Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2011/2012
Canadian Excellence

Mission Statement - Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

The purpose of graduate studies is to provide further education or professional training beyond that acquired as an undergraduate student. A major difference between the two levels of education is that graduate education provides students with an opportunity not only to develop and enrich their intellectual skills in an area of special interest, but also to do so within a collegial environment. At the graduate level, there are fewer courses, and the teaching is more personalized and interactive with others who share a deep intrinsic interest in a particular subject matter or profession. Much, if not most, of the learning occurs outside the classroom where students are encouraged to learn and think independently, to identify and solve new problems in their field, and to advance knowledge by becoming involved in research and scholarly inquiry. The extent to which graduate students become involved in the pursuit of knowledge with faculty, with other students and on their own is another major difference between undergraduate and graduate education. In effect, in the ideal world of graduate studies, a mentoring relationship evolves during the pursuit of knowledge to explore and expand our disciplinary and professional frontiers. Graduate student-faculty relationships should be based on mutual trust, honesty, collegiality, open communication, the avoidance of conflict of interest, and the absence of exploitation, harassment and neglect.

At Laurier, research and scholarly inquiry represent the heart of graduate education. These goals are achieved by participation in small graduate seminars, by engaging in research and scholarly pursuits with faculty, and by successfully completing a comprehensive requirement or defence of a cognate essay, research project, dissertation or thesis. Upon completion of a program, graduates are well-prepared to identify, to think critically about, and to contribute to the solving of current problems and issues facing their discipline or profession, as well as those facing society.

Opportunities for Professionalization

The Faculty of Graduate Studies strives to offer graduate students opportunities to develop their professional skills. These opportunities may take the form of support for attendance at a conference to present a poster or paper, support to attend a workshop which may enhance a student's project management skills, offering information sessions on writing scholarship/ fellowships applications and offering, through Educational Development, a teaching assistant workshop for students who have been offered an assistantship contract

The following non-credit course may be taken by students whose academic goals may include either advanced graduate work or a career in teaching. Normally priority will be given to students registered in a doctoral program at Laurier.

Foundations in University Teaching
This course enables graduate students to acquire skills and knowledge essential for effective teaching in a university setting. Topics may include: course design; the generation of assignments; student assessment; establishing a positive learning environment for students with different needs and experiences; creating and utilizing different teaching and learning styles in large and small classes; and developing a teaching portfolio. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate and a notation on their transcript.