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A World-Class University Committed to Serving Diverse Communities, On- and Off- Campus

Founded in 1821, McGill University is one of Canada’s bestknown institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. An English- speaking university located in the heart of Montréal, the largest city in Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec, diversity is McGill at its core.
As deputy provost of student life and learning, Professor Ollivier Dyens leads a division comprised of student services, teaching/learning services, athletics, recreation, residential life, dining services and enrollment services, to name a few. Dyens is assisted by Jana Luker, executive director, services for students. Student Services is comprised of 150 full-time and 20 part-time staff members, and includes 14 distinct units.
As an academic, Professor Dyens believes in working collectively with his colleagues to gather as much input from staff members as possible, an approach he calls “collective intelligence through horizontal leadership.” Senior staff in the division see themselves as more than supervisors, but also major supports for new and entry-level staff. Dyens explained his role as providing professional development to student affairs staff members and opportunities for advancement, even if that meant “leaving their present unit, but staying within the larger university.”
Several staff members identified the division’s core values: diversity, sustainability, inclusiveness, student-centeredness, integrity, transparency, collaboration and accountability. These values shape policies and practices of the workplace; for instance, student affairs staff are encouraged to engage in community involvement by taking time off, flexible schedules or including them in long-term planning. Luker and Dyens believe it is important that all student affairs staff members feel connected to McGill and the larger Montréal area.
Fostering inclusion and promoting diversity are the “order of the day” at McGill. Staff in the division stress the importance of “just doing it,” believing that extra work and time pay off in the end. Being included as one of this year’s “30+ Promising Places to Work” is one such reward.

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