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53rd Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency-Calgary (Calgary, Alberta)
October 30 to November 1, 2015

Event Highlights

Friday, October 30

3:15 pm Pre-Conference workshops for Deans, Administrators, Students & Postdoctoral Scholars
5:00 pm Opening Remarks by Brenda Brouwer, President of CAGS
5:10 pm Panel with Tri-Council Presidents: Alain Beaudet (CIHR), Ted Hewitt (SSHRC) and Mario Pinto (NSERC)
6:30 pm Welcome Reception & Dinner, co-hosted by the University of Alberta, the University of  Calgary and the University of Lethbridge

2015 National 3MT Award Presentation

Saturday, October 31

7:30 am CAGS/ETS 2015 Award Breakfast
9:00 am JP Gaboury Distinguished Lecture Madame Louise Dandurand, President, ACFAS
10:15 pm Break/Poster Sessions
10:30 pm Plenary – Imagining Canada’s Future: a CAGS\SSHRC Joint Initiative - Panel of Student Participants in recent Round Tables            
12:30 pm CAGS/Proquest-UMI 2015 Awards luncheon
2:30 pm

Plenary - The Future of Graduate Education, PhD Skills and Career Planning –Debra Coroll, Vice-President, HR & Corporate Services, Alliance Pipeline Ltd. (invited) Alexandre Lehmann, Adoc Talent Management , Heather Zwicker, Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Alberta

3:15 pm Break/Poster Sessions
3:45 pm

Concurrent Session – Re-Thinking the Dissertation and Supervising the Graduate Student - Anthony Paré, Professor, Faculty of Education, UBC


Concurrent Session – A Review of Internship Survey ResultsValerie Walker, Director of Policy, MITACS


Concurrent Session – Panel on Measuring Graduate outcomesRepresentative from the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) (invited), Linda Miller, Vice-Provost of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, Western University (invited), Paul Yachnin, Director of IPLAI, McGill University (invited)

5:00 pm


Sunday, November 1

7:30 am Regional Meeting Breakfasts
9:00 am

Plenary Session – Professional Development and the Doctorate, Suzanne Ortega – President, Council of Graduate Schools

10:15 pm Break/Poster Sessions
10:45 am

Concurrent Session – Health and Well Being- Sandra Den Otter, Associate Dean, Queen’s University, Lorraine Davies, Associate Vice-Provost, Western University; Mahadeo A. Sukkai, Chair, NEADS            

Concurrent Session – News from the Tri Councils

1:00 pm Annual General Meeting of Members
2:00 pm

Concurrent Session - Hot Topics for Graduate Administrators


Concurrent Session - Town Hall meeting for Deans & Graduate Students on the Future of Graduate Education

3:15 pm Break/Poster Sessions
3:45 pm

Concurrent Session – Study in Canada: International Experience Canada (EIC) Program & the International Student Program, Clark Goodman, Maria-Cristina Paredes and Angie Larocque (invited) of Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Concurrent Session – Grad Skills: How to we assess success? – Presented by HEQCO

5:00 pm Wine & Cheese Reception

Hotel Information

Hyatt Regency-Calgary
700 Centre Street SE
Calgary, AB T2P 5P6, CA

Phone: +1 403 - 717 - 1234
Fax: +1 403 - 537 - 4487

sheraton A 4-minute walk from the Arts Commons and connected to the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, this polished high-rise hotel is also 5.8 km from shopping at the Chinook Centre.

click here for Reservations and more information



Registration for the 2015 CAGS Conference is now open at ePLY.

Click here to register.


Prior to her appointment as President of CGS, Dr. Ortega was Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the 17-campus University of North Carolina. She was also Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of New Mexico from 2008-2011. She served among the group that CGS most directly represents, graduate deans, while Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at the University of Washington (2005-2008) and also at the University of Missouri-Columbia (2000-2005). An expert in mental health epidemiology, health services, and race and ethnic relations, Dr. Ortega received her PhD in sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Louise Dandurand has devoted her career to the administration of university research. Until December 2011, she was Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies at Concordia University, also in charge of international relations, the first to hold that portfolio. With a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto, she successively held the positions of Director of Policy and Planning at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Secretary General of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), President and CEO of the Quebec Fund for Research on Society and Culture (FQRSC), Vice-President, Research and Planning at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). She is President of ACFAS since December 6, 2012.

Dr. B. Mario Pinto was appointed President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in November 2014. Before joining NSERC, Dr. Pinto held a number of senior research and administrative positions at Simon Fraser University spanning over 30 years, including Professor of Chemistry, Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1999 to 2004, and Vice-President of Research for two terms lasting 10 years. Dr. Pinto received his Bachelor of Science (1975) and PhD in Chemistry (1980) from Queen’s University. He did his postdoctoral work at Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France as well as the National Research Council Canada.

Dr. Ted Hewitt was appointed president of SSHRC in March 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was SSHRC’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer. From 2004 to 2011, Ted was vice-president, research and international relations, at London, Ontario’s Western University, where he had been a professor of sociology since 1989. He was also a public policy scholar at the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. A leading authority on Brazil, Ted has published in monographs, edited works and a range of academic journals. In 2002, Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations named him a commander of the Order of Rio Branco. Dr. Hewitt’s recent research has focused on national and international innovation systems, with emphasis on the roles of universities, industry and government in promoting economic prosperity in the 21st century. He is Canadian co-chair of the Canada-Brazil Joint Committee for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, and a member of the board of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Hewitt holds a PhD in sociology from McMaster University.

