Waterloo at 100 Newsletter 05

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

What We're Hearing

Since releasing the Waterloo at 100 Discussion Paper in September, we have resumed consultations centering on hearing your big ideas. Many have expressed enthusiasm for the longer-range vision for Waterloo at 100. Extending our horizon takes us beyond five-year planning cycles enabling us to make commitments and progress on the big, bold ideas coming out of these consultations.  

What we’re hearing:

  • We need to revisit our current institutional values. As recommended in the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) final report, our values should reflect our commitments to decolonization, Indigenization, accessibility, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism (EDI-R). Looking ahead to 2057, we can define now what an Indigenized institution looks like. We can plan for a fully accessible campus in all the ways that are important to our future. We can set our aspirations for an institution that no longer needs an EDI-R office. And, we must meet our commitments for a net-zero campus. The vision for Waterloo at 100 will outline as an immediate next step our process for revisiting our values.

  • As our most recent strategic plan states, “our greatest impact happens together.” We need to operationalize how the organization works together better, across multiple units and mandates. This includes evolving and innovating on our internal processes, such as budgeting and integrated planning across faculties and academic support units (ASUs) on a 3 to 5 year rolling basis. As one participant recently put it: “collaborate or crumble!”

  • We have a responsibility to prepare global citizens: our learners should graduate with a sense of place and responsibility within our local region and our global community. Common courses and other learning experiences that cultivate this mindset could feature in a core curriculum for all students. As shared in a consultation, “our role is not to educate citizens to become good engineers and social scientists, but to educate engineers and social scientists to become good citizens.”

  • Over the years, Waterloo has achieved international stature for scholarship, innovation, and teaching that addresses global challenges and varying contexts across our planet. As a university that emerged from the local needs of the community, we are also uniquely embedded in the region and must continue to support thriving economies and a vibrant and inclusive society. In our journey to 100, Waterloo can constantly acknowledge the need for both global and local aspirations in order to make the impacts we desire for all of humanity.

  • The consequence of Waterloo’s strength as a research-intensive university will only grow into our future. Both fundamental knowledge that expands the boundaries of human understanding and applied research that equips humanity to address its most challenging problems are essential to Waterloo at 100. Aligning research priorities and activities to the five interconnected futures will position Waterloo to define a concerted agenda in knowledge production, dissemination, and application fit for our future.

  • We should also prioritize how we assess the performance of our research. Metrics quantifying the volume of scholarship must be balanced with measures that identify impacts our research makes in society. Embracing the principles of Open Science and global scholarship will help ensure our outputs are increasingly accessible and enable collaboration and interdisciplinarity.

  • Our campuses are much more than our physical spaces. We must develop and leverage the technologies that will augment and enhance education, research, and the whole experience for all in our community. As we expand our classrooms to virtual and highly collaborative spaces, we should also optimize our physical spaces for enriching in-person and residential experiences.

Have your say 

Thank you for sharing your ideas and for your commitment to the future of our institution. As we conclude our current round of consultations over the remainder of this term, we have commenced preparing the Waterloo at 100 vision document, which we aim to release early next year for feedback. The vision and other updates will be uploaded on the Waterloo at 100 webpage. We encourage you to share the webpage with your colleagues and networks where everyone’s ideas for the vision document can be shared through the feedback form.