Tag Archives: Divisional values

Division of Students Highlights of 2018

On behalf of the Division of Students at York University, happy holidays to our community of students, staff and faculty! We wish you all a restful, wonderful winter break and a happy, healthy 2019.

As we finish off the exam period and look forward to the next term, it is a good time to reflect on all the great work that has been accomplished this past year.

The Opening of the Wellness Hub

York University’s Health Education & Promotion team officially opened the Wellness Hub in September, offering drop-in support, resources and referrals to students, staff and faculty on all aspects of wellness, including nutritional, sexual and mental health.

Located in the Ross-Vari Link at S107 Ross Building, the Wellness Hub is staffed by a team of peer health educators and student nurses who are using this experiential education opportunity to bridge their classroom knowledge with practice to complete their community placement requirement.

The Opening of the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education

Earlier this year the Division was proud to announce the opening of the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education (The Centre) at 301 York Lanes. The York community was invited to meet the team during an Open House in October, tour The Centre and learn more about support networks, the Sexual Violence Policy and current initiatives such as training & education at York. The beautiful new office overlooks the Harry W. Arthur Common and provides a calming physical space where survivors and all those affected by sexual violence receive compassionate services with dignity, privacy and respect.

Debbie Hansen, Executive Director, Community Support & Services, explains that “the Sexual Violence Response Office was created as a result of the Policy on Sexual Violence. We support the entire York community. Our biggest focus is creating awareness: to communicate with our community about who we are, what we do and how we support survivors.”

New Vision and New Initiatives from Student Accessibility Services and Student Counselling & Development

In late 2017, Learning Disability Services , Mental Health Disability Services and Physical, Sensory & Medical Disability Services  were collectively renamed “Student Accessibility Services” (SAS) and Personal Counselling Services was renamed  “Student Counselling & Development” (SCD).

York’s decision to focus on these two support pillars emphasized the significant role of SAS in helping to make the campus more accessible for learning. The name change to Student Counselling & Development better reflects our mandate to help York students realize, develop and fulfill their personal potential in order to maximally benefit from their university experience and manage the challenges of university life.

SCD holds free workshops open to all York University students with no registration required. Some run individually, such as Stress Management, and some run in a series of three to four workshops, like Managing Shyness & Social Anxiety. Each workshop takes place in a professional and supportive environment where students receive guidance as they navigate through any personal student development.

#HeartOfALion Rebrand and a New Mascot

In August, hundreds of York University students, staff and faculty made their way to York Lions Stadium for the celebration of “the next era of athletics and recreation at York.”

The event, #HeartOfALion Day, brought the campus community together for the official unveiling of the new Lions logo that features a sleek and fierce-looking lion head in York’s signature red. Also unveiled was the new Lions mascot, Yeo, whose name was picked by students in an online contest. The name pays homage to our first mascot “Yeoey” the Yeoman. The event also featured students modelling the new line of branded clothing.

The new branding and image was more than a year and a half in the making and the York community was consulted throughout the process. One of the key contributing factors to the new logo was the question “What does it mean to be a Lion?” in a pan-University context.

The common attributes of a Lion, they found, were: being open and accepting of everyone in the “pride”; being courageous, persevering and standing up for what you believe in; having the heart of a lion; and being a leader.

Ready, Set, YU!

The Ready, Set, YU! program began in September, 2018 to support the participation and success of new students who, without specialized interventions and support, would not otherwise access or attend postsecondary education.

Ready, Set, YU! employs work/study students as peer mentors who hone their leadership skills by helping other students be successful and give back to the York community. The project is funded under the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development’s Ontario Post-secondary Access and Inclusion Program (OPAIP) funding initiative.

Peer Teams to Support Students with Financial Services, Careers and Learning Skills

In 2018, we launched three peer programs to support students with learning skills (LSS), financial services (SFS) and careers.

SFS peers are student leaders on campus who are trained by Student Financial Services to provide students assistance with Financial Aid inquiries (Scholarships & Bursaries, Student Accounts, and OSAP). Key areas the SFS Peers can help with:

  • OSAP (full time and part-time student loans and repayment)
  • Scholarships, awards and bursaries (how to apply)
  • Student Account (how to read monthly statement)
  • Budgeting and saving on interest
  • Out-of-province financial aid and US loans

Our new Career Peer Educator program at the Career Centre. A team of highly-trained, resourceful and friendly Career Peer Educators were brought together to help develop the skills and mindset to navigate a student’s career journey as well as support career-related inquiries including:

  • Resume & Cover Letters
  • Job Searching & Networking
  • Interview Skills & Preparation
  • LinkedIn: Building a Profile & Job Searching
  • Exploring What You Can do With Your Degree
  • Resources at the Career Centre and on Campus
  • Navigating the Career Centre Website

Learning Skills peer team offer drop-in services help undergraduate and graduate students achieve their academic goals by teaching them how to manage their time, how to study and learn more effectively, as well as keep up with readings and course work to get the most out of their studies.

