More than 650 attendees from the University of Waterloo community participated in the first President’s Forum of the academic year, held on Monday, October 3. President Vivek Goel was joined by Sandra Banks, Vice-President, University Relations on stage at the Theatre of the Arts in front of a live audience, as hundreds more tuned in virtually 

Banks and Goel reflected on the renewed energy felt on the University’s campuses and recent in-person celebrations and events. President Goel called attention in particular to the Indigenous Commitment Ceremony and Truth and Reconciliation Awareness Walk, noting the importance of these events and of the shared responsibility for everyone in the community to commit to personal learning and education about Truth and Reconciliation.  

The president shared an overview of Waterloo at 100, a visioning exercise that looks ahead to the University of Waterloo’s 100th anniversary in 2057. 

The purpose of this exercise is to look beyond our usual five-year planning cycles,” President Goel said. “Five-year windows can often narrow our focus, particularly in academia, where it takes a longer time to develop new programs and new research initiativesIt's also a good time for us to take stock of where we've been as an institution and where we're going. 

In his presentation, President Goel discussed the Futures Framework, five areas that will help guide the University in thinking about where we're headed as a society and as an institution. The framework starts with thinking about the future of humanity and asking fundamental questions about where the human race is going.  

He also discussed three “forecasts” for the University in 2057 centred on graduates, knowledge and campus. 

The presentation was followed by a moderated question and answer period, during which Banks posed questions pre-submitted at registration and from the online chat. Other University Leaders were present in the theatre to help respond. Questions touched on the University’s Indigenization plans; equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism; student housing and food insecurity; the future of virtual learning; and flexible working arrangements for employees, among other topics 

A full recording of the forum, transcript, and Q&A from the event can be found on the President’s Forum website

The University community is also encouraged to visit the Waterloo at 100 website to learn more about the visioning exercise, share feedback on the discussion paper and submit big ideas for the future of the University.