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GSS Job Posting: Policy Assistant

GSS Job Posting: Policy Assistant

The GSS is now hiring for a Policy Assistant position. The student would work closely with the Vice-President External and the GSS Executives to develop policy reports and recommendations to be presented to local, provincial and federal government officials as well as external organizations as they relate to GSS advocacy campaigns. The ideal candidate would have a passion for data-driven advocacy to benefit graduate students, excellent communication skills and a willingness to learn about laws and policies governing research and innovation as well as graduate student life and funding.

Download a PDF of the job description


  • Research and develop policy reports and recommendations related to ongoing GSS campaigns and advocacy efforts at the university and government level.
  • Meet with various stakeholders including student societies, NGOs, university administration and governmental organizations.
  • Conduct research across the higher education sector to identify policy issues and best practices to recommend application to the GSS.
  • Assist the VP External with managing advocacy campaigns, engaging stakeholders, and setting up meetings.
  • Provide research support to the GSS executives, including assistance with the preparation of communications materials, speaking notes, and policy papers.
  • Help manage relationships with internal and external stakeholder contacts, including keeping track of collaborative projects with various organizations engaged with the GSS.
  • Other duties as required.


  • The student will receive an orientation introducing them to the GSS from the General Manager covering areas including the general structure and function of the Society as well as housekeeping rules such as security, health and safety guidelines (including those implemented for COVID-19)
  • The Communications and Marketing Director will provide an introduction to the communication channels of the Society with various stakeholders.
  • The VP External will provide an overview of stakeholder organizations and the related current policy and advocacy campaigns being worked on by the Society.
  • The VP Academic & University Affairs will provide an overview of the advocacy campaigns and policy issues within the university.


  • Meeting with federal and provincial legislators, MPs and MLAs to advocate for graduate students.
  • Working closely with GSS and AMS executives as well as student representatives from other post-secondary institutions across British Columbia and Canada to lobby for student interests.
  • Attending general meetings with student alliance organizations such as Alliance of BC Students, ThinkGrad and Canadian Association for Graduate Studies to coordinate advocacy efforts.
  • Opportunities to join the VP External in lobbying trips at the provincial and federal level.


  • Ongoing supervision is provided by the VP External.
  • The student will have bi-weekly check-in meetings with Communications and Marketing Director who will provide guidance and advice for professional development of the student.
  • The student will work collaboratively and closely with the VP External in a team effort to advocate for graduate student interests.
  • At the end of the period and after the completion of the individual projects, there will be a general debrief about the role. This is an opportunity discussion, suggestions for improvements and recognition of success.


For students interested in working in public policy, advocacy, government, NGOs and grassroot organizations, or interested in pursuing a career in law, legislation or public office, this experience will be invaluable. This work provides real-world opportunity and practical experience, touching on all aspects of legislation and public policy – from research and policy development to lobbying and meeting with various stakeholders and public officials.

By the end of the work term, the Policy Assistant will have gained:

  • Experience in research and development of policy reports and recommendations
  • Practical knowledge in data-driven advocacy
  • Experience in communication of policy ideas to university administration and public officials
  • Experience running an advocacy campaign
  • A good understanding of government relations, especially pertaining to the advanced education sector
  • Deeper understanding of higher education policy and challenges surrounding it
  • Skills to communicate succinctly and effectively
  • Confidence in leadership skills by taking the initiative on developing policy ideas
  • Effective time management and prioritization skills by managing submission deadlines, meetings and policy research work
  • The opportunity to develop items for their academic portfolio (e.g. policy reports)


  • A passion for research and data-driven advocacy
  • Strong willingness to lean about laws and policies surrounding graduate student research and academic development
  • Experience in analytical report writing and policy research
  • Knowledge of, or interest in, higher education policy / public policy
  • Excellent team player and self-motivated learner
  • Strong time management and project coordination skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Experience working with Microsoft Office
  • Preference will be given to UBC Graduate students.

Hours of Work

  • 10 hours per week until April 30, 2021 (proposed start date July 15 2020)

Salary / Wage

$21.37 p/h

Hours Per Week



• Subject line should read: Policy Assistant – your full name
• Application deadline: July 6, 2020.

We thank all candidates in advance for their interests in the position. However, only those selected for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls or follow-up emails, please.

About the GSS

The GSS (Graduate Student Society) serves the 10,000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver, helping them have the best experience possible during their studies. We connect graduate students with campus resources, opportunities, and social events. We provide everything from individual support for students, to advocacy at provincial and federal levels on the most important issues graduate students face. The GSS is located at Thea Koerner House, which has been the center of graduate student life on campus since it was opened in 1962.

Ensuring an inclusive and diverse workplace is a key value of the GSS. We welcome people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives, and are proud to promote a supportive work environment.

Become a part of the GSS.

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