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2009 Submissions

For a copy of the complete submission please contact Lydia Martone.

Community Relations Patroller

Recent events at Dawson College and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have dispelled the notion that educational institutions are safe havens and as a result, McGill community members have developed a greater sense of anxiety regarding their safety and security.  

While security measures like the installation of card readers and alarm system devices made the Campus more secure at night, there remained a need for an increased security presence during the day when students, faculty, and staff are more present. The Community Relations Patroller position was created to address this specific need. A uniformed security officer now patrols the Campus exclusively to visit reception desks, admissions counters, libraries, and other areas where frontline staff are in continuous contact with the larger McGill community and the general public. The agent’s sole mission is to establish and maintain daily contact with University community members and to provide an open channel of communication for safety and security related questions/concerns.

The impact of this initiative was immediately realized. Whereas McGill community members usually encountered security personnel only in the event of an incident, they now know the Community Relations Patroller by name and based on the positive feedback received, they value his presence. The Patroller is particularly appreciated on “summer Fridays” when skeleton staff is working.

The Community Relations Patroller is an important element of the larger public awareness campaign aimed at making security a daily focus at McGill. This awareness, education, and understanding not only enable students, faculty, and staff to feel more secure, but it is crucial in the unlikely event of an emergency situation.   

The Community Relations Patroller walks all day. You won't see him/her cruising Campus on a bike or behind the wheel of a car. More likely, he/she'll be standing in your doorway with a smile on his/her face, asking how you're doing. Community Relations Patroller Mateo Salazar summed it up well in a McGill Reporter article on December 6, 2007: “When I first started, I’d show up in an office and everyone would say ‘What’s wrong?’ but now when they see me, they realize it’s because something is right.”


E-Thesis

The e-thesis submission project was introduced as an alternative method for students to submit their final corrected copies of their theses. Instead of printing two copies for dissemination through the McGill Libraries/ProQuest/Library and Archives Canada, students login to Minerva (web interface for McGill’s central data system) and upload their e-theses. Their supervisors can either approve or reject the e-theses via Minerva. When approved, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) conduct a final verification of the e-theses. Three times per year (three weeks after Senate approves students for graduation), all GPS approved e-theses are transferred to the McGill Libraries and made instantly available through eScholarship@McGill (the institutional repository) web-site. The McGill Libraries also send the e-theses to ProQuest, which makes them available on their web-site and eventually transfers them to Libraries and Archives Canada.

The project has wide ranging impacts on all three key stakeholders at McGill: students, faculty and University administration. Furthermore, the project benefits both individuals and the University as a whole.  Students are no longer limited to submitting black and white versions of their theses (printed versions must be black and white). As a result, the quality of presentation is significantly enhanced by images, graphs, and tables which now appear in colour.   Since printed copies are not submitted, students realize substantial financial savings. Faculty benefit in that they are no longer obligated to have set meeting times with their students to review the final thesis version before they are submitted to GPS. The University administration benefits in cost savings due to the dramatically reduced amount of labour/human resources required to verify and process e-theses. On a comprehensive level, there are positive impacts for the environment, mobility, and dissemination. Since students no longer have to print two copies, there is a significant paper savings (roughly 300 pieces per masters student and 750 pieces per doctoral student).  For the University, not having printed versions of theses translates into a significantly reduced storage and shipping costs. Due to the high mobility of students, faculty and University staff, e-theses can be processed anywhere and at anytime in the world with high-speed internet access. Finally, all benefit in the students’ research being publicly available much earlier than is the case with print copies.


IT Service Catalogue

McGill University maintained several disparate information technology (IT) web sites containing partial lists of services, thousands of notes, instructions, and reference articles.  Consequently, users were forced to navigate through several departmental web sites, finding reference information on one, instructions for access on another, and support information on yet another. Confused users found themselves entangled in a spider web of incomplete and overlapping pages.    

It became increasingly obvious that one collective IT voice was needed to effectively communicate with end users in their own language using a single interface - a virtual “one-stop shop”.

The IT Frontline Services project team created a “service catalogue” on a unified web page (http://www.mcgill.ca/it) in an effort to consolidate all IT services in a format that is simple to access and navigate. This team worked closely with University IT service providers and a focus group of end users to clarify and refine the services and categories.

The team used Talisma, an off-the-shelf tool, to build the Knowledge Base that houses the service descriptions, and the McGill Web Publishing System to present the catalogue on the unified IT web page.

Instead of a static list of services, users are now presented with new actionable service descriptions. These enable them to instantly determine if they are eligible for a service, request that service, and/or receive support with one click. Links to supporting Knowledge Base (KB) articles provide “how-to” and reference information as well as related training. The end result is a far superior service for the end user that demands significantly less time and effort.   

This catalogue has become the cornerstone for IT operations and showcases IT offerings to the entire McGill community including students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers, and affiliates.  It has positively impacted our Knowledge Base structure, service level agreements, and support ticketing system. It has also fostered collaboration and improved the workflow among all McGill IT departments, and particularly that of IT Frontline Services departments who support the end users.

Additional benefits of the project include increased productivity and reduced costs as discussed further below.


myFuture

The myFuture Career and Internship Services Project is a shared, central, online career services management system for four career and internship offices at McGill. Despite the fact that it is a shared system, it allows each office to maintain its own distinctive brand and work processes.  This system offers a more complete, unified, and simple experience for students, career offices, and employers than previous systems. 

Currently, myFuture has been implemented in the central career office – the Career Planning Service (CaPS) - and three career/internship offices based in the faculties of Engineering, Management, and Law.   The possibility exists for it to be implemented in the future in other faculty career/internship/co-op offices at McGill.

The core of the new system is an “off-the-shelf” software product from Symplicity Corporation (http://www.symplicity.com/sec/spotlight) that the McGill Project Management Office, in coordination with the McGill Career Planning Service, customized to fit into the work processes and systems at McGill.  But, instead of using Symplicity’s server located elsewhere in Canada to host the software, McGill’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) decided to host it on McGill’s server to ensure the highest level of data security. 

The feedback received from students, employers, and the McGill staff from the career centres has been overwhelmingly positive. In general, myFuture has facilitated processes and added several benefits. Specifically, the following main objectives of the project were successfully realized:

  • The establishment of a consistent system interface and experience across different career and internship offices.
  • The maintenance of a shared database of student records, employer records, and job postings for all career offices.
  • Integration with the McGill Username and Password.
  • Integration with the myMcGill single-sign-on mechanism.
  • Integration of student records with the Banner database.

In addition, the collaboration between the different career centres yielded some unexpected benefits including productivity gains generated from the elimination of duplicated efforts and improved communications that have consequently enhanced the service for students.