The York University community is just a few weeks into the fall academic term. Despite the difference between this year and any other, the Division of Students, along with Faculty and college partners, other student service units and resource departments, collaborated to create a one-stop website to help students achieve a smooth and successful transition to this academic year.
It’s called Navigate 2020.
Back-to-school protocols are primarily virtual, so the Division Of Student’s annual revamp of the Current Students homepage focused on collecting and curating key online/remote services, support and events to help students navigate through their first term of fully online/remote learning. On this bilingual site, students can find links to everything they need to help them get through this transition.
While the site contains all the usual back-to-school information, such as links to YU START and the Fall Activities Calendar. The site also it also contains information on remote/online learning, such as Well-being Resources, which support students in the transition to online learning and social/physical distancing, My Online Services, which allows students to access many of the academic and wellbeing services they may need at the start of term, the new online and remote ways of connecting with services and resources, as well as the Online Learning Protocol for York University Students, among many other resources.
A new addition this year is York’s Peer Mentor guarantee, which ensures every new student has access to a peer mentor. Students are matched with an upper-year student who has been trained as a peer mentor to assist them during this unique term. Peer Mentors are from the same program as the students they are mentoring, so can help answer questions, give advice, and recommend services, supports and ways to get involved that are relevant to each individual student. This year more than ever, with most courses and services offered online/remotely, the support of a peer mentor is invaluable. If students haven’t heard from their Peer Mentor by Sept. 18, they are being asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with their name and Faculty to receive follow up information.
Brendan Schulz, executive director of Student Success, believes that this new initiative will be critical in helping students acclimate to the unique term. “Peer mentorship is a proven support for student success. Students know students and students trust other students,” he said. “Particularly this year, when informal, in-the-moment conversations with other students are harder to come by, I’m delighted that all new students have access to peer mentors through their Faculty or college and from many support units.
The site itself is very easy to navigate. Students can self-identify their year of study to be served content specific to their stage in the student life-cycle. For instance, students in their final year will see information about graduation and more specific career information while students in first year are provided with information about Orientation, YU START and the Peer Mentor program. Students can use this redesigned page as their guide to get settled and access all the services and resources they will need for a successful start to a new academic session. There are also easy-to-read sections on Getting Settled, Academic Success, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Financial Support, Student life & Community and Career Education & Development. The page also introduces students to SAVY, the student virtual assistant, our student-facing social media channels, and provides direction for accessing online resources from the York Libraries and the Bookstore.
The goal for Navigate 2020 is to help make the transition to this unique term seamless, smooth and successful for new and returning York students.