SASSY 2015 Schedule and Presentations


Location: All sessions will take place in the Schulich School of Business

Click for a printable version of SASSY 2015 - Schedule & Presentations

Time: 8:45am - 3:50 pm

Registration: 8:45am - 9:30pm

Lunch: 12:30pm - 1:50pm

Time Description SSB Location
8:45am – 9:30am Registration, Coffee/Tea, LinkedIn Photo Booth Lobby by main info desk
9:30am – 9:40am Welcome from Janet Morrison W141 – Robert McEwen Auditorium
9:40am – 10:30am Keynote

  • Wednesday: Janet Morrison, Vice Provost Students - York University
  • Thursday: Heather Lane Vetere, Vice Provost Students - Ryerson University
W141 – Robert McEwen Auditorium
10:30am–10:50am Conversation Break

10:50am - 11:30am -- Concurrent Sessions #1

The Office of Student Community Relations: Providing a Circle of Care

Description Presenters SSB Room
The Office of Student Community Relations provides a wide range of care and support services to foster students' academic success, engagement and personal development.Join us for a dynamic presentation to learn more about OSCR and how we use a circle of care model to support the academic and personal success of students.In this session we will cover the following topics:

  • Connecting the dots - Using a holistic approach to assessing and managing students of concern (SoCC)
  • Resource mapping to support students (Critical Incidents/Crisis Support)
  • Community building (using a less adversarial approach to dealing with student conduct) - Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (CSRR)
  • Case management - how we pull it all together
  • What role do you play?
Alfred Ene,
Marcelle Mullings,
Debbie Hansen,
Carolyn Cannon &
Alexandra Kloczko

By Design: Using Enrolment Intelligence to Foster Student Success

Description Presenters SSB Room
The Division of Students at York University’s Strategic Plan: Partners in Student Success, focuses on four priorities, including the adoption of a more strategic approach to Enrolment Management (SEM). Central to achieving our enrolment goals is York’s commitment to building SEM Intelligence to underpin evidence-based programming and interventions. This interactive session will focus on exemplars of acquired intelligence and how data and a theoretical lens have impacted educational supports on our campus. Michelle Miller &
Janet Morrison

The ‘Little Known Profession’: A Contemporary look at the Historical Role of Learning Specialists/Learning Strategists in Ontario Universities

Description Presenters SSB Room
Despite the fact that an anecdotal scan or glance at the websites of each of Ontario’s twenty publicly funded universities, reveals that each currently has a student services position/professional role on staff called a Learning Specialist [LS] or Learning Strategist, little research exists in the literature about this role: its origins, historical trajectory to professionalization, significance, and impact. Working from within a student services framework, with the understanding that the LS role is one of many “programs and services that support student learning and success [which] have become increasingly important administrative components of most colleges and universities (Seifert, et al, 2011), this session is about the process of tracing the historical trajectory of LS. The session will focus on examining the origins and changes to the profession over time using scholarly articles, primary documents such as departmental reports, newsletters, internal organizational surveys, and a series of personal interviews with professionals in the field who act as historical agents. The hope is both to investigate and raise awareness about this ‘little known’ profession.”This session will open with a brief introduction by Learning Skills Specialists Cathy Boyd-Withers and Mona Frial-Brown, describing the services and student success initiatives carried out by Learning Skills Services at York University today. Samahra Zatzman,
Mona Frial-Brown &
Cathy Boyd-Withers

Creating Whole Campus Collaboration (for Student Success)

Description Presenters SSB Room
So you have a great initiative – how do you get the whole campus on board and make it stick?!  Using York’s student transition strategy (YU START) as an example, this session explores how to evolve initiatives into sustainable, whole-campus collaborations.  The session is grounded in new student transition and change management theory plus evidence from YU START.  Participants will engage in a simulation of team collaboration and have the opportunity to reflect on their own teams and initiatives. Brendan Schulz &
Lara Ubaldi

Self-Advocacy Education for Teacher Candidates in Experiential Setting

Description Presenters SSB Room
Focus Question(s) for the Session

  1. What is the impact of a community practicum in which teacher candidates develop and present disability-focussed self-advocacy workshops under the direction of York’s PSMDS?
  2. How does this experience shape teacher candidates’ perspectives on the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education programs?

