In a town hall held on Oct.2, Jeff Casello, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies, made known that graduate studies will be of the utmost importance moving forward.

The first matter addressed was  the university’s issue of global brand awareness.

In order to strengthen the brand, university administration will gather data and support faculty marketing plans in the hopes of boosting reputation at home in Waterloo and around the world.

Casello also praised the work of cooperative education programs and expressed his belief that lack of marketing for co-op at the graduate level has been “a mistake.”

Moving beyond public perception, Casello also acknowledged that raising quality of life will be an important component of the growing graduate studies program.

In particular, the VP of graduate studies elaborated on elements such as healthy relationships between students and supervisors, as well as the need for a new support program, expected to come into effect as of January.

The new program will work to allow the university to provide greater financial support to students who must go inactive for a term due to health issues.

Among the updates delivered to the townhall, Casello noted as well the change in regulations for PhD exams.

Students will now have to demonstrate the ability to participate in scholarly discourse, aided by communication courses which are to be made available specifically to PhD students.

In a surprise moment of drama in the otherwise slow townhall, one audience member questioned the incredible expense of tuition, imploring how students who struggle to feed and shelter themselves are expected to “get along.”

Casello attempted an official answer, which was then subject to further probing by the inquisitive audience member.

The VP elaborated that if there is a way to improve quality of life for graduate students, administration is willing to look at manners in which to address the issue alongside the student body.