Michael Orsini, Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies

Michael Orsini

At the Graduate Studies Office, our students are at the core of our mission. So, it was particularly heartening to mark all of their outstanding achievements this year, including the awarding of a prestigious Trudeau Foundation scholarship to PhD candidate Emma Swan of the School of International Development and Global Studies, two coveted Vanier scholarships to students in the Faculty and 20 SSHRC doctoral scholarships.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the dedication and hard work not only of the students themselves but also of their supervisors, the scholarship committee members, the staff in our nine units and the Graduate Studies Office. Thanks are due to all for their outstanding efforts.

This past year was marked by change: we devoted much of our energies to adjusting to the recent restructuring of graduate studies at uOttawa, and the transfer of several new responsibilities to our Graduate Studies Office.

The graduate studies restructuring will continue to have a significant impact on the Faculty of Social Sciences. Our objective throughout this transition is to ensure that these changes bring the administration of graduate studies as close to students as possible, and enrich the graduate student experience to the greatest extent. We are already seeing the results of this in the administration of doctoral thesis defences, and further changes will follow.

As universities continue to explore what works and what does not in terms of graduate education, we need to ensure that our already successful MA and PhD programs provide the best possible preparation for an ever-changing labour market without losing sight of the scholarly rigour that sets us apart.

In the next few years, we hope to focus on addressing both recurrent and new challenges: financial support and recruitment of international students, strategies to assist us in addressing the complex mental health needs of our graduate students and expanding our offering of doctoral programs.

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