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Manager, Graduate Studies

Date: May, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Administrative Officer
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles):

MAsc Program Coordinator/Advisor

MEng Coordinator

PhD Program Coordinator/Advisor

Graduate Admissions Administrator

Graduate Academic Administrator

Location: Main Campus


35 hr/wk



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Primary Purpose

The Electrical and Computer Engineering (E&CE) Graduate Office serves over 600 graduate students and non-traditional special program students, such as International Visiting Graduate Scholars involved in research and exchange students. The Manager, Graduate Studies is responsible for the administration of the E&CE graduate program and is accountable to the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies for delivering services to support graduate learning. The scope of the position encompasses oversight of graduate student recruitment, academic counselling and advising, operational leadership, graduate calendar changes, scholarships, and student communications.  This position requires a high degree of knowledge of the requirements for three core programs, four interdisciplinary programs, and thirteen specialization areas to resolve difficult situations. In addition, the Manager supports the implementation of new initiatives and programs

Key Accountabilities:


Management of Graduate Studies Programs:

  • Oversees the provision of academic advisement and records management for graduate studies and International Visiting Graduate students;
  • Ensures graduate studies activities and deadlines are accomplished according to policies, procedures, and regulations;
  • Ensures consistent application of University, Faculty and department academic regulations of various degree programs;
  • Reviews academic progression reports and presents recommendations on student advancement to Graduate Studies Committee;
  • Prepares the term official government count;
  • Provides confidential advising, which may require immediate action to connect students in crisis or with personal difficulties with university resources e.g. Counselling Services;
  • Outlines options, recommends approach and provides referrals to faculty members dealing with student issues;
  • Interprets and explains graduate policies and administrative procedures, and serves as a liaison between the program faculty and the graduate studies administration;  
  • Advises students on Academic Petitions, Student Grievance and Student Academic Discipline Policies (#70 and 71);
  • Oversees the student teaching evaluation process;
  • Submits course and curricular changes for Faculty academic review;
  • Acts as the department’s graduate calendar representative, edits and proofreads all graduate calendar submissions;
  • Oversees scholarship and external/internal awards to develop, promote and support graduate research;
  • Manages Graduate Research scholarships payments through the Faculty Graduate Office;
  • Ensures graduate student contracts and appointments comply with graduate regulations;
  • Oversees the Teaching Assistant (TA) assignment process, payroll submissions, and all last minute TA swapping and hiring;
  • Identifies and recommends improvements to the departmental graduate management database and collaborates with technical staff on the development/upgrade of the database;
  • Oversees application process and offers to meet admissions targets for five programs;
  • Participates in recruitment initiatives and events;
  • Reviews recruitment materials and verifies marketing messages are reliable;
  • Liaises with other university departments to resolve issues and concerns e.g. conflict with faculty advisor or student performance;
  • Directs graduate event planning and participates in Graduate Orientation activities and scholarship workshops;
  • Collaborates with academic and student service departments and student organizations to implement services and processes to support student learning and the student experience.


Consultation and Evaluation:

  • Provides updates on student issues or problems and recommendations for issue resolution;
  • Liaises with Associate Chair on graduate concerns or identified anomalies;
  • Identifies potential impact of new proposals, program revisions, changes to academic policy or implementation of initiatives on established practice;
  • Reviews suggested changes and ensures their viability, offers suggestions for improvement where warranted, identifies inconsistencies or problems.
  • Provides statistical information and analysis, reports, background information and special project support to Associate Chair and Graduate Studies Committee;
  • Coordinates the Graduate Studies Committee meetings, records decisions/changes, and tracks the completion of action items resulting from the meeting;
  • Coordinates the periodic self-study and external graduate program review by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS);
  • Complies statistical data and assists with the OGS program review process and preparation of appraisal reports;
  • Collaborates with the Associate Chair for long-term planning and implementation of strategic goals;
  • Develops and implements new procedures and processes to improve service quality and stakeholder satisfaction;
  • Liaises with the E&CE Graduate Student Association to build and develop student engagement.


