Whether it’s creating a seamless experience for student transfers, streamlining loans, or expanding services for students with disabilities or mental health challenges, universities and colleges are collaborating for a better student experience.
Colleges and universities are participating in a pilot project with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (previously Advanced Education and Skills Development) to transform the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and provide net tuition estimates to students. Changes to OSAP and tuition billing processes were announced in the 2016 Ontario budget. Under the new system, OSAP aid will be simpler for students and families, and will direct more support for students needing assistance.
The Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health serves as an innovation hub for addressing the needs of students with mental health and addictions issues at postsecondary institutions across Ontario. Students and service providers can access many resources including an online mental health assessment tool, a student guide to academic accommodations, prevention policies and personal stories to let students know they are not alone.
More Feet on the Ground is an educational website on how to recognize, respond and refer students experiencing mental health issues on campus. Launched by universities and the Ontario government, this resource will soon be moved to the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health so that Ontario colleges can also benefit.
A project between researchers at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College is helping students understand and navigate accommodations at postsecondary schools across Ontario sought as a result of mental health issues. The large-scale collaboration has resulted in province-wide standards, guidelines, resources and educational videos for students seeking such accommodations, as well as for campus staff and faculty.
Together, college and university representatives are working with the Ontario government and student groups to help prevent and address sexual violence on campus through the Advisory Committee on Sexual Violence Reporting. Currently, the committee is working to develop a climate survey to be issued by Ontario postsecondary institutions, as well as a set of common metrics for reporting incidents of sexual violence on our campuses.
George Brown College is partnering with Nipissing, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and the National Education Association of Disabled students to create a Postsecondary Students with Disabilities Network – a virtual network that will provide mentorship/coaching, learning, and community-building opportunities for Ontario postsecondary students with disabilities.
Georgian College, Lakehead University and the Simcoe County District School Board are joining forces to link the K-12 and postsecondary education systems for international students in Simcoe County. The partnership will help boost international student recruitment, and further the internationalization of classrooms and campuses.
Students from Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) are an example of collaboration by universities and colleges in Ontario to share residence spaces. In this case, college and university students share living quarters on the Oshawa campus in the Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology Residence and Conference Centre.
The Harris Learning Library serves Nipissing University and Canadore College students, staff and faculty on their campuses in North Bay, Brantford, and Parry Sound, as well as providing library services for Distance Education students and faculty.
Sault College, in partnership with Algoma University and other community partners, is developing a mental health hub for students. As these Northern postsecondary institutions have high percentages of students who are Indigenous, this includes culturally-appropriate services such as an Elder-in-Residence program, and alternative methods of treatment such as ceremonies, sweats, and art programming.