Forum today offers student advisers a venue to share and learn from each other

Today, more than 60 York University undergraduate student advisers, representing York’s undergraduate Faculties and colleges, will get together to share their experiences as part of the second annual York University Advising Forum.

The event, which takes place in the Founders Assembly Hall, 152 Founders College, offers student advisers a professional development forum, says Lara Ubaldi (right), director of Student Academic Services for the Faculty of Health and co-chair of the Advising Subcommittee of the York University Retention Council. “We’ll have the opportunity to reconnect and better get to know each other, catch up on news and new developments from across the University, explore possibilities and opportunities, and to appreciate the significance of our collective contribution to enhancing the student experience,” she says.

“The York University Advising Forum is about the advisers, representatives from central student services and the undergraduate student population, gathering together to collectively support each other,” says Ubaldi. “Participants are coming to the forum from the Keele and Glendon campuses to brainstorm, share and celebrate their important role in the academic lives of our undergraduate students.”

Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt (left), associate vice-president, Academic Learning Initiatives and co-chair of the York University Retention Council says the York University Advising Forum has at its core the intention to connect student advisers with colleagues from across the University to explore best practices in student advising and to engage advising colleagues across disciplines in a creative, interactive and experiential professional development event.    

The one-day forum, says Fisher-Stitt, will help situate undergraduate student advising in the context of the University as a whole and is an important component in York’s ongoing effort to enhance the student experience.

“Planning of this second advising forum was informed by the University Academic Plan’s (UAP) overarching theme of ‘knowing ourselves’, particularly York undergraduate students’ experience of University life,” says Ubaldi. “The forum contributes to the UAP priority of enhancing the student experience through the provision of professional development for staff and faculty advisers who work with students.”

The academic adviser is the first person an undergraduate student meets following their admission to York University and advisers play a crucial role in guiding undegraduate students student through their university career. Advisers build bridges with students, often demystifying degree requirements by providing advice and guidance on program requirements and course selection, and also call on their knowledge of the University’s central student services to make effective referrals in order to best meet students’ needs. 

This year’s event promises many opportunities for advisers. Morning sessions, coordinated by Chantal Joy, assistant director, Residence Life, feature a panel of current undergraduate students who will share some of their own advising experiences. At the end of the panel, forum participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of the student panellists learning how advising really matters. The panel will be followed by the interactive small-group session, “Using Our Resources”. These sessions will feature a series of advising scenarios acted out by current undergraduate students. A discussion of the scenarios will follow and advisers will have opportunities to share their expertise, past experiences and good practices.

During the lunch break, advisers will network with representatives from an array of central student services at the onsite York University Student Services Expo. Academic advisers frequently call on the expertise and make student referrals to colleagues in central student services. The services represented at the Expo with displays and information tables are:

  • Atkinson Centre for Mature & Part-time Students
  • Counselling & Disability Services
  • Student Community & Leadership Development
  • Student Client Services, Student Financial Services & the Registrar’s Office
  • York University Libraries
  • Sport & Recreation
  • York International
  • Career Centre
  • English as a Second Language Open Learning Centre
  • Student Conduct & Dispute Resolution
  • University Information Technology
  • Centre for Human Rights
  • Glendon Student Affairs
  • YU-Card and Food Services
  • Security Services

There will also be a lunch and a “Test the U” trivia contest.

During the afternoon sessions, advisers will hear from a number of central student services subject matter experts. In the first session, Susan Pogue and Natacha Wood, career counsellors with the York Career Centre, will provide an overview of the Career Centre’s Career Exploration Series of workshops. Pogue and Wood will talk to the advisers about informing students on how the skills they develop in their degree and their University experiences offer an important foundation for future careers. They’ll also teach the advisers about the centre’s dynamic Career Decision Making Model that York counsellors use to assist students in making career decisions.

To close out the day, advisers will listen to a capstone presentation from Marc Wilchesky, executive director of York’s Counselling & Disability Services. Wilchesky, an adjunct professor in York’s Graduate Program in Psychology, has been a consultant to several children’s mental health centres in Toronto. He will talk about the qualities of resilience and our capacity to adapt. Wilchesky’s presentation offers a relevant and charming reflection that will speak to York students and advisers about their ability to adapt to challenges and change in a sometimes uncertain world.  

Sponsored by the York University Retention Council, the forum is a joint initiative between the Offices of the Vice-President Academic and Vice-President Students. For more information on the York University Advising Forum, click here.