University Affairs Final Report 2016-2017

Change at McGill University is most often defined by incremental progress rather than overnight transformation. During the 2016-2017 year, the SSMU University Affairs portfolio has successfully pushed forward numerous initiatives to address critical academic, equity, and support issues facing undergraduate students. The University Affairs Final Report highlights some of these collective achievements in the areas of mental health, sexual violence, student rights, accessibility, and more.

Thank you to the many staff, senators, committee members, councillors, and volunteers who have made this work possible!

Apply to Sit on a McGill Committee: April 6th Council Report

Have you ever wanted to see how McGill works behind the scenes? Are you passionate about campus issues like student services, academic programs, or equity? Do you have a great idea to improve student life? Then apply to sit as a student representative on a university committee! This is your opportunity to get involved on campus and work with the McGill administration and SSMU. Apply by Monday, April 17th at 5:00pm.

This week also marks the final Report of the VP University Affairs to the Legislative Council. However, the current executive term runs until May 31st, so stay tuned for a year-end report! In the meantime, check out some recent UA portfolio highlights:

  • Student working group released open letter regarding issues with campus mental health services
  • McGill’s Provost is holding drop-in hour at Gert’s this Thursday, April 6th from 4-5pm
  • Student senators are submitting April Senate questions on campus Islamophobia & student diversity
  • Library Improvement Fund Committee made final allocations & is reporting to Council
  • Nominations for AVEQ executive elections are open now until Friday, April 7th
  • Open forum on Tuesday, April 11th regarding improved reporting for complaints of sexual violence
  • We are preparing to train the incoming executive team in May!

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

  • Launched 2017-18 university committee recruitment
  • Equity Policy revisions approved
  • Made final Library Improvement Fund allocations
  • Sent monthly UA listservs
  • Submitted charter case on academic accommodations
  • Launched sexual violence policy committees & campus study
  • Formed working group on academic accommodation policies
  • Prepared May executive training schedule
  • Released first generation students research report
  • Create Indigenous course content advocacy plan
  • Developed long-term student staffing plan
  • Organized Student Senator Info Session
  • Hosted Add-Drop “Know Your Student Rights” campaign
  • Released foster care students research report
  • Launched University Affairs staff hiring
  • Policy against Unpaid Internships approved
  • Indigenous Solidarity Policy revisions approved
  • Internal Regulations for Board of Directors approved

Spring Soon? March 23rd Council Report

Spring is (technically) almost here! We hope that the longer daytime hours are helping you make it through that midterm-paper grind. Just a reminder that we’re currently hiring for a University Affairs Secretary General and two Equity Commissioners. Apply by March 31st!

Highlights from this week’s Report of the VP University Affairs to Legislative Council include:

  • SSMU Equity is hosting a Comedy Night with Hari Kondabalu this Monday, March 20th at 6:00pm
  • Our Students from Care Researcher is organizing a Cafe Collab consultation session with the Social Equity & Diversity Education (SEDE) Office this Tuesday, March 21st at 4:00pm
  • McGill Senate will be discussing the university budget, proposed revisions to Policy on Intellectual Property, strategic enrolment management & student aid this week
  • The Library Improvement Fund Committee is reviewing project proposals for final allocation decisions
  • Nominations for AVEQ executive elections open on Monday, April 3rd

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

  • Policy against Unpaid Internships approved
  • Indigenous Solidarity Policy revisions approved
  • Internal Regulations for Board of Directors approved
  • Released first generation students research report
  • Create Indigenous course content advocacy plan
  • Developed long-term student staffing plan
  • Organized Student Senator Info Session
  • Hosted Add-Drop “Know Your Student Rights” campaign
  • Released foster care students research report
  • Launched University Affairs staff hiring

Work for us next year! Job Opportunities & March 9th Council Report

SSMU is hiring for 2017-2018! Work under the University Affairs portfolio or in another area at SSMU. Available positions include University Affairs Secretary General, Equity Commissioner, and much more. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2017. Contact SSMU Human Resources with your questions or visit recruitment drop-in hours between 11am-4pm every Monday and Wednesday in March.

Wondering what University Affairs staff do? Check out this week’s Report of the VP University Affairs to Legislative Council for some ideas. Recent UA highlights include:

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

 

Fostering Post-Secondary Success: Support Programming for Students from Foster Care

SSMU University Affairs has released a new research report, entitled Fostering Post-Secondary Success: Support Programming for Students from Foster Care. This document examines current issues faced by students from the welfare system and their transition to post-secondary education, as well as targeted recruitment, retention, and support strategies in place at other institutions. A survey of student experiences and existing programming indicates that McGill University provides no dedicated support resources for this population, nor do they currently collect relevant demographic data beyond some financial aid applications.

The report makes clear that much more can be done to promote educational access and success for students from foster care entering McGill. Proposed recommendations include developing dedicated financial aid opportunities; conducting targeted outreach and recruitment campaigns; creating specific student mentorship and psychological support programs; and collecting comprehensive data on student admissions and experiences. Any questions regarding the report can be directed to the VP University Affairs.

 

Fleeting February: Policies, Policies & more Policies

Despite being the shortest month, February sure has been hectic! Reading Week is close, so let’s push through this last week until the break. In the meantime, check out my February 23rd Report to the Legislative Council for all of the updates.

