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Student Success Officer

Date: May 1, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Dean of Science Office, Science Undergraduate Office


Science Teaching Complex


35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

  This senior academic advising role in the Science Undergraduate Office provides direction and implementation of student success initiatives for Science students at-risk. The incumbent liaises with undergraduate student advisors and other university staff, particularly the university’s Student Success Office, in support of at-risk Science students, academic requirements and resource specifications. Academic advice is provided to General Science program students, whose circumstances and history normally require more complex management and support. Initiates and supports services that improve student experience and retention, equips students for success, and minimizes disruption of normal academic progression.

Key Accountabilities:


Responsible for identifying, contacting and advising at-risk Science students

  • Identifies students, largely those in first-year, whose academic performance is limited by academic and/or personal factors by:
    • Liaising throughout the term with Faculty of Science advisors, instructors and associate deans, who have an undergraduate education mandate (i.e., Undergraduate Studies, Special Projects, Student Relations, and International Programs), and
    • Monitoring key first-year midterm results
    • Organizing regular meetings of Science first-year instructors.
  • Contacts at risk’ students, provides advice and directs them to appropriate on-campus educational (e.g., tutoring) or professional resources (e.g., AccessAbility Services).  Provides support for the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies) and Science Undergraduate Office advisors during times of overload activity and/or difficult student issues.
  • Makes academic progression decisions for 1A students (three times annually, though the bulk of this activity occurs in January after the Fall term).
  • Contacts students, whose term-end academic progression decisions are ‘required to withdraw’ or ‘move to General Science’. Follows up with these students to direct them to appropriate on-campus educational (e.g., tutoring) or professional resources (e.g., AccessAbility Services).
  • Manages the enrolment and serves as the primary contact-person for Science students enrolled in the Foundation Term.
  • Liaises with staff in the Student Success Office (SSO) regarding administration of the core Foundation Term course, UNIV 101 (e.g. scheduling, administering evaluations, and monitoring student progress).
  • Facilitates student access to Science administrators and advisory staff (Faculty of Science), other resources (e.g., Registrar’s Office, AccessAbility Services, Counselling, Science Student Help Team, Health Services, Centre for Career Action, Housing, SSO, etc.) and various Science and institutional student success initiatives.


Academic advising:

  • Provides academic advice on request, primarily to first-year and General Science students, by maintaining in-depth and current knowledge of Science, regarding:
    • undergraduate curriculum and academic requirements for all programs
    • admissions regulations and practices
    • regulations and University policies of particular relevance to student issues
    • subjects that are relevant to Science students
    • supports resources that are available to students, both within and outside the Faculty/University.
  • Registers verification of illness forms (VIFs) in Student Accountability System (SAS).
  • Enters appropriate ASIS (Advising Student Information System, or equivalent) notes when providing any form of academic advice, whether by phone, email, or in-person.


  • Program specialty: General Science (over 300 students):
    • Reviews the academic progression reports after each term (three times annually)
    • Reviews the advisement/graduation reports (two times annually)
    • Processes applications for readmission, whether required because of inactivity or, following a 'required to withdraw' academic standing (i.e., 'conditional readmission', following a failed standing)
    • Applies Quest service indicators to monitor course load and enrolment
    • Responds to questions from prospective students about General Science online, via the Centre for Extended Learning
    • Maintains advisement templates for the Three-Year General Science program
    • Supports program review activity
    • Designs outreach and engagement activities to ensure awareness of opportunities and program requirements.



