Schedule & Session Information


8:30 - 8:50 a.m. Coffee and registration
8:50 - 9:00 a.m. Welcome, housekeeping, and mixer
9:00 - 9:50 a.m. "Sexual Violence Policy Introduction and Overview"
"Building Your Collaboration Toolkit"
"Emerging Adulthood Theory Within Post-Secondary Context"
9:50 - 10:00 a.m. Coffee break and networking
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. "Responding to Sexual Assault Disclosures"
"Cultural Roles and Expectations: Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Student Advising"
"Questions That Make a Difference"
10:50 - 11:00 a.m. Coffee break and networking
11:00 - 11:50 a.m.  "How to Build Anti-Oppression into the Workplace"
"Days of Action: Collaborating for Change"
"Tell me what you want, what you really, really want: Student Voice in Advising"
11:50 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Lunch, poster sessions, and wellness activities
1:15 - 2:00 p.m. Keynote: "Working with At-Risk Students"
2:00 - 2:50 p.m. "How to Pronounce Chinese Names"
"The Fairness Imposter: When Intention to be Fair Fails"
"Unwind Your Mind Collective: Creating Collective Action to Support Student Mental Health"
2:50 - 3:00 p.m. Coffee break and networking
3:00 - 3:40 p.m. Ignite session
3:30 - 4:00 p.m.  Wrap-up and final thoughts
Note: schedule is subject to change

50-minute Concurrent Session Descriptions

9:00 - 9:50 a.m.

Sexual Violence Policy Introduction and Overview
Deb Eerkes and Sarah Wolgemuth

This spring, University of Alberta governing bodies are considering a new Sexual Violence policy suite for approval. Consisting of a Sexual Violence Policy, Procedures and a number of Information Documents, the policy suite codifies the University’s stand on sexual violence, new definitions (including a definition of consent) and the various ways the University will respond to a disclosure. This session provides a preview of the documents and an overview of how they will be implemented. Learn about the presenters

Building Your Collaboration Toolkit
Norma Rodenburg and Melissa Padfield

This interactive presentation will provide you the opportunity to collaborate with your fellow participants to explore and practice key skills and techniques that facilitate effective collaborative practice within and across units. Participants will leave with practical tools that can be implemented immediately in a variety of situations. For instance, we will demonstrate and practice tools for organizing groups effectively, running collaborative meetings to increase participation, and developing systems to ensure action items are followed. Learn about the presenters

Emerging Adulthood Theory within Post-Secondary Context
Kevin Friese and David Jennings

This presentation will explore Emerging Adulthood Theory as it relates to the post-secondary student experience and Student Affairs support. Emerging Adulthood, broadly defined as 18 to 25 years of age, is the stage during which young adults are transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. This critical phase is often marked with various forms of self exploration, identity development and life-skill maturation. As Student Affairs professionals, how can we best support our students who are inevitably going through one of the most pivotal transitions of their lives? This session will deepen a collective understanding of the Emerging Adulthood Theory and explore how it affects students and ourselves as student affairs professionals. Learn about the presenters

10:00 - 10:50 a.m.

Responding to Sexual Assault Disclosures
Meagan Simon

In this session, participants will learn about how to support students who have experienced sexual assault. Our conversation will begin with a general introduction, and overview of how sexual assault can affect survivors. We will then focus on learning support skills. Participants may work independently or in small groups through a support scenario. They will then engage in brainstorming ways to emotionally and practically support the student in the scenario. Finally, the larger group will share insights and revisit appropriate support and referral options. Participants will learn about the array of services offered by the Sexual Assault Centre, and other support resources on campus and in the broader Edmonton community. Ultimately, the session will help to better prepare student advisors to receive disclosures from, and provide referrals to, survivors on campus. Increasing our collective capacity to respond to disclosures can help us work towards making our campus community free of sexual violence, and providing a safe(er) space for survivors. Learn about the presenter

Cultural Roles and Expectations: Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Student Advising
Gavin Palmer and Heather Seyl Miyashita

Culture permeates the ways we interact, and the lenses with which we approach our work and our interpersonal connections. The ideas and expectation we have of an advisor in the Albertan context may not be equally as relevant or effective for students from other cultural settings. This workshop will explore and raise awareness of our perspective and alternative perspectives; we will discuss how the expectations of international students may differ from our notion of “normal”. Learn about the presenters

Questions That Make a Difference
Lynn Kirkland

Have you ever been in a situation where the conversation is heading in the wrong direction and you felt ill equipped to get the communication back on track? Many communication models focus on what to say when the real opportunity lies in deciding what to ask. Asking the right question at the right time can change the course a conversation. In this session you will gain insight and practical tools to keep your conversations constructive and make the most of every interaction. Learn about the presenter

11:00 - 11:50 a.m.

