The Specialist, New Student Transition (Graduate), is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining integrated programs intended to support a successful transition for new and incoming graduate students into the university. This requires the Specialist to be knowledgeable and up to date on the unique needs of graduate students with special attention and focus on international students and priority populations (e.g., Black, Indigenous, Students of Colour and historically underrepresented groups). The Specialist will work collaboratively and strategically with key internal and external stakeholders and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of graduate transition programs including day to day operations, decision making and program leadership. The Specialist will work closely with the Manager, New Student Transition and New Student Transition (NST) team to ensure programs are well integrated, responsive to the needs of the faculties and campus partners and are achieving desired outcomes. The Specialist demonstrates a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism through their leadership, program design and operational practices.
The Specialist has three primary areas of focus: 1) Design, implement, assess and maintain graduate student transition programming; ensure initiatives are well-integrated and coordinated into the overall new student transition strategy, 2) Be knowledgeable and up to date on the needs of incoming graduate students, including priority populations (e.g., Black, Indigenous, Students of Colour and historically underrepresented groups and international graduate students) and 3) Maintain positive working relationships with key campus and faculty partners and graduate students.
Program Development and Administration
Develops, coordinates, and maintains targeted programs and initiatives designed to ensure the successful transition of new graduate students for all three academic terms via virtual, in-person or hybrid offerings
Apply research, best practices, and knowledge of student trends to develop and execute specialized programming for priority graduate student populations, including priority populations (e.g., Black, Indigenous, Students of Colour and historically underrepresented groups) and international graduate students
Leverages resources, knowledge, and expertise in the SSO to assist in the design of transition programs when appropriate in partnership with the SSO leadership team and campus partners
With the Manager, New Student Transition and SSO leadership team, identifies and develops additional supports/initiatives for graduate students throughout their academic career beyond existing transition programming
Provides guidance to stakeholders on campus who support new student transition programs/opportunities to create an engaged and inclusive community of University of Waterloo graduate students
Contributes to the overall graduating student experience by assisting UWaterloo’s convocation team to support fall and spring convocation ceremonies
Applies an equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism lens to all program design elements
Works closely with both the NST team and International Student Experience (ISE) team to ensure programs and strategies complement one another and, when appropriate, are consistent in delivery and outcomes for all incoming students
Collaborates with campus partners to ensure students are provided with necessary support, resources, and information pertinent to their University of Waterloo experience. Key campus partners include but are not limited to: Graduate Student Association, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Campus Housing, Campus Wellness, AccessAbility Services, Community Relations, and all Faculties and affiliated University Colleges as applicable.
Facilitates strong working relationships with SSO colleagues, particularly the NST and ISE teams, and collaborates on strategies that will support the successful transition of new graduate students and contribute to an overall positive graduate student experience across multiple portfolios within the SSO
Establishes and maintains a network of relationships with external organizations (e.g.: Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, etc.) to remain up to date on new research, strategies and initiatives in orientation programs and new student transition literature
Participates in and contributes to regular staff, department, and Faculty specific meetings as appropriate
Staff and Volunteer Development
Provides strong leadership to student staff including setting clear and reasonable goals and expectations, providing on-going feedback, and establishing a strong foundation for performance through comprehensive training and on-going professional development as required
Outlines clear expectations and responsibilities for student staff and volunteers, as they relate to graduate student transition programming
Responsible for the recruitment, hiring, selection, ongoing training, appreciation, and recognition of student staff, including co-op students. Works closely with staff in the SSO, particularly the NST and ISE teams, to ensure compensation and appreciation of student staff and volunteers is equitable
Maintains consistent and appropriate levels of communication with student-staff and volunteers to ensure ongoing engagement and accountability
Provides support to UWaterloo’s convocation team to recruit, train, and schedule a small team of campus volunteers for each ceremony
Research and reporting
Strong understanding of the graduate student experience at the University of Waterloo, particularly priority populations (e.g., Black, Indigenous, Students of Colour and historically underrepresented groups) and international students
Applies current research, best practices, student development theory, and student trends to design intentional, proactive, and responsive orientation programs that are in line with the needs of our students and Faculty partners
With the NST Manager, the Specialist contributes to the strategic priorities of their portfolio, providing regular progress reports and updates to internal and external partners
Works closely with the NST Manager to summarize and disseminate key research related to new student transition programming for graduate students
Connects regularly with the ISE team to share information related to the new student experience for international graduate students
University degree required; Master’s degree or equivalent experience in a related field (e.g., Leadership, Higher Education, Student Services) strongly preferred
Demonstrated experience working in post-secondary student services with student, staff, and faculty
Experience working with a student association/student government considered an asset
Program/project development and management experience is an asset
Demonstrated experience working with graduate students is preferred
Volunteer management and student staff supervision experience – particularly in a student leadership capacity an asset
A record of and commitment to participating in ongoing learning and engagement in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and accessibility. Demonstrated experience applying this learning to their leadership and program development/design
Foundational understanding of the graduate student experience based on research, literature and best practice related to student retention, engagement, and development
Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly, work collaboratively, build consensus and be sensitive to the needs and interests of various stakeholders, both within the department and across the institution
Demonstrated ability to use and interpret data to make decisions and communicate results effectively to various stakeholders
Exceptional organizational skills as well as the ability to multi-task, manage, and forecast required resources
Proven ability to take initiative and be both creative and flexible
High degree of political acumen
Demonstrated ability to contribute to and thrive in a collaborative environment and to apply a positive team approach to working with colleagues within and outside of the SSO
Demonstrated ability for coaching graduate-level student staff in event management, facilitation, and program content development
Some weekend and evening work will be required throughout the peak period for this position: June - September (including Labour Day weekend), and October
Vaccination Requirement Statement:
Effective May 1, 2022, the University suspended its Vaccination Requirement. Prior to May 1, pursuant to this Requirement, all University employees were required to submit proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (subject to the University’s obligations under the Human Rights Code to accommodate employees who were unable to receive a vaccination). The University’s Vaccination Requirement website can be found here: https://uwaterloo.ca/coronavirus/return/vaccination-requirement.
The pandemic is ongoing and public health advice continues to evolve. Accordingly, the University reserves the absolute right to reinstate the Vaccination Requirement on short notice, and upon such reinstatement you will be required to comply. You shall also be required to comply with any new health and safety policies/requirements implemented by the University from time to time, including new policies/requirements related to mandatory employee vaccination. As the University may need to reinstate the Requirement on short notice, it will continue to collect and maintain up-to-date information on employee vaccination status. Please submit your Covid-19 vaccine status (QR code) to: https://checkin.uwaterloo.ca/
Failure to comply with the Vaccination Requirement if it is reinstated, including failure to comply with any future amendments to the Vaccination Requirement, or failure to comply with new health and safety policies/requirements implemented by the University, including those related to new mandatory employee vaccination, shall result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.
The requirement to be vaccinated, if reinstated, will be subject to the duty to accommodate pursuant to the Human Rights Code. If you are unable to be vaccinated for reasons related to a ground protected under the Human Rights Code, you may submit a written request for accommodation with an explanation of the reasons and/or any supporting documentation. If you request accommodation, the University may follow up with you for further information if necessary.
The University of Waterloo is committed to implementing the Calls to Action framed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion. As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
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