"The autonomy of academic counseling has led to a difference in structures across campus, which prove to be confusing for students who have diverse experiences interacting with the different offices."
how do we address this?
Addressing the root problem
The responses given to students in faculties like Social Science and Science have proven to hinder the ability for these students to get the appropriate accommodation. However, it is also important for students to receive that specialized counselling that they receive from going to their specific faculty’s academic counselling as there are nuanced discussions surrounding smaller program requirements.
After Hours Support
During the Summer Academic Orientation, students at large are hired to address the academic needs of incoming first year students. This sets a precedence for students to be trained to answer non-emergency questions that students may have surrounding the academic experience. I would like to propose a pilot work-study program wherein students are hired to do after hours non-emergency support for academic counselling. These would service students from the hours of 4pm to 7pm, extending the existing hours of academic counselling.
The pandemic has taught us a lot about how important it is to have services be accessible in a decentralized environment. With the transition back to in-person and on-campus learning, it is important that we maintain the levels of accessibility that we were able to establish during the pandemic. I am committed to working with the different Dean’s Offices to centralize an online portal for booking appointments with options for in-person and online appointments. I will work in tandem with the Accessible Education Planning Committee and the Academic Contingency Advisory Group, to provide the different Dean’s offices with these recommendations.
Preserving the integrity with a back-end operations policy
In order to preserve the integrity of specific academic counselling while also ensuring that students are receiving the appropriate standard of care, I think it is important to create a blanket back-end operational policy, which mandates the same training for counsellors across campus. This training would include but not be limited to:
How to respond to students
A guideline for interpreting academic policy
Mental Health First Aid