Restructuring of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS)

Reason for the change

At a time when the University had only 100 graduate programs and 3,253 graduate students, (figures from September 2000), centralizing the management and administrative functions for graduate studies made sense. Today with 6,438 students, 368 postdoctoral fellows and more than 185 graduate programs, and in the current context of expansion and diversification, management strategies and processes that were once effective have become outdated. The status quo simply isn’t good enough any more.

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 to evaluate the overall operations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS). A steering committee was also struck to recommend changes in the way graduate studies are managed with the goal of improving service excellence and providing an enhanced student experience.

In June 2015, the Senate voted in favor of managed transformation in management of graduate studies, with a view to simplifying the decision-making and transactional processes.  This would be achieved by transferring greater autonomy to the faculties, so that decisions are being made closer to the level of the student. The Senate also agreed there was a need for a central graduate studies office which would preserve expertise and visibility, both inside and outside the University community. In addition, the creation of a common quality assurance process was recommended for both undergraduate and graduate programs. A working group was also created to look at the graduate student experience.

Latest news

Dear staff members,

As you know, the new Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has been operating since January 1. Claire Turenne-Sjolander, former acting dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS), will serve as acting vice-provost of graduate and postdoctoral studies until June 30, 2017.

I wish to offer my warmest thanks to all the dedicated people who have contributed to the transition of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: faculty administrators and vice-deans of graduate studies, Human Resources employees and, in particular, the FGPS staff, who were able to maintain the Faculty’s operations with talent and hard work despite numerous constraints and uncertainties.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce the creation of a new Quality Assurance Office reporting to the associate vice-president, programs. The selection process for the position of director is currently underway. The office will be responsible for institutional quality review processes for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

I’m grateful to you, dear colleagues, for your invaluable collaboration, which has allowed us to adapt together to these important organizational changes while continuing to offer high quality services to our student population.

I wish you all the best for 2017.

 

Michel Laurier

Vice-President Academic and Provost

Timeline

To put this undertaking into context, please find below a short timeline of the consultations and decisions that have occurred:

2013
  • A quality assurance evaluation was conducted to assess how graduate studies are managed. A recommendation was made to review the current management practices and to create a central quality assurance office.
2014
  • The University’s Administration Committee created a working group.  Its goal was to evaluate the overall role and operations of graduate studies and to recommend improvements to the way these are organised.
  • In February 2014, a consultation was held with members of the University community, including students, alumni, professors and support and administrative staff.
  • In August 2014, following this consultation, the working group submitted a majority report and a minority report to the vice-president academic and provost recommending significant changes.
  • Five key recommendations emerged from the reports:
    • Maintain the standards of excellence for the entire University;
    • Bring graduate students closer to their home faculty and improve their training;
    • Simplify decision-making and transactional processes and avoid duplication;
    • Allow faculties to take on greater responsibility at the graduate level;
    • Ensure graduate studies at the University of Ottawa are consistent with the vision articulated in Destination 2020: “The University of Ottawa will offer an unparalleled university experience and, through outstanding teaching and research, play a vital role in defining the world of tomorrow.”
  • Following receipt of the reports, the vice-president academic and provost struck a steering committee to review these recommendations and the feasibility of implementing them.
2015
  • Winter 2015: The vice-president academic and provost met with the majority of faculty councils, the GSAED council, the FGPS council, FGPS staff, vice-deans (graduate studies) and deans to communicate the findings and get feedback that would then be passed on to the steering committee for consideration.
  • The steering committee met to review the comments received and to validate the feasibility of the recommendations that would be submitted to the Senate for approval.
  • June 8: The vice-president academic and provost asked the Senate to approve the new structure in principle (request was accompanied by a transition plan). The proposed structure included three elements:
  1. Creation of a central graduate studies office, a strategic committee and an annual forum
  2. Creation of a central quality assurance office for academic programs
  3. Creation of a working group on the graduate student experience
  • Following approval in principle by the Senate:
    • Claire Turenne Sjolander was named acting dean of FGPS for an 18-month term (expires December 31, 2016).
    • A committee on the graduate student experience was created, under the responsibility of the associate vice-president, student affairs, and the acting dean of FGPS.
    • A committee to support the restructuring efforts was created.
    • Reviews and discussions on reallocation of administrative functions and the structure of future strategic committees were carried out with stakeholders, including the FGPS council and the FGPS operations committee.
2016

The change to the management structure for graduate and postdoctoral studies requires a shift of operational responsibilities to the faculties and services, a process that began earlier this year. A number of analyses were conducted as well in order to determine the impact this transfer and implementation of uoCampus has had on operational processes.

Following a number of consultations with vice-deans, professors responsible for programs, administrators and students, the interim dean and vice-president academic and provost drew up a proposal for a new administrative structure for management of graduate and postdoctoral studies and for the reallocation of resources.

On August 24, 2016, the Administration Committee approved a new central structure for management of graduate and postdoctoral studies.

On September 6, 2016, it was approved by the Senate’s Executive Committee.