Recent UA highlights:

  • McGill Senate approved a motion to formally recognize & celebrate Black History Month every year
  • Proposed Policy Against Ancillary Fee Increases will be presented to the Winter General Assembly
  • Bringing SSMU Policy against Unpaid Internships, revised Equity Policy and revised Indigenous Solidarity Policy to Legislative Council this week for approval
  • Releasing research report on students coming from foster care in the coming days
  • Currently reviewing new draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) from the administration

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

Board of Governors, Unpaid Internships & Student Support: February 9th Council Report

SSMU Executive nominations are now open! Find more information on requirements and the nominations process here. Check out our February 9th Report to the Legislative Council to learn more about the busy upcoming month of advocacy projects.

Recent UA highlights:

  • Submitted motions to February 15th Senate meeting regarding formal recognition of Black History Month & review of Board of Governors practices
  • Circulated joint letter from McGill Communities Council (MCC) regarding concerns with Board of Governors (related to recommendations from SSMU research report)
  • Bringing Policy against Unpaid Internship, revised Equity Policy and revised Indigenous Solidarity Policy to SSMU Legislative Council this week (first readings)
  • Currently determining best means to address ongoing issues with implementation & communication of new “stepped care” model in Student Services
  • Working with Social Equity & Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, Campus Life & Engagement (CL&E), Scholarships & Student Aid Office (SSAO), Enrolment Services & other units to develop more targeted student support programs (first generation students, students from foster care, etc)
  • Open Educational Resources Researcher is presenting at Legislative Council meeting this week!

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

Striving to Place: The First Generation Student Experience at McGill University

SSMU University Affairs has released a new research report, entitled Striving to Place: The First Generation Student Experience at McGill University. This document examines current issues faced by first generation students at McGill as well as targeted recruitment, retention, and support strategies in place at other institutions. A survey of student experiences and existing programming indicates that McGill University provides no dedicated support resources for this population, nor do they currently collect relevant demographic data beyond financial aid applications.

The report makes clear that much more can be done to promote educational access and success for first generation students at McGill. Proposed recommendations include developing dedicated financial aid opportunities; conducting targeted outreach and recruitment; creating specific student mentorship and psychoeducational initiatives; and collecting comprehensive data on student admissions and experiences. Any questions regarding the report can be directed to the VP University Affairs.

Do my Job! Exec Info Session, Shadowing Program, & January 26th Council Report

Think you could be the next VP University Affairs? This is your chance! Executive nominations open on Monday, January 30th, and we’re hosting a SSMU Executive Info Session for you to learn more about the role. In addition, you can now sign up for our “A Day in the Life” shadowing program in order to spend a day (or an afternoon) with any Executive and see what their job really entails. Finally, as always, you can check out my bi-weekly Report to the Legislative Council for the latest updates on UA projects & responsibilities.

Recent UA highlights:

  • Asked Senate question regarding Board of Governors reform at the January 18th meeting
  • Met with Deputy Provost & university committees to advocate for faculty mental health literacy training
  • Meeting with VP Student Life & Student Services to discuss issues with transition to stepped care & student consultation going forward
  • Working with McGill Communities Council (MCC) to address concerns with Board of Governors & advocate for recommendations from SSMU research report
  • Met with Social Equity & Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, Campus Life & Engagement (CL&E), Scholarships & Student Aid Office (SSAO), & Enrolment Services regarding student diversity in enrolment
  • Attended AVEQ Members’ Assembly in Chicoutimi & provided student feedback on government consultations for university sexual violence legislation

 

Winter goals completed to-date (italics = since last report):

  • Organized Student Senator Info Session
  • Hosted Add-Drop “Know Your Student Rights” campaign
  • Completed research report on first generation students at McGill

Winter is Here: Term Goals & January 12th Council Report

Happy New Year and welcome to the Winter term! I hope that you enjoyed your holiday break and are feeling refreshed. This week, we’re running our semesterly “Know Your Rights” campaign to inform students of their academic rights at McGill. You can check out our website and Facebook event to learn more.

In addition, if you’re interested in learning more about the role of a student senator and/or SSMU Executive, we’ll be hosting info sessions on both topics later this month! The Student Senator Info Session will be on Monday, January 23rd from 5:30-6:30pm and will feature a presentation on university governance, the senator role, and perspectives from your 2016-2017 senators.

Start-of-year highlights:

  • Submitted Senate question regarding McGill governance best practices;
  • Launched Winter Add-Drop “Know Your Rights” campaign;
  • Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE) holding a Ratification General Assembly for their new collective agreement on January 9th;
  • Providing feedback on terms of reference for Sexual Violence Policy advisory committee (implementation plan) & campus study panel (review of existing policies e.g. Code of Conduct);
  • Preparing research report on support for students coming from foster care;
  • Library Improvement Fund made first round of allocations in early December;
  • Met with staff from Office of Innovation in December regarding adopting a humanitarian licensing framework for health innovations (as per our Global Access to Medicines Policy);
  • Met with project manager for Promenade Urbaine construction to discuss accessibility issues;
  • Hired Harmful Military Technology Researcher to begin work this term.

Check out our January 12th Council report to learn more about plans for the Winter term.