Bold & Ambitious

The CGPS' guiding principles are to be collegial, progressive, and aspirational. Our mission is to define and support excellence in graduate education and the research, scholarly and artistic activities associated with it. 

As we begin our 75th anniversary year (2021-22), CGPS is launching new initiatives and imagining the future of USask’s graduate and postdoctoral programming. Through strengthened collaborations and consultation we are exploring ways to streamlining college managed funding models, embrace EDI, rebuilding efficiencies through governance, building flexibility within its policies and more.

Our plan is bold and ambitious – and we are just getting started.

Grad Studies at USask

Our faculty

Our students work alongside top researchers—30 Canada Research Chairs, 19 Fellows of the Royal Canadian Society, eight 3M National Teaching Fellows, five Killam Research Fellows and many other acclaimed faculty

Our campus

Our historic campus is recognized as one of the most beautiful in Canada.

Our main campus is located on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis, and we pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Our highly collaborative research environment

As a member of prestigious U15 Canadian research university group, uSask provides some of the best facilities and analytical tools in the country.

Our research explores diverse areas including cancer treatment, crop development,animal and human vaccines, business, education, Aboriginal issues, natural resource development, sustainability, energy, space science and nuclear physics, and we are engaged in research partnerships world-wide.

Our diverse areas of study

At USask, we have access to the most comprehensive range of human health and life science programs on one campus. Including animal and plant sciences, nursing, medicine, pharmacy and nutrition, dentistry, physical therapy, veterinary medicine and kinesiology.

Our graduate faculty membership has grown to more than 1800. The New Graduate Supervision Handbook is now available Faculty Resources - College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - University of Saskatchewan (usask.ca). Created by CGPS in collaboration with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate Students’ Association, creation of the resource marks an important step along the way to building a faculty community of practice centred on excellence in graduate supervision and mentorship. The Handbook provides a guide and is complemented by the Student Supervisor Agreement, a tool for a guided conversation with students to foster strong communication and transparency for expectations that was instituted as a requirement for all new students as of September 2020. 

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As part of building a strong relationship with the Government of Saskatchewan, the CGPS had the opportunity to collaborate with government relations to present some exciting student and fellow research in the first inaugural Celebration of Scholarship Event Saskatchewan Minister of Education Gene Makowsky (on April 1st, 2021). Two PDFs and three students shared their enthusiasm and demonstrated the impact of their research and gained valuable coaching and experience advocacy and communicating to a broad audience. We intend to build upon the success of this event in future years and draw in more government and public stakeholders.

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Preparing our graduate students and fellows for employment outside of academia is paramount to their academic journey. The results of The Graduate Transformative Skills Project (Loleen Berdahl) are now available on the GMCTL website. The study provided insight into the views of our students who want more integration into of skills development in their programs and makes recommendations to address the needs of both students and faculty.  CGPS and GMCTL will continue to collaborate to incubate and pilot new formats to deliver the necessary skills training.

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After several months of CGPS consultation, a revised University level Postdoctoral Fellows Policy was approved by University Council and is scheduled to go to the Board of Governors for decision in June. The refreshed policy and parsed out procedure will bring our policy in line with the collective agreement and provides much needed clarity for fellows that are funded exclusively through external funds.

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We began to take steps to build an overt and explicit college strategy to support the success of Indigenous graduate students. To begin, the dean invited a small group of advisors guide the initial work.  The group has only met twice to date and we are already forming a strong sense of where we can change and setting a priority list for actions to support Indigenous graduate students.

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As our college witness in the 4th annual māmowi āsohtētān Internal Truth and Reconciliation Forum in March, Associate Dean Walker will lead the CGPS team through important takeaways from the forum. We share his reflection here: “Our learnings of when race is discussed the focus is mostly on disadvantage to racialized people, and almost never on the advantages bestowed by whiteness. We were given the understanding that we need to make racial literacy commonplace in teaching and learning at USask. And that we need to tune-in to how the myth of cultural neutrality propping up white advantage in our university policies, structures, and norms is a barrier to reconciliation.”

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The 455 theses successfully defended remotely (May 1, 2020 – April 20, 2021) is a testament to the power of technology and our ability to adapt our rigid beliefs about what is acceptable as an academic practice.  Associate Dean Walker recently put out a call to explore changes to the supervisor and examination policy and we look forward to a refresh that respects the need for rigor at the same time builds flexibility to suit the needs of disciplinary and interdisciplinary and the evolving understanding of what is in the best interest of our students and faculty.  We have also embarked on a project to rethink the many streams of central funding for graduate students

 


 

To be graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in this moment has forever linked our students and scholars to the biggest pandemic in the last century.  The graduate education landscape has been forever changed; and paradoxically through enduring change we are exploring ways to adopt flexibility as a core value.  

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Enhancing Experiences

This year marks the culmination of the ICT-TSLE-CGPS collaborative project to implement the new graduate admissions system – RMS Recruit, in a remarkable feat of being ahead of schedule and under budget. All programs (MPAcc set to come online August 2020) are now receiving applications through the system. We will be taking stock after first admissions cycle in Recruit concludes during a special May Graduate Administrator Forum that will focus exclusively on “RMS Recruit lessons learned”.  A few refinements are in the works and in August 2021, we will launch an innovative supervisor selection functionality for units who require students to identify a supervisor prior to application.  As a recruitment tool, the new system provides a slick interface for applicants and enables reporting to make data informed decisions in real time.  Thanks to the unit graduate administrator ambassadors that gave their time to ensure the best system was built for our needs.  As of April 20th, we have received a total of 8,610 complete applications for programs beginning in the 2021/22, an increase of 594 applications (7.41%) year over or year indicating healthy application pressure and a fully functional system.

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Applications from international applicants are up by 5.5% compared to this time last year, international admissions are down by 95 students (15.5%) while applications from domestic applicants are up by 17.3% compared to this time last year, and domestic admissions are also up by 22 students or 5.1%. To date 971 students have accepted offers of admission (down by 72 or 6.9% compared to this time last year).

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Converting forms into the Jira platform enables our staff to triage requests and provides tracking abilities. Between May 1, 2020 and April 20, 2021 we supported units by addressing 4,130 requests related to students in-program received through Jira and facilitated 1,223 We continue to work to encourage all units to make use of the CGPS service desk Jira platform that now includes Awards and Scholarships.

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The Awards team has been assessing ways to improve the success of our students at Tri-Agency scholarships.  We have already begun to modify our website to provide easy access to the needed information for applicants. This year, USask is receiving 3 Vanier Awards, 1 NSERC and 2 SSHRC pool improving over the single NSERC Vanier last year.