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​Laurier’s Faculty of Science has grown rapidly since its inception in 2000, and is now home to over 3800 undergraduate students and over 100 faculty across seven departments. As Laurier has made the transition from a primarily undergraduate to comprehensive institution, we have maintained a commitment to high quality und​ergraduate student teaching, while our research activities and graduate programs have grown. There is an incredible breadth of disciplines both in terms of research and programs, ranging from the social sciences to the natural sciences and mathematics. We view this breadth of activity as an important distinguishing feature of our faculty.

The strategic plan for the Faculty of Science comes at a time of considerable change at both the institutional and provincial levels. The provincial government will be changing its funding of universities, and this shift will emphasize its priorities of institutional differentiation as well as student skills development. At the institutional level we are in the transition to a responsibility-centred management budget, one where decisions and financial accountability are shifted to the Faculty level. In addition, the university recently released an institutional Strategic Academic Plan (SAP), and our plan for the faculty needs to align itself with the institutional directions.

The three central pillars of Laurier’s SAP are:

  • Academic Excellence;
  • Experiential Learning; and
  • Diversity.

Several of the components of the Science Strategic Plan align directly with the priorities established in Laurier’s SAP.

The plan that follows outlines our overarching priorities and objectives for the next five years. Within each objective outlined in the plan, we have articulated specific short term goals for the 2017/18 academic year and included some potential goals to be addressed in the future. These goals will be reviewed on a yearly basis to track progress and to establish new goals in future years. While the specific goals that are articulated span the Faculty of Science, the intent for this plan is to guide activities at the departmental level as well. It is expected that individual departments will develop their own goals that align with the Science Strategic Plan. It should be noted that the pillars, objectives and goals are not set out in order of priority. Rather, they start with undergraduate and graduate education and extend to research and the community beyond. It is also noteworthy that the pillars are fundamentally interconnected and as such some of the goals, while placed within one pillar, also serve to advance the other pillars.​

Strategic Plan Pillars

Mission Statement

​Using scientific processes, we aspire to generate new ideas and discover the world in all its complexities, and to integrate research with teaching to advance knowledge and ​ultimately benefit society.​​

Research and Application of New Ideas

Objective One: Identify and Support Opportunities for Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research

Research is a core activity of the Faculty of Science and is a high priority for our faculty members. We have a breadth of research activity in science, including traditional discipline-based research and emerging interdisciplinary research. As a smaller university with less research capacity than some of our neighbouring institutions, collaborative and interdisciplinary research are important ways to enable innovative research. We aim to foster a culture of collaboration that cuts across disciplines, while acknowledging the value of discipline-based research.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Establish a task force to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches to research.

Objective Two: Expand Research Opportunities for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Providing students with research opportunities with faculty members can not only help advance the faculty research programs, but also provide students with a valuable experiential learning opportunity. As we have made the transition to a comprehensive university, our research-based graduate programs have proliferated. We aim to ensure that graduate research is supported and enhanced without sacrificing undergraduate student research opportunities.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Identify and secure funding to establish award programs to support research positions for students.
  • Expand opportunities within the curriculum for students to be involved in research projects with faculty.

Objective Three: Promote and Celebrate Research within the Faculty of Science

While faculty within science are actively engaged in excellent research, our smaller size means that our contributions are not widely recognized, both within the Laurier community and outside. We aim to raise our profile as a faculty to better highlight the research activities within science both to the wider community and to our students.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Enhance faculty members’ research profiles among students (e.g. accessible seminars, replace banners) and to the broader public.
  • Advertise/raise awareness of faculty success with Tri-Council and other funding (partner better with Research Office and Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing (CPAM)).
  • Promote and celebrate graduate student research and funding successes.

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Objective One: Expand Co-Curricular and Curricular Experiential Learning Opportunities for Students

Experiential learning is increasingly a priority among universities, in part due to the priorities of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. As such, experiential learning is one of the pillars of Laurier’s SAP. Among the most prominent forms of experiential learning are co-op work terms and community service learning. Within the Faculty of Science, there are numerous other types of experiential learning, including laboratory work and research positions. This objective focuses on articulating experiential learning opportunities for students, and to ensure that students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful experiential learning within the Faculty of Science.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Identify and articulate the types of experiential learning across departments within the Faculty of Science.
  • Expand and promote Science Launch Pad.
  • Initiate the development more accredited co-op programs.

