Our community took a significant step forward this past Monday at the Bridge to 2020: A Look Back, A Look Ahead strategic plan event. After a morning of discussion and sharing at the event, it is clear to me that we have an engaged and passionate community ready to add their experiences and their voice to guide our institution forward.
The event was the kick off of our consultation phase of the planning process. It was also an opportunity for us to share the progress of our strategic plan evidence gathering phase and also collect feedback from our University community on seven issue papers that were developed on the following topics:
- Empowering People
- Graduate Studies
- Learning Environment
- Leveraging Resources
- Research Excellence
- Undergraduate Learning
Advisory groups made up of representatives from the Faculties, academic support units and student representatives each developed an issue paper on their corresponding topic. You can now read each issue paper and discover the challenges and opportunities our institution faces as we move forward into the future.
The most exciting part of sharing these issue papers at the Bridge to 2020 event was our opportunity to talk and discover what matters to you, our University community. It was the first and definitely not the last opportunity for you to have your say as to what the University of Waterloo should dedicate our time and resources to in our next strategic plan. This event was only the beginning.
Where We Go From Here
From here we will head directly into the Consultation phase of the planning process. This phase will take place over the next several months and will involve a series of in-person, online and digital processes to gather input from Waterloo’s community stakeholders. This includes faculty, staff, students, alumni and our broader community.
These consultations will leverage the information gathered from the Summative Report of our previous Strategic Plan as well as the seven issue papers. It is important to remember that we are not limited to the themes of these issue papers.
A great deal of care and dedication were put into these valuable documents, they are excellent jumping off points that can help guide our discussions but we must also remember that we are not limited by them.
This plan can be whatever the University of Waterloo community thinks it needs to be to take our institution forward into the next decade and grow as one of the most innovative universities in the world.
It will also be an active plan. It will not sit on a shelf and be a symbolic checkmark. We will not only make implementation of the plan a priority, but also regular progress updates and ongoing re-evaluation of our tactics to reach our plan targets once it is in place.
As our Consultation phase progresses, I urge you to stay engaged and informed. We have created a central Bridge to 2020 website that is a hub of information that will let you stay up-to-date on the entire strategic planning process including hosting all seven issue papers that were highlighted at the event this week.
You can provide feedback on each issue paper through the website and read about all of the upcoming consultation activities that you may be able to take part in. The planning starts here with all of us and expands to include the Board of Governors, Senate, senior administration, and many other parts of our diverse community. This plan will be ours and that’s because of you and your involvement.
Join me in driving the University of Waterloo forward into a new and exciting future.