Pictured: Headshot of a woman wearing a blazer overlaid on a green background.
Pictured: 2023 Service Award Winner Alison Kraft (Photo provided)

Kraft earns CGPS Clement Employee Service Award at USask

The College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) at the University of Saskatchewan has recognized Alison Kraft from the Jane and Ron Graham Centre for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as the 2023 recipient of the Clement Employee Service Award.

By Kassidy Guy
Pictured: CGPS Dean Dr. Debby Burshtyn (right) and College of Education Dean Dr. Julia Paulson (left) present Alison Kraft (centre) with Clement Employee Service Award

The Clement Employee Service Award was established in memory of former CGPS staff member Kelly Clement in 2022. Clement is remembered as a wealth of knowledge when it came to policies and procedures, as well as a “staunch defender of due process and the principle of fairness,” who “drew attention to the importance of graduate program administration.” 

In 13 years on campus, Kraft has worked in several different roles, all with the primary goal of supporting graduate students.  

“For the past 13 years, my motto has been, ‘I’m here for the students, my job is for the students,’” she said. “If I’m not doing a good job for the students, then why am I here?” 

Kraft started at USask in 2011 as a graduate administrator for the Interdisciplinary Studies program. In her role, Kraft worked diligently to create an inviting and inclusive environment for graduate students in the program.  

“It was interesting dealing with [Interdisciplinary Studies] students because they don’t have an academic home,” said Kraft. “In a sense, I became their academic home because their supervisors were from everywhere across campus.”  

In 2014, Kraft moved into the role of program advisor at CGPS, where she supported and advised graduate administrators, faculty members, and graduate students about how policies and procedures affect their specific situations.  

Four years later, Kraft took on a temporary role at the College of Nursing as a graduate program co-ordinator, where she continued to work closely with graduate students as they navigated their programs.  

In 2019, Kraft moved to the College of Education and worked as a graduate strategic and special program co-ordinator. This role was brand new to the College of Education, and Kraft’s vast experience working in graduate studies quickly made her invaluable to the college.  

“Alison takes time and exemplifies patience and kindness with prospective and current students to help them understand their options,” said Dr. Vicki Squires (PhD), associate dean Research, Graduate Support and International Initiatives, and associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration.  

Kraft now works as a program co-ordinator in the Jane and Ron Centre for SoTL, where she leads graduate student recruitment and works closely with graduate students to enhance student experiences. Her years of experience with various areas of graduate studies has equipped Kraft with the knowledge to provide outstanding support for the centre.  

“Alison’s dedication to inclusivity and academic excellence has created an environment where all students feel valued and supported in their academic pursuits,” said Dr. Melanie Hamilton (EdD), director of the Jane and Ron Graham Centre for SoTL. “[She] has shown a willingness to share her knowledge, skills, and experience with others, always offering to lend a helping hand.” 

Over the past 13 years at USask, Kraft has developed a passion and a talent for uplifting graduate students at every step of their program.  

“That’s my motivation: I want a student to be happy and feel like they have had the success that they came here for,” she said. 

For Kraft, this award is about more than recognition from her community.  

“I worked with Kelly from the time I was hired, and she essentially trained me and answered all of my questions when I started out,” said Kraft. “I always want to provide a good service to graduate students, but being recognized with this particular award means more to me because Kelly’s name is on [the award].”  

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