Leadership from the University of Windsor and surrounding municipalities came together Wednesday, May 24, for the inaugural University of Windsor Mayors and CAOs Forum.
The event is aimed at enhancing municipal and community networks, expanding partnership opportunities, supporting talent development and student experiential learning, and identifying potential directions for collaborative regional problem solving.
The five-year Aspire strategic plan, the result of more than 90 hours of consultations with on- and off-campus communities, was a central inspiration for the event. The strategic plan showcases several foundational commitments aimed at deepening and broadening regional engagement, further strengthening its existing engagement with local stakeholders.
Vincent Georgie, acting associate vice-president external, said half of the Aspire plan’s six commitments focus on improved collaboration.
“Community engagement lies at the heart of our mission at the University of Windsor,” Dr. Georgie said. “We believe in the power of connection, collaboration, and inclusivity to tackle ambitious challenges collectively, both within our institution and in the broader regional and global contexts.”
During the forum, mayors and chief administrative officers participated in discussions to find common ground, seek partnership opportunities, and identify regional risks that could be addressed with the support of the University.
“Our universities help shape the economic, cultural, and academic landscape of Canadian communities,” said Tecumseh mayor Gary McNamara.
“We are excited to see the opportunities for collaboration, research, and partnerships to come out of these conversations benefiting students, leadership, and local municipalities. We can continue to work together for a more innovative and resourceful Windsor-Essex.”
Leamington CAO Peter Neufeld said municipalities are the level of government which has the most direct impact on the lives of residents.
“By creating a relationship between the local municipalities and the University of Windsor, the University becomes an integral part of identifying, researching, and helping to solve the issues faced by the municipalities improving the quality of life for the residents of the Windsor-Essex Region,” Neufeld said.
Looking ahead, the University plans to build on the momentum gained at the Mayor and CAO Forum with future virtual events, outreach, and planning discussions.
“There is limitless opportunity to create talent pipelines, promote economic diversification, develop industry and research partnerships, and identify solutions to shared challenges through enhanced partnership,” said UWindsor president Robert Gordon.
“Together, we are building a foundation for a better future for all of Windsor-Essex with mutual benefits to researchers, students, and communities.”