Strategic plan


The School of Public Health Sciences aspires to improve and enhance the health and well-being of individuals and populations.


The mission of the School is to provide high quality and rigorous educational programs in public health sciences, conduct impactful, multidisciplinary and transformative research that addresses current and emerging health challenges, and foster leadership at the interface of society, health and technology. 


The School is committed to educational and research programs that motivate people to think critically and act meaningfully, to be agents for constructive change, and to pursue health equity and social justice for all. We celebrate diversity and embrace programs that engage communities from local to global. We challenge the social and structural factors that undermine health, including structural bias, social inequities, and systemic racism. We value a healthy workplace that fosters well-being for members of our community. Through our actions we support sustainability and initiatives to improve planetary health. 

Strategic priorities

The School will accomplish its mission and vision through implementation of five strategic priorities:

Strategic plan priority 1

Sustain, develop, and implement high-quality and innovative programs that prepare learners for future success.

Create flexible learning pathways to accommodate students with various learning needs and circumstances

Implementation plan

  • Launch and evaluate blended on- and off-campus professional programs (MPH, MHE, MHI)
  • Identify and implement online course options for BPH and BSc students to enable timely program completion
  • Identify and implement additional program options for undergraduate students (e.g., Health and Business; minor in Public Health)
  • Create a pathway for students to fast track from professional to research-based programs (e.g., MPH-PhD) 
  • Explore and consider collaborative course options at the graduate level in relevant areas; e.g., Development Studies, Business/Management, Pharmacy, Social Work, Planetary and Global Health
  • Offer greater numbers of courses for students in other programs and Faculties
  • Increase and support study abroad opportunities through advertising, advising, recruitment, and development of transfer/credit protocols

Ensure that students in all of our programs understand and challenge the means by which structural bias, social inequities, and racism undermine health

Implementation plan

  • Review course syllabi to determine inclusion of content related to structural bias, social inequities, and racism
  • Add and/or revise courses as appropriate to include such content
  • Advise/support faculty to include such content in their courses through workshops and facilitated dicussions

Integrate sustainability themes across the curriculum

Implementation plan

  • Review course syllabi to determine inclusion of content related to sustainability (e.g., climate change, planetary health, ecological determinants of health)
  • Advise/support faculty to include sustainbability content (as appropriate) in their courses.
  • Plan courses and programs that are resilient to external disruptions (e.g., pandemics, climate change)

Ongoing evaluation and improvement of our educational programs

Implementation plan

  • Complete self-study and achieve accreditation of the MPH, BSc and BPH programs by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Complete self-study for our regular cyclical review (IQAP) and implement recommendations of review committee as needed
  • Implement annual reviews of programs by relevant curriculum committees to ensure that courses are current, meet foundational core competency requirements and/or identified learning objectives
  • Consult with students, at least annually, via surveys, townhall discussions, and focus groups to inform program reviews and evaluation
  • Regularly update program and recruitment materials on program websites and other media outlets
  • Meet annually with the SPHS External Advisory committee to ensure that students are offered relevant knowledge and job skills, receive support for practicum and coop placements, and solicit assistance in the design and offer of relevant professional/continuing education programs to the community

Support and expand opportunities for experiential learning

Implementation plan

  • Incorporate current and relevant real-world issues (through case- and problem-based learning, experiential focus, etc.) into course design and assessments, including by working with the Centre for Teaching Excellence and the Teaching Fellows
  • Provide all students with access to diverse learning experiences involving community-engagement, experiential learning, practicum experiences, volunteer options, and/or international experiences
  • Implement and staff laboratories (wet-labs, dry-labs, virtual labs or land-based labs) that are fully supported by staff and resources to incorporate hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate students
  • Identify practicum, coop, service learning opportunities and partnership arrangements with local organizations and agencies

Recruit and support diverse students, faculty, and staff

Implementation plan

  • Improve undergraduate and graduate recruitment efforts by engaging effectively with diverse stakeholders from local to global
  • Prioritize and enhance advising methods/processes to support students with diverse needs
  • Recruit and provide support for Indigenous students
  • Work with advancement to garner donor support (scholarship and bursaries for undergraduate and graduate students)
  • Ensure a fully inclusive approach to curriculum review, recruitment, governance and faculty hiring

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Strategic plan priority 2

Sustain and further develop conditions for positive learning and working experiences for students, faculty, and staff.

