculty instructors at the University of Waterloo or elsewhere; postdoctoral fellows at the University of Waterloo or elsewhere; faculty members at other institutions
  • Community Members: other persons interested in the activities of the Centre.

All applications for membership will be vetted by the Executive Committee. Members of the Centre can join and leave the Centre at any time. The Centre will confirm continuing membership of all members on a regular basis.

Privileges and responsibilities of membership

  • Members are eligible to request funding from the Centre for research projects or to support special events or activities.
  • Members are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Centre.

Ratification of this Charter

This charter, and any changes to it, will be ratified by the Executive Committee and subject to the approval of the University of Waterloo Senate Graduate and Research Council.