University of Waterloo Human Rights Equity and Inclusion Departmental Review Terms of Reference

Fall 2020


Founded in 1957, the University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university with over 36,000 students, six faculties, and three satellite campuses. The university is home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world.

The mission statement of the University of Waterloo is to advance learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship, nationally and internationally, in an environment of free expression and inquiry.

Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (HREI) works to bring members of the campus community together to facilitate understanding and address systemic barriers to equity, inclusion, and decolonization. Five intersecting portfolios support the work:

As the University of Waterloo embarks on its next Strategic Plan (2020-2025), the results of the external review will inform and advise Senior Leadership on any recommendations that will inform the future structure and resourcing of the work done by various portfolios, as well as the leadership profile required for the area.

Role of the Review Team:

The Review Team will consist of external professionals experienced in administration of similar departments in an academic environment and who have expertise in consulting with the BIPOC community. They will engage in broad campus-wide consultations with the following stakeholder groups:

  • Current HREI team
  • Students
  • BIPOC and Indigenous Groups
  • Faculty
  • Staff/Union
  • Executive Council members
  • External/Community Partners
  • Relevant University Committees
  • Other groups or individuals that may emerge during the course of the review

These consultations may be in the form of roundtables, individual meetings or through other means available to the Review Team.

Scope:  The HREI review will include the activities of the five intersecting portfolios.  Included in the review are the functions and related administration, policies and systems, service standards, internal and external stakeholder relations, departmental culture and community engagement.  These functions will be considered from many user perspectives.

Purpose:  To review and evaluate the HREI portfolio at the University of Waterloo, with an emphasis on organizational structure and leadership, partnerships, internal collaborations, and the delivery of services and programs.  To advise on strengths, challenges, and opportunities the University should consider to ensure the human rights, equity and inclusion needs of the Waterloo community are met in an efficient, effective, and progressive manner.

Terms of Reference: The Review Team will

1.         Review the mission and mandate of the HREI portfolio.  Do the current HREI mission and mandate support the current institutional priorities of the University? Does the department achieve its mandate effectively?  Are there opportunities to consider the current institutional priorities, the efficiency of current allocations, and the adequacy of resourcing against the priorities and/or expectations? 

2.         Review the structure and organization of the HREI portfolio. Is the organizational reporting and leadership structure and profile consistent with and support of the departmental mandate?   How are HREI initiatives coordinated at Waterloo?  Does the current structure and operation meet the needs of the Waterloo community?  How should the HREI portfolio be organized to meet the future and evolving needs of the university community?

3.         Review the alignment of the HREI portfolio across the campus.  Are there functions that could or should be governed in another manner?  Is there an opportunity to better align and leverage the skills and expertise of the HREI professionals across campus?  Is there clear communication of service delivery responsibilities?  Are partnerships encouraged and fostered? Is the structure and process for collaboration, appropriate and effective?

4.         To understand the legislative and compliance landscape for the HREI portfolio.  Is Waterloo appropriately resourced in the context of current regulatory and legislative requirements?  Are there adequate internal and external resources to support the campus requirements? Have appropriate contracts been established with external support i.e. investigation services?

5.        Review and evaluate the effectiveness of the services, supports and programs offered by HREI.  What is the quality of HREI service delivery to the Waterloo community?  Is there any duplication of service provision, opportunities for synergies in service provision?  What service gaps exist?  Are the leadership capabilities of the University supported and improved by HREI?  What improvements (including process improvements) can be implemented?

6.         Suggest opportunities for future development and enhancement.  What should be prioritized moving forward?  What are the best opportunities for enhancement?

The anticipated timeline for this review is 3-4 months, with the expectation that the report will be completed and shared with the University of Waterloo community by end of May 2021.

The Vice-President Academic and Provost along with the Associate Provost, Human Resources will determine the terms of reference and scope of the review, the selection of reviewers and provide review team support for the gathering of information.  The Vice-President Academic and Provost and the Associate Provost, HR is responsible for receiving and evaluating the review team’s recommendations.