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Department Profile: Small but mighty - Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs

The department of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is small but mighty. Each member of this close-knit team works together toward a common goal: ensuring that graduate students and postdoctoral scholars receive the best training possible while enhancing their learning experience through social events and providing assistance when they are in need.

“We work really well with each other,” explained Janelle Cobban, manager of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. “We are a great team – we work really hard, but have fun while doing it.”

The team is made up of four members: Dr. Doug Jones, vice dean, Basic Medical Sciences; Dr. Andy Watson, associate dean; Janelle Cobban, manager and Eric Simard, events and recruitment coordinator. The team supports 17 graduate programs – 12 thesis-based graduate programs and five professional programs.

Aside from supporting these programs, the department is also responsible for assisting with the organization of London Health Research Day (LHRD) – the largest research day of its kind in Ontario. Each year, more than 600 people attend this event. It gives students, faculty, staff and the healthcare community a chance to socialize and present their work with poster and platform presentations.

Cobban explains the excitement her team felt after successfully completing the first LHRD event. “It was a huge undertaking – monumental, actually.  We accomplished an incredible training day for students, and had a fabulous speaker. It was amazing.”

The team also organizes and attends graduate recruitment fairs, both on and off of campus. At Schulich Medicine & Dentistry they run 10 program specific events which help raise awareness about the graduate and postdoctoral studies programs offered at the School. Off campus, the team attends recruitment fairs in Toronto, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

In addition, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is also responsible for administering all of the faculty-wide scholarships including Dean's Stipends and DSIG top up grants, as well as the faculty donor awards. They work closely with Graduate Chairs, Managers, Administration and Finance, Graduate Program Administrators, and Graduate Student Reps.

“We love working here at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry,” said Cobban. “We have such a variety of roles that we do. We are fortunate to work with great people.”

But what connects this team on a more personal level their casual nature, and warm and inviting attitudes. “You know if you come see us, you will laugh at least once, especially if Andy is around. And that we care – we really care about the students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty and staff here,” said Cobban.