The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) and the Faculty of Mathematics integrated the Excellence, Innovation, and Wellness (EIW) Standard at the Bronze level and achieved certification in January 2016. The process for the faculties included a benchmark assessment instead of a verification assessment, which is normally conducted for the Service Units and Offices. The faculties supplied Excellence Canada coaches with background information to review in advance of their benchmark assessment visit. Documentation included strategic plans, organizational charts, reviews, etc.

This page lists the background documentation that the faculties supplied to Excellence Canada. It also lists University information and examples for the Bronze level. This page was initially prepared for Excellence Canada coaches to review prior to their onsite visit.

AHS - Background documentation

  • Website
  • Strategic plan
  • Mission and values
  • Constitution
  • Organizational charts:
    • Applied Health Sciences
    • Faculty of AHS
    • Research centres, groups, and institutes
    • Department of Kinesiology
    • Kinesiology laboratory staff
    • Department of Recreation and Leisure
    • School of Public Health and Health Systems
  • Business process review
  • IT internal audit review
  • Internal communications survey
  • Sample email updates from the Dean of AHS
  • Excellence Canada - Preliminary self-assessment
  • Excellence Canada - Survey results
  • Faculty overview presentation
  • Undergraduate Student Services Strategy

Math - Background documentation

University examples by driver section

Driver section University examples

Leadership and

1.1 a)

At Bronze (Level 1), it is important that the senior leadership team endorses and supports the following operating principles:

Leadership involvement. Leadership establishes unity of purpose and direction, and facilitates and supports the changes necessary for improvement.

  • The University of Waterloo Act assigns overall responsibility for the affairs of the university to the Board of Governors and empowers the Senate to establish the university's educational policies.
  • The value Waterloo places on teaching, research and entrepreneurial excellence is evident through the composition of its leadership team.
  • Organizational charts exist and are available online.
  • The University's Strategic Plan articulates the University's focus on excellence, innovation, and wellness, including its commitment to implementing Excellence Canada's Excellence, Innovation, and Wellness (EIW) Standard.
  • Unit and faculty leaders participate in university-level committees and councils.

A primary focus on the customer experience. The primary aim of everyone in the organization is to understand and meet the needs of its customers.

Co-operation, teamwork, and continuous learning. The organization nurtures and recognizes teamwork as a cornerstone for developing win/win relationships. Everyone is given the opportunity to: Be creative, Develop his or her potential, Make a positive contribution to the pursuit of excellence, innovation and wellness.

  • Employees have the opportunity to participate in university-level committees and councils, represent staff and faculty on the Staff Association and Faculty Association respectively, collaborate with colleagues across the university on functional teams, and participate in training opportunities open to all employees. 
  • All employees will have the opportunity to get involved in the University's implementation of the EIW Standard.

A focus on excellence, innovation, and wellness. The organization has a strategic approach to excellence, innovation, and wellness.

  • Waterloo's excellence is evident in its experience-based learning, global recognition, world-changing research, and entrepreneurial successes (see the Waterloo Facts webpage for more information on these things).
  • Innovation is in Waterloo's DNA.
    • Innovation is widely recognized as a defining characteristic of the institution. For the past 23 consecutive years, Waterloo has been recognized as Canada's leading innovative university by Maclean's.
    • At the heart of the Waterloo’s Strategic Plan is a single goal: to be recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the world.
    • Innovation was the topic of the President's most recent State of the University Report, Defining Innovation.
  • The University has a strong focus on wellness. of particular note, Waterloo is raising awareness and providing practical training for employees in the area of mental health. A rising concern on all Canadian university campuses, Waterloo has taken the lead in a few ways:
    • Waterloo is one of six organizations in Canada recognized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as an early adopter of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Over 480 employees have received psychological health and safety training and the training materials created at Waterloo will soon be available to other Canadian organizations. As the first higher-education institution to adopt the Standard, Waterloo has led the development of a community of practice that now includes 36 universities and colleges from across the country.
    • Waterloo has participated in Mental Health Wellness Day for seven consecutive years to raise awareness that one in five Canadians will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime and to acknowledge the importance of mental health.
    • Waterloo participates in Partners for Mental Health’s “Not Myself Today” campaign, aimed at reducing stigma and improving mental health at work. Additionally, the University's Propel Centre for Population Health Impact develops planning and evaluation tools for the campaign that all participating organizations can use to gather insights and perspective on mental health in their workplaces.

