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Indigenous Student Service Specialist

Location: Waterloo
Company: University of Waterloo
Hours: Full time

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The Student Service Centre (The Centre) is a unique one-stop service unit for undergraduate and graduate students that allows them the opportunity to have many of their non-academic needs met in one place. Partner departments include the Registrar’s Office, Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Affairs, Student Awards & Financial Aid, Student Financial Services, Student Success Office, and WatCard.

The incumbent represents these partner departments and provides proactive, student-focused, exceptional front-line service in a variety of formats to our diverse student population. The incumbent handles each interaction professionally, effectively, empathetically, and in accordance with The Centre’s and the University’s values with regard to student service, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion.

In the University of Waterloo’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, it states, “We particularly recognize Indigenous students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are committed to learning about the rich history and culture of Indigenous people of this land and an institutional response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action.”

In line with the University’s Strategic Plan, and the Indigenization Strategy, the Indigenous Student Service Specialist will provide specialized support for all students but, in particular, Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students.

To enhance the effectiveness of this activity, the ideal candidate will meet the articulated qualifications below and will be an Indigenous citizen (First Nations Status or Non-Status, Métis, or Inuit). Lived experience in an Indigenous community or communities is required.

We are asking each interested applicant to include a statement indicating if they identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit in their cover letter. Supporting documentation for membership/citizenship in an Indigenous community will be required and possibly additional information about community connection, family, and relationship to working with Indigenous communities/knowledges may be required, if an applicant is invited for an interview. Please note that our recruitment system has limitations. Hiring managers will only see the last updated version of the application (cover letter and resume) as older versions will be overridden. Therefore, if you are applying to more than one job simultaneously, your self-identification will be available to all hiring managers.

Service Delivery

  • Support future and current students, by providing information in an accurate, friendly, empathetic, student-focused, and timely manner. The range of knowledge required is wide and varied
  • Support future and current Indigenous students, by providing specific ongoing guidance and attention
  • Assist students by providing information primarily regarding admissions, student records, awards, financial aid, and the student financial account
  • Inquiries will include, but not be limited to: considering Waterloo, application process, course enrolment, tuition and fee payments, OSAP/bursary/award applications, program changes, withdrawals, updates to personal information, official grades, enrolment verifications, identity verifications, convocation, and official documents (University letters, transcripts, diplomas)
  • Triage the nature and complexity of inquiries and determine actions to be taken, consulting with, or handing off to partners, as appropriate
  • Maintain a student-focused mindset throughout, despite workload demands and challenging interactions with students, parents, and guardians
  • Proactively look for ways to enhance the student’s experience beyond their immediate request by being knowledgeable of additional or alternative options and resources available
  • Produce official University documents including enrolment letters, transcripts and diplomas
  • Ensure a high degree of accuracy by conveying accurate and clear information to students and when producing official documents. Errors in this position can result in major negative implications to students and alumni. A high level of accuracy and attention to detail is required
  • Excellent professional, yet welcoming and friendly, verbal and written communication is required as this position represents the university to prospective students, current students, and off campus stakeholders
  • Verify student enrolment and alumni degrees for various purposes including employment, immigration, regional transit, etc.
  • Verify the identity of an individual using procedures in place and have the discernment to recognize deception
  • Update student records including name changes and course enrolment
  • Must use discretion, tact, sound judgement and problem-solving skills, and be able to know when and where to escalate an issue
  • Remain friendly, calm, and clear-headed during situations where a student, parent, or guardian is upset and displeased
  • Uphold privacy and confidentiality of student information as per Policy 46
  • Propensity to work collaboratively in a team environment, in particular with others who are performing the same role and who all rely on each other to complete the job duties
  • Knowledgeable of our partner departments’ business processes and of faculty and university guidelines, policies and procedures especially pertaining to academic progression, student experience and success, and privacy
  • Accurately interpret and apply the appropriate regulations, procedures and policies to the cases presented by students to offer them information concerning their situation and initiate a resolution of complex problems

