About SASS

Vision

To play a leadership role in enriching the learning environment and offering an unparalleled student experience. 

Mission

To work with faculties and university services to develop exemplary student support services that provide for a successful university experience, in keeping with the University’s goals of fostering in students a thirst for knowledge, intellectual independence and social and community engagement. 

Organizational values

Making student development central to our services

We build relationships with students that lead them to reflect on their identity, aspirations, areas of interest and skills. The quality of these interactions is at the root of student growth.

Valuing the wellbeing of students and employees

We ensure the wellbeing of students, faculty and staff by providing opportunities for professional development and personal growth.

Working with the community

We work with students, faculty and staff as well as the greater community to create an environment where academic programs and support services provide a meaningful experience.

Valuing diversity and inclusion

We develop personalized, adapted and differentiated support services, recognizing that everyone learns differently in different contexts. 

Basing our approach on theoretical and applied research

We base our approach on theories that inform best practices and the need to evaluate these practices according to how they improve the quality of the student experience. 

Orientations

Transition and integration

Students come to university having had a variety of personal, family and social experiences, and varying degrees of preparation for academic studies. The interaction between students and their environment is essential to student integration. Well-integrated students develop attitudes, behaviours and skills that promote academic success. Successful integration occurs when students feel a sense of belonging in their field of study and in the university community.

Academic success, student retention and quality of student experience

The student experience is about self-actualization, a concept closely linked to that of student engagement. According to Dr. George Kuh, the creator of the National Survey of Student Engagement, student engagement “represents the time and effort students devote to activities […] that reinforce and enrich learning.” Student engagement also refers to the ways we organize our resources and support services to induce students to participate in activities. Student retention comes then as the result of a system that supports the university community’s commitment to the welfare of its students. When support services are implemented and students are engaged and wish to use them, this is a sign that everyone involved is committed to educational success. 

Research and analysis

By analyzing factors that contribute to student success in an academic setting, we can evaluate the effectiveness of support services and modes of intervention. Research and analysis allow SASS to better understand the prevailing situation at the University of Ottawa in certain courses and programs, or even within specific groups of students, in addition to identifying best practices. 

Employee wellness and professional development

A positive work environment has an impact on individual employees, service excellence, organizational culture and professional development. Recognizing that employees have mental, physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual needs that can also be satisfied through the workplace environment is part of the dynamic process of supporting wellness.

Objectives

Transition and integration

  • Bring SASS communication strategies and activities in line with Strategic Enrollment Management to better promote SASS services to potential, incoming and first-year students.
  • Include activities in the orientation program that are designed to meet the needs of specific groups of students. 

Academic success, student retention and quality of the student experience

  • Increase delivery of differentiated services that meet the needs of specific groups of students.
  • Implement innovative strategies through a variety of platforms that can diversify the way we deliver our services.
  • Increase collaboration with faculties and University services in the design and delivery of student support services.     

Research and Analysis

  • Measure the impact of SASS services on the quality of the student experience, academic success and student retention by taking into account the results of surveys conducted by the University and developing in-house evaluation strategies to continually improve and adapt our services and respond to the increasing needs of students. 
  • Enhance research on the characteristics of various groups of students in order to expand our knowledge and answer specific questions on what kind of services they need, as well as when and how these services should be delivered.

Employee wellness and professional development

  • Increase integration and collaboration among SASS sectors through professional development programs and the creation of joint services and activities that rely on different skills. 
  • Foster employee engagement and wellness by creating more opportunities for SASS employees to meet, share experiences and promote personal wellness.
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