Category Archives: News

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

Welcoming Lucy Fromowitz as New Vice-Provost, Students

Upper-body portrait shot of Lucy Fromowitz, with Divisional branding.

Rhonda Lenton, Vice-President Academic and Provost extends a welcome to incoming Vice-Provost, Students, Lucy Fromowitz:

I am pleased to inform members of the York University community of the appointment of Ms. Lucy Fromowitz as Vice-Provost, Students; her appointment will take effect July 1, 2017.

We are delighted that Ms. Fromowitz will be returning to York University after an absence of 16 years; some members of the York community may recall that she held several positions here at York from 1978 to 2001, including Director of Alumni Affairs and Director of Admissions. She is also a York alumna, holding a BA in English and an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School.

From 2001 to 2007, she held the position of Vice-President, Student and Community Engagement at Centennial College, where she provided leadership in relation to a broad range of student and community services and contributed to strategic planning for the division and the College. She undertook a restructuring of the division to better meet the needs of a diverse student population.  She also held responsibility for community outreach (including providing opportunities for under-served populations), strategic enrolment planning, student support and success strategy, as well as internationalization strategy.

In her most recent position as Assistant Vice-President, Student Life at the University of Toronto since 2008, Ms. Fromowitz has led the creation of a new division of Student Life, with 14 departments, the development of a unified vision and strategy for the division, and the realignment of responsibilities to support institutional goals. She spearheaded the implementation of university-wide programs to enrich student life, enhance student navigation and remove barriers to full participation; she also established and implemented a cohesive strategy for programs and services to support student learning and development within a learning outcomes framework.

We are very pleased that Ms. Fromowitz will be bringing these outstanding experiences, qualifications and skills to York University as our next Vice-Provost, Students. She will provide key leadership in advancing our institutional priorities around the enhancement of student engagement, experience, and success — including the coordination of advising and student services and supports and the promotion of communications with undergraduate and graduate students — and strategic enrolment planning and recruitment. She will also collaborate with colleagues across the University to promote a safe and healthy campus environment for all community members.

I look forward to welcoming Ms. Fromowitz back to York University and to working closely with her and colleagues in the Division of Students and across the University in the coming years to continue to advance our academic priorities.

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.

Division of Students Ice Cream Social

What better way to celebrate summer and the spirit of collaboration and community than with cool, sweet treats and games outside? That is exactly what happened  yesterday, July 20, on the lawn in front of the Bennett Centre when VP Students Janet Morrison invited all members of the Division to the 2016 Ice Cream Social as a token of thanks for the work done daily to support student success at York University.

We captured a few moments of the afternoon on camera. Find a sample below and the entire set on Flickr. Enjoy!

 

Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01305Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01267Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01266Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01297Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01286Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01272

Excellence, Innovation, Impact: The President’s Report 2015

Cover of President's Report 2015, showing the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence

How does York University set itself apart from other institutions of higher learning? Which developments in particular marked the year 2015 for York? These are the questions President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri explores in his recently released 2015 President’s Report.

Beautifully designed to complement the University’s character — bold, diverse, creative and dynamic — the report showcases key research, teaching and community successes from the past year, highlighting a fresh outlook on ideas in and beyond the classroom. In Dr. Shoukri’s words, “At York, we take pride in doing things differently. This report celebrates the many unique ways that the York community is making a difference, in every imaginable field.”

For more details,  check out the report’s interactive version, or find it as a full-text PDF, alongside additional information, on the 2015 President’s Report website.

 

 

 

 

 

Flip for Change: York Cares

Jeff O'Hagan, Mamdouh Shoukri, Janet Morrison and Christine Silversides in chefs' outfits making pancakes

 

What a way to start the day! This morning I had the amazing opportunity to flip pancakes for a cause. With President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan and Christine Silversides, Director of Legal Services, Office of the Counsel, I kicked off the annual York Cares campaign in support of United Way. This year’s goal: to raise $220,000 for the important and hope-giving services provided by United Way and make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

 

It was an honor to be there, and I encourage each and every member of the York community to step forward to contribute in any way they can. Donations will support local agencies and programs, helping kids realize their potential, families overcome poverty and bolstering the community as a whole. Our strength is in numbers, so let’s pull together as we’ve done in years past and make our goal a reality!

 

Thank you for your support,

 

Janet

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

Division of Students launches refreshed website for transfer students

The refreshed transfer student website, launched by the Division of Students, aims to reduce barriers and focus on access and mobility. The new streamlined design features a simple structure that is responsive and easy to navigate for current and prospective transfer applicants. Visitors to the website can now quickly and easily find important information about transfer requirements, eligibility, the transfer process and final steps of admission.

York is currently working to provide support and focus to its community of 10, 000 transfer students. The goal to redesign the website also aligns with the ONTransfer initiative, which seeks to provide transfer students with enhanced transfer opportunities at participating colleges and universities across Ontario.

For more information about the features of the redesigned transfer student website, visit Yfile.

Transfer Credit_Ontario College Transfer Process

 

Division of Students Recruitment Officer Wins Bryden Alumni Award

This year’s Bryden Alumni Award presentation was held on Thursday, November 20 at the Royal Ontario Museum with more than 300 guests in attendance. The annual event honours the extraordinary achievements and contributions of York alumni. This year, a member of the Division of Students, Sonia Cianfarani (BA ’96), received the Local Hero award that recognizes her knowledge, passion and devotion to York.

Cianfarani considers herself more than a York representative; she is an integral member of the York University community. She shared that she considered herself privileged to be in a position where she can support and inspire current and future students in their journey at York. “I think I am a good representative to help students create the link between applying and then going on their way and leading to them to success,” says Cianfarani.

She began her work as a full-time employee in the Admissions Office in 1996, after previously working in the department as a work-study student. In 2001, she transitioned to the Recruitment team and began the critical role as a student recruitment officer. For the past 16 years, Sonia has built upon her experience as a York grad. “York has been my lifeline. York has been a big part of my life,” she revealed.

Cianfarani provides guidance and encouragement to mature, transfer and high-school students. She also ensures that these students have a successful educational pathway while at York. Sonia remains active in the York community as a member of four college committees and presents at the major recruitment events including Spring Open House and the Ontario Universities Fair. “For me it’s an easy job, I love what I do. I just feel like my job is very meaningful.”

For more news on the 2014 Bryden Awards, check out the story on 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.