Objective Two: Identify, Support, and Celebrate Innovative and Evidence-Based Teaching Practices in Science

As researchers, we rely on evidence to support our scholarly work; the same should apply to our teaching methods. Within the Faculty of Science we have a strong reputation for excellence in teaching. We have a responsibility to our students to make sure that our teaching reflects current practices and methodologies that meet the needs of the learners. Our faculty should be encouraged and supported in the use evidence-based teaching practices to ensure we are providing a high quality learning environment.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Establish priorities for initial program offerings at a Milton site.
  • Establish a Faculty of Science Teaching and Learning Seminar Series to engage faculty in innovative teaching practices and disseminate different teaching and learning technologies.
  • Assess need and demand for alternative learning spaces (e.g. active learning classrooms, seminar rooms).

Objective Three: Identify Student Success Factors and Develop Approaches to Enhance Student Success

Student success, both in our programs and once they graduate, is a priority. For many students, the transition to university is a challenge, and some students struggle academically within their programs. To implement the appropriate supports to help students progress within their programs and graduate, we need to identify the barriers to student success and address them in ways that maintain the academic quality of our programs. Equally, we need to ensure that our strong students are provided with a learning environment in which they can thrive and excel to meet their long term goals.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Identify and articulate both the barriers to and enablers of student success in science programs.
  • Monitor student progress early in the semester and use this information to proactively advise students.

Community Engagement and Outreach

Objective One: Encourage, Recognize and Value Outreach Activities for the Faculty of Science Within and Outside the Laurier Community

Fundamental to our mission is the generation of new ideas and the dissemination of this knowledge to our students and to the outside community. Our responsibility to educate extends beyond our own students to those outside Laurier. By conducting outreach with youth we have the opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists. While many faculty, staff, and students do engage in outreach activities, we need to acknowledge the importance of these contributions and help facilitate and support individuals who want to engage in outreach activities.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Increase participation by faculty, staff, and students in outreach activities.

Objective Two: Build and Strengthen Ties with Community Stakeholders Linked to Research, Teaching, and Learning

Ultimately, our research serves to benefit society as a whole and the education of students serves to help them lead fulfilling lives after they graduate. Given the important connections between our core activities of research and education with the outside community, it is important to develop and reinforce connections with those who are impacted by our work as well as those who can help enhance our research and teaching.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Develop advisory boards at the department level and increase awareness/participation in the Dean’s External Science Advisory Council.

Objective Three: Promote the Faculty of Science Programs to Recruit a Diverse Body of Strong Students

Recruitment of strong students into our undergraduate programs is critical to our educational mission as well as the long term sustainability of our programs. We need to ensure that our programs are designed to meet the needs of students, and to effectively promote these programs to prospective students.

Goals for 2017/18
  • Work with Recruitment and Admissions and Alumni Relations to increase student and alumni participation in outreach activities.
  • Reimagine the Recruitment and Admissions Committee in order to examine recruitment activities and explore new opportunities (emphasising the recruitment of strong students, and on best practices for recruiting and retaining traditionally under-represented groups in science).

Summary

​​​​​​​​While building the foundation of the strategic plan has occurred, the work has just begun to ensure that the document stays relevant to the goals and aspirations of all individuals within the Faculty of Science. Over the next year, as we continue to work on the immediate goals outlined above, we will continue to develop and modify future goals and objectives that will underscore our mission statement. Departments will be asked to identify champions to ensure that our ambitions are being met.

Future goals will need to be identified and clarified to ensure that they align with the needs of our students as well as promoting of the Faculty of Science through teaching, learning, research and service. Listed below are items for future consideration. As this is a living document, these objectives will be reviewed annually and may change based on new priorities and challenges within the Faculty of Science. Individuals are asked to bring forward ideas for discussion as only through the collaboration of many viewpoints will we move forward as a faculty.​

Next Steps: Potential Future Goals

  • Communicate to faculty and students the experiential learning opportunities available to students.
  • Expand Community Service Learning (CSL) opportunities for and establish supports to facilitate participation in CSL.
  • Establish a student peer mentoring/leadership program.
  • Develop empirical approaches to assessing effectiveness of new courses and innovative initiatives related to teaching and learning.
  • Establish peer mentoring programs to promote student success.
  • Develop a senior undergrad science “cohort” course with a focus on interdisciplinary approach to solving a larger, real world problem.
  • Integrate research into courses through case studies or problem-based approaches.
  • Facilitate opportunities for students from science to attend conferences.
  • Increase faculty participation in public lectures (both on campus and with the external community).
  • Work with Career Services and the Community Service Learning office to increase partnerships with outside agencies such as industry, governments, and NGOs.
  • Provide or conduct seminars with business and industry leaders.

For a print copy of the Faculty of Science Strategic Plan, contact the Faculty of Science at scienceinquiries@wlu.ca

E: scienceinquiries@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2129
F: 519.884.0464
Office Location: Science Building main floor, N1048, Waterloo campus

Science Building Hours

Mon-Thu: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fri: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Dean of Science Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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