University of Waterloo

  • Specialist, New Student Transition

    Requisition ID
    Job Category
    Student Services
    5433 - SSO - New Student Transition
    Job Status
    Regular Full-Time
    Hiring Range
    $59,433 - $74,291
  • Overview

    The New Student Transition Specialist is responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining integrated programs intended to enhance student success and support a successful transition into the university. This requires the Specialist to be knowledgeable and up to date on the unique needs of our diverse student populations and their families with special attention and focus on priorities populations including first-year, graduate, transfer, international and exchange. With input and extensive consultation with the Faculty Relations Managers, Manager, Student Experience, Senior Academic Support Specialist and the Federation of Students he/she is responsible for overseeing the implementation of transition programs including day to day operations, decision making and program leadership.


    The Specialist will work closely with the Manager, Student Experience and Coordinators to ensure programs are well integrated, responsive to the needs of the faculties and campus partners and are achieving desired outcomes.


    Specific Accountabilities

    • Knowledgeable and up to date on the needs of a diverse population of students and their families including but not limited to priority populations such as first year, transfer, exchange, graduate and
      international students. He/she will work closely with the leadership team to ensure orientation programs and initiatives serving all students are well integrated and coordinated and that resources
      are shared and used effectively
    • Provide excellent leadership and management of Coordinators including setting clear and reasonable expectations, providing on-going feedback and establishing a strong foundation for
      performance through comprehensive training
    • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Coordinators. He/she will be expected to provide additional program support, leadership and assist in decision making during peak times (e.g.:
      Orientation Week, Faculty Days, etc.) and as programs evolve and grow
    • Works closely with the SSO leadership team to ensure transition programs are evolving to meet the needs of faculty and campus partners. He/she must therefore be knowledgeable of Faculty success
      plans, student needs, strategies and outcomes

    Relationship Management

    • Establish and maintain a network of relationships with campus partners and external organizations (CACUSS, etc.) to remain up to date on new research, strategies and initiatives in orientation
      programs and new student transition literature
    • Participates in and contributes to various internal and external committees including Chairing the Orientation Advisor Committee. It's essential that the Specialist practice diplomatic facilitation and
      sound judgement while working with the Orientation Advisor Committee. The Specialist should exercise political insights to maintain an accurate pulse on the Committee's needs and direction
    • Collaboration with campus partners is essential to ensure students are provided with necessary support, resources and information pertinent to their University of Waterloo experience. Key campus
      partners include but are not limited to: Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment, Centre for Teaching Excellence, Registrar's Office, Housing and Residences, Campus Wellness, AccessAbility
      Services, The Federation of Students, Graduate Students Association and all Faculties and affiliated University Colleges. He/she will work closely with the Manager, Student Experience in ensuring
      campus partners are aware of and connected to new student transition programs as appropriate
    • Participates in and contributes to regular staff, department and Faculty specific meetings as appropriate


    • Provides leadership and direction to Coordinators, including co-op and contract staff responsible for implementing New Student Transition programs. This includes setting clear and reasonable
      expectations, providing ongoing feedback and establishing a strong foundation for performance
    • Oversees the recruitment, hiring, selection, onboarding, training, performance management, appreciation of and recognition of all staff who report to him/her - including casual, temporary and permanent staff
    • Provides leadership in all aspects of New Student Transition including both incoming/current students and their parents and family members. Direction is based on a solid understanding of
      literature and best practices in new student transition including its connection to retention, student engagement and student development. This includes being knowledgeable about priority
      populations of students and faculty priorities
    • Informs and understands the campus climate through consistent consultation with faculties, campus partners and students. He/she uses this knowledge to assist the SSO in continuing to align
      programs, services and providing direction and guidance in the ongoing review and development of programs and initiatives
    • Acquires a solid understanding of the office, faculties and institutional goals and priorities as it relates to enhancing the transition of all students
    • Ensures appropriate information related to the student transition process is available to various campus partners and stakeholders

    Program Development

    • Develops, coordinates and maintains targeted programs and initiatives designed to ensure the successful transition of all new Waterloo Students
    • Leverages resources, knowledge and expertise in the SSO to assist in the design of New Student Transition programs when appropriate in partnership with the SSO leadership team and campus
    • Acquires a solid understanding of individual Faculty and institutional goals and priorities as it relates to transition programs. He/she will therefore work closely with the Coordinators to ensure programs
      are meeting the needs of our Faculty and campus partners

    Staff Development

    • Provides strong leadership to Coordinators, including setting clear and reasonable expectations, providing ongoing feedback and establishing a strong foundation for performance
    • Responsible for making key decisions in times of crisis when the Manager, Student Experience is not present. He/she must therefore have experience managing difficult situations, crisis and making
      decisions independently and with little direction
    • Works closely with Data & Evaluation Specialist and Manager, Student Experience to establish performance indicators and assessment methods to measure achievement in all areas of responsibility including learning outcomes, program goals and objectives and individual program success for each orientation program


    • Knowledgeable and up to date on current Waterloo surveys including the orientation survey, Faculty specific surveys and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
    • Strong understanding of the student experience at the University of Waterloo. Particularly priority populations such as first year students, graduate, exchange and transfer students
    • Uses current research to design intentional, proactive and responsive orientation programs that are in line with the needs of our students and Faculty partners


    • University degree required; Master's or equivalent in a related field (e.g., Leadership, Higher Education, Student Services) an asset
    • Experience managing/leading a team in a student service
    • Program/project management experience is an asset
    • Proven ability to take initiative and be both creative and flexible
    • Strong oral and written communication skills, solid organizational skills, and sound judgment
    • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, build consensus and be sensitive to the needs and interests of various stakeholders
    • Ability to function as part of a diverse team both within the department and across the institution
    • Political acumen is an asset
    • Demonstrated ability to contribute to and thrive in a collaborative environment and to apply a positive team approach to working with colleagues
    • Demonstrated ability to use and interpret data to make decisions, and communicate results effectively to various stakeholders
    • Demonstrated ability in managing multiple projects with competing priorities
    • Able to cultivate strong and influential relationships across the university campus. The Specialist will be required to lead their co-workers in delivering outstanding transition programs that meet the needs of our students
    • Collaboration, problem solving, strong communication and consensus building are crucial to the success of the role
    • Some weekend and evening work will be required throughout the year, especially during July, August and September as well as during Labour Day weekend for event execution purposes


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