President's Town Hall: Successes, Growth and Dialogue

President's Town Hall with attendees listening to Feridun Hamdullahpur's speech.

One of the most important events on my schedule every year is the President’s Town Hall. This is my opportunity to talk about some of the successes we’ve enjoyed over the past year, the important projects we are working on, my vision for the future and have an open dialogue with the campus community.

Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their day to come to the Town Hall or viewed the live stream. We are an engaged campus of students, Faculty, staff and community members who care deeply about the future of our institution and I appreciate your dedication to its success.

Performance and Recognition

After enjoying a year of University of Waterloo’s 60th Anniversary celebrations it is clear we have had six decades of prosperity. This past year was no different.

Our student retention to second year, co-op enrolment and full time student enrolment all saw concrete gains. I am also proud to say that we have made significant progress in creating new study space on campus. Our role as a top research institution was also bolstered as our sponsored research revenue crossed the $200 million mark.

These are gains to be proud of and they have translated into continued recognition.

For the 26th consecutive year we were named Canada’s most innovative university by Maclean’s magazine. Waterloo was also ranked the top university in Canada for venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, successful exits and unicorns by Pitchbook.

These are all wonderful indicators of continued success, but we are also dedicated to a number of initiatives to make our campus a more engaging and welcoming place.

Serving our Community

Through the dedication of our Associate Vice-President Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, this past year we established a new steering committee on Indigenization. This committee will oversee the creation of an Indigenization strategy as five working groups evaluate and make a set of recommendations for the strategy by June 2018.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health has also made progress over the past year in meeting and discussing recommendations on how to improve awareness and mental health on our campus. This committee is very important to me and I personally look forward to hearing about the initiatives it will help develop.

Over our 60 years as a leading educational institution we have had a lot to celebrate, but the one thing that has pushed us forward was not relying exclusively on what we’ve done before. We look for ways to constantly improve.

Moving Forward

As our community moves forward we are dedicated to creating change instead of reacting to it. We are producing groundbreaking research, world-class graduates and industry changing entrepreneurs. But, how do we build off of this?

We must be committed to research and student-centred learning. We must be dedicated to diversity, entrepreneurship, and rise above disciplinary limitations. We must also come together as a tightknit community and look beyond our borders to a strong international presence.

This is how we will move forward as a university into the future.

Questions and Dialogue

The Town Hall is also a wonderful opportunity for open dialogue. This year we received dozens of questions before and during the Town Hall ranging in topics from sustainability to safe data management and student mental health. We were only able to answer a fraction of the questions submitted during the Town Hall, but we have already started posting answer to those questions on the President’s Town Hall website.

I believe that if you asked a question, you should receive an answer. We will continue adding additional answers to questions that were submitted in the very near future and will keep our campus community updated as answers are published.

Thank you again for all those who attended the Town Hall and I look forward to continuing our ongoing dialogue and focus of making the University of Waterloo stronger.

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