How to Build Anti-Oppression into the Workplace
Josh Connauton

This presentation aims to give participants tools to help enact anti-oppressive practice into their everyday workspace. This approach differs from traditional diversity and inclusion/cultural sensitivity training. We will focus on Coloniality, Racialization, and Privilege and examine their presence at the University. Then we will discuss how we can apply anti-oppressive practices in our workspaces. We need to empower ourselves to make a difference in difficult societal issues in our daily work life, thereby increasing equity in our workspace and the campus community. Learn about the presenter

Days of Action: Collaborating for Change
Days of Action Committee
Jason Murray, Sasha van der Klein, and Jane Slessor

The Days of Action Committee works to bring awareness to issues such as mental health, suicide, loneliness and isolation, stigmatization and exclusion, and poverty by joining the global community in observing designated awareness days throughout the academic year. Days of Action propels our campus community into dialogues that may at times be uncomfortable, but will foster increased understanding and compassion between our community members, creating a more supportive campus community for all. The conversations evolve into open dialogues about prevention, capacity, safety, peace, social connection, citizenship and responsibility, sustainability of our people and our environment, and gratitude. Committee partners across campus coordinate a range of Days of Action events that provide information, spark discussion, and, ultimately, challenge stigma. This concurrent session will highlight the committee’s activities over this year, the challenges and the successes. Learn about the presenters

Tell me what you want, what you really,  really want: Student Voice in Advising
Eric Kother

As advisors, we face many questions related to how to best meet the needs of the students that we serve. What kinds of involvement opportunities do they want? What would enrich their academic experience? What makes a positive advising experience, or a negative one? There is no one better to answer these questions than their peers: current students. This session provides a chance for advisors to engage in a facilitated discussion with a diverse panel of students representing multiple faculties, demographics and involvement levels. They will answer your most pressing questions about their needs and how to make their experience with you as advisors, a positive one. Learn about the presenter

2:00 - 2:50 p.m.

How to Pronounce Chinese Names!
Nora Lambrecht and Xiaobing Lin

Learning to say international student names correctly is the first step to making that important personal connection. This helps to pave the way to an easier conversation as well as establishing an initial level of trust. We expect international students to make all the effort to adjust to their new environment. Learning to say their names properly shows that we are willing to make the effort to make them feel welcome as well. Learn basic Chinese phonetics system of 'pinyin'. Join us for a fun-filled, practical way of learning how to say your Chinese students' names and connect with them! Learn about the presenters

The Fairness Imposter: When Intention to be Fair Fails
Marc Johnson and Natalie Sharpe

This session examines how our intentions to be fair may have unfair consequences for specific individuals or groups because we have not taken their unique circumstances into account. We create rules and procedures that appear to be fair for everyone. However, given context, circumstance and changes over time, the decision or treatment may be unfair. Participants will be invited to analyze different aspects of fairness. Universities focus primarily on administrative and procedural fairness, and may neglect other forms of fairness that are just as important. This includes relational fairness (treating others with respect) and equitable fairness (accounting for marginalization); these latter forms of fairness are fluid and contextual. The goal of this session is to help participants build conscious reflection around fairness. “Intentional fairness” requires us to consciously reflect on all aspects of fairness. Learn about the presenters

Unwind Your Mind Collective: Creating Collective Action to Support Student Mental Health
Melissa Visconti, Nicole McLeod, and the Healthy Campus Unit Student Team

Supporting student mental health has been a growing area of focus across Canadian post-secondary institutions. Findings from the National College Health Assessment have been influential in raising awareness of the connection between student well-being and academic success; there is also value in using a systems-based approach to create environments where students flourish. Creating collaborative structures (among staff and students) through committees, coalitions, and communities of practice allow us to exchange knowledge and best-practice with one another. Recognizing our campus community’s efforts to support student mental health and well-being, the Healthy Campus Unit invites you to participate in the development of the Unwind Your Mind Collective. This Collective is intended to be the catalyst in building capacity of campus members to support students and each other through a community of practice format. The workshop has an interactive format, and the participants will be able to guide the direction and goals of the Unwind Your Mind Collective; by the end of the session, you will walk away with an asset map of community efforts, programs, and actions in support of student well-being. This way we can share various faculty practices in supporting student mental health. Learn about the presenters

Ignite Session Descriptions

3:00 - 3:40 p.m.

Defining the Campus Community by Defining Yourself
Kyle McCloy

In most jobs, we have a "work" personality - that is, a distinct set of things we may share about ourselves to those we work with. The amount this happens in student support roles varies considerably. However, there still is a difference between our "work" mode and "everyday life" mode that we share with our family and friends. In this session, I hope to challenge this duality by discussing the merits of introducing more of your authentic personality and interests when working with students. This is not about diluting professionalism, but rather thinking about small touches you can make in your daily interactions to define yourself, from office decor to small talk.

