I got my Masters of Applied Science degree from University of Waterloo (UW) in Ontario, Canada. For this reason I decided to look at the mission statement from UW and compare it to another great university in Ontario which is University of Toronto (U of T).
UW was launched in 1957 by industries with a dream of changing the world through innovation and research. Currently UW has 30,600 full and part time undergraduates and 5300 full and part time graduate students. Teaching and research excellence remain core to Waterloo’s mission. Due to the emphasis of UW on research an innovation, it has become an internationally recognized leader in entrepreneurship and innovation. UW has been ranked as the nation’s most innovative university for the 23rd consecutive year and the best university in Canada for 19 of the last 23 years. UW provides a research environment where experimental learning can take place. Waterloo goes beyond the limits of disciplinary, institutional, and international boundaries by the aim of encouraging students to address challenges in innovative ways.
U of T was found in 1827 as the first institution of higher learning in the colony of Upper Canada. The mission of U of T is being internationally significant in research, with undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of excellent quality. University of Toronto has 33,795 undergraduate students and 13,464 graduate students. This university is dedicated to developing an academic community in which individual human rights and principle of equal opportunity, equity and justice are the main values. Freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research are also known as the most crucial human rights. U of T builds on its past achievements in order to enhance its research and teaching. With scholarships in wide range of disciplines including humanities, social sciences, sciences, and professions, U of T makes itself attractive for scholarly activities.
Comparing UW to U of T:
First I should say that living in University of Waterloo for two years I would say that they are very much aligned with their mission statement. Not looking at their mission statement, I would have described them exactly as a research and innovation based University. While UW maintains diversity, principles of inclusivity, accessibility, and sustainability (LEED certified buildings), it stands for innovation and research. Whereas U of T introduces itself as an internationally significant research university, with a main focus on equal opportunity and justice. Also, UW commits to transparency by making its updated strategic plan, state of university report, performance indicator, financial statement, and salary disclosure open to the public. The main research, teaching, undergraduate, graduate, life-long learning, and university community guidelines seem to be the same for both universities. However, one thing that makes UW stand out in terms of performance is making its mission statement, strategic plan, value, and goals more understandable and therefore more achievable. The mission statement for U of T does not seem very precise and was last approved by the governing Council in 1992. Budget planning, data analytics and reporting, evaluation and accountability, policy enrollment planning, student surveys, university data and statics, and an updated recourse allocation model are factors which could help U of T in developing an updated mission statement that could be better aligned with its current objectives. It seems like lack of an updated, transparent mission statement is what is keeping U of T from performing better. Considering that U of T was Canada’s first institution of higher learning in the colony of upper Canada in the 1820s, it could have used all this past experience and knowledge for being well aligned with its current mission. Since now it is not clear if they are in any way aligned with their mission statement. Although U of T is at an advantage due to its many years of experience, it is not performing as well as U of W in teaching and research. An outdated mission statement could be one cause of this problem.