A focus on continual improvement. The organization is focused on continual improvement. No matter how much improvement has been accomplished, it is recognized that there are always practical and innovative ways of doing even better.

  • Waterloo is adopting Lean methodologies to facilitate continual improvement within the "Process and Project Management" driver of Excellence Canada's EIW Standard. The University hosted the Lean in Higher Education Conference in 2015 and will be offering Lean training to build competency across the university and get started with Lean projects in 2016.
  • Units regularly participate in external reviews, business process reviews, and financial audits. Academic programs are regularly reviewed according
  • Annual performance appraisals are conducted for all staff positions, which offer employees and managers an opportunity plan for continual improvement efforts relating to individuals' job duties and career aspirations.

Commitment to fact-based decision-making through the use of data and measurement. Decisions are made using actual data, not simply on the basis of instinct, authority or anecdote.

  • Waterloo's commitment to fact-based decision making is supported by Institutional Analysis & Planning, a department that provides data and analyses to inform priority-setting and long-range planning.
  • Waterloo provides Strategic Plan in Action updates that measure and report on the University's progress in each of the Strategic Plan's eight themes.
  • The peer-review process defines the culture of academic units and also academic support units. Evidence is paramount in decision-making and ideas and positions are regularly challenged to ensure they are sound.
  • Changes are made to academic programs following academic program reviews and the resulting recommendations.

Commitment to corporate social responsibility. The organization recognizes its responsibility towards society, community and the environment.

  • Waterloo is committed to social responsibility and to making a positive contribution to the broader community:
    • Waterloo gives back to the community in a number of ways, including through fundraising for United Way, hosting Canada Day celebrations for the community, and participating in local food drives and initiatives such as Random Act of Kindness Day. See the University's recent Community Impact Report for examples of how Waterloo contributes to Arts, culture & diversity, Economic development, Health & well-being, Sustainability, and Youth engagement.
    • The University is making sustainability a priority. In recent years, the University has achieved success in improving campus recycling, completing the construction of the first LEED-Platinum Certified building on an Ontario university campus, and hired a Sustainability Coordinator to coordinate university-wide sustainability initiatives. The 2014 Environmental Sustainability Report highlights Waterloo's sustainability efforts in three areas: academics, operations, and people engagement.
    • Faculties and many Academic Departments have a strong outreach and community focus. Examples include:
      • The Faculty of Mathematics' Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, which promotes and creates activities and materials in mathematics and computer science
      • The University's Stratford Campus, which aims to bring digital media education not only to its students, but also to the Stratford Community. It works with local partners like the City of Stratford and the Stratford Public Library to hold programming that benefits all citizens through workshops and lectures.
    • Waterloo is committed to enabling economic development in the region. See the University of Waterloo Economic Impact Study 2013.
    • Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur made a bold commitment to gender equity. Taking the lead for Canada’s university sector, he accepted an invitation from the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign for the University of Waterloo to participate in the UN’s Impact 10x10x10 framework that involves 10 Heads of State, 10 CEOs, and 10 University Presidents to advance gender equity globally. See Waterloo's HeForShe website to learn more about this campaign and Waterloo's goals.

Commitment to good governance, including enterprise risk management, and financial controls. There is a commitment to: Accountability, fairness and transparency in the organization's relationships with stakeholders, Identifying and mitigating enterprise risks, Ensuring the viability of the organization.