Supervision of Graduate Administrative Staff:

  • Supervises and monitors activities and workload demands, reassigns work or assigns special projects;
  • Determines deadlines, schedules, and priorities, balancing operational requirements and strategic considerations;
  • Provides guidance, problem-solving support or solutions beyond staff’s scope and authority;
  • Trains new staff and initiates cross-training to balance workload and absence coverage;
  • Mentors and identifies staff capability, promotes skills development and training for career development and advancement;
  • Completes and conducts performance evaluations;
  • In conjunction with the Administrative Officer, participates in the hiring of graduate administrators.


Other Duties:

  • Updates the department’s Graduate Handbook;
  • Monitors the department’s web presence and coordinates the ECE Facebook site;
  • Manages web content for departmental graduate studies section and is member of the ECE Communications Committee;
  • Member of the senior staff operations committee providing planning, vision and issue resolution;
  • Recommends and facilitates the introduction of new technologies and methods to enhance efficiency and streamline procedures;
  • Special project and other duties as assigned by the Associate Chair or Administrative Officer.


Position Requirements


Bachelor degree or equivalent combination of education and experience.


Three years of experience academic program advising such as interpreting, applying and relaying complex policies. Several years’ supervisory experience, including leadership experience to guide process change.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate

QUEST: Intermediate

Databases: Intermediate (OnBase/Sharepoint/FileMakerPro)
Drupal/WCMS: Intermediate

Outlook/email: Intermediate

Internet: Ability to navigate web resources and use online applications/tools


Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, communicates with administrative and technical staff, current graduate students, faculty, teaching assistants, and course instructors within E&CE, Faculty of Engineering Graduate Studies Office, Graduate Studies Office, Student Awards, Human Resources, etc. to obtain, clarify and discuss information to resolve issues. May have to deal through intermediary translator to communicate information. Responds to enquiries of an interpretative nature, recommends and applies creative solutions to complex problems and issues. Often uses persuasion to elicit the cooperation of others.

Externally, communicates with prospective students to provide information on graduate programs and Visiting Graduate Students to provide guidance on admissions.

Responsibility to develop and maintain cooperative and productive working relationships with diverse stakeholders is a key mandate of the role.  


Level of Responsibility:

This position is responsible for the administrative operations of the departmental graduate programs and provides guidance to others. The position has specialized work with minimal supervision. The incumbent must act independently in determining alternative solutions but if needed consults with various areas to seek resolution. Consults with Associate Chair regarding complex or escalated advising situations, and reports any unusual issues for action and resolution. Providing incomplete or inaccurate information to students can have a strong adverse impact on ECE’s ability to recruit and retain top quality graduate students. Incorrect actions or decisions would adversely affect the reputation of the department.  

Decision-Making Authority:

Works independently with a high level of initiative and flexibility. The job requires regular independent action within defined policy parameters to provide informed advice and instruction to all stakeholders, requiring the use of discretion and judgement. The incumbent must be able to make thoughtful, informed and rational decisions to resolve issues or problems that arise.
Responsible for staff supervision and workload balancing, including assessing work performance and taking corrective action. 

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Must possess mental fortitude and patience in cross-cultural and inter-personal relations with an international clientele. Must listen carefully to client concerns or circumstances and reading into and between the lines of emails or correspondence to identify the issue/problem daily.

Working Environment:

This role involves minimal psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to difficult situations dealing with distressed stakeholders which may require immediate action to connect students in crisis or with personal difficulties with university resources e.g. Counselling Services.  Provides information or explanations that may not be well received by recipients who may be upset or angry.  Some internal clients may be demanding or request breaking policy. This role involves constant interruptions (e.g. drop in students). Interacts with people who may be difficult or dissatisfied, and some situations may require escalation. Responds to time-sensitive situations where there is a lot of pressure to find a solution quickly.  The incumbent works in an environment where there is frequent process/procedural change.