Collaborates, advises, and consults regarding Science student success

  • Participates in, votes, and provides standing reports to, the Science Undergraduate Studies Committee (SUSC).
  • Monitors and reports regularly on student success initiatives, at-risk students, retention, and end-of-term statistics to the Faculty of Science Administrative Committee (Chaired by the Dean of Science) and SUSC, as needed:
    • Analyzes and reports on the identified topics using institutional academic data produced by the Registrar’s Office, such as Quest data extracts, and summaries provided by Institutional Analysis and Planning (IAP)
    • Collaborates with IAP and uses ASIS queries
  • Contributes information pieces that serve the student success mandate for SciSpace and Faculty of Science ‘current undergraduate student’ web pages.
  • Contributes relevant data to the Science Recruitment Team on student success (e.g. research trends on student performance based on pre-university background) and participates in recruitment events: Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF); Fall Open House; March Break Open House; and You @ Waterloo Day.
  • Contributes to the Schulich, SunCor, HeForShe, and other scholarship review and ranking process in April/May (approx. 100 applications, annually).
  • In the absence of the Manager, Academic Advising, review petitions and attend meetings of the Science Petitions Committee.
  • Liaises and engages in strategic planning with the SSO Manager, Faculty Relations, for Science regarding student success activities in Science and the SSO.
  • Reviews, on a monthly basis, reports from SAS on student VIF submission to:
    • Identify students with ongoing wellness issues and consult with the relevant academic advisor(s) and Science Undergraduate Office staff, when appropriate
    • Provide guidance on appropriate remedies such as reduced course load, appropriate course/program selection
    • Apply Quest service indicators to monitor course load and enrolment, when appropriate
    • In consultation with the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, require ’Confirmation of Wellness for Study’ documentation for students, when appropriate.



Provides support for time-sensitive activities

  • Provides supplementary support to the Associate Dean, Student Relations, in the absence or unavailability of the Administrative Services Co-ordinator where some or all of the following tasks would be required:
    • Initiates and maintain an individual file for Science students involved in a Policy 71 allegation.
    • Liaises with Registrar’s Office (RO) to issue and remove UR (under review) grades and suspension notes as required.
    • Liaises with the associate dean, undergraduate studies, and the associate dean, student relations, to prepare, issue and distribute allegation letters and discipline summaries.
    • Updates the Campus Incident System (CIS) database with all case details, and maintain a separate internal database.
    • Co-ordinates registration of students into academic integrity workshops.
  • In the absence of the  Manager, Academic Advising:
    • Reviews applications for readmission, letters of permission, plan modifications, Laurier cross-registration, and inquiries about transferring to Science
    • Reviews enrolment requests for students with a service indicator that restricts enrolment access
    • Assigns service indicators to students at the request of the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
    • Attends the Science Petitions Committee meetings
    • Completes Final Exam Scheduling tasks

Position Requirements


Completion of a Bachelor’s (preferably Science) degree


Five years of undergraduate academic advising and familiarity with university rules and regulations, strongly preferred.  Equivalent experience may be considered.  Competencies include strategic thinking, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Proficient Proficient Proficient Waterloo Inquiry, Quest, LEARN, WCMS, ASIS/OAT, SAS

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Communicates with Science students, staff, faculty and associate deans as well as staff and students external to the Faculty of Science regarding student success initiatives and university and faculty policies. Uses strong communication skills (written and oral), which are required, including clarity, diplomacy and tact. Possesses the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Level of Responsibility:

The position is responsible for advising students, organizing student success initiatives. Self-initiated, detail-oriented, strategic thinking is required. Possesses excellent time-management skills.

Decision-Making Authority:

Makes independent decisions in the deployment of student success initiatives in the Science Undergraduate Office. Provides the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies with decision support with respect to student success. Responsible for hiring, training and supervising student leaders for orientation events. Responsible for monitoring university and Science policy and implementing changes as they arise. Makes academic progression decisions for students in all programs in their 1A term, General Science students (all years), and students enrolled in the Foundation Term.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Demands are typical of an administrative position that functions within office and meeting environments. Exposure to a fast-paced service oriented environment.

Working Environment:

Exposure to conditions typical of office work and meetings; expectation of periodic travel within Ontario, annually, for OUF. Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of an academic advisor and one where it is necessary to convey negative or unwelcome information to students.