OUSA releases policy paper "Student Accessibility and Disability Inclusion"
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I remember my Grade 10 careers class like it was yesterday. I remember because it’s the exact time I decided I wanted to pursue a PhD and to become a Psychologist. At that time, I also thought it was the type of career where you just gave advice to people all day, for hundreds of dollars an hour, just like all my friends asked me to do for them constantly. I was good at that. I thought that was what a psychologist did. You know what would have been helpful then? Access to a knowledgeable and certified career counsellor who could share with me more information about what this career entailed and the pathway (with alternate pathways) one could follow to get to it.
There’s something refreshing about learning from an expert in your academic field. In 2015, Laurier’s political science department introduced a practitioner-in-residence appointment, designed to bring the knowledge and life experience of a dynamic career into the classroom.
I recently read one of Alex Usher’s blog posts about the threat to internationalization in Western universities posed by the Chinese government’s crackdown on internationalization in their curriculum and high school programs. Usher argued that to combat this, we need to start attracting Chinese students at an earlier age, and we need to put them through Canadian high schools. To do so, we would need to set up shared living accommodations and support personnel to help these students be successful.
Once again another month has come and gone. We have had a busy month at OUSA going from our General Assembly (GA) at Western, our campaign on work integrated learning, and finally our annual advocacy conference. Heading into December, Steering Committee and Home Office Staff will begin to work on our plans for second semester and how we can continue to advocate for student interests within the province of Ontario.
One of the many reasons students choose to pursue a postsecondary education is the opportunity to grow and develop intellectually. University is seen as a place to be challenged and to learn. However, many students find themselves not actually learning what they came here to study for more than the days leading up to a test or exam.
Earlier this year, the Business/Higher Education Roundtable announced the ambitious goal to ensure every student at a Canadian post-secondary institution would have access to some form of meaningful work-integrated learning (WIL) experience during their education. While WIL has been a topic of discussion throughout my undergrad, I’ve seldom taken the time to reflect on the breadth of its impact on my education, and on my future.
Ontario’s undergraduate students have been asked to shoulder the burden of rapidly rising tuition and associated costs of attending university. Tuition regulation, though still allowing tuition to increase beyond inflation, has meant that universities are looking for alternative revenue sources to meet their financial obligations. These alternative revenue sources have emerged through ancillary fees, which can appear in the following forms: student activity fees, athletic fees, housing fees, health insurance fees, transportation/parking fees, student centre fees, and other miscellaneous fees such as capital projects, access copyright, sustainability, student services, among others.
Sexual violence prevention and response is a topic that is often difficult to deal with. The stats are bleak: best estimates suggest that between 20% and 25% of young women will be sexually assaulted during their first four years of university, with the risk being especially high in the first two years; in three-quarters of incidents, the attacker is known to the survivor; and while false allegations are extremely rare, survivors and victims of sexual violence continue to be stigmatized by their experiences.
All willing and qualified students should be able to access and excel within Ontario’s post-secondary education system, yet students from rural and northern communities continue to get pushed into the periphery of the sector. A variety of factors contribute to the problems facing rural and northern students, including: a lack of mentors and/or role models with university degrees, generally lower rates of participation and persistence in universities, inadequate transportation funding, poor infrastructure around inter-regional transit, under-resourced satellite campuses and limited employment opportunities for recent graduates, to name a few. These problems perpetuate significant barriers to rural and northern Ontarians, while raising concerns about the overall effectiveness of the province’s post-secondary sector.
Many students enter university with the mindset that they need to perform well and succeed highly to make it through post-secondary education. Students want their minds to be able to consolidate all the information they memorize, just like professors say they should. Professors encourage sleep, but also suggest studying 12 hours or more each week. It is rare for students to find a way to do both, and it is often at the expense of friendship, careers, family, food, and even their mental health.