Academic Advisor (Indigenous Students)

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Reporting to the Associate Director, Advising, Appeals and Academic Consideration, the Academic Advisor (Indigenous Students) provides academic advising, support and guidance to students in the Faculty of Arts and Science with a particular emphasis on Indigenous students. The Academic Advisor (Indigenous Students) maintains a strong and vital partnership with the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre and through the development of relationships with a variety of campus services (Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, Student Wellness, Student Academic Success) refers students to university resources as needed. As a member of the Academic Advising team, the incumbent also participates in the delivery of academic advising to all students within the Faculty of Arts and Science. 


KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: 
Academic Advising (Indigenous Students) 
• Analyze student situation and match specified Indigenous students to tailored intervention activities including; meeting with students to clarify needs, challenges, student motivation/circumstances, providing resources towards plan for success 
• Through assessment and intervention, provides one-on-one assistance when academic difficulties and issues related to academic matters or adjustment to university arise, and to advocate on student's behalf where appropriate 
• Meets with Indigenous students requiring assistance with program or plan-related concerns (credits, degree plan requirements, program transfers, withdrawals) 
• Gathers and makes available to students information on bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, encourages and assists student to complete bursary and scholarship applications 
• Assists with registration, course selection, time tables, orientation, and finding other community services required, working with other departments and colleagues where appropriate 

Academic Consideration 
• Assist with the support of the protocol to accommodate student requests for short-term academic consideration in the Faculty of Arts and Science, in accordance with the University policies and procedures related to Academic Consideration for Students in Extenuating Circumstances. 

Academic Advising 
• Advises undergraduate students on academic program planning, course selection, degree requirements, Faculty regulations, policies and procedures, and often personal circumstances that impact on the students’ ability to achieve their academic objectives; refers students to appropriate University units for assistance (Student Wellness Services, Career Services, Accessibility Services, Learning Commons, individual departments, etc.). 
• Provides academic advice to prospective first-year Arts and Science students and their parents during the application period, in preparation for entrance to university and throughout the academic year. This may involve attending annual recruitment events such as the Ontario Universities’ Fair, Fall Preview, March Break Open House and the SOAR program. 
• Explains academic regulations and procedures related to Letters of Permission, program/plan selection and change, academic progression, return to studies, academic appeals, exams and grades, requirements for graduation and other academic matters. 
• Provides academic support and guidance to Arts & Science students facing difficult personal and academic situations. 
• Provides advice to upper-year transfer students, Dual and Second Degree Program students regarding appropriate course registration and eligibility to graduate. 
• Recommends policies to the Associate Director to enhance and improve academic advising services. 
• Acts as an advocate or intermediary to address problems between individual students and instructors or University administration. 
• Ensures that student problems and complaints regarding courses, services, procedures, University and Faculty regulations are investigated and brought to a fair and equitable solution. 
• Acts on behalf of non-traditional students to bring related issues to University administrators. 
• Promotes and provides information on academic options such as certificates, internships, exchanges and other opportunities. 

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: 
• A University degree in a related field with training and experience in interviewing and advising, combined with two to three years of practical experience is required. 
• Must have Indigenous ancestry and extensive Indigenous community development or partnership building experience. 
• An extensive understanding of the various student services available at the University. 
• Thorough knowledge of Faculty academic regulations, degree programs, degree requirements and an understanding of the policies and procedures for transfer credits and letters of permission. 
• Understanding of the issues and concerns facing undergraduate students and an appreciation for the value of a liberal arts and science education. 
• Several years (5+) of relevant experience working in a fast-paced office environment, preferably in an academic or post-secondary institutional setting. 
• Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience. 

SPECIAL SKILLS: 
• Excellent interpersonal and communications skills (both verbal and written) to explain regulations and complex procedures to students and Faculty Office staff, to answer concerns accurately and with empathy and to deal with a wide variety of individuals in a professional manner. 
• Excellent understanding and comfort level working with Indigenous students, communities, and organizations 
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team-based, client-focused environment. 
• Superior organization and time-management skills, ability to effectively deal with exceptions or issues that require immediate attention. 
• Excellent judgment to provide clear and accurate information with a high degree of diplomacy, discretion and confidentiality. 
• Ability to anticipate, analyze and solve problems and recommend solutions. 
• Strict attention to detail and accuracy with an appreciation for the implications of errors. Ability to self-monitor for accuracy in work. 
• Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines at peak work periods. 
• Proficiency with word-processing, spreadsheet and database applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook) and aptitude for computer-based information systems and internet-based tools; ; familiarity with PeopleSoft is an asset. 
• Ability to master new technological developments and computer programs as they are implemented. 
• Ability to listen, observe, evaluate and respond in a helpful and appropriate manner while being non-judgmental and maintaining strict confidentiality. 
• Ability to deal considerately with anxious and upset students and/or parents, and to calmly de-escalate emotionally charged situations. 
• Ability to analyze and interpret queries and reports to identify discrepancies with data and recommend solutions. 
• Knowledge of Native Band structures and processes 
• Ability to research and identify trends, to provide advice on Indigenous topics and issues 
• Promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

DECISION MAKING: 
• Diagnoses student problems, determining the urgency of student needs, and judging when to refer a student to appropriate university support services for crisis or personal counselling, health concerns, career questions, departmental advice or financial assistance. 
• Judges which inquiries to refer to the Associate Director, which to refer to other staff and which to handle to completion. 
• Interprets Faculty regulations, policies and procedures, to determine students’ eligibility for progression, letters of permission or degree qualifications, and to determine criteria for student appeals. 
• Makes judgments about who should receive confidential information (e.g. parents, instructors, other students). 
• Assesses degree eligibility, including checking for total units, Plan units, transfer credits, exclusions and outstanding letters of permission or other grades. 
• Determines remaining requirements for individual degree programs. 
• Determines the best course of action for students with exceptional circumstances and special requests. 
• Interprets regulations to determine a student’s eligibility to study at another university. 
• Determines the appropriate Department for course equivalency assessments and the relevant information to provide to facilitate the assessment.