This presentation focuses on a community practicum for 5 York teacher candidates (TC’s) developed by Karen Swartz, Director, PSMDS. During this practicum, the TC’s developed and presented disability-focused self-advocacy education workshops to fellow TC’s in York’s Faculty of Education as well as High School students with disabilities. The presentation will cover components of the project, qualitative evaluation of outcomes and the significance of project. There will also be a small interactive activity and discussion.

Karen Swartz,
Neita Israelite &
Eugenie Choi


11:40am–11:50am Break and travel to next session

11:50am - 12:30am -- Living Our Values: A '3 Ideas in 30 Minutes' Series

Living our Values is a series where a group of 3 ten-minute presentations provides you with a look at the innovations happening across our campus workspace and student space.

Innovations in Workplace Culture

Description Presenters SSB Room
Academic Advising: A Learning Community This session will share a proposed competency framework for academic advising that articulates skills, knowledge and attitudes that make for excellent advising at York. This framework can inform a shared institutional vision/language and provide a basis for discussion of the emerging role of academic advising. It provides consistency in defining professional development needs and aligns professional development with competency requirements. Alyson Gampel, Consultant at PRASE, will share the framework and some of its application.

How to Transform our workplace into a Worthplace 

This would be a presentation to inspire and motivate employees to become more engaged in their work and connected to their colleagues. The idea is to build capacity from within and create a positive energy that will infuse our workplace into a positive place to work and a place that we all want to be everyday. Through this transformation, this positive worthplace will create better work and happier people.

Why You Should Work at SCLD

In this talk, Ross will provide a list of micro and macro actions that we do at SCLD that have resulted in a thriving and caring workplace for professional and student staff.  Ross will invite you to think of ways to steal apply these to your workplace.

Alyson Gampel

Joanie Cameron Pritchett




Ross McMillan


Innovations in Student Care

Description Presenters SSB Room
Interactive Degree Audit and You! Please let us show you what online self-serve tool many students use to track their degree progress. Not only is this tool widely used by students it is also used by advisors and degree auditors. Please spend some time with us for a live demo of the Degree Progress Report to answer questions you may have about this popular tool . . . and of course we welcome feedback.

The Trouble with the Golden Rule 

The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is something many of us learned as children.  In fact, many cultures have a similar version.  This session will explore the limitations of the rule with regard to equity, diversity, cross-cultural communications and inclusion.  A brief simulation will be used to illustrate.  This will be followed by the introduction of an idea for a more effective rule.


The Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) provides a wide range of care and support services to foster students' academic success, engagement and personal development.In this session we will present the C.A.R.E model used in OSCR in a fun interactive way that demonstrates how we all in the Division of Students can play an important role in supporting student success.

Michelle Greve &
Shawn Kirkup

Brendan Schulz

Marcelle Mullings
Debbie Hansen &
Alfred Ene


Innovations in Peer Mentorship

Description Presenters SSB Room
Study Hub: A New Way to Connect This brief presentation will allow us an opportunity to describe the purpose and use of a new online resource: Study Hub ( This website was developed by staff within Learning Disability Services and was launched to the York community in January 2015.Connecting with supports can be a challenge for students with disabilities. We have developed a unique on-line resource designed to increase accessibility and awareness to existing campus resources as well as ease access to peer resources within the York community. Students are invited to participate as teachers (offering private tutoring services, study group sessions) and/or as learners (accessing campus supports, private tutoring, study groups). While originally designed for students with disabilities by disability counsellors, the site offers the same benefits to all students. It connects students with York and with each other. This eliminates barriers and also identifies paths to increased participation.

The P.A.W.S. Program

An Athletics Tale: A manner in which to positively effect retention and buy-in through mentorship. The P.A.W.S. program is a holistic, first-year transition mentorship program that impacts students-athletes from the date they accept their offer of admission until graduation.

Learning Disability Services Career Development Mentorship Program 

Student services at York values Lizzio's model for student engagement as being foundational to student transition and success. Namely, Lizzio’s model promotes five senses to success at university and beyond.

  1. Students' sense of capability
  2. Students' sense of connectedness
  3. Students' sense of purpose
  4. Students' sense of resourcefulness
  5. Students' sense of academic culture (and in this case academic and career culture).

