USOs, GPS and SIS projects

With Destination 2020, the University of Ottawa's strategic plan, we came together as a community to set ambitious goals for the future. Our vision is to make the University of Ottawa one of the great universities of our time, with a reputation to match its achievements.

This is what we intend to do in the next year by putting the final touch to three initiatives whose goal is to offer an exceptional university experience to both students and employees. Student experience, one of Destination 2020 pillars, is therefore at the heart of these projects. These projects consist of:

We encourage you to visit the Web pages of each of these projets for more details.

News and updates

November 23, 2016

Message from the Vice-President Academic and Provost

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you an excellent end-of-term. Great challenges await us once again at the end of this academic year. Thanks to your excellent work, the University will be very successful and students will be the first to benefit.

To follow up on my updates of last June, I would like to summarize the progress on three initiatives being implemented to improve the student experience at the University:

  • The reorganization of positions in the undergraduate studies offices (USOs) in direct-entry faculties is progressing well. Strategic Enrollment Management, Human Resources and SASS teams continue to work closely with USO managers and employees to facilitate team synergy and task redistribution. Moreover, a working group comprising USO managers from the six direct-entry faculties has begun developing content for the institutional academic advisement training program. This work will continue in the coming months, with training scheduled to begin in late summer 2017.
  • The final phase in the restructuring of the management of graduate and postdoctoral studies (GPS) was presented to the Administrative Committee in August and to the Senate in September. These authorities approved the new centralized structure and governance model. Terms of reference for the proposed committees will be presented to the Senate in the coming months. In addition, a reassignment of operational responsibilities to the faculties and services is underway. We are working with the faculties and services to facilitate the integration of these new responsibilities.
  • The project to replace the Student Information System (SIS) is nearing completion. The successful launch of uoCampus took place on November 7. Training continues, with the help of tutorials, guides and an online knowledge base. A student assistance group, known as uoBrigade, will be available until late April to assist students during the transition period. The arrival of uoCampus has prompted us to review our IT support practices and procedures. A new, more efficient support model has been put in place and internal request procedures have been improved.

More details on these three projects are available on the USOs, GPS and SIS project webpage published online by the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost. You can also find out more on the VirtuO home page, under “uOttawa priorities”.

I thank you for your cooperation and extend to you my best wishes for a wonderful end-of-term.


Michel Laurier

Vice-President Academic and Provost

June 30, 2016

Message from the Vice-President Academic and Provost

As the academic year comes to a close, I would like to provide an update on three initiatives being implemented in an effort to provide a more enriched student experience at the University of Ottawa:

  • The reorganization of positions in the undergraduate studies offices (USOs) at direct-entry faculties is nearing completion. A team comprising staff from Strategic Enrollment Management and Human Resources is currently working with USO managers to establish team charters, which will facilitate the redistribution of tasks when the new positions take effect. This collaborative work will continue over the course of the coming months. The phase involving development of training material for the University’s academic advising model, however, is almost complete.
  • As part of managing the process of restructuring graduate and postdoctoral studies (GPS), faculty visits will begin shortly. They will provide faculties with an opportunity to share their vision of the organizational restructuring of graduate studies and determine the support they will require as we make the transition over the coming months.
  • The Student Information System (SIS) replacement project has moved into the staff training phase, which will continue throughout the summer. A more intensive training phase will begin this fall, in advance of the SIS going live on November 7, 2016.

More details on these three projects are available on the USOs, GPS and SIS projects page of the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost website. You can also access the information via the VirtuO home page, under uOttawa priorities.

As you know, these three projects will result in major cultural and organizational changes for many members of our University community over the next year. I am certain we have the flexibility we need to adapt and that together we can provide a high level of service to our students.

I thank you for your cooperation and extend my best wishes for a wonderful summer.


Michel Laurier

Vice-President Academic and Provost

January 28, 2016

Message from the Vice-President Academic and Provost

The start of the New Year brings with it the final phases of a number of institutional projects. As you’re aware, the University is working on three initiatives aimed at greatly enhancing the experience of our students and staff.

