Waterloo leads in innovation and education: April in review

First things first: congratulations to our students who have just finished the Winter 2014 academic term, and to all faculty and staff for making it possible.

I wish each and every one of you the best as you head into a co-op job, a spring-time academic term, or other opportunities. And of course, a special congratulations to all students who have just completed their degrees from the University of Waterloo. I’ll see you in June!

April has been an outstanding month – I could not be more energized by the path our university is on, thanks to your hard work and commitment.

This month started off with a meeting of the University of Waterloo’s board of governors. We had an excellent discussion about Strategic Plan implementation, as well as other items pertaining to university governance. As always, our board provided excellent feedback, suggestions, and comments that will continue to inform and support our work.

Like us, our governors know that experiential learning is critical to the university’s reputation and its appeal to incoming students.  In that spirit, I was thrilled to help celebrate our incredible “co-op students of the year” this month.

The six honorees joined me and special guest Steven Woods, Engineering Director of Google Canada and a great friend of the university, for a luncheon in their honour in our boardroom at Needles Hall.

 "I love being UWaterloo alumni!"

Check out Waterloo’s Facebook page for photos.

On the 14th and 15th, our university hosted the second annual Waterloo Innovation Summit, a “networking and ideation platform” for some of the world’s most inspiring thinkers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.

Owning the theme of innovation is critical to Waterloo’s reputation, and more importantly, it’s just who we are. This summit was an excellent instrument for keeping Waterloo on the leading edge of the innovation agenda in Canada and beyond. Congratulations to all organizers, panelists, discussants, and contributors on a job very well done.

April also saw Waterloo exercise a leadership role in innovation and education far beyond the confines of main campus.

I joined Waterloo alumni, senior colleagues, and special guests in launching our Vancouver Alumni Chapter, bringing our total number of alumni chapters to 10 world-wide. Our alumni are key members of the Waterloo family, and it was wonderful to see them come together to hoist the Waterloo flag in one of Canada’s greatest cities.

On April 16, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, which I serve as vice-chair on behalf of the University of Waterloo, released its Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030 report at the World Literacy Summit held in the United Kingdom. Learning 2030 challenges the global education community to re-think secondary education, and re-tool it for success in the 21st century.

We should all be immensely proud that the University of Waterloo is exercising significant thought leadership in the broader education dialogue around the world. As a leader in education and innovation, our involvement in Learning 2030 is an excellent symbol of our capacity for global sectoral leadership.

Last but by no means least, I am presently in China building institutional relationships between the University of Waterloo and some of the most prestigious and elite academic institutions in this country, including Tianjin University, Soochow University, Nanjing University and Tsinghua University.

This work builds on our Strategic Plan’s internationalization strategy of sustaining “global prominence” for Waterloo and ensuring our cadre of partnerships is truly top tier.

Waterloo’s ongoing success is possible only because you make it so, in your own unique way, every day and every month.

Thank you for all your effort over the Winter term, and best of luck for the Spring.

As always, I warmly welcome your feedback and comments on these updates to president@uwaterloo.ca. I can’t promise I’ll be able to respond to every message, but I will read every single one!

Sincerely,

Feridun

Note to readers: from June, 2013 through 2015, the president’s monthly review was published in the Daily Bulletin, where this piece originally ran. As of January 2016, monthly reviews are published directly to this blog.

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