  • As a publicly-supported institution, the University of Waterloo is firmly committed to accountability and transparency in decision-making and performance evaluation. See the Accountability website for more information on State of the University reports, performance indicators, financial statements, salary disclosure, and privacy policy.
  • Waterloo is currently exploring a New Resource Allocation Model (NRAM) that will better inform strategic decisions at all levels across the institution.
  • Procurement & Contract Services ensures that Waterloo's acquisitions and contracts are executed professionally, correctly, ethically, efficiently, and transparently. It provides procurement policies and guidelines for employees in order to maintain the University of Waterloo's reputation for fair, open and sound business practices.
  • Waterloo has adopted a formal University Risk Management (URM) program that adheres to best practices in risk management for leading institutions of like size and complexity. See the University's Policy 11 - University Risk Management and the University's Risk Management Reporting Guidelines.
  • Collegial governance in faculties and academic departments ensures transparent decision-making and hiring and promotion processes, as most decisions are made by committee.
  • Academic Integrity (AI) is the cornerstone of research, teaching, and learning. Waterloo students, faculty, and staff are expected to personally demonstrate academic integrity in their work.

Key policies and/or written statements exist in the organization that address excellence, innovation and wellness. At Bronze (Level 1), we expect one or more policies and/or statements that demonstrate the organization's commitment to excellence, innovation and wellness.

1.1 c)

In the decision-making process, the organization considers the widespread impact of decisions on customers and employees. Impacts include quality, safety, health and societal issues. When making decisions, leadership and managers are careful to ensure that excellence, innovation and wellness issues are factored in as part of their decision-making process.

  • Many university-level committees exist to ensure that key stakeholders are consulted on matters of interest to them. Examples include the Faculty Relations Committee, Staff Relations Committee, Undergrad Student Relations Committee, and the Graduate Student Relations Committees. See the full list of university committees and councils.
  • Waterloo takes a consultative approach to decision-making wherever possible. Examples include:
    • Marketing and Strategic Communication's brand refinement project which used the slogan "Your Waterloo. Your Voice." and included extensive consultations with Waterloo staff, students and faculty, insisting that "this University is built on your efforts; our brand should be inspired by your voice."
    • The decision to implement a fall reading week break for students starting in 2016 was the result of efforts of the Fall Break Task Force, an undergraduate student referendum, and extensive consultation with University stakeholders.
  • Waterloo proactively considers accessibility and ergonomic issues when planning renovations and purchasing new furniture. Stakeholders have opportunities to provide input on building plans and have the potential to galvanize change. For example, the Status of Women and Equity Committee was instrumental in reversing an architectural design decision to ensure that the new Hagey Hall expansion included an elevator.
  • Waterloo's decision to implement Excellence Canada's EIW Standard was informed by consultations with employees and the Staff Association's strong advocacy for the university to adopt a quality framework for measuring organizational performance.
1.1 d)

There is a method to review and ensure compliance with relevant provincial and national case law, regulations and standards, including human rights, privacy, health and safety, disability, accessibility, employment standards, etc.

  • The Secretariat has an annual process for ensuring legislative compliance and outlining departmental responsibilities and accountabilities (e.g., Employment standards act, anti-spamming roll out).
  • The Privacy Officer resides in the Secretariat and provides university-wide support on privacy issues.
  • The University has developed a pandemic plan, which is regularly revised.
  • Waterloo has Joint Health and Safety Committees. Processes are in place to ensure compliance accountability (e.g., Health & Safety annual audit and course reminder).
  • All Waterloo employees are required to take mandatory training on the topics of employee safety, workplace violence awareness, and accessible customer service.
  • The Library has developed an AODA toolkit for all university units and employees, which includes a section on planning for inclusion.
  • The Office of Research ensures that research conducted at Waterloo is ethical and upholds principles of research integrity. It also has a team of Research Financial Analysts and Training and Compliance Team members dedicated to assisting researchers with their accounts and financial obligations.
  • AccessAbility Services provides support for students who have permanent or temporary disabilities. (e.g., alternate exam arrangements, delivery of materials). It also acts as a central access point for information and services related to accessibility at the university.
1.1 e)

A policy that demonstrates respect for diversity is well understood in the organization.