Like A Good Story: Metadiscursive Markers in Graduate Writing and Advising
Michael Leahy

This short session shows how a writing advisor at the University of Alberta’s Student Success Centre works with graduate students to help them learn to articulate their academic and professional writing. He uses critical communication bridges to make their writing more fluid and applicable to a broad range of readers. Graduate students often presume a knowledgeable or idealized audience that may not exist; it is Michael’s role as an engaged reader and conceptual editor to gently question “how does this all hold together”? Michael will demonstrate how he builds the confidence of these writers through a strategy of “writing about the writing”. He uses an often neglected composition strategy for graduate education, called “metadiscursive markers”.  Metadiscursive markers suddenly make the writer feel confident about the work because the writer is confident in the form of the content. This easily learned rhetorical skill – or habit of mind – also helps for all forms of grant proposals, professional communication and speaking skills that are critical to academic success. Learn about the presenter

Sharing the Work: Lessons Learned in Collective Action
Melissa Visconti and Stephanie Grant

How do you keep the momentum going after the initial excitement around a cause has faded? The Healthy Campus Unit and Community Social Work Team will share lessons learned in partnership building and sustainable engagement opportunities. These two units also have a surprise in store for attendees to kick start their own call-to-action. Our goal with this session is to inspire attendees to work together in supporting campus well-being. We will be sharing lessons learned about collaboration and collective action while offering attendees and opportunity to get involved. The Healthy Campus Unit and Community Social Work team are part of Health and Wellness Services. Both teams work collaboratively with students, staff, and faculty to build community capacity in advancing the well-being of students. Learn about the presenters

The Power of a Story: The Unsung Heroes
Dinuka Gunaratne

This presentation is built on connecting and strengthening communities through the reflection of personal experience. Being an international student in the Canadian post-secondary education system is an experience full of opportunity and excitement. However it also could be one full of change, barriers, obstacles and challenges. As student advisors, we have the privilege of tapping into these stories and entering their world. This is the story of a student, an advisor and the impact of a community that was unwritten – until now! It is dedicated to the powerful experience of a student working with his academic advisors and how it helped to shape his work as an advisor today. Learn about the presenter

Oh the places they'll go! A Collaborative Approach to Advising Students on International Opportunities
Ciara Murrin and Ashley Laracy

Applying and preparing to study or work abroad for a semester involves many steps and units around campus. Why would students want to go abroad? Where do they go to find all the information they need? This ignite session will walk advisors through the various steps students complete as they prepare for their international experiences. Learn more about the programs available, eligibility, application procedures, navigating credit transfer, and intercultural training. We will outline the services that the University of Alberta International Education Abroad office provides to faculty, staff, and students, including risk management seminars, off-campus registration, and travel awards.We hope this session will help advisors to realize the important role they play in the facilitation of students’ international programs and serve as a way to better connect the community of advisors. Learn about the presenters

Poster Session Descriptions

12:00 - 1:15 p.m.

Caste in a Box: Silencing Poverty-Class Higher Education Diversity Policies
Elaine Laberge

This poster presentation is part of a Master’s research project, “The Reverberations of Childhood Poverty: Composing Lives in Higher Education.” This research focuses on how childhood poverty reverberates through students’ experiences on the university landscape. Prescriptive, institutionally-driven policies and practices also shape poverty-class students’ experiences.  These dominant narratives reinforce an “accommodation” dogma rather than focusing on the deficiencies that exist in diversity, equity, and inclusivity (EDI) policies. Poverty-class students continue to be ignored in ways that are damaging. As higher education institutions are focused on recruiting top students, poverty-class students continue to live in the shadows and margins of the university landscape.  By building EDI policies through a social justice lens, the subjective and narrative understandings of poverty open the possibility of creating educational landscapes that allow marginalized student populations to realize their dreams. Student advisors can play a key role in shaping this landscape. This presentation will engage student advisors in conversations about how they can develop strategies to support disadvantaged students in creative ways to connect and strengthen the higher education community. Learn about the presenter

Student Advisor Self-Care 101
Meghan Hodgson

A large portion of our day as student advisors is dedicated to assisting, guiding, and supporting students. We have all developed skills that enhance the lives of our students, and make a positive impact on the university community. However, we sometimes experience stress in our own lives. Whether this happens, it can be difficult to balance your needs and the needs of others. The poster demonstrates ways for student advisors to integrate self-care into their lives and daily routines, including much-needed breaks. The goal of this poster is to create easy-to-use and tangible strategies and/or activities to integrate into a student advisor’s life (when there isn’t enough time to read a self-help book), and decide which strategy may work for them. By discovering their unique needs and preferences, this will reinforce and encourage resilience in student advisors. Learn about the presenter

