Tag Archives: York

“All Together Now” — York hosts the 2017 Ontario Academic Advising Professionals (OAAP) Conference

Today marks the first day of the 2017 Ontario Academic Advising Professionals (OAAP) Conference at York University’s Keele Campus! Hosted over the next day and a half – October 26 to October 27 – the conference welcomes delegates from colleges and universities across Ontario to discuss developments in academic advising. Notable keynote speaker and York alumnus, Tim Cork, will jumpstart the discussion with an inspiring welcome, followed by 27 workshop sessions developed and led by advising and student services practitioners from across the province.

The conference theme “All Together Now” represents the OAAP’s focus on collaborative, inter-institutional learning and the development of integrated and holistic advising practices that will benefit students. Conference attendees will learn about developments in academic advising that will enhance the student experience, including innovations in mental health and wellness, integrating theory into advising practice, models of advising service delivery, communities of practice and advising techniques and approaches.

Image by York U
York academic advisors prepare for the 2017 OAAP Conference.

The 2017 OAAP Conference was conceptualized and planned by York’s very own academic advising community. Over the past few years, York’s advisors have been coming together as a community to discuss issues, leading practice and to share in advising professional development. Some notable outcomes of working together have been the establishment of a University-wide advising professional development competency framework, the launch of a series of professional development opportunities tailored to advisor needs and an annual internal advising conference.

Academic advisors: We warmly welcome you to York University and hope you are ready to delve into insightful presentations and engage in discussions around how together we can strengthen advising practice in Ontario!

image by york u
A York academic advisor helps plan the 2017 OAAP conference.

The OAAP is dedicated to positively impacting the educational experience of postsecondary students in Ontario and provides academic advisors with professional development opportunities to learn about new strategies to improve and enrich the student experience.

York Launches Strategy to Advance Campus Mental Health

York's Campus Mental Health Strategy
York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy

Do you know someone who has struggled with their mental health? Perhaps a family member, close friend, colleague or even yourself? Given that 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime, chances are the dialogue around mental health taking place at York, in Canada and across the world directly impacts you or someone you know.

As this conversation grows, the impetus for change falls to institutions such as York to lead the charge to raise awareness around mental health and ensure support is readily available and accessible to all of our community members – students, staff and faculty.

The University has recognized this need and has responded by developing York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy that seeks to address the needs of our campus community. The strategy officially launched this past October 18 at Founders College Assembly Hall. More than a hundred people attended.

National College Health Assessment Findings
National College Health Assessment survey data

Among others, key stakeholder Vice-President Academic & Provost Rhonda Lenton and Mental Health Steering Committee Co-Chairs Lesley Beagrie, Suzanne Killick and Stephanie Francis spoke to the importance of York paving the way for other institutions to prioritize and support the advancement of mentally healthy campuses.

The strategy highlights mental health priorities for three key campus groups: students, staff and faculty, as identified during the community consultations spearheaded by York’s Mental Health Steering Committee. The plan will continue to reflect York’s commitment to health and wellness promotion; facilitation of care and support; and collaboration and discussion. New principles developed as a result of the consultations include:

  • deliver a long-term approach for the management of mental health challenges;
  • outline initiatives to help achieve improved mental health outcomes for members of the University community;
  • identify support aimed at helping individuals becoming more involved in managing their own mental health;
  • advocate for accessible services to be made available to the community, both on and off campus; and
  • focus on partnership with the University community and working together to achieve a mentally healthy campus.

The plan will also focus on four key priorities: leadership; planning and promotion; campus engagement; and service delivery.

Stephanie Francis, Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead
Stephanie Francis, Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead

Stephanie Francis, Coordinator, Health Education & Promotion, Student Success Centre, and the Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead, is encouraged by the gain made so far.

“We have already witnessed signs of progress towards advancing a mentally healthy campus within the Division of Students, and will continue to provide support and resources for students to meet strategic goals. This year, we developed and provided Mental Health training to 1000 Orientation-Week leaders; welcomed more than 600 Grade 12 students from the York Region District School Board to campus for a full day of games and lectures dedicated to educating young people about mental health; and helped conduct more than 50 community consultation sessions with students, faculty and staff to help inform the Strategy.”

Mental health extends beyond our borders here at York. It is prevalent at campuses across the country and the globe. Founder and student ambassadors from Jack.org echoed this sentiment, sharing their personal struggles and encounters with mental health issues inside and outside school communities. Led by Eric Windeler, and created in memory of his late son Jack, Jack.org is Canada’s only national network of young leaders advocating for youth mental health and aims to put an end to mental health stigma.

Jack.org
Jack.org is Canada’s only national network of young leaders advocating for youth mental health.

The investment of community members in York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy was made clear by the attendance, engagement and concerns brought forth during the question and answer period of the launch. Questions posed ranged from how York plans to simplify access to counselling services for students and increase availability of counsellors. Staff and faculty raised the need for clear resources to help them address and respond to student mental health concerns, as well as support when dealing with personal and professional issues.

While York does already offer a number of resources to aid its community members – accessible through the Mental Health & Wellness at York website – the University will also soon be adding specific, actionable recommendations that address day-to-day mental health concerns that arise on campus. Additional short-term goals include: further development of existing supports, identification of resource gaps and a continuation of community roundtable discussions (similar to past consultations) to support an open campus dialogue.

York students, staff and faculty members in attendance
York students, staff and faculty members in attendance

By re-evaluating progress every three years, the University hopes to ensure a progressive movement toward creating and maintaining a mentally healthy campus that empowers our community to thrive.

For more information about York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy and community updates, please visit: yorku.ca/mentalhealth.