  • The University created and endorses six Principles of Inclusivity.
  • The University has a Advisory Committee on Equity that advises on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility for Success (IDEAS). Offices supporting diversity on campus include the Equity Office and Conflict Management and Human Rights
  • Student religious groups have club status and spaces as agreed to by the Federation of Students.
  • Many rooms across campus are used as prayer rooms (e.g., SLC, Davis Centre, Optometry)
  • Access Ability Services provides support and specialized services for students with disabilities.
  • The University's Sound Value System strategic theme team is currently developing a statement on diversity.
  • Accommodations are made for candidates during the hiring process.
  • Human Resources includes a diversity statement on all job postings.

Strategy and

1.2 a)

There is a vision, mission and/or values statement that has had input from key stakeholders. These statements are communicated broadly.

  • The University has a mission statement and a Strategic Plan which articulates goals within eight themes: Experiental Education, Entrepreneurship, Transformational Research, Outstanding Academic Programming, Global Outlook, Vibrant Student Experience, Robust Employer-Employee Relationship, and a Sound Value System.
  • The Basic Principles of the University of Waterloo Workplace outline the University's philosophy on maintaining a constructive workplace through open and clear communication. The Basic Principles are included in new employee training, posted on the OHD website, and are integrated into university departments and culture.
  • The University values diversity and has developed six Principles of Inclusivity. The University’s department of Organizational and Human Development (OHD) has developed and recently won a national award for its university-wide Principles of Inclusivity program – a seven-part certificate that raises awareness, deepens understanding, and sets expectations relating to inclusive behaviours and skills in the workplace.
1.2 b)

Financial, human and related resources are committed to excellence, innovation and wellness.

  • The University's commitment to excellence, innovation, and wellness is articulated through the University's Strategic Plan.
  • Examples of the University's financial and resource investments in excellence, innovation, and wellness are describes in section 1.1.  However, additional notable resources in the area of wellness, include:
    • The University has 2 occupational nurses to support individuals on leave
    • The Safety Office provides ergonomics guidelines online and also provides in-person assistance to ensure correct ergonomics for employees.
    • The University recently developed and launched WatSAFE, a free safety and emergency notification app that provides immediate access to personal safety and campus emergency resources.
    • Job hazard analysis and monthly safety inspections are completed in all departments.
  • Waterloo also invests in its people and provides opportunities for training and continuous learning:
    • Policy 18 entitles staff members to up to five of their normal working days of training annually for career and professional development.
    • OHD, SEW, and CEL offer a wide array of learning opportunities, including workshops, bookshops, certificate programs, and an annual staff conference.
    • The University waives tuition fees for employees (up to 2 courses/term).
1.2 c)

Enterprise risks have been identified.

  • Waterloo's Secretariat & Office of General Counsel has overarching responsibility for risk management, including confirmation of a process to identify principal risks to the University and that appropriate procedures are in place to monitor and mitigate these risks; confirmation that appropriate processes are in place to address and comply with applicable statutory, regulatory and other compliance matters, as appropriate (e.g., Anti-spam legislation); and confirmation that processes are in place to comply with Waterloo's policies and procedures. This includes:
    • Mandatory training courses for employees
    • Processes to improve and ensure compliance accountability (e.g., Health & Safety annual audit and course reminder)
    • Annual checks for compliance as part of the performance appraisal process.
    • Annual audit cycles by Deloitte.
    • Risks are identified in the different functional areas e.g., Risk of hiring foreign workers identified in faculties.
  • Job hazard analysis and monthly safety inspections are completed in all departments.
  • The University has a policy to ensure that its information assets are well-protected.
  • The University has an integrated emergency alert system.
  • Established policies around contracts, e.g. conflict of interest, procurement, intellectual property to mitigate risks.
1.2 d)

The organization uses a variety of methods to communicate its various policies and plans.

