Supporting Our People

We will “Support Our People” to be engaged employees, with leading-edge skills and capacity, who feel valued and are empowered to lead. Our people are the core of our college. Ensuring employee success and engagement is vital to achieving all of our strategic priorities. Our people need to be acknowledged as the key agents of action and change, and imperative to our pursuit of OAC’s vision.

Our Priorities

  • Promoting a safe, supportive and respectful environment that fosters equity, diversity and inclusion on all campuses
  • Supporting a culture of communication, awareness and connectivity for staff, faculty and students to increase collaboration and the sharing of best practices
  • Fostering a culture of professional growth, where people feel valued and motivated to excel, through:
    • recognizing excellence and achievements
    • encouraging training and development
    • providing opportunities for our employees to innovate and lead
  • Recognizing the importance of balancing the demands of work with family and personal life, and encouraging appropriate workloads, and providing support when and where needed
  • Recruiting, retaining and developing exemplary people by encouraging a focus on succession planning, and on equity, diversity and inclusion through hiring, recruitment, policies and procedures

Progress on elevating "Supporting Our People"

Updated December 11, 2020.

Summer & Fall 2020 Reporting

  • The Dean’s Office arranged several workshops and trainings for Dean’s Office staff and unit leaders on equity, diversity and inclusion topics. These topics include transforming power, prejudice and privilege, and microaggressions. 
  • Faculty members in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics hosted a new seminar series for U of G students. The department wants to ensure students continue to have access to seminars, presentations and public lectures, despite the majority of students and faculty not being on campus. 
  • Many annual events were pivoted to virtual formats, such as the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development’s guest lecture series, the Welcome Back BBQ and Outstanding Staff and Faculty Awards, and grant workshops to support faculty grant application success. 
  • Dean’s Office staff created a MS Teams group for all OAC graduate students to enhance connection, access to support, and sharing of timely information. 
  • A OAC COVID Delay Assistance Program for Students in Thesis-based Graduate Programs was created to support OAC students who were unable to make significant, expected progress in achieving their thesis objectives in Summer 2020. The $5,500 award will support those students who require an “extra” semester beyond their original planned completion date, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The OAC Dean’s Office teamed up with Alumni Affairs and Development to support the Guelph Student FoodBank with a donation of $77,500 in gift cards. The Dean’s Office helped to facilitate a 25% discount off all gift cards purchased from Loblaws.

Winter 2020 Reporting

  • The OAC Dean’s Office hosted its first administrative staff development day, which brought together 59 staff from across the college for a half-day event focused on wellness at work. The event brought together staff from OAC’s six academic units and many of their centres and institutes.
  • Dean’s Council members began a dialogue on how college leadership can better support a college culture that uncompromisingly supports wellness, safety and inclusiveness, and has an absolutely zero tolerance approach to all kinds of harassment.  Discussions have focused on actions, training and communication.
  • 109 OAC staff and faculty attended on student mental health and sexual violence training sessions. Three offerings, delivered by staff in Student Affairs, were coordinated by Dean’s Office.
  • The Dean’s Office continues to offer successful statistical support services for staff, faculty and students. Just this semester, Michelle Edwards, the OAC statistics consultant provided over 100 hours of one-on-one consultation time with faculty, staff and students. She also offers data and statistical workshops to students, and her support is often noted in graduate students’ thesis acknowledgements. 

Fall 2019 Reporting

  • The Office of the Associate Dean - Research and Graduate Studies held a professional development event for OAC faculty in May 2019. This event provided faculty with the opportunity to develop their skills for successful team and project management, research proposals and collaborations, to learn new time-saving tools, and to share and network with their peers. 
  • The Department of Animal Biosciences created six new awards to recognize their graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Each award is worth $500 and recognizes mentorship, teaching, positive impact, service and scientific and industry outreach. 
  • In September 2019, an expanded and enhanced student space was opened in Johnston Hall. The new space includes group and quiet study space, common spaces for networking, and an office space and meeting room for the Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College. The alumni Classes of ’80, ’82 and 2018 all supported the renovation. 
  • The Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics supported four of its undergraduate students to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference – East this fall. 
  • The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development provided each of the incoming M.Sc. Rural Planning students with $300 to attend the Ontario Professional Planners Institute annual conference. Virtually every student attended this professional conference. 
  • The Office of the Associate Dean - Research and Graduate Studies coordinated several meetings with OAC faculty and graduate students and key personnel from Mitacs (a national not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to bring together industry, not-for-profits, and post-secondary institutions to solve business and societal challenges, while advancing academic research).  The sessions and workshops showcased opportunities for graduate research funding and support available through Mitacs, including consultations on pitching projects and developing proposals. 

Winter 2019 Reporting

  • The OAC Dean’s Office launched the OAC Outstanding Staff Recognition Awards, which are presented annually to two staff who are identified by their colleagues for making OAC a better place to work. 

Do you have a suggestion of an initiative, process change, investment or a best practice made in your unit? Please share it with oacdean@uoguelph.ca.