5th Annual Student Success Provincial Conference

May 14-16, 2018

Check back for more session descriptions 

Despite extensive research and massive investment, post-secondary institutions continue to be baffled as to how to increase their student retention. Our team was asked to revise the withdrawal process for our College. Many attempts had been made in the past, with focus on “the form.”  Our team blew the lid off of this task, taking on the entire withdrawal process from a customer service perspective.


We will guide our participants through our process of how we are shifting our withdrawal process into an academic success planning system. 

For participants to have a process to take to their teams that results in a more meaningful advising opportunity for each student – even at the point of withdrawal.

Learning Outcomes, attendees will leave with:

  • An understanding of how the Lean management system can be applied to early leavers.
  • An introductory analysis of participants current and future state withdrawal process
  • A way to identify the gaps that need to be addressed
  • Knowledge of how to create stakeholder systems to own increase customer service for students
  • A workbook that will provide the process, with many questions already answered.

The presentation outline is as follows:

  • Introduction of why we took on this initiative
  • Education on the Lean management system and how our process worked within it
  • Terms and processes within Lean will be discussed and shared
  • Key questions will be asked of each participant to start to work through their workbook: identification of stakeholders, how do you document the impact and training.
  • CRM (Salesforce) and its implications for Academic Advising
  • The presenter will share our day 1 to 10 initiative
  • Successes, pain points and opportunities
  • Discussion will wrap up with how participants will apply this process at their institutions

Quality Assurance is a way in which each of our colleges can self-assess how well we are meeting standards in higher education. Until now, there were no specific standards that reflected Indigenous Ways of Knowing in the Ontario College system. The four standards presented in this framework is reflective of the diversity of the Indigenous peoples of the north and the principles and values in which they share.

College professionals understand that support services enhance the student experience and yet, survey data shows that students are often unaware of how and where to access support. The Humber student affairs communications strategy reflects the cyclical nature of the academic year; key messages should coincide with relevant points in the student lifecycle. The cycle rarely changes which allows us to benchmark and use data to determine what works and fine tune both the message and the medium.

Section 1: What the LGBTQ?

An energetic review of basic language and definitions is facilitated to increase the comfort level of participants in using language related to the LGBTQ+ acronym, as well as an introduction to how societal ideas about identity have changed over time.

Section 2: Identity – It’s Marvelously Complex!

Participants are introduced to four independent categories of human identity: sex/assigned sex, gender identity, gender expression, and attraction (sexual orientation) through a variety of interactive small and large group activities. Participants also have an opportunity to explore the importance of access to LGBTQ+ terminology, and the impacts of exclusionary spaces on achievement and well-being.

Section 3: A Whole Rainbow of Experiences

Through a series of activities, participants interact with the incredible diversity present in LGBTQ+ communities, and how that diversity is connected to diverse experiences and needs. Facilitators then guide participants to a basic understanding of the concepts of social location, intersectionality, and the importance of recognizing all of the aspects of human identity in the creation of safer spaces.

Section 4: Tools for Change

Participants learn about a variety of practical tools for taking action, including the value of anti-homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia policies, pronoun best practices, and strategies for practicing life-long allyship.

Wrap up and Follow-up

Participants identify future opportunities for learning and receive a package of LGBTQ+ inclusion materials. Participants are also given the facilitation team’s contact information and are encouraged to reach out should they need additional services and learning opportunities

Objective to develop a personalized & Learner driven entering student success tool                                                      


Discover more about our learners
Facilitate learners ability to, “hit the ground running” in September Decrease the number of students at risk in the first six weeks Increase learner confidence to navigate their pathway to College Set us apart from its competitors in the experience of our learners 

Test out Survey questions, method of delivery, experience for the students/staff, R.O.I.

This session will discuss the results of a new initiative to compare student work term expectations in the beginning of their program, with actual work term experiences. We will examine data compiled from a student completed needs assessment at the beginning of semester one, completed by co-op students in the Hospitality and Tourism program area. This data will be compared to student’s actual work integrated learning experience for work term one and discussed for themes, and unique takeaways. We will examine the potential influences contributing to student expectations and choice of work term and the student decision making process throughout their first year of studies.

Key Learning Goals and Outcomes: Participants will learn how to effectively coach students through charting their career pathway and discussing the realities of co-op holistically (type of employer, industry, logistics, travel/work abroad challenges, accommodations, costs associated, time management, etc.,) and how to guide students through the decision making process. An examination of factors that re-shape the student expectation of co-op, could provide learning on how to frame co-op work term expectations to contribute to student success in the program.

