2024-2027 Strategic Plan

Meeting the Moment

Territorial Acknowledgement

With gratitude, we acknowledge that Renison University College is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Hodinohsyó:ni, and Attawandaran (Neutral) Peoples, which is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land granted to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometres on each side of the Grand River from mouth to source.

Our active work toward reconciliation takes place in all corners of our campus through research, learning, teaching, community building, and outreach. We are guided by the work of our Anti-Racism and Decolonization Spokescouncil, and the University of Waterloo’s Office of Indigenous Relations.

Challenges we face and opportunities for growth

As Renison looks toward the coming three years, we also reflect on the internal and external challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Being deliberate in how we approach these challenges and opportunities allows us to better prepare and respond to them. It also allows us to take advantage of the opportunities that may be presented by these challenges.

The combination of challenges and opportunities creates a unique moment in time for Renison. Meeting this moment with determination, tenacity, and optimism will allow Renison to be more prepared as we boldly step into our future.


Renison shares the funding challenges experienced by other Ontario post-secondary institutions. The Ontario Blue Ribbon Panel Report tabled recently identified the 2019 tuition rollback and subsequent tuition freeze as a significant factor undermining the fiscal sustainability of universities. Ontario universities currently receive one of the smallest per capita grants for domestic students of any province in the country. The result is that nearly 50% of all Ontario universities, including the University of Waterloo (UW) and Renison, are currently reporting significant budget deficits.

Pandemic recovery

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Renison immediately pivoted to remote work and online learning. The number of students from other countries enrolled to study at UW dropped, affecting the number of students enrolled in Renison’s English Language Institute. The decline in enrollment of both domestic and international students due to the pandemic has impacted Renison financially and compounded preexisting funding challenges.

Student and staff mental health and well-being

The pandemic has contributed to an increase in mental health issues and a decline in well-being amongst both students and staff. The coming years will see an increase in the number of secondary students entering university who have experienced a disruption to their secondary schooling. This disruption will likely continue to impact their academic achievement, mental health, and well-being.  

Student recruitment

For years, post-secondary institutions have experienced challenges to recruiting for Arts and Humanities faculties. As an Arts-related college, Renison will continue to face the challenge of envisioning the future role of our programs in relation to the STEM programs for which UW is most widely known.  

Senior administration recruitment

For years now, the provincial government has frozen executive compensation. Staff and faculty salaries continue to increase while administrative salaries have not. This will worsen the challenge of hiring and retaining senior administrators.

Aging infrastructure

Post-secondary institutions across Ontario are suffering from aging infrastructure resulting from high levels of deferred maintenance. Renison facilities—including residences, public areas, student spaces, meeting rooms, and classrooms—are in need of refreshing, upgrading, and expanding.

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Renison faces the challenges and opportunities created by implementing the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action related to post-secondary education, along with the need to Indigenize and decolonize the college. This entails changes to programs, curriculum, policy, appointments, and admissions plus a cultural shift in learning and working environments. This work must be considered alongside the TRC’s 10 principles of reconciliation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion

The Ontario population continues to become more diverse, and society continues to be more inclusive of people with disabilities and those from 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. This creates both challenges and opportunities for Renison to diversify its student population and workforce, create equitable human resource policies and practices, and foster inclusive and safe learning and working environments which foster a sense of belonging. This will allow everyone to be their authentic selves, contribute their best, and get the most out of their time at Renison.

Renison has also signed the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Higher Education. Renison will continue to implement the Charter’s actions and to be held accountable for achieving concrete outcomes.


Renison aims to foster inclusive living, learning, and working communities empowered by excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to educate and prepare highly skilled graduates for success and contribution to the world.


Priority 1: Nurture Transformative Student Leaders

Renison’s learning and living environments nurture dynamic students who flourish as purposeful individuals with the capacity to make a difference in the world.

We will do this by:

1.1  Intentionally recruiting and appropriately supporting students and residents from under-represented communities. These students will then enrich the Renison environment through their diversity of culture, experience, socio-economic background, orientation, and community of origin.

1.2  Continuing to develop and improve student support systems which will enable Renison to nurture student success, health, and well-being, and reflect the needs of the diverse student population.

1.3  Continuing to offer and enhance training opportunities for student leaders and opportunities for peer leadership and student employment at Renison College.

1.4 ​​​​​​​ Continuing to strengthen our work with international students in support of the university’s internationalization goals.

1.5 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Providing innovative courses and programs that helps to prepare students for the world in which they live. 

Priority 2: Embed Indigenization, decolonization, and inclusion, diversity, and equity throughout all aspects of Renison life

We value the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of our students, staff, and faculty. We will cultivate a foundation of Indigenization and inclusion, diversity, and equity that is core to our curriculum, community expectations, policies, and practices. This will help Renison move toward an environment in which everyone feels welcome, that they belong, and that they are able to contribute their best. We will also foster safe and inclusive living, learning, and working environments so that all students, staff, and faculty can thrive at Renison. 

