Informing the University Plan

The plan which follows will be executed in the context of four overarching conditions.

Guiding Principles

The following foci will continue to distinguish UW:

  • experiential learning and co-operative education
  • global engagement and excellence
  • excellence, pursued and supported in all activities
  • a willingness to make choices, and to act where it can have greatest impact
  • leadership in creativity, innovation and risk taking, which support its global excellence goals
  • a dynamic, integrated living and learning environment that develops and enhances students’ personal and professional competencies


Following from the Framework document, by 2017 UW will continue to be internationally recognized for its academic programs, scholarship and societal contributions through the realization of the following overall objectives:

  • global leadership in additional, selected areas of UW’s scholarly (teaching and research) endeavours, while maintaining national leadership in chosen aspects of academic activities
  • enhancing the quality of student experience and learning through deeper integration of experiential learning and research engagement
  • preparing students to be global citizens by inculcating broad diversified awareness and creating learning opportunities for them in international settings
  • providing effective support services to enhance the quality of student life and the formation of strong alumni/ae links with UW
  • increased research and scholarly contribution to society through research intensity and breadth
  • commitment to provide excellent academic support staff so that UW can continue to provide high-quality programs, research and services


There will be ongoing assessment and benchmarking of UW’s progress in teaching and research against the performance of peer institutions, globally.
By 2017:

  • at least 12 UW academic programs will be the best in North America
  • at least 12 of the 44 academic departments/schools will rank in the top 12 in North America
  • at least 20 departments/schools will rank in the top three in Canada
  • each department/school will participate in a doctoral program
  • all departments/schools will rank in the top 25% in Canada

Benchmarking methodologies will be broad-based, vary from discipline to discipline, and include a wide range of qualitative and quantitative measures developed by academic support staff, academic units and Faculties.


UW will continue to manage its undergraduate enrolment selectively, and will grow aggressively in its graduate enrolment. Enrolment changes will be strategic, selective and focused so that achieving academic excellence can be realized. By 2017, UW’s Waterloo-Kitchener-Cambridge campuses will have the following student body:

  2017 2005
Total full-time students 32,000 24,000
Undergraduate students 24,000 22,000
Graduate students 8,000* 2,600

* (5,000 research and 3,000 course-based, professional and other non-thesis based Master’s students)

To accommodate this growth while maintaining quality, UW will have to increase the size of its faculty and staff and build additional physical and social infrastructure, particularly research and graduate student space.