How the UTM Project Management Office will support students
The new Project Management Office at UTM serves to improve efficiency and transparency of projects and initiatives at UTM, while offering students opportunities to learn about project management.
On November 23, 2022, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Principal Alexandra Gillespie announced the launch of the Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO is an administrative unit at UTM that focuses on project collaboration and the efficient allocation of resources for initiatives. The establishment of the PMO provides better opportunities and benefits for the UTM community—such as working out administrative challenges to improve efficiency, exploring the possibilities of offering experiential learning opportunities, and overall consistent services for students.
In an email interview with The Medium, Jennifer Reid-Burrell, the senior project manager at the PMO, talked about new projects underway for the winter 2023 term. “One of our major milestones for the winter term is creating and launching our Project Management community of practice to promote communal knowledge sharing and professional development and to strengthen project management knowledge and skills across campus,” stated Reid-Burrell.
The PMO’s vision is to showcase the purpose of the Strategic Framework—which goes over UTM’s core values and visions—to the UTM community. Focus will be placed on ensuring “administrative projects are properly prioritized, helping to increase efficiency and make the most of our shared resources,” Reid-Burrell explained.
The PMO’s main goal is to provide three crucial levels of service: “Enable, Support, and Deliver.” Each level signifies a policy that would provide equity and equality to projects on campus. “These service levels are reflective of the spectrum of support needs and preferences of our community,” shared Reid-Burrell.
“Enable” ensures transparency about project management (PM) methodology to the UTM community. That includes “publicly sharing our PM methodology, tools, and templates, and directory of additional PM resources and training materials,” explained Reid-Burrell. The PMO has also created the Campus Strategic Projects & Initiatives Inventory, which will include information about projects vital to UTM, improving transparency and the tracking of project progression. The inventory will be updated to include new projects as each academic term begins, starting in May 2023.
Reid-Burrell explained that the second level, “Support,” introduces consulting services to “support department-led projects and offer guidance throughout the project cycle.” Finally, as part of the “Deliver” level of service, the PMO will send a project manager to create a project team to facilitate execution.
Much has happened since the PMO’s establishment in the fall of 2022. “Our office had the opportunity to deliver a lecture for students in Professor Steve Szigeti’s MGD428: Project Management course,” explained Reid-Burrell. “Our office has also had conversations about the possibility of offering internships or work-study positions to students in the longer-term future. We’re in the early stages of planning our Community of Practice, and we will have more to share in the months and years ahead,”
As of now, Reid-Burrell noted that there is “One exciting upcoming project [that] will enhance student advising at UTM.” The project will integrate administration and academics to compose a more inclusive advisory experience for UTM students. This will ensure that students “progress through their programs, graduate on time, and find supports that meet them where they are. The project’s aim is to have a significant and positive impact on student success. We look forward to sharing more when the time comes!” Reid-Burrell concluded.
There is still more work that needs to be done before sharing what the PMO has in store for the UTM community. Reid-Burrell hopes that the new office will provide students with more support and opportunities during their time at UTM.
Staff Writer (Volume 49); Associate News Editor (Volume 48) — Razia Saleh is currently completing a Biology degree at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2020 as a contributor and continued to write for The Medium as an Associate News Editor during Volume 48. She hopes that her experience as a writer with The Medium will help her contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers. She hopes to take her interest in ongoing research within the scientific field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she paints natural landscapes inspired by her travels and enjoy a few live concerts throughout the year. You can connect with her on Linkedin.