Administration, Operations and Systems Support

  • Understand and support our various technology systems The Centre utilizes including the queuing system, staff training and resource platform, ticketing platform, and digital credentialling system
  • Able to adapt to new technologies and new business processes
  • Responsible for opening and closing The Centre daily
  • Receive payment for official documents, bursary repayments, and fines. Handle payments via cash, debit, credit card, cheque, or WatCard payment
  • Maintain and organize confidential student records, documents and forms
  • Prepare packages for courier and regular mail often on tight timelines

Knowledge Expertise and Continuous Improvement

  • Provision of context, advice, and guidance to the team in the Student Service Centre on Indigenous matters
  • Participate in ongoing training to ensure a deep knowledge-base in a wide variety of student service areas (i.e., Registrar’s Office, Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Affairs, Student Financial Services, Student Awards & Financial Aid, Student Success Office) and the various Faculty Undergraduate and Graduate Offices
  • Participate in campus meetings involving Indigenous affairs to foster a more inclusive environment for Indigenous students and employees
  • Participate in training that involves equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.
  • Continuously contribute to maintaining the integrity of the information resource platform that provides clear, concise, relevant, up-to-date information to assist Specialists when interacting with students
  • Be cognizant of new trends and issues surfacing for students that need to be addressed, and provide insight and perspective into how to solve the issue
  • Be adaptable to a changing environment where new trends and continuous improvement will influence business processes

Career Progression:

  • Typically incumbents will begin the role as USG 5[NH1] . The first 6 weeks in the role is an immersive training period. Once complete, the incumbent spends their first year learning the role and continuing the training
  • Once all required training is completed with a full understanding of the tasks and with the proven ability to resolve challenges that arise concerning these accountabilities, the incumbent will move to the operating level of the role (USG 6). There is an expectation that this will take no longer than one year
  • At the operating level, additional responsibilities are assigned
  • Additional responsibilities include:
    • Provide day-to-day advice and guidance to team members
    • Assist in the process of hiring new Specialists
    • Provide training during an incoming Specialist’s 6-week onboarding training program
    • Write more complex, sensitive or discrete Official University Letters, including Letters of Permission, letters to lawyers, etc.
    • Attend weekly campus partner meetings and speaking on behalf of The Centre
    • Reconcile daily cash deposits and produce weekly reports
    • Adhere to procedures for proper cash handling and balancing
    • Troubleshoot issues when our tech systems fail
    • Provide leadership if needed, in the absence of the Director or Leads
    • Monitor and delegate work to casual/co-op students of The Centre, when applicable
    • Lead and contribute to special projects, when applicable

The successful candidate will be First Nations, Metis, or Inuit ancestry with lived experience of Indigenous world views, cultures and values and strong ties to First Nations, Metis and/or Inuit communities.

  • University degree in relevant field and/or equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum 1-2 years of experience in a front-facing service role, preferably in a post-secondary environment. A proven ability to provide exceptional front-line service in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to provide support, transfer knowledge, and build relationships with those students who identify as Indigenous
  • An understanding and/or experience with Indigenous student third-party funding sources and processes.
  • Strong understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the implications for education and higher-learning.
  • Excellent interpersonal, problem solving, written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven attention to detail
  • Ability to absorb large amounts of diverse information and details and then clearly and accurately condense and relay this information to multiple audiences
  • Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information with discretion
  • Ability and propensity to be part of a team including support others with workload demands
  • Strong student-service mindset
  • Ability to balance multiple priorities in a busy work environment
  • Ability to problem-solve
  • Experience with the Microsoft suite an asset
  • Experience using Skype for Business an asset
  • Experience using a student information system an asset
  • The Incumbment will be required to work outside of regular hours as the The Centre is open some evenings and occasional weekends

The University of Waterloo is committed to implementing the Calls to Action framed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.

The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion. As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at  or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.

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