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HR Review Implementation


The HR Review began in November 2019 in an effort to improve overall Human Resources (HR) functions across the university. As one of the “Top 100 Universities in the World” and a top Hamilton-Niagara employer, McMaster works to continually improve processes in order to recruit, retain and develop employees and provide a work environment that enables innovation and excellence.

Core Themes

The HR Review resulted in seven recommended objectives which can be grouped into four main themes. These themes are: Payroll, Standardize and Simplify Processes, Structure and Accountability and Recruitment. Check out the four themes below to learn more.

Guiding Principles


The review will include the activities of the central Human Resources Office, offices that perform HR work (e.g., Health Sciences Human Resources, Office of the Provost, Equity and Inclusion Office, etc.), and the HR activities being conducted by departments/units. For more information please see the Terms of Reference below.


McMaster is consistently a top employer in the Hamilton/Niagara region and ranked as a top university in the world due to the talents and successes of our faculty and employees. McMaster wants to continue to attract and retain remarkable employees and to foster an environment of innovation and excellence.


Today’s challenges include increased regulations and legislative oversight, significant technology changes and increased competition for talent. McMaster requires HR policies and procedures that support the University’s strategic direction, champions people, and fosters the development of capabilities the university needs to have continued success.

Terms of Reference

McMaster University is one of the Top 100 universities in the world and is a top Hamilton-Niagara employer.  We have achieved success through the work and achievements of our talented faculty and staff. People are our future.  In this context, McMaster must ensure it is able to recruit, retain and develop its employees and provide a work environment that enables innovation and excellence.

McMaster requires human resource management practices that enable the organization to continually evolve and improve in the context of an external environment which is rapidly changing with increased regulatory and legislative oversight, significant technology advancement, and increased competition for talent.  The Human Resources function should enable and support organizational success by providing programs, policies, and resources to facilitate the University’s strategic direction, by championing people, and by fostering the development of capabilities needed to help the organization succeed.

Review the mission and mandate of the human resources function

Does the human resources mission support the current institutional priorities of the university? Are there opportunities to consider the current priorities, the efficiency of current allocations and the adequacy of resourcing against the priorities?

Review the structure and organization of the human resource function

How are human resource initiatives coordinated at McMaster?  Does the current structure and operation meet the needs of the McMaster community?  How should the human resources function be organized to meet the future and evolving needs of the university community?

Review the alignment of the human resources function across the campus

Are there functions that could or should be governed in another manner? Is there an opportunity to better align and leverage the skills and expertise of the human resources professionals across campus? Is there a clear communication of service delivery responsibilities? Are partnerships encouraged, appropriate and effective?

To understand the legislative and compliance landscape for human resources functions

Is McMaster appropriately resourced in the context of current regulatory and legislative requirements?  Is there an appropriate balance of in-house expertise and external expert support?

Review and evaluate the effectiveness of the services, supports and programs offered by human resources

What is the quality of human resource service delivery to the McMaster community? What is the effectiveness of Mosaic HR service delivery? Is there any duplication of service provision, opportunities for synergies in service provision? What service gaps exist? Are the leadership capabilities of the university supported and improved by Human Resources? What improvements (including process improvements) can be implemented?

Suggest opportunities for future development and enhancement

What should be prioritized moving forward?  What are the best opportunities for enhancement?



The human resources review will include the activities of central Human Resources Services and decentralized offices and departments across the university community, e.g., the Faculty of Health Sciences Human Resources Office, Provost’s Office, department offices, etc. Included in the review are the functions and related administration, policies and systems for: recruitment & staffing; payroll; compensation; benefits and retirement programs; faculty relations; learning and development; employee engagement & culture; performance management; employment equity; employee relations and labour relations.  (Not included in the review are the functions of health, safety & risk management.) These human resource functions will be considered from many user perspectives.

The Executive Board will determine the terms of reference and scope of the review, the selection of reviewers and the gathering of information for the review team.  The Executive Board is responsible for receiving and evaluating the review team’s recommendations. The Executive Board (or their delegates) will meet monthly.

Executive Board Members:

  • Roger Couldrey, Vice-President (Administration)
  • David Farrar, Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
  • Paul O’Bryne, Dean and Vice-President (Health Sciences)
  • Karen Mossman, Acting Vice-President (Research)
  • Mary Williams, Vice-President (University Advancement)
  • Maureen MacDonald, Dean, Faculty of Science
  • Wanda McKenna, Assistant Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer (consultant)
  • Andrea Thyret-Kidd, Office of the Provost (Project Manager)

A review team has been tasked with reviewing and evaluating the HR function and to advise on strengths and opportunities the university should consider to ensure McMaster’s HR needs are met. The expert review team is composed of external consultants, as well as internal faculty and staff members.

Review Team:

  • Marilyn Thompson, Associate Provost, Human Resources, University of Waterloo
  • Jane O’Brien, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, Western University
  • Jim Butler, Director of Faculty Bargaining Services, CAUBO (Cdn. Assoc. of University Business Officers), and former Vice President: Finance and Administration, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Mark Crowther, Chair of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Susan Mitchell, Director of Administration, DeGroote School of Business
  • Debbie Marinoff-Shupe, Manager, Recreation Services, Athletics & Recreation
  • P. Ravi Selvaganapathy, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair, Faculty of Engineering
  • Kevin Sulewski, Chief Operating Officer, Faculty of Health Sciences