“Tradition” – The Story of 6 Henday
Kyle McCloy

In the 1980s, residents of 6 Henday created a tradition on their floor, labelling themselves as the “Chiefs”. They hosted annual events and a culture that was unique to their floor. There were murals on the floor that appropriated aboriginal art with totem poles, arrowheads, and other stereotypes of aboriginal culture. This did not uphold the inclusive and respectful community values that we strive to create in residence. In collaboration with Aboriginal Student Services, a full transition moved the floor away from the “Chief” theme, to create a more inclusive space for Aboriginal students in residence. After discussing the challenges and successes of this transition, we will engage in a group discussion to examine other stereotypes and "traditions" that may exist on campus, and brainstorm on ways to collaborate to create more inclusive and welcoming traditions. Learn about the presenter

U of A Student Advisor’s Network
Chelsey Laux

The Student Advisor's Network provides a forum for staff in advising roles at the University of Alberta to meet and collaborate with peers about important issues we all face. Our first meeting in June 2016 was attended by approximately 25 members from across six faculties. We hope to expand the network to all faculties and areas on campus. Previous meetings have focused on admissions processing; advising tools, technologies and styles; and mental health concerns. At our last meeting we compared Letters of Authority across faculties, and discussed a potential International Transfer Credit Database with guest speakers from University of Alberta International. The network is open to all staff in advising roles and our intention is to hold quarterly meetings. We are excited to invite more guest speakers and involve the greater campus community in some of our discussions. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved. Learn about the presenter

Building Collaborative and Resilient Supervisory Relationships: The Restorative Practices Initiative (RPI) at the University of Alberta
Brent Epperson and Shivani Kapur

At the University of Alberta, nearly two-thirds of graduate student and postdoctoral fellow complaints to the ombudsperson involve conflicts with supervisors. In response, a collaborative initiative is underway to provide a facilitated, intermediate step in repairing harms and restoring professional relationships. After meeting with key stakeholder groups and identifying shared values around conflict resolution, three university units collaborate to close a systemic gap in resolving relational conflicts through more informal, cost-effective and timely intervention mechanisms. The proposed Restorative Practice Initiative (RPI) is a voluntary and non-punitive process that helps parties to meet with a facilitator to identify the area(s) of discord and work towards resolution. This poster presentation outlines the goals and challenges of the RPI in restoring professional relationships, managing reputational risks, and improving student retention. Learn about the presenters

Road Blocks & Check Stops: Navigating the Path to Student Success
Katie Burgess and Student Connect Advisors: Sydney Bremner, Kyle Polsfut, Tommy Ho, Orsi Kertesz, and Le Anne Carbonilla

This poster is a roadmap of our 6-Step Advising Model. This will highlight the bumps, roadblocks, and indicators that we encounter, as we assist students with varying emotions. We examine three types of students: the puzzled student, the difficult student, and the emotional student. In order to successfully deliver our services, Student Connect Advisors must recognize and work through these indicators to resolve conflict and build safe and inclusive spaces for conversation. As frontline advisors, we strive to match our service levels to best support students’ needs and ensure that we communicate effectively and with care in every situation we encounter. We know that when certain emotions are present, the student’s emotional state is the priority. Our objective is to explore scenarios that our advisors encounter daily, and to illustrate our Advising Services Model for handling individuals with varying emotions. Learn about the presenters

Active Communication: Using Educational Psychology as a Tool for Fairness
Mariah Venkatraman

This poster presentation examines how Student Advising in higher education can overlap with aspects of classroom instruction. Creatively adapting explanations to better suit a student’s learning style has applications in both classroom and student advising contexts. The concept of Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design for Learning helps to bridge the gap between the knowledge of the advisor and the understanding of the student. This poster session will focus on adapting educational models for use in the Student Advising sphere, with the goal of promoting fairness and inclusivity in advising. In Student Advising, we focus on Active Listening, where the listener demonstrates that the student is being heard as we watch for subtle body language cues and paraphrase what is being said. Active Communication goes one step further; the listener comes to the meeting prepared with diverse methods of explanation and learning tools, visual aids, and alternative explanations, and adapts the method of communication to best suit the students’ needs and learning style. This Active Communication model may enhance fairness in student advising. Learn about the presenter

Recognizing Student Involvement: Growing the Co-Curricular Record
Michelle Kim

Since summer 2016, the Students' Union has been taking steps to develop the co-curricular record at the University of Alberta. The co-curricular record offers an opportunity for students to have their out-of-classroom learning formally acknowledged and to assist students in articulating the skills they gain through involvement. This poster session will outline how the co-curricular record is being developed and explains how to have student opportunities recognized. Learn about the presenter