Change and disruption is shifting our world and we must be prepared to face the challenges of our society and lead. I know what our University is capable of because of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have made Waterloo the dynamic institution it is today.
I am pleased to say that our new strategic plan – Connecting Imagination with Impact – has now been approved by both Senate and the Board of Governors. It will help us chart a new path forward through a disruptive and exciting future.
What has changed?
The new strategic plan is a departure from the plan that guided us from 2013 to 2018. You can see it in the vision statement, values, core themes and signature commitments. This isn’t because our last plan was not effective – it absolutely was – but the world is at a new inflection point. The world continues to evolve and we must approach the challenges ahead of us in a different way.
We are taking a unique, community-driven approach to creating a dynamic and flexible university that strives for local and global impact. Our strategic plan embraces Waterloo’s heritage of bold ambition and risk-taking. These elements can be found in our three impact themes:
- Developing talent for a complex future
- Advancing research for global impact
- Strengthening sustainable and diverse communities
Each of these themes are integral to the continued success of our institution. Our work in these three core areas will be distinct from other universities because we know that Waterloo’s unique culture operates best at the crossroads of talent, knowledge and community.
There are seven signature commitments to help guide us over the next five years.
The signature commitments are:
- Build on our global leadership in co-operative education to provide every undergraduate and graduate student with expanded options in experiential learning.
- Empower students to leverage diverse learning experiences by creating more flexible learning pathways.
- Be a global powerhouse for commercializing research, developing new enterprises and supporting business growth.
- Leverage Waterloo’s vast employer network and academic strengths to deliver a dynamic framework of learning-integrated work for professionals seeking to thrive and lead.
- Align our research strengths deliberately with important global challenges.
- Lead globally and nationally at the interface of society, health and technology.
- Create a supportive environment for living, learning, working and discovery that is worthy of our students and University community.
I encourage you to explore our new strategic plan, its themes, commitments, goals and objectives. We needed a plan to guide our university and prepare our students for an ever-changing world filled with challenges. We needed a plan that would see hurdles as opportunities to seize. This plan does just that.
Our new strategic plan is complete and approved. It is a significant milestone for our institution. Now, what’s next? Without firm targets and outcomes, this plan is only a dream. The next phase in our timeline is to commence action-planning and develop an accountability framework to effectively track our progress. This is currently taking place and will continue into 2020. I encourage you to read the plan, consider how your work and activities contribute, and look for opportunities to become engaged. On November 12, the strategic plan will be an important focus of our President's Town Hall.
I am proud of this plan, because it reflects our community. This is your plan, only made possible through your voices, your input and your vision for what our University can and should strive to achieve.
After nearly two years of deep reflection, discussions, and consultations from thousands of people across our community it is an institutional guide that reflects our dreams for what our institution is capable of accomplishing over the next five years.
Together we will create a new model of a 21st-century university; one that builds on our dreams of connecting imagination with impact for a better world.