FGS Process and Systems Optimization project (PaSO)

What is PaSO?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies' Process and Systems Optimization (PaSO) project is a UCalgary-wide initiative focused on transforming the way processes, systems and communications support the graduate student journey. 

We know there is a lot of room for improvement in our systems and processes. And we are talking to students, staff, and leaders across UCalgary to learn more about the challenges and explore and implement solutions.

Together with all our partners and collaborators, the PaSO team is taking steps that will streamline and automate administrative processes and create a more agile, responsive, and inclusive student experience. We are creating a path to transform how current and future graduate students engage and interact with UCalgary. At the same time we are creating a more effective working environment for graduate education staff, faculty, and leaders so that we can provide more effective support for graduate students.

While PaSO launched back in May 2021, its mandate to simplify and streamline processes and explore ways to work better together aligns well with the UCalgary Strong Foundations Plan that was announced earlier this year.

PaSO is also a foundational element of the Graduate Student Journey Transformation initiative which kicked off in June 2022 to accelerate an integrated approach to improving the graduate student experience across UCalgary. Supported by one-time funding from the Provost’s Office, this initiative sees FGS and teaching faculties partnering with Aligned Outcomes – an innovative Calgary-based software and services firm, to re-imagine the graduate student experience within faculties and programs. Putting this all together will enable a consistent end to end approach to transforming the student journey across UCalgary graduate programs.

Picture of a sidewalk crossing underneath a large red sculpture

PaSO is also a Spanish word that means “step” or “path”.  


Students in office

Questions about PaSO

We need to smooth out the administrative side of the graduate student journey! Many of our UCalgary systems and processes can be improved and modernized to better serve graduate students and staff. Our current state has a lot of manual forms, complex workflows, low levels of automation and other related issues that have a negative impact on the student experience. These things also increase workloads and stress within the graduate student-serving community of staff, leaders, and supervisors. PaSO aims to address these issues with improved systems and processes, making the graduate student experience much better.

Through collaboration among FGS, Programs, Registrar’s Office, IT and graduate students, we will transform the student journey from application to graduation. Objectives along this path include:

  • Review forms and processes and assess potential solutions.
  • Develop and implement streamlined, efficient and resilient processes to support the graduate student community.
  • Leverage technical solutions to automate processes as much as possible.
  • Create an environment of continuous improvement so that the change is sustainable for years to come.
  • We’ve also been learning that we need to make information and guidance more accessible and communicate more effectively. So we’re working on some new ideas for that too.

The PaSO sponsors are:

  • Robin Yates, Dean & Vice Provost, Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Amy Dambrowitz, University Registrar

The Core/Project Team includes:

  • Catherine McLeod, Project Lead
  • Sheri Campbell, Training Lead
  • Dan Ferguson, FGS Team Lead, Graduate Education Community
  • Cindy Kalenga, Graduate Student Lead
  • Catalina Kovacs, FGS Graduate Program Officer Lead
  • Erna Regehr, Change Management Lead
  • Michelle Speta, FGS Manager Enrolment & Program Support
  • Siddesh Tausalkar, PeopleSoft Techno-Functional Analyst
  • Toyin Alausa, Project Manager
  • Aligned Outcomes Team

The Program Working Group includes Managers from the teaching faculties to bring the program perspective to PaSO and contribute to discussion and decisions about priorities and the way forward.

  • Maureen Brost (SSE)
  • Bev Ross (CSM)
  • Greta Heathcote (Arts)
  • Lisa Llewellyn (WSE)
  • Carrie MacKay (Nursing)
  • Tanya Brucker (MEng) 
  • Greta Vardazaryan (Science)
  • Katie Cabaret (HSB)
  • Morgan Haley (HSB)
  • Corey Wilkes (FGS)

Graduate Program Administrators from the teaching faculties are also engaged in process consultation throughout the project.


Current PaSO priorities

Future State Design

  • Admissions/Transcripts Process & System Enhancements
  • Forms & Approvals Automation
  • PeopleSoft Work Centres for Program Staff
  • Thesis Based Exams Process & System Enhancements

 

Implementation

  • Launching new Peoplesoft Functionality:
    • Advising Notes
    • Graduation Clearance
  • Developing Automation:
    • Holds/Removal of Holds
    • Supervisory Renewal