External reviewers look at residences

The addition of four new buildings in College Quarter and a leadership transition make this an opportune time for Consumer Services to conduct an extensive review of the University of Saskatchewan’s residence operations.

Martin Gonzalez De Souza, acting director of Consumer Services, said an external review team headed by Glen Weppler, the university housing officer at the University of Waterloo, will visit campus in early March. The role of the reviewers is to examine all aspects of the residence operation, he explained, and to provide recommendations on best practice.

"This is a great opportunity for us to make sure we're going in the right direction … (and) we're hoping the external review will really guide us in terms of making sure we have the right structures in place."

The review team has been asked to provide Consumer Services officials with assessments of various aspects of residences, said De Souza. These include the role and mission, occupancy management, effectiveness of student life programming, organizational structure, financial management and health, and life cycle of the residences in terms of whether "we're putting enough money away for future renewal needs."

During their visit, the reviewers will be conducting interviews with students and residence staff, said De Souza, and will meet with partner units like Facilities Management Division, Corporate Administration and Campus Safety. Because residence operations are inextricably linked to recruitment and retention of students, Consumer Services is consulting and working closely with the Student and Enrolment Services Division "to ensure we're aligned strategically," he said.

A written report with recommendations is expected by the end of March. De Souza added that anyone interested in receiving more information about the residence review or sharing suggestions can contact Susan Bens at susan.bens@ usask.ca.

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