On September 19, 2016, the Senate approved implementation of the new centralized structure for graduate and postdoctoral studies, a governance model and the creation of the position of vice-provost of graduate and postdoctoral studies.

In the coming months, terms of reference will be submitted to the Senate for the various committees, including the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Strategic Standing Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee, two new Senate standing committees.


In the very near future, important decision will be made related to plan for the transfer of responsibilities, reallocate human resources and develop the new structure. The acting dean and the vice-president academic and provost prepared a document that proposes a new administrative structure for the management of graduate studies. The plan was elaborated following several consultations with vice-deans and was submitted to the Administration Committee for approval.

The change should be completed by December 31, 2016, and the new central graduate studies office will begin operations on January 1, 2017.

We hope you, like us, will view this time of change as an opportunity to improve how we manage graduate and postdoctoral studies at the University of Ottawa. Our aim is to foster a better student experience, to bring us closer to the research mission of our institution and a better alignment of our activities with the strategic goals of Destination 2020.

These upcoming changes may raise questions or cause concern. If this is the case or you have any comments about the transformation of graduate studies, please don’t hesitate to contact us at etudesup.transition@uOttawa.ca.

Committees and groups involved

Several methods were put in place for consultation and communication. The entities involved are:

Council of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Laura Aloisio, student representing the sciences
  • John Baenziger, President of the Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences
  • Jean-Marc Barrette, Vice-Rector, Academic and Research, St-Paul University
  • Richard Barwell, President of the Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities
  • Julie Beauchamp-Koutras, Vice-Dean of Programs, Telfer School of Management
  • Danielle Bennett, Interim Associate Registrar, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Richard Blute, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science
  • Lynne Bowker, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Aboubacar Dakuyo, student representing the humanities
  • Barbara Graves, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education
  • Christopher Kinger, Postdoctoral representative, Faculty of Medicine
  • Sylvie Lamoureux, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Margaret Moriarty, Assistant Dean and Secretary General, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Ioan Nistor, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering
  • Pierre Payeur, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Paul Robinson, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Alain Stintzi, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine
  • Sophie Thériault, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Law
  • Claire Turenne Sjolander, Dean (interim), Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Subcommittee of vice-deans, graduate studies
  • Julie Beauchamp-Koutras, Vice-Dean of Programs, Telfer School of Management
  • Richard Blute, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science
  • Lynne Bowker, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Barbara Graves, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education
  • Sylvie Lamoureux, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Ioan Nistor, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering
  • Pierre Payeur, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Paul Robinson, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Alain Stintzi, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine
  • Sophie Thériault, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Law
  • Claire Turenne Sjolander, Dean (interim), Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Commissions on graduate studies in the humanities and in the sciences

Programs directors of graduate studies.

Committee to support the graduate studies restructuring efforts
  • Abdelkarim Amengay, doctoral student, Political Science
  • John Baenziger, President of the Commission of on Graduate Studies in the Sciences
  • Suzanne Bali-Courtemanche, Director, Talent Management, Human Resources
  • Richard Barwell, President of the Commission of on Graduate Studies in the Humanities
  • Danielle Bennett, Interim Associate Registrar, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Lynne Bowker, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Frans De Bruyn, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts (on academic leave from January to June 2016)
  • Stéphane Drouin, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering
  • France Gagnon, doctoral student, Education
  • Jean-Philippe Gagnon, Senior Advisor, Talent Management, Human Resources
  • Daniel Melanson, Awards Officer, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Margaret Moriarty, Assistant Dean and Secretary General, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Pierre Payeur, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Sophie St. Denis, Transition and Change Management Specialist, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Alain Stintzi, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine
  • Véronic Tardif, Manager, Student Experience, Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost
  • Claire Turenne Sjolander, Dean (interim), Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Graduate Studies Association GSAED

Members of the Executive Committee.

Committee on the graduate student experience

Composed of 12 students of various faculties, this committee is co-chaired by the Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs and the Interim Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

FGPS Operational Committee
  • Paulette Arsenault, Manager, Graduate Awards and Grants, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Danielle Bennett, Interim Associate Registrar, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Christine Bourbonnais-Hendly, Manager, Services to Students and Faculties, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Danielle Charette, Manager of Academic Sector, Graduate Studies, Telfer School of Management
  • Hélène Doré-Lavigne, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Stéphane Drouin, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Engineering
  • Robert Duguay, Consultant, SIS and Graduate Programs, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Rachel Fontaine Azzi, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts
  • Johanne Forgues, Manager, Graduate Admissions and Evaluations, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Linda Fulton, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Manon Gauvreau, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science
  • Johanne Larose, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education
  • Louise Lemay, Manager, Communication, Marketing and Recruitment (interim), Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Karen Littlejohn, Administrator of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine
  • Vivianne Khayat, Registrar, St-Paul University
  • Sochetra Nget, Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section
  • Karine Proulx, Assistant Director, Graduate Studies, Institute of the Environment
  • Sophie St. Denis, Transition and Change Management Specialist, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
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