The Graduate Academic and International Specialist team at FGS welcomes all graduate students to discuss any matter impacting academic success in a safe and confidential space. The team draws on training and experience in supporting all graduate students, and can also address some of the specific academic concerns of international graduate students.
What the Graduate Academic and International Specialists do
FGS’ graduate specialists advise students based on knowledge of graduate policy and experience in issue resolution.
The team is most knowledgeable in areas such as student-supervisor relationships, personal or academic barriers to progress, annual progress reports, and general academic regulations. The team can also provide information to students regarding their registration and refer students to other helpful resources and supports across campus.
What you can get help with
- Supervisor conflict
- Policies and responsibilities regarding supervision
- Issues impacting graduate studies
- Failed first attempt at candidacy or thesis defense
- Barriers to timely completion
- Procedures for leave of absence or extension requests
- Your rights as a student
- Challenges with meeting your financial obligations
Areas of expertise
This is the most common reason for students seeking advice and guidance. Once the team has an opportunity to hear your concerns and develop a complete academic picture, they can offer ideas and options that range from simple issue resolution strategies or coaching, to more involved conflict resolution processes. The vast majority of students encountering conflict go on to complete their programs of study successfully!
Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. Whether the concern is related to a difficult personal circumstance or a specific academic challenge you are facing within the university, the team at FGS can help you understand the different academic options that may be available to you. The Graduate Academic and International Specialists are the right people to advise on questions regarding leaves of absence, extensions, changing programs, and voluntary withdrawal.
Where to go for additional help
There may be topics that fall outside of the FGS Advisors’ scope of advising. However, they can help students navigate resources and offer referral to experts across the campus who can advise appropriately. Here is a short-list of the most common concerns and who can help:
Teaching or research assistantships and other questions about funding
- Contact your Graduate Program
Courses (selection, advanced/transfer credit, grades, term work) and degree requirements
- Contact your Graduate Program
Health and dental insurance plan
- Contact the Graduate Students' Association
Immigration advice and study permit information
- Contact International Student Services
Language, learning, and writing support
- Contact the Student Success Centre
Preparing an academic appeal
- Contact the Appeals Office
Accessible, equitable and supportive learning environment for students
- Contact Student Accessibility Services https://www.ucalgary.ca/student-services/access
Impartial, independent third-party support on campus
- Contact the Student Ombuds Office https://www.ucalgary.ca/student-services/ombuds
Protected disclosures and research integrity issues
- Contact the Protected Disclosure and Research Integrity Office https://www.ucalgary.ca/pdri
Sexual and gender-based violence support
Wellness and counselling support
- Contact Student Wellness Services
Contact mental health support
Contact emergency after hours support
Unsure if you should talk with FGS or someone else?
Start with your graduate program
Many students benefit from speaking with their graduate program director about challenges they are facing. Your graduate program director is a great resource because they hold discipline- and department-specific knowledge that may provide you with valuable insight or options to help you determine your next steps. Your graduate program (i.e, the director, administrators, or your supervisor) is often the best starting point for asking questions about courses, graduate assistantships, funding, and completing program requirements.
However, specific factors (membership on a supervisory committee or research collaboration with supervisors) may cause you to feel uncomfortable approaching your graduate program director, and the team at FGS encourages you to seek support where you feel most at ease.
Your graduate specialists
Graduate Academic and International Specialists work with students from all backgrounds and programs, and are highly experienced in providing support tailored to each students' needs.
Yan holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Calgary, an MA in English Language and literature and a BA in English Education in China.
With over twenty years’ working experiences as an advisor, faculty member and instructor in both Canada and China, Yan has accumulated rich experience in advising students on complex and non-routine academic issues. Yan has been supporting and advising more than one hundred graduate students per year at FGS.
When she’s not working with students, Yan loves to spend time swimming and reading with her family.
Marisa holds a MA in French Linguistics from the University of British Columbia and a BA in French Language, also from the University of British Columbia. She has over 15 years of experience working in International Education in post-secondary education and holds the designation of Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA), enabling her to advise on immigration matters pertaining to temporary residents in the student category.
When not supporting students, Marisa enjoys many athletic pursuits, the outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and three children.