OUSA releases policy paper "Student Accessibility and Disability Inclusion"
Interested in writing for OUSA? Contact Crystal Karmen Mak, our Operations & Communications Coordinator.
In a climate with strained university budgets, a dichotomy is often formed between teaching and research, with these two priorities pitted against each other and portrayed as in direct conflict. While there is undoubtedly a struggle in finding an appropriate balance for university faculty to divide their time between teaching and research capacities – particularly at U15 schools – undergraduate research can bridge this divide between university priorities.
The more people talk about mental health and wellness, the more important it is that we listen. Especially when it comes to students.
We’ve all heard the statistics. We know that 'one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness at one point in their life’ but that ‘five in five people have mental health.’ We’ve started the important conversations needed to de-stigmatize mental illness and have participated in conferences such as The Jack Project where we talked, listened, and learned about the challenges people face everyday.
My name is Marc and I am very excited to be starting my role as a Research & Policy Analyst for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. The reason I am thrilled to be a part of OUSA is because this position combines two of my passions: higher education policy and student advocacy.
Written by Colin Aitchison and Zachary Rose
A disturbing proposal from members of a tech industry lobbying group, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), has been making the rounds in Ontario recently. As reported a few weeks ago in the Globe and Mail, it seems that several CEOs associated with the organization have suggested that there should be policy in place to punish Ontario graduates who choose to leave the country for work.
By now, many of us have heard about the sexual assault that occurred at Stanford University, the perpetrator who got off easy in part because of his great swim times, and the victim statement that was read across the world. The story broke at a time when universities across Ontario are in the process of creating new policies regarding sexual violence. In March, the Provincial Government passed Bill 132, which requires universities to create new standalone policies addressing sexual violence on their campuses. As university administrators both at my own institution and across Ontario work to create these policies, I find myself thinking about the Stanford victim statement, and all students closer to home who are survivors of sexual violence. When I think about all of the pain this crime has caused, I find myself wondering if we are doing enough.
Hopefully you are all enjoying these summer months and are finding creative ways to enjoy this wonderful heat we are having. It is hard to believe that OUSA’s steering committee has been together for 2 months. We have been hard at work preparing for a great year of post-secondary research, lobbying, and advocacy efforts. As this year’s President, I am thrilled to be writing monthly updates to you all – giving you the “ins and outs” of what we have been up to and what is potentially to come.
It’s that time of year again – the halfway point of summer vacation, where university students begin to anticipate the upcoming school year merely two months away. Soon they will be packing their bags, and university campuses will once again be buzzing with classes and events. The thought of returning to this familiar routine where I find myself balancing assignments and extra-curricular involvement, or attempting to find that healthy meal during the stress of exam season, has caused me to most recently reflect – how did I manage all of this on my own?
Of all the events OUSA hosts each year, I think our annual strategic planning conference (StratCon) is my favorite.
This year we held StratCon at the beginning of July. All home office staff and members of steering committee get together for an intensive, four-day work retreat up in cottage country, away from distractions. This is one of the most important events we host all year, and this year’s was particularly productive: we discussed policy matters for the upcoming changes to financial aid, decided on some possible topics for future policy review, finalized our annual budget, reviewed our operating policies, and had in-depth discussions about all other strategic and organizational goals for the year. It was a jam-packed conference and we worked pretty consistently throughout each day, but I think we all left well prepared, and with a clear vision for the year.
My name is Leah Brockie, and I am the Academic Affairs Commissioner in the Alma Mater Society at Queen’s University. I am the AMS’ advisory member on Steering Committee, meaning I do not vote, but I act as a resource to provide greater insight and information on academic issues. My entire portfolio is related to academics, so I spend a great deal of time reading about different aspects of the sector, and meeting with our administration to voice undergraduate needs and concerns. I am excited to use this knowledge and experience to provide informed contributions to Steering Committee discussions.
Empowering Learners, Effecting Change: Sharing LGBTQ+ students’ ideas about inclusivity in the classroom
Last Thursday, I (Danielle Pierre) had the pleasure of giving a talk with our Summer Research Intern, Lindsay D’Souza, at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s (STLHE) Empowering Learners, Effecting Change conference. This was their largest conference to date with over 800 participants. Presenters shared their expertise in the form of keynote addresses, interactive concurrent sessions, research presentations, pecha kucha presentations, and posters.