Focus on health and well-being through fostering a sense of community among faculty, staff and students

Implementation plan

  • Organize and support regular social gatherings 
  • Provide learning opportunities to sgupport the health and well-being of members of our community
  • Promote work/life balance for faculty and staff 
  • Create faculty-level advice document about career advancement

Create a mentorship program that supports learning, career development, and fosters departmental collaboration

Implementation plan

  • Develop guidelines and processes for the effective mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Develop and implement processes for evaluating mentorship in annual performance reviews
  • Develop and implement processes for mentoring/on-boarding new academic and research staff
  • Develop a mentorship program and materials for new faculty

Advocate for and demonstrate leadership of campus and faculty health initiatives and programs

Implementation plan

  • Advocate for a healthier campus (e.g., sustainability, healthy eating environment, tobacco-free campus)
  • Participate in campus health promotion initatives
  • Foster and encourage research and evaluation that supports campus health and well-being

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Strategic plan priority 3

Conduct and support high-quality and impactful research across the core pillars of public health and health systems.

Foster and sustain an environment conductive to high-quality and high-impact research

Implementation plan

  • Support voluntary internal proposal peer-review processes and expand internal peer-review opportunities
  • Explore opportunities to develop a pooled resource model to equitably deliver research administrative support for faculty
  • Ensure faculty and students are aware of and use existing research supports on campus
  • Advocate for research space
  • Join and work with university stakeholders to improve access to health data 

Produce and disseminate high-quality and impactful research

Implementation plan

  • Collaborate with the School’s External Advisory Committee to increase opportunities for research collaborations with policy and practice leaders locally, in Canada, and internationally
  • Support manuscript writing within School research teams (e.g., journal clubs, writing workshops, informal peer review)
  • Amplify research findings through effective and integrated knowledge translation and exchange

Provide opportunities for students at all levels to engage in research

Implementation plan

  • Encourage participation by faculty in the undergraduate honours thesis program
  • Provide opportunities for course-based graduate students to engage in research (e.g., research practica)
  • Implement opportunities for students to learn more about what the faculty, and each other, are doing

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Strategic plan priority 4

Maintain an effective, transparent, and responsive administrative infrastructure to support staff, faculty, and students

Build a distributed and collegial governance structure based on principles of equity, social solidarity, and resilience

Implementation plan

  • Create accessible leadership opportunities
  • Ensure both equity of opportunity as well as broad and inclusive participation
  • Provide leadership, mentorship, and shadowing opportunities for new faculty
  • Provide leadership, mentorship, and shadowing opportunities for academic staff
  • Ensure smooth leadership transitions
  • Include undergraduate and graduate students in School governance 
  • Include academic staff as voting members on School governance teams/committees 

Apply principles of equity, diversity and inclusiveness in our search, hiring, advancement, and leadership actions

Implementation plan

  • Require all search actions and processes to adhere firmly to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in faculty and staff hiring
  • Regularly review salary structures to ensure faculty and staff are treated fairly and equitably within the School, the Faculty, and UW, using all available means to prevent, identify, and address salary anomalies
  • Regularly review, update, and publish School policies and procedures to ensure transparency

Work with Faculty and UW leaders to advocate for and ensure that we have adequate numbers of the appropriately trained and skilled academic staff needed to support our many programs, diverse student clientele, and to meet the School’s strategic priorities as outlined in this plan

Implementation plan

  • Advocate for and secure permanent positions for the academic staff complement needed to support student and faculty success
  • Regularly review academic staff workloads and make appropriate adjustments as needed
  • Promote opportunities for academic staff to pursue/enhance career objectives and interests
  • Ensure academic staff have the tools and knowledge to respond to student and faculty needs
  • Strategic Priority Five: Engage productively with our communities, from local to global

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Strategic plan priority 5

Engage productively with our communities, from local to global

Encourage faculty, staff, and students to be active in their communities

Implementation plan

  • Encourage leadership positions in community organizations
  • Acknowledge and reward community service
  • Work with other Health units to establish an award for exemplary service
  • Acknowledge and reward effective knowledge translation and exchange activities with relevant constituencies (e.g., organizations, communities, institutions, policymakers)

Provide professional development opportunities for individuals and organizations

Implementation plan

  • Host public lectures on health issues of relevance to individuals, community groups, and other stakeholders
  • Organize professional development workshops and certificate programs for those working in our local, provincial, national, and global communities

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