Tag Archives: leadership

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.

The Division of Students reflections on success

Happy summer to you!

As we see our students crossing the stage during Convocation this week, it is a good time to reflect on all the great work that has been accomplished this past year.

Some key accomplishments from the year include:

  • Held the largest-ever York Orientation Day event.
  • YU START earned two nationally recognized awards for innovation – one from CACUSS and the other from CAUBO.
  • Launched the Student Mental Health strategy as part of the overall Campus Mental Health strategy.
  • Received Canada 150 funding to enhance and deliver our largest ever annual Career Success Symposium for students with disabilities.
  • Debbie Hansen named Executive Director, Community Supports & Services. She and her team are leading the new Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education.
  • Completed the expansion of our Accommodated Test & Exam Centre.
  • Skennenko:wa Gamig (The House of Great Peace, formerly Hart House) formally opened on  June 21. The facility, dedicated for use by Indigenous students, staff and faculty as a gathering space, will provide additional programming space for CASS and serve as a gathering place for the Indigenous community at York.
  • In August 2017, ACMAPS will celebrate its tenth year of dedicated service to mature and part-time students. In that time we’ve helped literally thousands of students on their journey to graduation, including York’s eldest graduate ever at age 89, Alma Kocialek.
  • Long-time York University Lions head athletic therapist Cindy Hughes inducted into the Canadian Athletic Therapy Association (CATA) Hall of Fame.
  • York University Lions wrestling brothers Mohab El-Nahas and Shady El-Nahas each won gold medals in their respective weight classes at the Canadian Open Judo Championships in Calgary.
  • York University Lions quarterback Brett Hunchak will participate this summer in the Edmonton Eskimos training camp as part of the CFL-CIS Development Program.
  • Completion of Manage My Academic Record website – enhancing student wayfinding.
  • Implementation of Electronic Funds Transfer for refunds to student accounts.
  • Implementation of comprehensive new Senate “Forgiveness” policies.
  • System and staff readiness for the transformation of OSAP/Net Tuition.

On July 4, Lucy Fromowitz will be joining York University as our new Vice-Provost Students. You will have seen from the earlier announcements that Lucy comes to us with a wealth of experience and expertise. We are really looking forward to partnering with Lucy to move the Division forward.

Best Regards,

Carol, Sheila & Brendan

York University hosts Supplemental Instruction Retreat Day

York University hosted the fourth Canada Eastern Supplemental Instruction Retreat Day on Feb. 17. Institutions that sent representatives to the retreat were the University of Guelph, home to the Canadian Supplemental Instruction Office; University of Toronto campuses, Scarborough and Mississauga; OCAD University; Mohawk College; and University of Rochester, New York.

The Supplemental Instruction (SI) model is based on peer-facilitated academic support for high-risk courses. The objective is to target these courses and not individual students. Peer-based study-groups are led by trained undergraduate students known as SI Leaders. Developed by the University of Kansas in 1973, SI has now been successfully carried out on a global level and launched in Canada in 1990 across various postsecondary institutions. The retreat was an opportunity to celebrate this initiative and to expand on it.

The event commenced with welcoming remarks from Krista Bianco, Canadian national representative for SI, who provides training for educational institutions. Bianco, who has worked for more than 10 years in the field, maintains that it is an exciting time in Canada for SI as many postsecondary institutions are coming forward to adopt this initiative. “It is a power model,” she said.

Janet Morrison

SI is part of the first-year experience at York University. Janet Morrison, York University’s vice-provost students, said, “SI has been, and will be a priority. It is a solution to fostering student success.” Morrison emphasized the importance of this collaboration as York University partners with SI, which she said attests to its power for both the learner and the SI student leaders. She noted that the SI experience will have long-lasting effects for the peer leaders, which will, in turn, help the students here and beyond. Support systems at York need to reflect institutional demographics, as the University is home to many first-generation university students, noted Morrison.

Mazen Hamadeh

School of Kinesiology and Health Science Professor Mazen Hamadeh spoke about the fundamentals of facilitated learning, which is crucial to the program. He said that Bethune College has integrated the SI model, known as Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), into its programming since 2010. Hamadeh noted the demand for SI has grown. Initially the program started with three SI leaders, which has since increased to 14 SI leaders. He highlighted that PASS conducts regular scheduled peer leader-facilitated study groups in an informal setting. Attendance is voluntary and students can discuss course material, readings, forecast test material, discover effective study skills and compare notes. “Facilitated learning is the key to the program,” said Hamadeh.

Participants in the retreat were told that peer leaders go through a detailed hiring process and are required to be in good academic standing with the institution. Employment procedure consists of a solo interview, panel interview, role playing and ethics training. In recognition for their efforts, peer leaders are provided with a letter of reference and co-curricular record, and are hired into Work/Study positions to foster development of transferable skills.

The SI program at York University continues to evolve, with a new wave of SI leaders working in collaboration with incoming students to develop lifelong skills while enhancing their first-year experience at York.

By Sunera Ali, student ambassador in the Division of Students — Republished from yFile

Join York’s Random Acts of Kindness Project

Random Acts of Kindness Project logoHave you ever thought about getting involved on campus? There’s a whole lot more to York University than just going to classes and I’d like to tell you about one of my most recent discoveries.

Hi everyone! My name is Vanessa Pichelli and I am thrilled by this opportunity to be a guest blogger on the VPS Blog. About me: I am a second year student in the Administrative Studies program, specializing in Marketing. I’m also the Vice President Operations for New College Council and one of the Media & Communication Ambassadors at SCLD. I have a huge passion for getting involved and serving the community.

During the summer, a close friend informed me about a club he was starting at York and that he thought it would be a perfect fit for me. That club was called The Random Acts of Kindness Project, or RAK for short. When I checked it out in September I learned that the club’s goal is to improve the social culture at York and help to inspire greater student involvement. That totally had my name all over it, so I joined right away!

Picture of club founder and president, Yaakov Green
Club founder and president, Yaakov Green, giving water to a fellow student.

Club founder and president, Yaakov Green, along with his team, planned some great initiatives that I was able to partake in this year. For Halloween we surprised York students in their lectures with thousands of Halloween treats. The energy and excitement in the classrooms we visited was electric and really brought a lot of awareness to our club. We also held a “Kindness Campaign” where club members toured the campus looking for small ways to help fellow students such as giving a water bottle to someone who needed it, holding doors for others, and helping fellow students carry their heavy loads of books. Future events include giving out coffee and hot cocoa to students arriving to York in the morning, study packs to those studying in the library before exams, and hand warmers for students waiting in the cold for the bus. These Random Acts of Kindness go a long way to show how a small group of people doing thoughtful, little acts can make a big difference in the community and help to brighten someone’s day.

RAK now boasts 130 members and counting. I am so delighted to have gotten in on the ground floor and shared in so many amazing and heart-warming experiences so far. If you’d like to become a member, please check us out on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to check out our new video on YouTube!

Otherwise, be sure to explore Student Clubs & Organizations at Student Community & Leadership Development. There are more than 400 different student clubs. You’re sure to find something that interests you and that could completely change your university experience.