Staff News and Updates We are excited to have Manaal Hussain join the AA&CC as the Academic Success Strategist for a one year term position as of last October 2016. Manaal comes to us with a breadth of experience at UTSC including her roles in the Department of Arts, Culture & Media, Historical & Cultural Studies and also AA&CC! She has also served as a Teaching Assistant in Calculus along with instructing in the Math & Stats Learning Centre and has been lauded for her work. Manaal holds a Master of Education in Higher Education.
We bid farewell to Mariam Aslam temporarily for one year as she enters the new role of Student Success Research Analyst at the Office of the Registrar.
Excitement in the Academic & Learning Strategist team continues as we welcome Esther Chung back into her Academic & Learning Strategist role as of February. She will change hats from the Career Counsellor role which she was in for the last year.
On the Career Development team, we welcome Byung Oh who is joining us as a Career Strategist. Byung is passionate about empowering young professionals through career education and social networking. Byung holds a Master of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies and a Certificate of teacher/Trainer of Adults from Humber College.
Upcoming Professional Development Relevant to Advising
Winter Fairs The AA&CC organizes many fairs throughout the school year to bring together career and academic professionals to assist students in gaining knowledge about their future options. Depending on the topic of the fair, we bring together professionals from industry or professors and professional staff from academic departments along with senior students to come together and explore a plethora of ideas and topics. Here is a list of our fairs for winter 2017:
International Opportunities Fair – Wed., February 1st, 11am - 2 pm
Entrepreneur Expo – Fri., February 10th, 1 - 4 pm
Choosing Your Program Fair – Wed., March 8th, 12 noon - 2 pm
Please refer students to these great opportunities!
Student Testimonial Initiative There is new initiative taking place at the Academic Advising & Career Center. We are recruiting students to represent their respective programs through a Student Testimonial. This written piece will be featured on the AA&CC website and launched as part of the 2017 Choosing Your Program. Students have told us repeatedly that they “want to hear the experiences and perspectives of other students” to guide them when choosing their program(s).
If you know any students that you think might be a good choice for writing a testimonial, please feel free to refer them to us. This is an excellent opportunity for students to help undecided student through providing program details, personal tips and general thoughts on how their journey at UTSC has been so far within their program of study.
The submission will be done through a google form. Providing a testimonial will allow the students name to be entered into a draw for a Bookstore gift certificate.
For more information on this, or to make a student referral, please contact Elaine Beaton.
Important information regarding Choosing Your Program Month for 2017
At the AA&CC, we are busy planning for “Choosing your Program” events that will take place in March 2017. We are responding to both your feedback from last year and student feedback gathered from a survey of all students conducted last June. As a result, we are revamping our choosing programming which we hope will be much more streamlined and accessible. We hope that this will also save you valuable time while offering students what they say they truly value.
We learned from the survey that in many cases students have narrowed down their program options and have done some preliminary research, such as reviewing the calendar descriptions; however, they are looking for a little more information and support in their decision-making. Students value informal 1-on-1 consultation with senior students, professors and staff. This is valued even if the interaction is brief. Students perceive these interactions as helping them to better understand their programs and possible career options for their personal contexts.
As a result, we have attempted to streamline our programming as follows:
We are in the process of creating an on-line module that will be available 24/7 on the AA&CC website to demonstrate in clear step-by step process of how to choose a program. Those steps include: program selection regulations and time frames, how to request a program on ACORN, self-assessment, researching of programs options, career option information, decision making steps and evaluation of choices.
We are developing a web page for students to more easily research programs of interest. It will bring together the student testimonials along with links to the Career Options by Programs Tip Sheets (that academic departments provided feedback on last year) and direct links to the program descriptions/requirements in the calendar.
We will organize a Choosing Your Programs Fair in the Meeting Place on Wednesday,March 8th 2017 from 12 noon to 2:00pm. This will be a bigger event than previously offered with a tightly focused marketing campaign. Our goal is to have all departments represented so that students will be able to approach professors, students and or professional staff on a 1-on-1 basis during this time.
We look for your continued support on these initiatives and we will be in touch soon!
January is "Bounce Back" month! If you see students who are disappointed with their grades from the last term and really motivated to make changes, please refer them to our programming on bouncing back into strong academics.
We have a series of workshops that are available and advertised on: cln.utoronto.ca , Events & Workshops, Scarborough Calendar.
Bounce back session #1 - Learning & Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI)
Bounce back session #2 - Time Management
Bounce back session #3 - Smart Reading Strategies
Bounce back session #4 - Effective Note-taking Strategies
Bounce back session #5 - Midterm Preparation
Additional Session - AIM to Meet University Expectations, Academic Integrity Matters
Study Success Sessions Please refer students to our Study Skills Success Sessions. In these informal sessions students will work with a Study Skills Peer Coach to develop better study strategies such as time management, memory and concentration, or smart reading or note-taking methods. Location: AC254 (located in the Library) Dates & Time: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 pm – 2 pm (drop-in)
Lean Process Improvement in the AA&CC In early November 2016, the AA&CC conducted a week-long Lean Process Improvement event to streamline and simplify our appointment booking and triage system. The event was facilitated by Laura Boyko, Director of the Health & Wellness Centre and Interim Director of Athletics & Recreation. A “Lean Team” composed of 6 AA&CC staff members, 2 external staff members and 2 students participated in the event.