In 2017, the Student Leadership Development team at Mohawk College launched a new Fall Leadership Development event in an effort to move away from traditional professional development models and offer a truly co-curricular experience. We developed Intrigue at the Arnie: The Chalice of Destiny, a murder mystery-style evening event that focussed on building critical thinking skills. Our intention was to immerse students into a fully co-curricular atmosphere. Condensed programming provided the same value as a full-day conference-style event but appealed to a larger, more diverse population of students. Intrigue at the Arnie is an example of how experiential learning can be adapted for leadership development.

The session will highlight how we adapted the murder mystery model to build critical thinking skills in our student leaders.

Pecha Kucha is a method of PowerPoint that has changed presentations. It’s translated as “chitchat”, designed and patented by architects Klein/Dytham in Tokyo in 2003. A Pecha Kucha presentation utilizes imagery and efficient use of spoken word to create a seamless, memorable, meaningful and concise presentation.

Institutions are becoming reliant on international students to meet targets and sustain operations. This results in a rich learning environment, but also poses some challenges. This presentation will examine 3 case studies that involve the intersections of Student Conduct and international students. Each case will conclude with lessons learned and Seneca’s response. Participants will learn considerations needed to support the complex experiences of international students outside of academics.

In Jan 2017, several residences experienced an outbreak of Norovirus. Within hours, hundreds of students were transported to hospital and media was on-site. This presentation will share the timeline of events, our response, and lessons learned. We’ll discuss our interactions with Public Health, our media relations strategy, and the emergency management approach. We’ll highlight how it informed our response to future crises, and how the inclusion of student affairs pros has become more valued.

An introduction to the concept of a Positive Space program and the value that its incorporation at a post secondary institution has on increased diversity and retention. Positive Space is an information session, aimed at increasing awareness, understanding and acceptance of the issues of sexual identity and gender diversity. It is also a volunteer sticker campaign. Through interactive activities and discussion, attendees come away with a better understanding of the LGBTQ community.

safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

Since its development in 2006, safeTALK has been used in over 20 countries around the world, and more than 200 selectable video vignettes have been produced to tailor the program’s audio-visual component for diverse audiences. safeTALK-trained helpers are an important part of suicide-safer communities, working alongside intervention resources to identify and avert suicide risks.

Learning goals and objectives:

Over the course of their training, safeTALK participants will learn to:

  • Notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present
  • Recognize that invitations for help are often overlooked
  • Move beyond the common tendency to miss, dismiss, and avoid suicide
  • Apply the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe
  • Know community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further help

Training features:

  • Presentations and guidance from a LivingWorks registered trainer
  • Access to support from a local community resource person
  • Powerful audiovisual learning aids
  • The simple yet effective TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe
  • Hands-on skills practice and development

safeTALK helps expand the reach of suicide intervention skills in communities around the world.

As an increasing number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) enter the college system, there is a need to take a critical look at how colleges help students with ASD develop the social skills necessary to thrive in academic, placement, and employment environments. What constitutes an effective social group for neuro-diverse students? How can colleges make social groups for students with ASD inviting, meaningful, and rewarding? How do social group facilitators decide on curriculum that will address the continuum of social and communication needs of group participants? This interactive workshop will explore Mohawk’s social group, called Social Connect, and invite discussion from workshop participants on what works, and doesn’t work when considering social groups at their institutions.

An integral part of this workshop is an opportunity for Mohawk illustrate how Social Connect has been effective with retaining social group participants across the entire span of their program of study. Components of Social Connect include:

  • A weekly social group schedule for each week of the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer semesters.
  • Activity-based curriculum including games and art activities
  • Life-skills curriculum with an emphasis on healthy, active living
  • Partnerships with peer mentors
  • Community-based social opportunities
  • Academic and extra-curricular connections related to areas of interest
  • Campus to community initiatives pursuant to Mohawk Student Service’s Strategic Plan
  • Using social groups to promote Autism acceptance within the college community

The objectives of this presentation are to open a dialogue on how ASD specific social groups are facilitated given the increased numbers of students with ASD entering college who benefit from social engagement opportunities. For example, current provincial initiatives identify over 20,000 students with ASD in the K-12 sector, and to address the complexity of student needs, a more integrated model of service provision is being piloted that includes community resources and social

support in the schools. In response, colleges should begin to examine potential gaps in service related to promoting social inclusion of students with ASD to ensure that these individuals are well supported in the campus environment. Moreover, our goal is to start a conversation on best practices with social groups for neuro-diverse students, within the broader discourse on how to effectively support students with ASD on college campuses. Our hope is that participants take with them a list of social group ideas to implement within their own institutions.

