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Administrative Co-ordinator/Student Advisor, Graduate Studies

Department: Biology Effective Date:

November 1, 2008



35 hr/wk

Reports to: Administrative Officer

General Accountability

The Administrative Co-ordinator/Student Advisor is accountable to the Graduate Officers and the Administrative Officer in the Department of Biology for ensuring the smooth day-to-day, term-to-term, and year-to-year operation of the departmental graduate degree programs within established policies and procedures and according to the established calendar of events. This position is also accountable to the Associate Chair, Department of Biology, for all matters pertaining to the administration of TA’s. In conjunction with the Administrative Officer, the Administrative Co-ordinator/Student Advisor, supervises and provides functional and instructional guidance to the Graduate Office Assistant.  

Nature and Scope

As a member of the support staff in the Graduate Office, the incumbent is expected to perform the duties of the position within established polices and procedures and according to an established calendar of events, under minimal supervision, but will receive instructions from Graduate Officers as well as the Administrative Officer.


Significant internal and external relationships for this position include:


Statistical Data

The Department of Biology has 38 faculty members, 3 instructors, 12 undergraduate officers, 2 graduate officers, 3 CRC Chairs, and 25 postdoctoral fellows/research associates. The Department offers programs in Honours Biology, Honours Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Environmental Science, Biomedical Sciences and Science and Business. There are 13 technical support staff and 7 administrative support staff.  The Department teaches courses to approximately 6500 undergraduate students each term and graduate enrolment is approximately 150 students, approximately 50% of which are MSc and 50% are PhD. International student enrolment is approximately 15 – 20% of the total.   The departmental operating budget is approximately six million dollars and total research income exceeds five million dollars.  The department has a TA budget of approximately eight hundred thousand dollars and hires approximately 100-150 TA’s per term.

Specific Accountabilities

  • Administer and monitor three (3) busy and varied graduate studies programs; MSc, PhD, and Non-degree. Each program has different criteria for admissions, course requirements, thesis requirements, etc. It is imperative that the Graduate Co-ordinator/Student Advisor keep all programs in an orderly fashion and keep up-to-date on all program changes. Administer admission procedures for each of these individual programs using the OnBase system to ensure compliance to requirements, acceptance, the generation of conditions if necessary, and details of admission.
  • To provide advising services to all new and existing graduate students. This includes advising undergraduate students interested in graduate studies, and all domestic and foreign applicants. Special attention is given to the International students who are new to Canada. When new International students arrive in the department; quite commonly their first point of contact is the Administrative Co-ordinator. It is imperative that the Administrative Co-ordinator provide correct information regarding new banking information, process of acquiring Social Insurance Numbers, community and university information, and housing information should the student still require accommodations. Also, the Graduate Co-ordinator/Student Advisor will encourage new visa students to apply for Permanent Residency and explain the process of application. Organize orientation event for all new incoming graduate students.
  • The Graduate Co-ordinator/Student Advisor will also advise existing students with financial matters, difficult living arrangements, and difficult working relationships within the university environment. The students will be guided into appropriate courses of action for the above mentioned problem areas.
  • Assist and advise students with deadlines, changes, milestones and requirements as they progress through their individual programs.
  • Develop, maintain and manage all graduate student records to facilitate the generation of information required by Graduate Officers and to monitor student progress.
  • Provide background research and support for the Graduate Officers for Graduate Studies to assist in the academic decision-making process, assessment of course offerings, budget decisions, scholarship eligibility, milestone achievement and other items as required.
  • Monitor and review all reports generated by the GSO for problems, omissions, and accuracy. Report discrepancies for action.
  • Monitor and review of all current and proposed new graduate courses.  Generate graduate course listings and timetable, including downloading of rosters, and uploading of marks.
  • Co-ordinate the term-by-term assessment of graduate courses. Provide a Graduate Course Evaluation to each registered student in a Biology Graduate Course. 
  • Co-ordinate the collection of information on a term by term basis from faculty members to assign Research Studentships to current and incoming graduate students. Monitor studentship award levels and sources to ensure compliance with OGS and NSERC regulations. Enter all payroll information into Graduate Student Earnings payment system.  Troubleshoot any payroll problems for student with Human Resources contact.
  • Extract information from Teaching Assistant applications to generate a detailed list for the Teaching Assignment committee to award future term’s teaching assignments.
  • Generate pay forms for successful undergraduate TA’s. Collect signatures and banking/tax information to submit to Payroll.
  • Generate TA assignments for Graduate students, nominate for corresponding SGEA award, produce assignment memos for the term.
  • Monitor TA assignments for graduate students to ensure compliance in sequencing, maximum allowable, and equality of assignment.
  • Assist in the organization of the TA Workshop held twice per year.
  • Responsible for yearly calendar updates for the University Graduate Office.
  • Create and maintain the graduate section of the Biology website. 
  • Supervises and provides functional and instructional guidance to the Graduate Office Assistant, providing guidance and direction.
  • Provide guidance to the Graduate Office Assistant when problems arise. Ensures the smooth operation of work-flow.
  • Assist in co-ordinating PhD comprehensives, PhD research seminars, PhD Oral Defences, MSc research seminars and submission of MSc Thesis.
  • In conjunction with the Administrative Officer, complete annual performance reviews for the Graduate Office Assistant.  
  • To administer and maintain a budget for various Department of Biology Graduate Scholarships, determining eligibility, and assignment. These include the following:
      • UW Graduate and UW Graduate Entrance Scholarships – in excess of $60,000 - $100,000
      • Tumkar Award - $1,000 per year
      • DAVIS Memorial - $5,000 per award, 2 – 3 units per year
  • To administer all other non-monetary scholarships; application process, ranking, awards for Dean of Science, Research etc.
  • Attend graduate marketing opportunities, i.e. Open Houses etc.
  • Manage the application process for NSERC and OGS Scholarships

National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Yearly process in which current graduate and undergraduate students apply for PGS M, PGS D, and Post Doctoral awards to further their research program. Provides all information needed, collecting, organizing and presenting the information in a relevant manner to the Ranking Committee,  Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS). Monitors progress on the collection and tracking of information for the OGS application process. Provides information needed to the Ranking committee.

  • To administer the yearly NSERC U/G Scholarships competition NSERC URSA; process, ranking, payroll.
  • Ontario Council of Graduate Studies (OCGS) appraisal every 7 years. One year process to co-ordinate data gathering and preparation of document for approval of accredited graduate program

Working Conditions