Digital and technological progress has allowed more flexibility in teaching and learning, with the pandemic accelerating applications in remote and hybrid education. At the same time, the pandemic has underscored the urgency of improving mental health and wellness supports for students and employees.
Institutions are grappling to maintain or grow public trust in the face of widespread misinformation and disinformation. New entrants to the sector, such as online, private and other non-traditional institutions present new competition in post-secondary education (PSE).
The sector has a responsibility to reckon with our country’s colonial past and ongoing harms and recognize that our students, faculty and staff are shaped by different lived experiences and backgrounds. Many face barriers from systemic discrimination. Our campuses are microcosms of society – they must be decolonized and become more accessible, equitable and anti-oppressive.
Change in the sector means others have embraced so much of what once made Waterloo unique. Work integrated learning, entrepreneurship and research with industry were once strengths few besides Waterloo could claim. Today, many of our competitors are making serious commitments in these areas, blending us in with the crowd.
We face a generational opportunity to address these big challenges and to bring fresh relevance to post-secondary education. To fulfil our ambition and regain our distinctiveness, now is the time to reimagine a continued unconventional role for the University of Waterloo in this rapidly changing landscape.