This short panel presentation will share how LDS’s Career Development Mentorship program incorporates all five of Lizzio’s success factors. The program helps students understand their strengths better and how to leverage these strengths at university and beyond (#1), it builds their connectedness to other York students with disabilities as well as to important contacts in the world of work who have navigated their disability related needs and succeeded at achieving similar career goals (#2), it builds their sense of purpose as they clarify their educational and career goals and learn more about how to translate their degrees into the world of work (#3), it builds their resourcefulness as it teaches students specific skills needed to manage the multiple demands in university and beyond (#4), and it provides students with more input into not just the academic culture, but also the work culture in career fields of interest (#5).

The mentorship program embodies York's central values. York prides itself in being:

"A community of faculty, students, staff, alumni and volunteers committed to academic freedom, social justice, accessible education, and collegial self-governance"

By bringing together students, alumni, and other industry volunteers in this career development mentorship program we are promoting a more accessible education that reduces systemic barriers to persons with disabilities in order to promote more social justice.

 Stephanie Christopher & Myda Kavazanjian

Bart Zemanek


Jayne Greene-Black



12:30pm – 1:50pm Division of Students Luncheon & LinkedIn Photo Booth CIBC Courtyard or ELC Executive Dining Room
1:50pm – 2:00pm Travel to next session

2:00pm - 2:50pm -- Concurrent Session 2

Solving the Mature Student Retention Conundrum

Description Presenters SSB Room
The presentation provides an overview of the barriers to success for mature students and reviews institutional data that shows mature student retention rates trail those of direct-from-high-school students. Then, I introduce our Mature Student First-Year Experience program (which is supported by staff participation from units across the Division of Students and beyond) and show how its small-scale, high touch design has improved retention among mature student participants. Discussion on how best to scale the initiative to support more students will follow the formal presentation as time permits. Brian Poser S123

York Intramurals: More Than Just Play

Description Presenters SSB Room
York University’s Intramural Program is one of the largest in the country. In addition to providing sporting opportunities for more than 10,000 York Community Members the intramural program creates lasting, positive connections to the university while nurturing some of the most vibrant student leaders on campus.We will begin by exploring the intramural program offerings highlighting the student engagement and community that flourish within it. We will follow up with an in depth discussion of the staff and volunteer structure within the program that provides the foundation for a wide variety of leadership development opportunities. The discussion will highlight the relatively recent involvement of our student leaders with the Canadian Campus Recreation Association and NIRSA, especially the NIRSA Region III Student Lead-On Conference delegations that have represented York over the past few years.We will leave you with a brief overview of how to get involved with York Intramural and Campus Recreation. Sarah Broderick S124

A Student is a Student: The Student Website Harmonization Project

Description Presenters SSB Room
York University’s Division of Students is embarking on a new content-sharing model for communicating with students, harnessing the momentum of student engagement as students move from prospective to new to continuing students. By developing integrated digital content that can be shared across this continuum, cross-sharing that information and presenting it in a targeted framework, we can help students navigate through their full York life-cycle with consistent and cohesive messaging, while at the same time reinforcing the student experience of a York community from applicant through graduation. This presentation will demonstrate the research and planning stages of this student communications project. Molly Morris S125

Toward Peer Positive

Description Presenters SSB Room
Over the past six months our team at Mental Health and Disability Services has been trained and begun to implement a new initiative in partnership with CAMH, "Peer Positive". Peer Positive is designed to be implemented in a wide range of service agencies. It provides mental health consumers with opportunities and avenues to be active participants in their own care and in the design, review and implementation of programming. We understand Peer Positive as a paradigm shift; one that integrates into all of our work the belief that consumers are experts in determining their own needs. As a team, we have begun to explore ways to bring the Peer Positive model into our work at MHDS. We are now implementing some elements of the program for the 2015/2016 academic year. We would be thrilled to share our learning, goals and the value of Peer Positive as a strategy to promote student success and engagement. Reesa Grushka &
Jessica Warnock

Making Meaning of Student Leadership: Using experiential learning theory to transform leadership experiences into career development opportunities

Description Presenters SSB Room
Learn how student leadership and career development practitioners at York collaborated to build a strategy that positions leadership experiences as rich learning and career development opportunities. Core to the strategy was “The Leader Within” series that holistically guided students to develop their personal missions and identify their skills. Participants will experience parts of this series and will walk away with ideas on how to leverage their campus partnerships to reimagine their own student leadership programs Catherine Salole,
Sandra Yu &
Saba Rafiq