There were numerous reasons why we wanted to improve the appointment booking and triage process: 1) to build capacity to see more students without needing additional staffing/resources; 2) to reduce wait times for students and 3) to make our system more efficient for both students and staff.
Derived from the manufacturing industry, “Lean” is a system used to eliminate inefficiencies and increase value for the client (in our case, our students.) We applied Lean process tools to deeply examine our student intake and booking process, identifying areas that brought value to students and those that didn’t. By applying various Lean tools, we were able to reduce the number of non-value-added activities in our process as well as identify other areas that required improvement.
As a result of this process, we expanded our hours of drop-in appointment availability for students and instituted a new kiosk system for more efficient student check-in and monitoring by staff. It’s still early in our implementation, but we plan to collect and analyze data with regards to capacity and wait times to assess our progress. If you have questions about our Lean experience, please email Jen Tigno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UTSC Academic Early Alert is live! We want to remind you that the UTSC Academic Alert Referral Form, which has been created to provide faculty, instructors, TAs and lab coordinators with assistance for supporting current students who may be experiencing academic difficulty, is available. With the range of class sizes on campus, it can be challenging to identify the specific needs of students; nevertheless, connecting students with campus supports at any point will help improve their chances of being successful. The Academic Alert Referral Form is confidential and once submitted, a representative from the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) will contact you within 1-2 business days to discuss next steps.
This form is not for students who are in crisis. During hours of operation, please refer a student in crisis to Health & Wellness Centre (SL270) or call 416-287-7065. After office hours, please call the UTSC’s Community Police (SW304) at 416-287-7333.
Focus on Center for Critical Development Studies, Human Geography & Political Science Departments
Conversation with Marishka Pereira, Program Advisor: (Pictured: Marishka Pereira, Program Advisor)
AA&CC:Who are you as a professional?
As a professional, my focus is on providing the best possible service and opportunity for a student to have a positive academic experience here at UTSC. This campus was my home for 4 years as an undergraduate student and I had a wonderful experience in working with and receiving support from my program supervisors/undergraduate advisors. I try to emulate this experience now in my role as a program advisor by trying to be as accessible as possible for students with my open door policy and skype appointments for our commuter students.
AA&CC: Tell us an interesting thing about your department
The staff and faculty within our departments are incredibly kind and supportive to collaborate and work with as a team. We (as staff) try to attend the monthly Faculty and Staff lunch where we get the opportunity to catchup and enjoy a meal together.
Tell us about any program/course changes that are particularly interesting. Anything coming up for the Winter term?
Center for Critical Development Studies:
Our annual International Development Conference (run by our wonderful students) will be held on February 11th and February 12th. This year will highlight the theoretical development studies and policy research that play a predominant role in shaping development project. For more information regarding the conference schedule and tickets please visit: https://internationaldevelopmentcon2017.sched.org/?iframe=no
This past fall session we held our annual celebratory end of session GGRA02H3 mix and mingle with our faculty. We will be doing the same for GGRA03H3 in the Winter session as an opportunity for our first year students to meet our faculty in an informal setting, get to know them better and ask them any questions they have. Look out for the invite in mid-March!
Department of Political Science:
POLD42H3: We will be offering our newly added course to this year’s 2016-2017 Calendar this 2017 Winter session. The topic for this session will be Connecting Citizens to the State and will cover content such as constitutional, criminal, and administrative law fields, along with the major institutions of the regulatory state that flow from them.
Motivational Interviewing for Advising by Shehna Javeed
When students are ambivalent about their future choices, or simply resistant because of negative experiences, we as advisors, can help them to move forward through motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing (MI) was introduced by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick (1991) as a client-centred method that can evoke change.
The basic tenants of practice require the advisor to express empathy, avoid argumentation, roll with resistance, develop discrepancies and support self-efficacy. It is best practiced by asking open-ended questions, giving affirmations of strengths and successes, reflective listening & providing summaries and recaps. (NACADA 2016 conference presentation by Academic Success and Advising Center, U of Colorado, Denver)
By expressing empathy, the service provider takes the perspective of the student and may do some reflection back to the student to express that they understand the student’s perspective: for example, they may say “I am hearing you say that…”.This type of reflection allows the client to feel validated. At times a student may be resistant or argumentative. This can lead to more arguments if you disagree with the perspective. Instead, MI proposes that we roll with the resistance, listen with acceptance of their negative experience or the perception of the negative experience, so that we do not build walls and defenses, but rather open the way for communication. Affirm the student’s strengths - the fact that they are talking to you today requires strength. Consider the goals that the client would like to achieve and the barriers or discrepancies. What are these discrepancies? Sometimes, bringing attention to the gaps or discrepancies, and asking an open-ended questions, such as, “what is a different outcome that you would like?” allows one to think about solutions and a way forward in small steps.
If you would like to learn more on the successful technique of motivational interviewing, that seeks to empower and coach the client towards change, there is a lot of information and resources on the web.
In each newsletter we will focus on a different department. If you would like to be focused in an upcoming issue, please feel free to email your information to Elaine Beaton.