We will do this by:

2.1  Ensuring our policies and practices are in compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and supporting the full inclusion of students, staff, and faculty.

2.2  Effectively addressing issues of harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate behaviours when they occur and holding people accountable for harmful behaviours

2.3  Continuing our decolonizing and Indigenization efforts. This includes the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action regarding higher education and developing intentional relationships with Indigenous communities.

2.4  Developing and implementing a multi-year Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan that addresses future recruitment and hiring practices.

2.5  Creating opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to engage with colleagues across difference.

2.6  Continuing to re-assess and redistribute Renison-funded scholarships and awards to serve equity-deserving student communities.

2.7  Offering unique supports that international students need to thrive at Renison and the University of Waterloo. 

Priority 3: Foster a strong, inclusive, and healthy community

Our community is what makes Renison strong. We will continue to foster positive living, learning, and working environments where all members of the Renison community feel a sense of belonging and in which they are recognized, valued, and respected. We will foster a community that engages students, staff, and faculty and allows them to be their full and authentic selves.

We will do this by:

3.1  Developing and strengthening relationships with recent alumni and cultivating their engagement in events, activities, and student career development.

3.2  Fostering more inclusive living, learning, and working environments in which members of the Renison community are able to participate authentically, with particular attention placed on inclusion of marginalized voices.

3.3  Creating a culture that promotes and supports the emotional, cultural, spiritual, physical, and mental well-being of Renison’s students, staff, and faculty.

3.4  Fostering a culture of collaboration that enhances communication and focuses on solving problems and challenges.

3.5  Applying a continuous lens of environmental impact and sustainability to all operations and practices of the organization.

Priority 4: Continue to be an inspirational place of teaching, research, and learning

Through our unique educational programs, our students will develop the knowledge and skills to contribute positively to an ever-changing world. Renison will continue to recruit, nurture, and retain diverse top-tier employees who are committed to offering adaptive education in rapidly changing local and global contexts. Renison will also offer innovative degrees and community programs that engage the world in the social, political, linguistic, cultural, and spiritual domains.

We will do this by:

4.1  Strengthening and revitalizing existing programs by reviewing and refreshing content to address emerging topics.    

4.2  Adapting and refining programming responsive to the data-informed needs of students, both current and future, in keeping with our core academic strengths and expertise.

4.3  Continuing to strengthen institutional capacity toward excellence in teaching, learning, and research.

4.4  Maintaining our commitment to serving and enriching the full student experience and ensuring that in addition to academic and professional growth our students are able to explore spiritual, psychological, and inner maturity and development.

4.5  Expanding opportunities to support faculty, instructors, and students in their research and career goals and contributing to new knowledge development by sharing and advancing knowledge through a variety of communication channels.

4.6  Strengthening relationships with community partners to support student experiential learning opportunities.

Priority 5: Establish institutional sustainability

Renison will make decisions with the long-term sustainability of its human, financial, environmental and infrastructural resources as key priorities in its effort to continue to be an inspirational and inclusive place for living, teaching, working and learning.

We will do this by:

5.1  Expanding and diversifying sources of revenue, particularly in the areas of grants, fundraising, endowment growth, investments, partnerships, and program development.

5.2  Ensuring that the College’s facilities, including residence rooms, public areas, student spaces, meeting rooms, and classrooms are maintained, upgraded, and expanded as necessary to meet the needs of our students, staff, faculty, and instructors.

5.3  Identifying and implementing opportunities for efficiencies and optimization of processes and resources.

5.4  Ensuring that our fundraising activities reflect the identified needs of the organization.

5.5  Developing financial models that support the evolving strategic program directions of the organization and push them towards long-term sustainability.

What's next? Implementation and Monitoring

Renison University College will bring this strategic plan to life by developing and implementing departmental operational plans for the coming three-years. These operational plans will lay out clear actions to operationalize the goals identified in this strategic plan.

As appropriate, quantitative and qualitative data will be captured and reported on. This evaluation will support further strategic planning and will help inform each of the operational plans.


If we have learned anything from the past few years, it is that circumstances can change quickly and dramatically. It is important that the Renison Strategic Plan has the ability to be adjusted as conditions warrant. The priorities, as set out in this strategic plan, should not change—but how we get there might. The Renison Strategic Plan is a living document and will evolve as necessary. A webpage will be dedicated to the Renison Strategic Plan that supports action items and clear measures to report both how we are meeting our priorities and how our activities and outputs have evolved to remain responsive to challenges and opportunities that may arise.