Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Provide a modern and relevant science education founded on academic excellence and an ethic of research and discovery

Vivian Dayeh teaches students.In order to support all of our students, we as a Faculty must continue to provide the highest standard of teaching excellence for which we have deservedly become known. Owing to the fundamental nature of scientific education and its application to a diverse range of fields, the Faculty of Science is responsible for training students who will go on to excel in all walks of life; this includes not only students registered in Science, but also those from other faculties who elect to study science or do so as part of other degrees. The overall quality of teaching in the Faculty of Science is strong and well-recognized through our recipients of Distinguished Teaching Awards; nevertheless, we recognize there will always be opportunities to improve. In the interest of fostering a more unified teaching structure, we will address the way in which our teaching is coordinated within and among our departments and schools. Moving forward, we will take steps to deepen our sense of identity in the Faculty in order to better support our students, particularly new students as they transition into Science. Beginning with first year, we will lay the foundation for lifelong relationships between our students and the Faculty.

In addition to providing a shared identity for Science students and ensuring that our degree programs are effectively positioned in order to meet their needs and expectations, we will build upon our strengths in experiential learning and continue to improve the employment readiness of our graduates. In the Faculty of Science, we have a long history of using hands-on teaching formats. Roughly 20 per cent of science courses involve instruction in laboratories and other experiential settings, including field-based work and clinical settings. Our students are also encouraged to seize opportunities outside of the classroom through summer employment, research opportunities, outreach initiatives and volunteerism.

Experiential learning is fundamental to the identity of the University of Waterloo and is strongly associated with co-operative education at this institution. In the Faculty of Science, co-op plays an important and ever-increasing role in the education of our undergraduate students. Over the past five years, science undergraduate enrolment in co-op has increased from 27 per cent to 34 per cent. At the graduate level, experiential learning is an inextricable part of our offerings, given the research-intensive nature of our disciplines, making Science an excellent example of the importance of learning by doing. Over the next five years, we will continue to build on our foundation of co-operative education and experiential learning. We will also encourage an increased adoption of entrepreneurship among our students by supporting entrepreneurial successes from within our own faculty and increasing ties on campus to initiatives such as VeloCity, the University of Waterloo program that supports the establishment of startup businesses by students and recent Waterloo alumni.

To achieve this goal, we will:

Objective 1.1: Enhance the scope of our first-year experience to better prepare students for their careers in the Faculty of Science and beyond 

Objective 1.2: Implement continuous curricular reviews within and across our units to ensure our programs are meeting the needs of our students

Objective 1.3: Strengthen the quality of instruction received by students and ensure responsiveness to their constructive feedback

Objective 1.4: Enhance the employment readiness of our graduates through co-op and increased involvement in experiential learning and entrepreneurship