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Student Services Advisor

Department: Engineering Undergraduate Office Effective Date: June 27, 2012



Reports to: Administrative Manager

General Accountability

A Student Services Advisor (SSA) is one of two advisors who reports to and is accountable to the Administrative Manager, Engineering Undergraduate Office. The incumbent provides initial assistance and advice to students seeking academic guidance and has primary responsibility for email, telephone and in-person inquiries. The incumbent is expected to have excellent communication skills and to be familiar with social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Challenges faced by this position result from the diversity of the clients, as well as the need to keep abreast of policies and administrative process changes. The SSA will provide administrative support to the academic advisors in the Faculty of Engineering, including First Year Engineering. There are two Student Services Advisors in the Engineering Undergraduate Office and although they share many duties, some tasks are handled independently as described below.

Nature and Scope

The office is comprised of the Associate Dean of Engineering, U/G Studies, the Associate Dean of Co-op Education and Professional Affairs, three directors (Admissions, First Year, and Exchange), three associate directors (one for Admissions and two for First Year), three senior demonstrators and nine support staff. In addition, the Engineering U/G Office provides counselling (personal and academic) on a full-time basis with the assistance of two professional counsellors.
The Engineering Undergraduate Office (EUGO) is involved in many academic matters such as: student promotion considerations, program and course changes, student record processing, scheduling issues, student discipline matters as well as student appeals. The engineering accreditation reports and many co-op matters are also dealt with in this office. The engineering admissions process is handled here, as well as management of the first year student body and teaching responsibilities. The teaching team for first year engineering students is drawn from several engineering departments, the faculties of Mathematics and Science, as well as from in-house members of the Engineering U/G Office. In addition, engineering exchange programs are administered through this office, for both incoming and outgoing exchange students.

The EUGO environment is generally fast-paced, with certain periods being especially busy (notably the fall term as well as the beginning of each term, course enrolment time and the end of term). The SSA fields a wide range of inquiries, many of a non-routine nature, and must be sensitive to the potential impact of advice and decisions on both students and the various UW systems. The engineering student population is diverse and for many, the first language may not be English. This is a new position and there will be evolution in the duties and responsibilities involved. A set of service standards for all activities related to client service is to be developed as the position evolves.


Our intent is to provide service and information to all client groups in as timely a manner as possible. The SSA is the primary central contact and assists with numerous activities related to client services functions at the undergraduate level in the faculty such as: provide front-line reception, triage and intake services to undergraduate students; response to general email inquiries; response and input to social media sites; perform course override entry; advise students on first level exchange questions and all other students seeking academic (or other) advice and direction in the Faculty of Engineering.


Client Advising Service
• Provide initial screening and first level advice for various requests such as: general inquiries and academic advising (i.e. core courses, electives, options, promotions, course overrides, exchange opportunities and processes and undergraduate policies).
• Provide suitable triage and direct priority matters and students in crisis to the appropriate academic advisor.
• Answer main telephone line and general email inquiries about the faculty following the prescribed service standards. Monitor and update social media (as that channel evolves).
• Book appointments with all Engineering U/G Office personnel, including personal and academic counsellors, while maintaining compassion and confidentiality, particularly with clients under stress or in emotional crisis.


Other Client Service
• Enter course override forms and keep records each term.
• Book engineering tours from referrals from the Visitor's Center, as well as for outside individuals and notify teaching assistants about scheduled tours.
• Notify students regarding changes to scheduled appointments and mail pick up.
• Assist with organization and registration for teaching assistant workshop, ExpecTAtions. This includes: room scheduling of the event, set up/cleanup of refreshments and lunches, payment for mentors and producing certificates for student participants.
• Solicit nominations from engineering classes each term for Sandford Fleming TA awards. This includes: arrange postings to advertise on UW daily events page and SLC media screen; collect nominations from eligible candidates; clarify the total number of possible winners and send nominations to U/G Officers for winner selection; notify the appropriate offices of the winners.
• Co-ordinate study skills and exam preparation workshops with Counselling Services, register students in these sessions, or refer them to Counselling Services (Winter and Spring terms).


Specialized and Technical Services
• Use of Facebook and Twitter
• Quest for student records, enrolment and course overrides
• Management of generic email accounts for general inquiries
• FORE financial system for tracking purchases
• P-card system for purchases and reconciliation (including splitting transactions)
• Web-based shipping system
• Office equipment operation such as fax and Xerox (including copying and scanning functions)


Record Management
Keep accurate records for activities such as:
• Key permits
• Detailed text book order information (extensive communication required with departments) and text order processing through the Bookstore
• Year-end reports (statistics gathering for counselling services; ExpecTAtions, etc.)
• Assist in the development of tracking of client service performance (such as the number of students seeking advice each year).


