Professional Development (PD) program

people are reading, talking and watering flowers

It takes more than technical skills to succeed in the workplace.  

To prepare for the future of work, students must acquire and enhance a range of essential professional skills, like communication, collaboration and problem-solving. Employers report that these skills are just as important as technical skills when they’re hiring, training and evaluating their employees.  

The Waterloo Professional Development (PD) program is a suite of online courses designed to support you in enhancing your professional skills and improving your employability through WIL. We’ve designed the PD courses in alignment with Waterloo’s Future Ready Talent Framework to help you identify and develop the skills you’ll need as you navigate the future of work. Combined with your academic program and WIL experiences, PD courses ensure you’re ready to excel in the workplace, regardless of your career path! 

You’ll take most of your PD courses during your work terms or EDGE experiences, making it easier for you to draw connections between course content and your WIL experience. Through robust content, critical reflection and feedback from subject matter experts, our PD courses will support you in becoming a future-ready graduate.  

Accountability and evaluation

The Co-operative Education Council (CEC) oversees our operation at the Centre for WIL. The Council has a wide mandate regarding co-operative and experiential education at the University. It is chaired by Norah McRae, associate provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education. The Centre for WIL also reports to the Engineering Curriculum Committee (ECC) regarding the program's Engineering-specific course development and operation. The ECC is chaired by Sean Peterson, academic director, WatPD-Engineering.

How we improve our courses

Continuous improvement is one of our foundational principles at the Centre for WIL. We evaluate our curriculum, course delivery and the support we offer to students on a regular basis. Our goal is to ensure you have access to relevant, engaging material and help when you need it.

Our approach to course evaluation and improvement includes:

  • term-by-term refinements (small updates to courses every four months), and
  • routine, comprehensive redevelopment projects.

Both these refinements and redevelopments are informed by:

  • your feedback,
  • internal reviews,
  • consultations with instructors, and
  • consultations with professionals.
View of Tatham Centre building in the summer

History of PD courses

In 2002, the University granted academic credit to students for their work terms. The University needed a complementary co-op curriculum, one that could help students develop professional (soft) skills to better address employer needs.

Waterloo’s faculties began working on their own professional development programs. They soon realized that they shared common goals across faculties. The faculties worked together to create a single, centralized program.

Enrolment across all six faculties continues to increase. While redeveloping and refining the existing suite of courses, the PD courses team has also launched several new courses.