  • President and Strategic Plan Town Hall meetings are held in person with simultaneous live streaming and social media interactivity.
  • The President sends out a quarterly State of the University Report to the university community.
  • The President's speeches and publications are available online.
  • The Daily Bulletin is a popular daily news source for employees.
  • Waterloo has created gateway pages on its website to improve communication to target audiences.
  • Stakeholders are consulted for all policy reviews and changes.
  • Many of the University's committees and councils hold open meetings.

Service Excellence

1.3 a)

The organization identifies and segments its current customer groups based on needs and values.

  • The University has identified and understands its stakeholders. Key stakeholder groups include current students (undergraduate, graduate, international), prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and employers. 
1.3 b)

A customer experience policy exists and has been communicated clearly and consistently to all customers and employees.

  • Waterloo has various statements and practices that speak to stakeholder experience, including the University's Strategic Plan, the Basic Principles of the University of Waterloo Workplace and the Principles of Inclusivity.
  • The student experience is addressed in the Vibrant Student Experience theme of the University's Strategic Plan. Additionally, units develop their own service guidelines and philosophies to support students. On the academic side, course syllabi define learning outcomes that students can expect and also reinforce expectations of students in terms of academic conduct.
  • Functional units develop strategies for different stakeholders. Examples include recruitment strategies and an alumni engagement strategy.
1.3 c)

The organization communicates with its customer groups using a variety of methods.

  • The University and its faculties, academic departments, and units have developed communication strategies for key stakeholders that include a variety of methods. Examples include:
    • President and Strategic Plan Town Hall meetings, which are held in person with simultaneous live streaming and social media interactivity.
    • The President's quarterly State of the University Report to the university community.
    • The Daily Bulletin, a popular daily news source for employees.
    • Waterloo's website, which includes gateway pages for target audiences.
    • Monthly newsletters for alumni.
    • Social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook.
    • Committee and departmental meetings.
    • The Student Portal, which is an information aggregator that pulls content from Waterloo websites and databases (Quest, Learn, Waterloo Works etc.) and the Open Data API, to deliver just-enough, just-in time information for students.
1.3 d)

Employees understand the importance of contributing to positive customer service.

  • Employees are rewarded for providing exceptional service.
  • Many units extend their services at peak times in the term and academic year. For example, the Library extends its building hours during the exam periods to accommodate students' studying.
  • OHD regularly offers an Exceptional Service workshop for staff. Recognized as one of the University's core workshops, it focuses on building essential communication skills for improving customer interactions, applying techniques and principles for dealing with difficult situations, and developing a personal action plan for delivering exceptional service.
  • The Centre for Teaching Excellence regularly offers teaching workshops for faculty members, graduate students, and staff. The Faculties recognize teaching excellence as a key priority and have increased the teaching to research ratio of some positions (e.g., 80/20 in AHS and 70/30 in Math). Each faculty also has faculty Teaching Fellows that share with their colleagues best practices and innovative teaching approaches to assist student learning.
  • Faculty members provide exceptional service to graduate students whose research they supervise.
1.3 e)

A customer feedback process/mechanism is in place.

  • The University's website and all sub-sites are all required to include a Contacts page. Many websites include feedback forms, some of which are anonymous.
  • Waterloo has a consultative culture and stakeholder feedback is regularly sought when undertaking new initiatives.
  • Course evaluations are conducted at the end of each course, providing students with an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback on courses and their instructors.
  • Students can nominate instructors for a number of teaching awards.
  • Units regularly evaluate their events and services. For example, Alumni Relations sends out surveys following its events.

1.4 a)

The leaders actively promote a culture of work/life balance.