Organizational Relationships
Interaction with on and off campus personnel for tasks such as:
• Sign out textbooks (maintain textbook binders) and supplies to teaching assistants, and exchange material to prospective (outgoing) exchange students.
• Contact course co-ordinators to gather text book information.
• Contact publishers to request desk copies of texts and inquire about delivery dates.
• Sign out keys to teaching assistants and staff and follow up on key returns.
• Contact ELPE and Writing Center regarding exam dates.
• Book office conference rooms for U/G Office staff and occasionally for other engineering departments.
• Contact Plant Operations regarding work requests and Custodial Services for regular office/lab maintenance and between term cleanings.
• Keep safety information posted and up to date and replenish first aid kits as required; disarm/arm labs as required and report troubles; test in-house security panic buttons with UW Police Services.
• Contact IST for changes to staff and TA telephones and for security system problems.
• Contact New Media Services regarding major and rush printing jobs such as exams and special reports, printing of letterhead and business cards, as well as for office copier needs.
• Contact Procurement Services for purchasing of office supplies and other needs.



Associate Dean Interaction
• Maintain confidentiality regarding student situations and cases.
• Recognize when referral to the Associate Dean is required on inquiries related to academic discipline.
• Arrange with New Media Services for copying and binding of major reports.


Administrative Manager Support
Provide assistant to the Administrative Manager on tasks such as:
• Copy and forward requests for payment to Accounts Payable.
• Reconcile office supply purchases on monthly financial statements using FORE.
• Track photocopy, telephone/fax, and mailing charges and prepare summaries.
• Gather personal information from TAs and advise them on payroll procedures.
• Prepare teaching assistant payroll forms.
• Set up binders and files for new fiscal and academic


General Office Duties
Distribute incoming mail; arrange for disposal of old text books; order office (including UW forms), kitchen and printer supplies and maintain supply cupboards; keep bulletin boards current; monitor recycling bins; organize office social functions; other general duties as assigned by the Administrative Manager.


Significant Internal Relationships
Interaction with any area on campus however there are primary contacts such as:
• All undergraduate and exchange students
• Engineering Undergraduate Office personnel
• Dean of Engineering Office
• Registrar’s Office
• Co-op Education and Career Action
• Student Success Office
• Engineering department undergraduate office co-ordinators
• Instructors and teaching assistants
• Book Store
• New Media Services
• Counselling Services main office
• Plant Operations
• Central Stores
• Finance office personnel
• Procurement and Contract Services


External Contacts
Interaction with external services such as:
• Publishers and Vendors: Pearson Educational, McGraw Hill Ryerson, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Nelson Canada ; Corporate Express/Staples, Kerr Norton Computer Supplies, Spicers Canada, Tri-Charge, E. Couves Laser Products, JKL MicroDistribution

Statistical Data

The Engineering Undergraduate Office serves a clientele with a wide range of needs.

Number of departments: 7
Number of academic plans: 13
First year Engineering admissions: ~1500 first year students each September
Full/part-time students: the EUGO provides support to over 6554 undergraduate students in Engineering
Departmental Undergraduate Academic Advisors: 15
Number of Engineering exchange students: 250 per year
Average number of student visits per year: Thousands

• Provide direction on office procedures for more than 50 co-op teaching assistants per year
• Manage bookings for more than 360 counselling clients per year, and numerous other student appointments for 2 directors, 3 associate directors and the Associate Dean
• Arrange sign-up of counselling workshops for over 100 students per year
• Analyze and enter an average of 350 course override forms per term

Specific Accountabilities

Provide service and advice to all client groups at the undergraduate level in the faculty.
• Develop and maintain service standards for the position as it evolves.
• Perform course override entry providing same-day service.
• Maintain social media functions.
• Assist the Admin. Manager with tasks such as reconciliation of expenditures with the on-line financial system; office operations such as plant operations and other internal needs.
• Upkeep of reception area and overall appearance of the office to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Working Conditions

The two Student Services Advisors rotate their day by spending half time performing customer service in the front-line position and half time working on data management, answering email inquiries, etc. While many tasks are shared, some are allocated to either one SSA or the other. In addition to the reception area they each have a comfortable work station for quiet work.

The undergraduate office is an active environment with many clients coming and going each day for a number of different purposes. Responsibility varies from giving directions to people lost on campus to redirecting students who have violated policy, or students who are emotionally upset for personal or academic reasons. The beginning of each term is extremely busy, particularly the fall terms and re- prioritization of duties is often required when customer service is needed by both SSAs. In addition to managing the heavy incoming traffic, items like letter processing, TA sign-up and key distribution must still be completed in a timely manner.