by Cody McInnis
The University of Prince Edward Island is one of the oldest institutions on PEI. Its earliest conception dates back to the 18th century, when then Lieutenant Governor Edward Fanning promoted the view that education was paramount to the survival of the English colony. This belief led Fanning to donate the land on which Prince Of Wales College was built in 1820.
Currently, the UPEI campus is located on 140 acres in PEI’s capital, Charlottetown. UPEI has approximately 1,100 employees who serve a student body of about 4,400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
The University houses six faculties, each with many departments:
- Veterinary Medicine
About the staff
Staff members range in age from 18 to 65 and come from many different cultures. “Our staff diversity is one of the highest on the Island,” says Monique Geurts, Human Resources Officer at UPEI. “The university attracts employees from the Island and from all over the world. Some employees are UPEI students as well.”
Some job titles:
- Administrative Assistant
- Human Resources Officer
- Lab Technician
- Lab Instructor
- Service Worker
“We quite regularly have a lot of employment opportunities, with a number of open competitions,” says Monique. “More specialized faculty positions can be harder to fill, for example Veterinary Surgeons.”
About 80 percent of jobs at UPEI are full-time. Academic positions have a low turnover, mostly through retirement. However, Monique says that there are still many job opportunities at UPEI.
“At present, the majority of job openings are for academic positions. Currently, there are openings for Instructors and Professors at the School of Nursing, the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering, and in Health Sciences, the Veterinary College, and the library.”
She says there is more turnover in student positions. This is because students graduate and move on in their careers.
Most jobs at UPEI are unionized. “Wages and benefits for unionized employees are determined through collective agreements determined by management and the unions.”
Recently, the UPEI Board of Governors signed a new pension agreement with the four unions at UPEI, including the UPEI Faculty Association, IBEW 1928, CUPE 1870, and CUPE 501.
“Since we are living in a bilingual country, bilingualism is a benefit wherever one works. UPEI does not require employees to speak both French and English, but it is considered an asset. The Faculty of Education and the Department of Modern Languages hires for specific jobs based on language proficiency.”
Education and training
Campus wide, the minimum education requirement varies depending on the position. For service workers, the minimum requirement is a GED or a grade 12. Technical staff and Administrative Assistants need a two-year diploma.
“We post all open positions on our website, and the only way to get your foot in the door is to apply online,” says Monique. “Make sure you submit a good resumé and cover letter to get your name in the competition.
“For staff positions, the hiring team includes a hiring manager, selection committee members, and an HR representative. The team screens candidates, conducts the interview, and may recommend some testing.”
New permanent appointments have a probation period which depends on the collective agreement. Training is mainly offered in-house, but this can differ depending on the faculty and department.
Monique says that the keys to successful employment at UPEI are “doing what is expected, being as transparent as you can, and if there are any issues make sure you get in touch with your supervisor. We have an open culture of learning at UPEI.”
UPEI employees who take a course from the university may have their tuition waived. Additional education is considered an asset to help employees grow in their field of work.
When asked about how UPEI retains its workers, Monique says, “I think it is because we offer really good benefits, competitive salaries, unionized jobs, and great opportunities for growth. We also have a performance review system and professional development funds.”
For more information about careers at UPEI, visit www.upei.ca/hr/employment-opportunities.