Waterloo at 100 Newsletter 02

Monday, July 4, 2022

What we’re hearing

As we continue hearing from diverse voices during our Waterloo at 100 consultations, we are humbled by, and grateful for, the passion and insights coming from this community. As the University prepares for its long-term future, we are hearing imaginative solutions to challenges that will enable Waterloo to lead in inclusive and sustainable ways.

One of the questions that has enlivened our discussions about where the University should be on its 100th anniversary in 2057 is: Does Waterloo aspire to be more like traditional, globally recognized universities, or do we want to reaffirm the institution’s founding values, charting an unconventional path forward?

Here's what we're hearing:

  • Many of the metrics that post-secondary institutions use today are based on a 19th-century model. Waterloo can define its own goals based on our differentiators and the needs emerging all around us. Waterloo can lead on its own terms to enable unique impacts that we  can provide to our local community and the world at large.
  • Waterloo should aspire to be “the best” in the world in a few select areas while being “among the best” in others
  • The University needs to continue to work to find solutions to the systemic barriers faced by Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+ people; those living with disabilities and others who belong to under-represented or excluded groups.
  • Waterloo must better articulate and deliver on the value of in-person and residential experiences as virtual institutions and organizations create intense competition for learners. 
  • Waterloo, a global leader in computing and data science, must find ways to use the University’s own data as a strategic resource to support the full range of activities from teaching to research and to help evolve the institution as a place where students and staff all thrive.
  • Waterloo’s strong, historic connection to the local community is its fourth differentiator – perhaps one we should cite more often as its first differentiator. This relatively unique disposition for a university is an enduring one that constantly enriches the three other differentiators that make Waterloo remarkable — experiential education, entrepreneurship, and research with real-world impact.
  • Given Waterloo’s capacity to innovate and generate an entrepreneurial spirit, we must foster stronger avenues to bring capital and broader supports to the dynamic and growing ecosystem of entrepreneurship, commercialization and social impact.

As we continue to meet with internal and external stakeholders over the summer, we encourage you to share the Waterloo at 100 webpage with your colleagues and networks where they can engage with the visioning exercise through a feedback form.

You can read other Waterloo at 100 newsletters here.

Please stay tuned as, over the summer, we are preparing a first draft of the Waterloo at 100 vision paper for broad input and feedback. We will be in touch when that paper is ready and look forward to your engagement.

Thank you again for sharing your ideas. Our long-term vision and best hope for the future will be supported through the diverse perspectives and insights of everyone in the Waterloo community.

Listen to Vivek Goel discuss Waterloo at 100 on the Beyond the Bulletin podcast:

Remote video URL