2:50pm – 3:00pm Break and travel to next session

3:00pm - 3:50pm -- Concurrent Sessions #3

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders/Aspergers on Campus: How We Are Supporting Their Transition onto Campus

Description Presenters SSB Room
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are increasingly attending university. These students, though often academically competent if not gifted, struggle with many aspects of our campuses. York University is offering an innovative Pilot Project for students with ASDs called “Strengthening Transitions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders”. Its focus is to break down the barriers these students face in the transition between high school and university as well as once they are on campus in their first year. The goal is for these students to be able to access the entire campus by ensuring that we deliver a multi-sector, collaborative and holistic approach to meeting their needs.This session will discuss the development of 5 Core Principles that we believe are crucial for students with ASD as they transition to campus. Each campus has different environments and every student with ASD has different needs, it is imperative that these Core Principles be flexible enough to accommodate all students and all campuses. In adopting these core principles, campuses can increase the probability that the comprehensive needs of students with ASD will be addressed affording them an equal opportunity to succeed.The 5 Core Principles are 1) Clear , Early and Transparent Communication Protocols with parents and high school personnel, 2) Early and consistent connections to dedicated persons and spaces 3 ) On-going professional and staff development across campus to allow for cross campus support and collaboration, 4) On-going developmental supports focusing on anxiety reduction that capitalize on student special interests, and 5) Structures that allow for “ just in time” connection with campus services .The Core Principles are rooted in Alf Lizzio’s Five Senses of Success, which suggest that developing a sense of resourcefulness, connectedness, purpose, capability, and academic culture are key indicators of student success. For students with ASDs, the nature of the disability is such that establishing connections and being resourceful can be significant challenges. This session will discuss Lizzio’s framework, evaluation and implementation of the Core Principles and the learning along the way when theory did not translate into practice. Maureen Barnes S123

Shining a Light on the Health of York Students

Description Presenters SSB Room
In 2013, York University was one of over 30 universities across Canada to take part in the National College Health Assessment, a survey that collects data on student health habits, behaviours and perceptions. This session will review key findings, with a special emphasis on the mental health status of our students. Participants will learn more about of how this data will be used to guide the development of key initiatives aimed at supporting student mental health, and will have the opportunity to dialogue with colleagues on ways in which we can work collectively to better support student well being. Leah State S124

2015 Financial Aid, Student Accounts and Scholarship Updates

Description Presenters SSB Room
This presentation will provide a brief overview of the programs offered under the Student Financial Services umbrella. It will address how the funding has changed over the years and provide an overview of trends, disbursement rates, number of students impacted and future goals and objectives. Jacqueline Brathwaite,
Karen Warner &
Mara Farina

The Age of Opportunity and the Futures of Student Affairs

Thursday, June 25 ONLY

Description Presenters SSB Room
Don't be misled or discouraged by the complexity of the world we live in; we are, in fact, in an age of opportunity. This age of opportunity is characterized by seven shifts, and these shifts have deep impacts on the field of student services. In this talk, we will highlight some of these shifts, and what they might mean for the work that you do. In addition to thinking about the changing landscape of student services, we must also give some thought to the future, or rather, the futures. The latter half of this talk will introduce you to the emerging practice of foresight, and will equip you with some tools for future-proofing the work you're doing today, so that it stands up to the challenges of tomorrow, and beyond. Sheldon Pereira, Manager, Stakeholder Relations - Wilfrid Laurier University S126

Go Team Go: Supporting The First Year Experience of Varsity Athletes

Description Presenters SSB Room
Managing a residence partially of First Year varsity athletes may be daunting because stereotypes affiliated with such a group highlight rowdiness and lack of involvement due to training and competition schedules. This presentation offers an opportunity to experience how the presenters successfully manage the needs of a community whose university experience can be drastically different from their peers. The presenters will share their experiences with varsity athletes and how, through strategic hiring and managing of student staff, building of partnerships with campus partners, and community programs were able to foster a vibrant community that includes varsity athletes. Matthew Harris &
Ethan Henry

Think Creatively: An End-of-Year Student Appreciation Event

Description Presenters SSB Room
This presentation is based on SCLD's end of the year student appreciation/thank you event.We held this event in a different, unique and creative way this year and want to share our process, experience and outcomes with the participants. We led about 80 students through a guided painting Saba Rafiq &
Mike Kasaboski