Dr. Alain Beaudet, MD, PhD. is the President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) since July 2008. Previously, he was the President and CEO of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ). Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Beaudet was associate director (research) at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI). He was also Professor at McGill University's Neurology-Neurosurgery and Anatomy-Cell Biology departments. He has authored over 175 original articles and 40 monographs and book chapters. Dr. Beaudet has received numerous distinctions and awards, including two honoris causa doctorate degrees. He is a member of the National Order of Quebec and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Beaudet earned a medical degree and a PhD in neuroscience from the Université de Montréal. He completed his postdoctoral training in France and Switzerland. His career as a neuroscientist spanned from Neuroendocrinology to Pain, with a focus of the mechanisms of action of biogenic amines and neuropeptides in the brain.

Created through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005, HEQCO is an agency of the Government of Ontario that brings evidence-based research to the continued improvement of the postsecondary education system in Ontario. As part of its mandate, HEQCO evaluates the postsecondary sector and provides policy recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to enhance the access, quality and accountability of Ontario’s colleges and universities.

Valerie Walker is the Director of Policy at MITACS. Dr. Walker speaks regularly on research and innovation policy with audiences across Canada, and her team is responsible for collecting data and producing research papers on topics including experiential learning, international education, innovation, and productivity. She maintains strategic relationships with key government and policy leaders on innovation policy, as well as on evaluation methods for research and innovation programs. Prior to joining MITACS, she worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada, conducting research and providing policy advice on topics including obesity and mental health. Dr. Walker was recruited to the Government of Canada through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program following the completion of her PhD in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.

Anthony Paré is Professor and Head of the Language and Literacy Education Department in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. Previously, he worked at McGill University, where he served as Chair of the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Director of the University’s Centre for the Study and Teaching of Writing, and Editor of the McGill Journal of Education. His research examines academic and workplace writing, the development of professional literacies, and doctoral education. He is presently studying the writing of the dissertation, with a particular focus on the supervisory dyad and its role in the rhetorical apprenticeship of doctoral students.

Alexandre Lehmann is a cognitive neuroscientist, currently assistant professor at McGill University. He earned his PhD from Pierre & Marie Curie University (France). He served as the executive director of a non-profit association dedicated to cognitive science research and then worked as a post-doctoral fellow during four years in Canada and Mexico. Well aware of the challenges PhDs face when entering the current job market, he has been giving lectures and workshops on this topic. He acts as scientific consultant for Adoc Talent Management, a start-up company specialized in the placement and training of PhDs for non-academic careers.

Heather Zwicker is a Professor of English and Interim Dean of FGSR at the University of Alberta. She has served as Associate Chair - Graduate for the Department of English and Film Studies (2003-2006), Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Arts (2009-2011) and Vice-Dean of Arts (2011-2015). She co-founded BRiC, the Banff Research in Culture residency, in which advanced graduate students, postdocs, and junior professors in the humanities work alongside visual artists and curators. A cultural studies researcher, Dr Zwicker brings postcolonial and feminist theories to bear on problems such as stereotypes, universities, classrooms, and cities. Dr Zwicker is the winner of several teaching awards, including the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2013).

A leader of collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship, Paul Yachnin teaches at McGill University and publishes on the social creativity of the arts, principally on Shakespeare and other writers of early modern Europe. In addition to serving as Director of the Shakespeare and Performance Research Team and President of the Shakespeare Association of America (2009-2010), he founded the Making Publics (MaPs) Project (2005-10), which brought together scholars across the disciplines to rethink the history of early modern Europe by understanding how works of art and intellect created “publics,” new forms of association based on the shared interests, tastes, and desires of individuals. He is currently Director of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI).

Linda received her PhD in Psychology (Measurement) from Western University in 1994 and has been a professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western since 1994. She served as Associate Dean – Research & Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences for 5 years, and has been Vice-Provost of the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies since 2008. She has a strong record of interdisciplinary research and has partnered on research funded by CIHR, SSHRC, and a variety of external agencies and foundations.

Mahadeo Sukhai is a research fellow and team leader with the Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at the University Health Network. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Sukhai completed his Ph.D. in cancer biology from the University of Toronto (2007), and two post-doctoral fellowships, in genomics and drug discovery. Outside of a distinguished research and teaching career, Dr. Sukhai has been an active volunteer with the International Association of Lions Clubs (1993-2003), the Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program (2007-2012), the University of Toronto (2001-2012) and the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS; 2004-present).

For more than 50 years, deans and administrators from Canada’s graduate schools have met in the late autumn to share information on the challenges and trends in graduate education. The CAGS annual conference is an opportunity to explore best practices, discuss hot topics, co-ordinate advocacy and connect with colleagues from across the country and the world.

CAGS invites leading thinkers and innovators from academia, government, and the private sector to pose questions and offer strategies so that graduate education can fulfill its important role in Canadian society. Representatives from graduate student groups are also invited. The format consists of a plenary, breakout sessions and workshops. Social gatherings and plenty of hallway time offer the opportunity for informal connections.

The conference also celebrates excellence. Canada’s Distinguished Dissertation Award, the National Three Minute Thesis Award and the ETS Award for Excellence are an important part of the proceedings.

2014 Conference Highlights

2013 Conference Highlights