  • Most staff work a 35-hour work week and overtime is an exception.
  • Faculty members are provided with options for teaching times, with a choice of hours where possible.
  • Mission-critical vacant positions are filled.
  • Many units will hire sessional staff during peak periods.
  • Annual performance appraisals provide an opportunity to address workload issues.
  • As noted in section 1.1, Waterloo is one of six organizations in Canada recognized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as an early adopter of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
  • The University is dedicating additional resources for initiatives that promote wellness, including participation in the "Not Myself Today" campaign
  • Physical activity facilities are available to employees at a cost.
1.4 b)

A policy (or policies) exists that clearly demonstrates a commitment to people and wellness, including the elements of: physical environment and occupational health and safety; health and lifestyle practices; workplace culture and supportive environment; and mental health.

1.4 c)

Awareness training is provided for employees, covering the organization's excellence journey, including references to the Excellence Canada standard.

  • The Associate Provost, Human Resources, Marilyn Thompson, communicates about the Excellence Canada initiative to Executive Council, Senate, and other campus leadership groups.
  • A Strategic Initiatives Advisor has been hired to oversee the implementation of the EIW Standard across the University. This individual provides updates to campus constituencies (e.g, Staff Relations Committee, Status of Women and Equity Community)
  • There is an Excellence Canada at Waterloo website and SharePoint site.
  • Departments that have started their excellence journeys communicate to their employees in a number of ways, including through all-staff meetings, unit meetings, and email. Employees have opportunities to participate in the process (e.g., retreats, verification visits, etc.)
1.4 d)

Human resources policies have been developed and are available to all employees for easy access. Human resources policies should address relevant human rights legislation and issues to protect against harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

1.4 e)

Internal customers are identified. The organization has a process to define who its internal customers are and what their needs are. People throughout the organization have a clear understanding of who the organization's internal customers are.

  • The Secretariat maintains current organizational charts for major units.
  • Job descriptions for all employees are posted on Human Resources' website.
  • The University has a monthly meeting of senior managers in faculty and support areas (Leadership Forum).
  • Employees from across units communicate and work together on functional area and university-wide committees. Collaborative relationships and processes are common across areas.

and Project

1.5 a)

There is a commitment to better manage and improve key policies and procedures in the organization.

  • The Secretariat & Office of General Counsel has a position dedicated to a multi-year review of all university policies. The Secretariat is currently conducting a policy review and has a clearly defined process for soliciting feedback and participation in the process.
  • Units have their own processes for managing and reviewing processes and procedures.
  • Processes common across departments are documented by the department that owns the process, e.g., Human Resources.
  • Information Systems & Technology has a Portfolio Management Office which supports strategic planning, portfolio management for IT initiatives, project management leadership and consulting, IT risk management, and IT policies/guidelines and standards development/custodianship for the university-at-large.
1.5 b)

Key processes and projects have been identified.

  • Processes and projects are identified in the Strategic Plan at a high level. As an institution of higher education, Waterloo's core processes include and support teaching, research, and experiential education, to name a few.
  • The University's key processes and projects inform the existence of units and also the organizational structures within units. For example, the Registrar administers Undergraduate studies at the University and its processes include admissions, recruitment, scheduling, financial aid, and more.
  • Lists of the University's Faculties & Academics and Offices & Services provide insight into Waterloo's key areas and processes.
1.5 c)

Training for process and project management and related tools is planned and/or underway for involved employees.

  • The University is adopting Lean methodologies for process improvement. Waterloo hosted the 2015 Lean conference in September and will be offering Lean training to build competency across the university.
  • Units conduct in-house project management training for employees (e.g., IT and research staff in AHS)
  • Training on process and project management is available via the Centre for Extended Learning and (Waterloo has an institutional membership to
  • Many units actively contribute to communities of practice for process and project management.

and Suppliers

1.6 a)

Key partner and supplier groups have been identified.

1.6 b)

A policy (or policies) is in place that includes different forms of partner and supplier relationships.

1.6 c)

Appropriate information and criteria is used to select capable financial and non-financial partners, and suppliers.