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COU Secretariat

The central office that supports our work and the work of our university members

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The Council, standing committees and affiliates are supported by a full-time secretariat of 40 people, who support them through research, policy development and advocacy.

Office of the President, President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson, identifies priorities, manages policy and advocacy efforts, engages with government and other stakeholders, and strengthens the service to all members.

Secretary to Council supports the ongoing business of Council by providing timely information, policy advice and service to the Executive Committee, Executive Heads, Council, several standing committees and affiliates, as well as to the Secretariat.

Corporate Services strengthens and supervises human resources, manages informational technology and oversees the financial administration of the secretariat. The department also supports the work of the universities' senior administrative and financial officers.

Communications and Public Affairs builds awareness about the strategic importance of our university sector as well as the challenges it faces, and engages with a wide range of stakeholders including government, media and student organizations.

Policy and Analysis identifies research priorities and provides analysis to support ongoing advocacy and communications. The Office of Health Sciences, within Policy and Analysis, provides advocacy and policy support to universities that offer health sciences programs.

Strategic Initiatives advances the research agenda in Ontario with both the provincial and federal governments. The department also leads special policy projects, such as Aboriginal education, mental health and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Quality Assurance Secretariat supports the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance and its committees in the approval process of new undergraduate and graduate programs, conducts the quality assurance (QA) audits of member universities and provides QA advice to universities and other stakeholders.

Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), a division of COU, processes the applications for the province’s undergraduate programs; for medical, law, teacher education and rehabilitation sciences programs; and for selected graduate programs.