YU START Reaches 9000+ Students and Opens to Parents

This year York’s New Student Transition Program, YU START was bigger and louder than ever with over 9,000 students participating. This year the program was also open to parents and family with a range of new services to help parents and families of students during their transition to University.

Once again, the Division of Students wishes everyone in the York community a relaxing and safe winter break! Please note that the University will be closed from December 22, 2018 to January 1, 2019. Administrative offices re-open January 2 and classes resume January 3.

Let’s Talk Divisional Values: Collaboration

A sign with the word "Collaboration" laid across a green, lined index card.

Embedded in the Division of Students’ strategic plan are seven values: respect, excellence, innovation, collaboration, accountability, care and inclusion. Individually and collectively, these values — nested deeply within those of York University as a whole — reflect who we are and who we aspire to be. Collaboration is particularly important because it describes how the Division will achieve its priorities.

Collaboration and cooperation reject competition as the best way to secure resources and achieve success. There’s a simple quote I like by the comedienne and actress Amy Poehler: “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” That has certainly been my experience.

In the context of the Division’s work at York, I think about collaboration as a strategy for transcending silos and driving innovation (more on that value later!). Ample examples indicate how collaboration guides the Division of Students’ vision to be Partners in Student Success. One that comes immediately to mind is YU START, our flagship transition program that we profiled on this blog recently. Quite simply, YU START would not be possible without the engagement of key partners including associate deans, College masters, College Council presidents, Orientation chairs and a variety of student leaders. Working collaboratively and cooperatively, these women and men are challenging our amazing colleagues in the Student Success Centre to continually improve their programming for incoming students. All the while, they are supporting and fueling a student experience at York that stands out for its fresh ideas and supportive character.

Another great example is the York Orientation Directors Association (YODA), the group of student leaders who organize and deliver Orientation Week at York each fall. With representation from every College and several Faculties, YODA is accountable for pan-University decisions that have a significant impact on students and York as a whole. They take their responsibilities very seriously, particularly, for example, in the context of organizing large-scale evening events for thousands of students new to the independence of a university environment. They also live the adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We’re going to continue learning from their example, because, further to Amy’s quote, collaboration changes people and processes for the better.

Let’s Talk Divisional Values: Care

Scrabble pieces spelling "Care"

Embedded in the Division of Students’ strategic plan are seven values: respect, excellence, innovation, collaboration, accountability, care and inclusion.  Individually and collectively, these values — nested deeply within those of York University as a whole — reflect who we are and who we aspire to be.

In this context, care is both a noun (serious attention applied to doing something correctly) and a verb (to feel concern; to look after and provide for the needs of). Both uses are central to fulfilling our vision to be “Partners in Student Success.” Demonstrating care — by being thoughtful and considered in what we do and how we do it — is fundamental to engagement and success. In a nutshell, students excel when they believe that people are attending to their needs and are invested in their well-being.

In recent years, campus colleagues have been testing a number of hypotheses about how to support students who are at risk of failing a course or becoming academically ineligible to continue. Faculty leaders in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science and in the Department of Biology, for example, have twinned early alert systems with a suite of academic-recovery interventions. A number of Colleges — including Bethune, Calumet and Stong — have implemented an array of retention initiatives, including peer mentoring and supplemental instruction. These efforts reflect York’s commitment to fostering student success. At the end of the day, however, here is what ongoing assessment has revealed: academic performance is positively impacted by even the smallest expression of interest and concern.

We show that concern by making available to students invaluable services through departments such as Counselling & Disability Services, the Office of Student Community Relations, York’s RED Zone and Registrarial Services, and in partnership with other important on-campus partners (i.e. Learning Commons, Community Safety, dean’s offices). We can and must, however, also demonstrate that interest in our everyday interactions by listening to students, showing empathy, coaching them toward solutions or simply greeting them with a smile.

Caring matters and must continue to guide our work.

Warmly,

Janet