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The Eight Themes

The Strategic Plan identifies eight themes (areas of strength) for Waterloo — five that form our foundation and three that set us apart from other institutions. To be recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the world, we need to make each area of strength even stronger.

Our differentiating strengths

Different from the start, Waterloo has earned a reputation as the most innovative university in Canada with an unconventional approach to higher education that has made it a leader in three defining areas:

Our foundational strengths

In just over 50 years, Waterloo has grown from a farm field to a globally-recognized leader in higher education. We’ve built this institution on the solid ground of our foundational strengths:

Our theme leads

Each focus area (theme) will be monitored by a leader appointed from our campus community, supported by a team of content experts.

  • Experiential education: Ross Johnson and Judene Pretti
  • Entrepreneurship: Jay Shah
  • Transformational research: John Thompson and Bruce Muirhead
  • Academic programming: Mario Coniglio and Jeff Casello
  • Internationalization: Ian Rowlands
  • Vibrant student experience: Chris Read
  • Employer-employee relationship: Marilyn Thompson
  • Sound value system: Diana Parry