The Colleges play a vital role in our communities which is commonly referred to as ‘our access agenda,’ meaning our shared commitment to providing educational opportunities to non-traditional groups of students including students with disabilities, Indigenous students, refugees and first generation students which include those experiencing poverty. These populations of students are increasing on our campuses and Colleges are forever seeking innovative and effective approaches to providing student support services.

Students from these non-traditional streams require many different types of support but chief among their needs is access to holistic mental health support, including access to high-quality case management, easy access to academic accommodation and the availability of proactive interventions.

In order to meet the increasing service demands presented by our diverse student population, Humber College created the Student Wellness and

Accessibility Centre in 2015. This centre brings together Health, Counselling and Accessible Learning Services under one umbrella and serves students at three very different campus locations. Our approach to mental health support strives to provide barrier-free access to health care, counselling interventions and academic accommodation through seamless cross-referrals, increased communication amongst professionals and holistic case management.

Our integrated model also supports College staff by encouraging mutual respect and understanding across disciplines (doctors, nurses, counsellors, accessibility staff etc.) and enriches professional development opportunities. Lastly, integration creates administrative efficiencies and allows us to more clearly communicate to students regarding the services and supports which are available to them.

Many campuses already have integrated Health and Counselling Services or alternatively, integrated Counselling and Accessible Learning Services but few have ventured to join all three together and draw connections between Health Services and academic accommodations.

Trends in the substance use field include changing legislation around cannabis & opioid crisis. These new trends sit alongside long term challenges around alcohol consumption. This presentation will examine the current substance use related issues facing all p/s institutions, the trends, patterns, best practices and make research driven recommendations for reducing the substance use harms experienced by students.

In our roles, we support students as they transition into the workplace. Our role includes individual appointments plus conducting classroom visits and workshops on all employment related topics. We are continually encouraged to engage in professional development and have recently completed training on best practices in resume writing. Brian specializes in personality assessment tools for career planning and has obtained Career Development Practitioner and CHRL. Amelia has recently obtained her Career Educator Certificate through the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers. Tanesia specializes in assisting high school graduates with transitioning to post-secondary and/or mapping career plans. As part of the Employment and Student Entrepreneurial Services team, we also support college wide events such as our annual Career Fair, Ignite Career Conference, and Employer meet and greets while maintaining employer relations.

With the increase of international student enrollment, fast-changing technology, and an evolving Orientation model, Seneca piloted a virtual event prior to students’ arrival on campus. Virtual Orientation is a one-day, live, online event which includes an all-day chat, live sessions designed for international students, on-demand video content, Program Orientation information and a chance to explore their Faculty with their Academic Dean as their guide. Virtual Orientation complements a suite of on-campus activities designed to support student transition. It aims to assist students with their readiness to engage in their studies and to increase awareness of how to access support services. This session will explore:

  • Learning Objectives
  • Usage
  • Platform & Pricing
  • Videos, Content, & Accessibility
  • Collaboration
  • Outcomes & Assessment

The Walk-A-Mile Film Project, which premiered on February 6, 2014 in Thunder Bay, was a collaboration of the City of Thunder Bay’s Aboriginal Liaison Unit with Thunderstone Pictures. It is a series of five (5) short documentary films designed

to educate and encourage frank conversations in our community about the realities of the life and the common histories of Aboriginal peoples in Thunder Bay, Ontario and in Canada. The documentary films are the creation of award winning filmmaker, Michelle Derosier.

This special project builds on the City of Thunder Bay’s declared commitment to strengthening relationships between the City of Thunder Bay and the growing urban Aboriginal Peoples populations.

Overview: Walk-A-Mile Film Project:


The overall objective of this project is to address the misinformation and myths, which persist in the broader Canadian community about Aboriginal Peoples. This is dealt with so the community can have informed discussions about moving forward together on the path towards respectful relationships and joint community building processes. The training is built around the 5 documentary films to bring discussions on diversity and relationship-building into sharper focus. A facilitated discussion will encourage all participants, no matter where they come from, gain an awareness of historical Aboriginal and community issues in their current context so that we can have discussions that are both informed as well as welcoming and respectful.

In our presentation “Why Having a Polished Resume Is Not Enough”, we will introduce our career wellness project, which helps students strengthen their psychological resources, and develop the confidence and capacity to manage the ups and downs of the world of work. Participants will experience an interactive career wellness workshop through the student lens, and leave the session with some new ideas and resources to implement a similar program for their students.