Framework for UW's Sixth Decade

Overall Priority:  Academic Excellence

Academic excellence is the cornerstone of Waterloo’s mission. It is achieved by the commitment of the University community to the highest quality teaching, research, scholarship and services which support the academic enterprise. That commitment underlies admission and examination standards, hiring and promotion decisions, criteria for performance evaluation, and academic goals.

Teaching and research are mutually supportive activities, fulfilling equally important and complementary roles in the University. This complementarity is fostered and augmented through a diversity of scholarship and teaching styles. To continue to provide a high quality environment, UW aspires to achieve excellence in both teaching and research, and to make mutually beneficial connections between them.

The University of Waterloo will continue to strive to achieve academic excellence in all its activities through:

  • Pursuit of new knowledge and scholarship through the vigorous promotion and encouragement of frontier and reflective research
  • Recruitment of the best faculty through national and international searches; application of the highest standards in faculty recruitment, annual performance reviews, and tenure and promotion decisions; retention of top-performing faculty through tangible recognition of excellence in teaching, research / scholarship, and service
  • Recruitment and retention of the highest quality academic support staff; acknowledgement of their contributions via a merit-based reward system; encouragement of staff, where appropriate, to become active participants in teaching and research initiatives
  • Recruitment of students of the highest calibre, from Canada and abroad; provision of a stimulating, varied and challenging environment conducive to the successful completion of their programs
  • External peer review of all academic programs
  • Global leadership in co-operative education
  • Planning measures (academic and administrative) in support of UW’s goals and objectives; academic and budgetary decisions to support academic excellence
  • Reserving resources to facilitate improvements and respond to opportunities, even in times of financial stringency

Relevance and Connectedness

The University of Waterloo will continue to strive to maximize its academic and societal relevance by:

  • Recognizing that experiential learning through its co-op programs contributes to providing students with the best overall academic experience
  • Working with partners in the public and private sectors to promote co-op education and knowledge transfer
  • Enhancing institutional capacity to work collaboratively with all UW constituencies, including public and private sectors, and alumni
  • Introducing new academic programs in response to long-term societal needs
  • Providing service to society through cultural enrichment and knowledge transfer
  • Encouraging and supporting innovation and accepting the collateral risk(s)


The University of Waterloo will continue to strive to improve its resources through vigorous fund-raising efforts, and to improve its financial stability through diversification of its sources of income and the continued building of its endowments.

Note: the Framework was accepted by SLRP (November 18/03); and approved by UW Senate (January 19/04) and the Board of Governors (February 3/04).