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Director, Graduate Academic Services

Date: May 2014
Reports to (Job Title): Associate Provost, Graduate Studies
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles):
  • Associate Director, Graduate Admissions
  • Assistant Director, Graduate Communications & Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Assistant Director, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards
  • Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions & Records Systems
  • Manager, Graduate Reporting & Mobility Programs
  • Manager, Financial Aid Systems
Location: Main Campus
Grade: USG 16

Primary Purpose

The Director, Graduate Academic Services leads the Graduate Studies Office.  S/he oversees marketing and communications, graduate studies recruitment, admissions, enrolment, internal and external reporting, academic and graduation records, financial aid and awards, systems, student services and resources of the Graduate Studies Office (GSO).  In collaboration with departments and Faculties, the GSO facilitates the recruitment and timely admission of highly qualified graduate applicants, secure production and maintenance of accurate student records on which the conferral of degrees and the University’s grant claim are based; the administration of provincial and federal graduate scholarships ; the administration of graduate student financial aid; the management of merit-based graduate scholarships and awards; financial aid counseling; and central source of information services as they relate to these tasks and responsibilities.

The Director, Graduate Academic Services reports to the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies. S/he provides advice to and other administrators including: the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Graduate Studies Office managers, Associate Deans of Graduate Studies in the Faculties, Department and Program Graduate Officers and Coordinators. S/he advises University committees on all graduate studies regulatory matters including admissions, enrolment and academic records, theses and examinations, convocation, employment and funding, and University Policies and Procedures on graduate student discipline, petitions, grievances, and conflict of interest.

Key Accountabilities:

1. Senior Management Oversight

The Director provides leadership of the overall vision and strategy for the Graduate Studies Office. S/he must be fully aware of trends within postsecondary education provincially, nationally and internationally and interpret how various external factors influence the University and the Graduate Studies Office. In his/her leadership role, the Director works closely with other leaders of academic support units to collaborate on proposals for improvements and implementations for student services and business processes.

2. New Programs

The Director works with the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies to review proposals for new graduate programs. S/he oversees the implementation of programs approved by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU).


3. Systems Development and Implementation

The Director, in partnership with senior managers in Information Systems and Technology (IST), oversees the functional needs analysis within the Graduate Studies Office.  S/he participates in enterprise software selection or local software development decisions and ensures consultation with stakeholders.  S/he ensures that dedicated and qualified staff are continuously deployed for functional user analysis, testing, implementation and training.

4. Graduate Communications

The Director provides overall direction to the Communications team ensuring that marketing, recruitment and communication plans are resourced and are connected appropriately with other strategic goals of the University and the GSO.   S/he ensures regular review of official graduate studies publications including the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar, the Organization of Graduate Studies, and A Guide for Graduate Research and Supervision at the University of Waterloo.

5. Graduate Admissions

Achieving graduate enrolment goals is central to the fiscal well-being of the University, and the competition for high-calibre master’s and doctoral students is severe. The Director provides leadership and a high level of management, professional and support staff resources to ensure timely processing of applications.  S/he also provides valuable input to the analysis and decision-making processes at Faculty and University levels as well as accurate and effective communications of admissions decisions.

6. Enrolment Management

The Director works with the Associate Vice President Academic, Registrar, Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, Associate Deans, Graduate Studies and Institutional Analysis and Planning on the implementation of strategies and best practices in graduate enrolment management. The Director contributes to design and data requirements for forecast models and other analysis.

7. Graduate Records

The Director contributes to the creation of policies, systems and procedures that support accurate reporting of student academic data. The Director is also responsible for implementing official policies on access to student information and protection of individual privacy in the management of student records. S/he is accountable for the accuracy of student records data upon which degree eligibility, claims for operating funds are made to government, and internal planning and analysis are based.

8. Budget

reviews the Graduate Studies Office financial position with the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies and the Graduate Financial Officer on a regular basis.

9. Student Financial Aid and Award Administration

The Director is accountable for the effective administration of all financial assistance and academic scholarship programs administered by the Graduate Studies Office. These include programs sponsored by provincial and federal government agencies, the University’s guidelines on graduate student support, graduate award payments university-wide and programs sponsored by public and private agencies and foreign governments.

Statistics 2013-14:
Applications/Offers/New Students (annual, headcount) 9,500/3,400/1,950
Academic Programs 184+
Enrolment (headcount) 5,300
Graduate Tuition and Operating Income $57 million
Graduate Income $98.5 million
Degrees Awarded (annual) 1,700
Thesis (annual collection) 900
Graduate Studies Office administrative staff 25+


Position Requirements


Bachelor’s degree with postgraduate credentials in education or management or administration an asset.



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Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

The Director interacts directly with the Associate Provosts, Associate Vice-Presidents, the Chief Information Officer, the Faculty Deans and Associate Deans, Graduate Studies, the Registrar, the Secretary of the University and associates, academic department chairs and directors of schools, and other senior administrators and academic support department heads. The Director participates on working groups, steering and management committees.  He/she participates as a resource to the Graduate Student Association, the Graduate Student Relations Committee and to advisory committees to the Provost such as the Graduate Student Support Advisory Committee. The Director is a member of the Graduate Operations Committee, and an ex-officio voting member of the Senate Graduate and Research Council. S/he is actively engaged in relationship building and managing projects using collaborative approach across campus.

Externally, the Director interacts with counterparts at other universities, foreign government and agencies involved with international student sponsorships.  S/he is actively involved in graduate studies associations including the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, the Ontario University Registrars’ Association, the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada.  The incumbent also participates on provincial and national working groups.

Level of Responsibility:

The Director is responsible for developing and maintaining an organizational structure that reflects the University of Waterloo and graduate studies culture and supports its mission, vision and values.  S/he works on the development and application of academic regulations, contributing to the development of long-range strategies and operational plans, and is instrumental in the implementation of new programs.  The Director creates proposals to ensure that the GSO receives sufficient levels of budget support and s/he effectively manages the resources allocated to the GSO.  S/he provides overall direction and leadership to staff; ensuring fair performance evaluations and job classifications are conducted to meet University standards.  The Director promotes integrity in the workplace and provides job-related training and encouragement for staff to participate in personal and professional development on an on-going basis. 

Decision-Making Authority:

The Director participates in policy and procedural deliberations and acts decisively to ensure that Government and University policies related to student admission, enrolment and academic records, and financial aid are fairly and appropriately reflected in administrative systems and procedures supporting processes at University levels. The Director determines appropriate enrolment, academic and financial aid status related to academic and disciplinary decisions for graduate students.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of an administrative position within an office environment

Working Environment:

Travel:  Minimal

Working Hours:  Regular working hours, some evening/weekend work required.

Psychological Risks: