University of Waterloo

Associate Director, First Year Engineering

Requisition ID 2021-6785
Job Category
Academic Services
Engineering Undergraduate Studies Office
Employment Type
Time Type
Hiring Range
$81,811 - $102,263


Under the general guidance of Director, First Year Engineering and as a member of the Engineering Undergraduate Office leadership team, the Associate Director plays a critical role in achieving the Faculty of Engineering’s strategic priority in enhancing student experience while providing critical support to first year students as they transition to university life. Working closely with the Faculty’s leadership team and academic advisors (faculty appointments) across Engineering, the Associate Director supports about 2,000 first year Engineering students every year, both on-campus and online, and will take a leading role in the planning and execution of academic and non-academic programs and activities that support student success. The incumbent participates in strategic planning and takes responsibility in carrying out new strategic initiatives that will address Faculty-wide challenges relating to first year student experience.  The impact of this role is significant in that the First Year Office is expected to strengthen the University of Waterloo’s position as a flagship choice for undergraduate engineering education in an extremely competitive space, and to improve student mental health and wellbeing in their first year.


Strategic Planning and Execution

  • Provide Director, First Year Engineering and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies with strategic recommendations, confidential and strategic advice, and implementation plans as they relate to first year engineering

  • Provide long-term continuity in planning and execution of strategic initiatives for the First-Year Office

  • Participate in and contribute to Faculty level strategic planning relating to First Year experience; propose strategy to improve students’ first year experience and their wellbeing

  • Work in partnership with stakeholders across campus to design innovation solutions and execute them across programs managed by the First-Year Office

  • Implement strategic initiatives and integrate them with routine operations

  • Report regularly on the progress of strategic and operational plans

  • Integrate services provided by First Year Office with those of other units to provide a streamlined experience for students


Student Advising

  • Provide academic advice to individual students on topics including course/program selection and changes, degree requirements, preregistration, and all academic issues; Look after the most complicated cases as required

  • Design and implement a framework under which staff in the First Year Office provides effective academic advising for first year engineering students served by the Office

  • Interpret and apply regulations, procedures, and policies for students e.g. enrollment, appeal processes, and course records

  • Monitor the academic progress of specific groups of students and provide outreach/academic counselling to students in academic trouble

  • Report on and monitor academic progression for one or more cohorts of students

  • Assist department advisors with academic progression and academic advisement

  • Advise and respond to inquiries from students interested in enrolling in the program

  • Deliver immediate support to students in distress; follow up with appropriate referrals

  • Monitor First Year Student emails

  • Summarize and document advice given to each student to ensure continuity and consistency

  • Assist students in the preparation of petitions, letters of permission, and other requests

  • Liaison with the SSO’s International Student Experience group

  • Provide staff with ongoing training and apply a continually evolving understanding of both the breadth and boundaries of their authority in relation to their duties

    • Engineering undergraduate curriculum and academic requirements for first year in all programs served by the First Year Office

    • the areas of expertise that are of particular relevance to the position

    • the University policies and Faculty regulations of particular relevance to student issues

    • the sources of support and help that are available to students, both within and outside the University

  • Conduct class/group advising, typically 3 class visits in Fall, 1 in each Winter & Spring

  • Maintain the Engineering 101 website to make it supportive, relevant, and timely

  • Attend and occasionally chair the Divisional Meetings

  • Monitor and respond to student emails to First Year Engineering

  • Manage the First Year Office advising database


Internal and External Programs, and Outreach

  • Manage the Reduced Load Program (RLP) and the Qualifying Program for Readmission (QPR) by recommending students for admission and tracking their success

  • Instruct GENE101 with a co-instructor from the Student Success Office

  • Determine streaming, after consultation with the Director for all first year students

  • Along with the Director, First Year Engineering and Academic Advisors, review all First Year Engineering cases for the Examinations and Promotions Committee (E&P); formulate recommendations; and represent First Year Engineering at E&P meetings

  • Provide support for BASE (Bridge to Academic Success), WiE (Women in Engineering), Residence Visit Program, Waterloo Ready/Engineering 101, and student activities during scheduled pauses



  • Supervise and coordinate the first year schedules (term classes, labs, tutorials, midterm and final exams)

  • Share in planning and chairing the assignment scheduling meetings with the First Year Director and Academic Advisors


Human Resource Management

  • Responsible for the management of staff, including supervision, recruitment, training and development, performance management and evaluation, promotion, professional development, retention, and the application of discipline/termination, as required
  • Establish close working relationship with academic advisors (faculty appointments) across Engineering and ensure effective and efficient delivery of services to students
  • Ensuring processes are in place for recruitment, evaluation and pay of temporary employees, co-op students, and TAs
  • Coordination and scheduling of work responsibilities for staff



  • Respond to student crisis

  • Other strategic tasks or duties as assigned by the Director, First-Year Engineering


  • Minimum bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related discipline. Preference will be given to candidates with an undergraduate experience similar to that faced by our students
  • 7 years of progressive experience performing duties related to the above-mentioned key accountabilities, including demonstrated experience providing sound academic advice and interpreting academic policy 
  • General knowledge of the first year engineering curriculum and academic requirements of the Faculty of Engineering undergraduate curriculum, academic requirements, and admission regulations is preferred

  • Working knowledge of student needs and concerns, and best practices and techniques related to student engagement and success

  • Ability to lead team-based efforts to enhance service delivery

  • Ability to develop and communicate service standards and track client satisfaction

  • Ability to exercise training and judgment in situations of customer distress

  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and demonstrates a sensitivity to diversity

  • Demonstrated ability to provide crisis support to students

  • Demonstrated ability to resolve conflict actively and constructively, and to engage in difficult conversations in order to find collaborative solutions

  • A team player who shares knowledge and works collaboratively

  • Proven business-appropriate oral and written communications skills

  • Use multiple channels or means to communicate important messages (e.g., memos, newsletters, meetings, electronic mail)

  • Maintains confidentiality and demonstrates a sensitivity to diversity

  • Exceptional research, writing, communication and presentation skills

  • Demonstrated ability to foresee impact of change and determine what adjustments may be necessary

  • Demonstrated ability to undergo continual training in matters of changing policy, as well as changing cultural trends

  • Demonstrated ability to use technological solutions to improve processes and communication
  • Demonstrated creative and critical thinking skills to explore, make connections, and discover knowledge

  • Well-developed numeracy, analytic and research skills

  • Proven ability to identify problems and to deal with difficult situations by probing for information, analyzing complex situations and providing solutions

  • Proven ability to respond quickly and decisively in a crisis situation in a calm and reasonable manner

  • Consults multiple sources for accurate information; notices inconsistencies in available information

  • Ability to take ownership for projects of duration of several months; use good independent judgment when priorities are challenged

  • Ability to make reasonable estimates of resource needs to complete projects

  • Use sound methods to plan, track and report work

  • Advanced Microsoft Word and Excel

  • Ability to run and interpret data extracts from ASIS and Quest

  • Ability to create projections and scenarios using software tools

  • Ability to direct communication efforts with web and social media

  • A demonstrated ability to understand and apply policy related to academic appointments

  • Demonstrated comprehensive understanding of academic programs, procedures and policies at the undergraduate level

  • Demonstrated skill and interest in providing academic advice; effective advising skills
  • Some evening/weekend work required

Equity Statement

The University of Waterloo is committed to implementing the Calls to Action framed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.


The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion.  As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.


The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.


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