About us

some rectangles that are made up of curves or big color parts in different colors with a yellow-color background

The Centre for Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)

We design curriculum that enhances student learning through WIL experiences and encourages the development of future-ready skills. Our curriculum delivers academic courses that are complemented by hands-on work experiences inside and outside of Waterloo’s co-operative education program. This includes:

  • Professional Development (PD) courses
  • EDGE experiential education certificate
  • WE Accelerate program
  • Digital skills fundamentals micro-courses

We collaborate with on-campus partners to design and deliver courses and programs that advance the University’s goals, reputation, innovation, WIL leadership and industry engagement.

Our WIL curriculum

Our team is comprised of teaching and learning experts that rely on careful research and best practices to co-construct curriculum with faculty members, industry partners, students and other WIL teaching experts. We:

  • provide practice opportunities by leveraging the concept of productive failure,
  • include timely assessments that help learners apply what they are learning to a workplace or practice setting, ​and
  • prompt learners to make explicit connections between classroom learning and the world of work through authentic critical reflection.

We develop our courses and programs using instructional tools and technologies that aim to help authentic learning. By design, our WIL curriculum encourages learner agency, leverages the power of peer-to-peer learning, and applies best practices in universal design.

What is WIL?

Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a model and process of curricular experiential education which formally and intentionally integrates a student’s academic studies within a workplace or practice setting.

WIL experiences include an engaged partnership of at least these three components:

  • an academic institution
  • a host organization
  • a student

WIL can occur at the course or program level and includes the development of learning outcomes related to employability, personal agency and life-long learning (CEWIL Canada, 2018).

Instructors use WIL to create meaningful learning experiences for Waterloo students through engagement with industry or community partners. Students can complete coursework and/or program requirements through WIL while simultaneously making meaningful contributions within organizations.

WIL involves collaboration between Waterloo instructors and the organizations students partner with to enhance students learning and the development of future-ready skills.

Discover types of WIL

*All definitions are based on Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada)

An illustration of coloured shapes and lines that act as a line break between sections

Our history

  1. 2002
    1. The University of Waterloo grants academic credit for work terms. This necessitates the creation of a complementary co-op curriculum, one that will help address employer needs by developing students’ professional (or “soft”) skills.

  2. 2006
  3. 2007
    1. Two new Professional Development courses added.

  4. 2008
    1. Another four additional Professional Development courses added and three additional faculties (Applied Health Sciences, Environment, and Science) join the program.

  5. 2011
    1. The Faculty of Engineering joins and PD course enrolment nearly doubles. The department launches several new courses while redeveloping and refining its existing courses.

  6. 2017
  7. 2019
    1. The Waterloo Professional Development program department officially becomes known as Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Programs.

  8. 2021
  9. 2022
    1. In collaboration with our partners in Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) and Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), we begin designing curriculum for WIL experiences at the graduate level.

  10. 2023
    1. WIL Programs officially becomes Centre for Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) to better reflect the portfolio and expansion of the department's mandate to also help faculty, staff, employers, practitioners, and non-traditional learners benefit from WIL.