News in Brief: Week 8

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Office of University Ombudsman under review

The Office of the University Ombudsman will be under review to assess its effectiveness, the University announced last Thursday. 

Established in 2014, the University Ombudsman was founded to fit the role of Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms—a branch of the University Secretariat.

The Ombudsman is mandated to provide “independent, impartial and confidential advice.” Its functions include conflict resolution, inquiry referral, investigation of concerns, and recommendations for policy changes.

The review will evaluate the University’s community awareness of the Office, the promotion of its services, and potential future initiatives.

Stephen Strople, former secretary-general of McGill University, will be conducting the review.

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to submit their comments about their experience with the Office and how they think the service could expand to stephen.strople@mcgill.ca, until Nov. 9.

“The views of the community are critical to understanding areas where the Ombudsman’s Office is bringing value and about other matters where more focus might yield greater impact in delivering on the office’s mandate,” Lon Knox, University Secretary, said in a statement.

Strople has a 30-year history in university administration, and specifically in student and faculty appeal processes, access to information requests, and advisory committees.

The review will be presented at the December meeting of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board of Trustees.

University introduces new graduate childcare initiative

On Friday, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) hosted a writing workshop for graduate and post-doctoral students which, for the first time, introduced childcare to the sessions.

Included in the Expanding Horizons program, the pilot project was created as a support system for graduate students to balance the demands of parenting and their studies.

In the writing retreat last Friday on West Campus, the SGS provided students with uninterrupted writing time while staff looked after children aged five to 12.

The project’s develepment began last year, when a student came to the SGS requesting to introduce new support systems for graduate students with children.

Following a seminar held in May on childcare at writing days, the SGS decided to launch the new pilot project. It will continue during future PA days during the academic year.

The program will offer childcare on the scheduled PA days of Nov. 30, and Feb. 1, 2019, and April 5, 2019.

More information about the program is offered on the ‘SGS’ website.

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