Reorganization of the Undergraduate Studies Offices

A working group was tasked with reviewing the work done at the undergraduate studies offices (USOs) of our direct-entry faculties. The group submitted its report to the AC/Deans council in the spring of 2015. This report led to a new framework model for re-organization of the work done at the USOs that will make it possible for us to provide students with the best possible academic support possible and that recognizes the important services provided by the staff of these offices. This new framework and associated academic advising approaches, together with a new student information system (SIS), will allow us to improve our efforts and implement systems that will help our students succeed and lead to greater student retention.

Implementation will be done in two stages:

  1. Implementation of the framework model for reorganizing the work at direct-entry faculties: Engineering, Health Sciences, Arts, Science, Social Sciences and the Telfer School of Management (completion end of February 2016)
  2. Adoption of an institutional academic advising model, accompanied by training:
  • Initial training on the University’s academic advising approach (February and March 2016)
  • Various types of customized support, such as tools and coaching (April 2016 to February 2017)
  • Ongoing training and support for the University’s academic advising model (beginning February 2017)

Over the coming months, following implementation of the framework model in the USOs of the six direct-entry faculties, the training phase will begin with the creation of training modules and tools on the University’s academic advising model.

Restructuring of the Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies

In its strategic plan, the University committed to increasing the number of graduate students and to improving their overall experience. A working group was formed and evaluated the overall operations of the FGPS. A steering committee was then struck to recommend changes to the management practices at FGPS with the goal of improving service excellence and providing an enhanced student experience.

In June 2015, the Senate voted to change how graduate studies are managed, with a view to simplifying the logistical and decision-making processes and to transfer greater responsibility to the faculty level, bringing the decision-making process closer to the student. The Senate also agreed there was a need for a central graduate studies office in order to preserve our internal expertise and maintain a presence both inside and outside the University. In addition, one common quality assurance process will be created for both undergraduate and graduate programs. A working group was also created to look at the graduate student experience.

In the coming months, workflow analyses will be performed to assess our current administrative processes. At the same time, a restructuring plan will be developed, which should receive final approval from the Senate in the spring of 2016. The restructuring of the Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies will be completed by January 1, 2017.

Replacement of the Student Information System

Our current student information system (SIS) is being replaced with one that will make it easier to manage student records and files. The new system, PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, will be rolled out on November 7, 2016, and will allow us to better meet the current and future needs of our students, professors and administrative staff. Updating this information management system will not only allow us to adopt best practices in the industry but also facilitate system updates. University staff are working with the company hired to carry out the implementation to ensure Campus Solutions will meet our current and future needs.

The project is proceeding according to schedule. Over the next few months, a number of activities will take place, including functional scenario testing and the creation of training modules.

For more information on the SIS replacement project and ongoing activities, please visit the SIS Knowledge Base.


The teams for each of the three projects will ensure strategies for each project are aligned. Staff training will be coordinated and provided in a timely manner, while taking into account the peak periods throughout the academic year. Additional information on upcoming training sessions will be communicated at a later date.

Major activities related to changeover and training for the three projects

See schedule below.

Proposed schedule for all three projects*

Major activities related to changeover and training for the three projects

* An accessible version of this schedule is available upon request.

One step closer to Destination 2020...

These initiatives will result in some major organizational changes for a number of staff members over the next year, which will involve an adaptation period and an inherent learning curve. However, this is a challenge we’ll meet together, and it will give us an opportunity to provide better, faster, more efficient and more personalized service to our students. By putting the student experience at the heart of our educational mission and of our efforts to improve what we do while we conduct this review of our practices, procedures and academic and management tools, we are one step closer to reaching our strategic goals.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Michel Laurier

Vice-President Academic and Provost

Schedule for all three projects

Major activities for the three projects

* An accessible version of this schedule is available.

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