By McGill Reporter Staff
Robyn Wiltshire, currently Director of the Office of the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), will move to the Brown Building to serve as Interim Senior Director of Student Services with a mandate to develop a renewed approach to student services, Deputy Provost Ollivier Dyens has announced.
“I am very pleased to announce that Robyn has agreed to serve as Interim Senior Director, with a mandate to consult broadly over the coming year with the McGill community and engage our staff, students, and faculty in organizational change, to build on our strengths and enhance the delivery of services to students at McGill.
“We are approaching a decade since the post of Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) was created. During that time, McGill has made great strides in improving the scope and delivery of services to our students, from the establishment of Service Point, to better supporting student events such as Frosh, and improving offerings in housing and food services or through Ask McGill. It is a good time for us to take stock of where we’ve come from, where we are and where we need to go in the years ahead.”
Wiltshire has been a key member of SLL since its inception, Dyens said, and has helped the Deputy Provosts and the Senior Directors to lead these significant changes at McGill and implement the vision detailed in the 2005 Principal’s Task Force on Student Life and Learning. She was also a key architect in bringing the MCF scholars program to McGill and ensuring its success.
“She has an extensive understanding and knowledge of some of the key issues in student affairs, and is piloting our collaborative mental health and advising project with Queen’s and the University of Toronto,” Dyens said.
“Robyn’s experience and dedication to our academic mission will serve her well as she takes on this new leadership role. Working with our team of professionals to renew a shared vision that best supports students and the Faculties, Robyn will lead this rethinking of student services in a shared, collaborative and inclusive way. Students, staff and faculty will be active participants in this rethinking. Our goal is to give everyone in Student Services all the tools needed to develop the best student-support service system in North America.”
Dyens noted that McGill faces significant challenges in the years ahead in terms of the increasing demands for mental health services, dealing with sexual assault, providing for students with disabilities, encouraging student engagement and so forth.
“Helping students in crisis is one thing we absolutely need to do and do well; making sure we give all of our students the tools to be thriving mentally, socially and physically is fundamental,” he said. “Preventing sexual assault is urgent; making sure students have a healthy and safe sexual life is crucial. Giving students with disability the service they need is vital; making universal design ubiquitous is also important.”
Wiltshire said she is looking forward “to working with a great team of professionals who do amazing work.
“It is in the diversity of thoughts and ideas where we develop innovative creative solutions and build our community,” she said. “I believe that respect, collaboration and appreciating everyone’s contribution will help us achieve our shared objectives in a healthy, cooperative environment, where we are able to best develop and share our knowledge and learning.”
Wiltshire will be supported by Richard Zereik, who has agreed to continue in his previous role of Associate Director, after spending the last few months as Interim Senior Director. “Richard has been of immense help, and a valued member of the SLL Executive Team,” Dyens said. “I am delighted to know he will work closely with Robyn as she moves into the Interim Senior Director’s chair.
“Robyn has an extensive understanding of everything SLL related. She is the ideal person to create synergies,” Dyens said. “I am confident our strong Student Services team will ensure that McGill remains an innovator and leader in the delivery of services to students,” he said. “I hope all SLL units will build on each other’s strengths, to support each other, and develop innovative ways to ensure our students’ academic, social, psychological and physical wellness.”