Reports & Resources
Reports & Other Related Documents
Administrative Response to the Report of the University Ombudsperson: 2000-2001
(October 12, 2001)
The Ombudsperson's 2000-2001 Annual Report continues the trend of recent reports illustrating clear progress on many issues that were of past concern. This is evident from the greatly reduced number of recommendations.
The overall report is thorough and transparent in the way that it presents the caseload and ongoing operations of the office. Among the highlights of these sections of the report are:
- The Ombudsperson's observations on the recommendations of the Committee on the Office of the Ombudsperson. The Administration is assisting the Ombudsperson in realizing these recommendations. Most significantly, in response to the Committee's recommendation, the position of Ombudsperson has been restored to full-time.
- The growing importance of the Ombudsperson's website as a means of communication with the University community, and the growing emphasis on accessibility and awareness of the Office on the Scarborough and Mississauga campuses. The Administration sees these as important points, especially with regard to the suburban campuses as they enter an era of rapid enrolment growth.
RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS
The following administrative responses to specific recommendations from the Ombudsperson are made in accordance with the direction made by Governing Council that the University Administration provide an annual response to the Ombudsperson's Report.
3. (a) Graduate Students' Supervision
Response to Recommendation 1: The Higher Education Data Sharing Graduate Student Survey (HEDS) was administered as a pilot project to 1,400 graduate students in 11 graduate departments during the 2000-2001 academic year. The Dean of SGS reports that the primary analysis of the results, though extremely interesting, was not usable because of the low response rate (13.3%). In an effort to obtain more reliable results, SGS have revised the survey and will be using a different methodology in administering it to graduate programs during the coming academic year. SGS hope to have reliable results available this spring. When these results are available, the Dean of SGS will undertake to distribute them to the appropriate offices, including the Ombudsperson's. In addition, graduate students are to be surveyed as part of the Vice-Provost, Student's annual surveys of the student body, the results of which are reported to the Committee on Academic Policy & Programs.
Response to Recommendation 2: The Provost's office continues to work with Divisions in reviewing and updating Divisional Guidelines for the Assessment of Teaching Effectiveness in Promotion and Tenure Decisions. Graduate student input is one important aspect in the determination of teaching effectiveness. Divisions are expected to have processes in place for eliciting and considering such input.
3. (b) Timeliness: Petitions, Appeals and Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters
Response to Recommendation 3: Timeliness continues to be an issue of concern. As the Ombudsperson notes, the appointment of the new Judicial Affairs Officer should serve to decrease delays at the Tribunal level. Workshops for staff at the Departmental and Divisional levels are being planned on the administration of the Codes and the academic appeals process. Procedural guidelines will be considered in order to help ensure consistent processes across the Divisions. As noted in last year's administrative response, circumstances of individual cases vary considerably, and thus uniform timeliness guidelines are not easily developed. The Provost's Office will work with the Judicial Affairs Officer, Discipline Counsel and the Divisions to assess how such guidelines might be structured.
The Administration would like to thank the Ombudsperson, Mary Ward, on her very high standard of work and her concern for bettering our institutional standards to the benefit of all members of our community.
Back to the 2000-2001 Report.