Interview with President Deane
In July, 2010, Dr. Patrick Deane took office as the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University. While he may be the “new guy” on campus, Dr. Deane is no stranger to educational institutions. We sat down with him to make our introductions and learn a bit about McMaster’s new leader.
Though Dr. Deane originally planned to become a lawyer, he learned the importance and impact of education through his European travels and experiences at the University of Johannesburg. He explains that it made him, “realize what university could do to make a difference, especially in an oppressed society.” After moving back to Canada, Dr. Deane held several teaching positions including his most recent appointment as Vice President Academic of Queen’s University. Dr. Deane explains that making the transition from Queen’s to McMaster was eased by the similar high standard of education and rich institutional traditions. What sets McMaster apart from his previous experiences is its unique history resulting in “differences in the local culture of the university and its priorities”.
Dr. Deane hopes to build on the University’s current priorities to ensure that students receive the best opportunities available. As a father of two, Dr. Deane advises parents to “free up children to make decisions that will make them happy and encourage them to pursue their future.” He admits the parent-child relationship is constantly changing but it is important to find “a balance between just being there for them and intervening in their life choices.” In order to ensure that students have an ample amount of available choices, Dr. Deane plans to facilitate undergraduate and masters student research. By allowing students to pursue their interests, he hopes to make McMaster a place where “students have the best possible experience to get the best possible future opportunities.”
“Universities and students have huge potential, extraordinary concentration, liveliness and ingenuity. Starting my education in an oppressive society, I think that sometimes we take this for granted but it’s an essential part of a university life”
After a multitude of life and professional experiences, Dr. Deane is no stranger to options and diverse interests. He explains that students should look at University like a “buffet” of education and make an attempt to try everything. “Be thoughtful about who you are and your interests and go after them” and eventually you’ll find something to satisfy your hunger.
Interview by Dheeraj Dhull, written by Ishani Nath
To Be or Not To Be Stressed?!
With term papers due, mid-term exams beginning and yes, final exams on the horizon – you may sense stress levels rising for your son or daughter. Here are a few tips you can gently nudge your student with to help them prevent and manage stressful times ahead.
Remind your student to:
Work and Study Smarter
Time management is key; structuring study time; setting priorities and goals, and preparing summary notes. Cramming is a sure way to send test anxiety through the roof. Encourage them to be proactive, and take steps to overcome any problems early on. They can take action by asking for help from a classmate, a professor, or at the Centre for Student Development (http://csd.mcmaster.ca/academic)
Forgoing sleep is the most common thing that students do when faced with many demands. However, sleep has an impact on learning, memory and efficiency. Counsel them to avoid the all-nighters
7-8 hours is good.
Most people find their eating habits change during high stress times - resorting to eating too little, too much or the wrong foods. To get the most out of studying, our bodies and our brains need energy. Not eating right can lead to feeling tired, headaches, losing concentration easily, and studying less effectively. Recommend that they:
- Eat a well-balanced diet and drink lots of water.
- Limit caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, and pop). Caffeine and sugar are often seen as ‘survival’ items during study sessions, but they don’t really help as much as you think. It may give a short boost, but the energy drop that follows can leave one feeling lethargic and ready for a nap.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Eat moderate amounts at regular times.
Giving your body (and mind) a workout will boost energy, clear the mind, and help to reduce stress. So encourage your son or daughter to head for the Pulse, go for a walk, dance or organize a pick up game of basketball. Allowing time for fun and relaxation will help to avoid burnout and allow them to refocus.
Take Some Time for Themselves
You are not going to do your best work if you are at it 24/7. Listening to music, reading a book, spending time with family and friends, or doing something for someone else are all good ways to re-energize.
Keep Things in Perspective and Balance
We should all aim to do our best, but be reasonable about the demands we place upon ourselves. By planning for and keeping balance in their work, social and personal needs (sleep, eating, exercise) your student can tackle the next several weeks ahead with confidence. They can manage their stress!!!
If your son and daughter are struggling with their physical, emotional or mental health, encourage them to seek guidance and care. It is never too soon to do so. The following resources are good places to start:
Campus Health Centre (www.mcmaster.ca/health)
Medical Clinic (MUSC B101), ext.27700
Health and Wellness Office (MUSC B106), ext.23312
Centre for Student Development (http://csd.mcmaster.ca) (MUSC B107), ext.24711
You or your McMaster student may find just the right helpful information and resources needed by browsing through our Health Talk @Mac newsletter. Take a look, and encourage them too as well!
Health Talk @Mac Newsletter, September 2010 issue: http://www.mcmaster.ca/health/healthtalk/newsletter.html
Submitted by Kathryn Patterson, BNScn, RN
Manager, Health & Wellness
Student Success Centre
This past September 14th featured the grand opening of the Student Success Centre, conveniently located next to the Student Centre in Gilmour Hall 110. The opening ceremony featured speeches from Phil Wood, Dean of Students and AVP Student Affairs, as well as MSU President, Mary Kozio. Speeches were followed by a ribbon cutting officially opening the centre.
The aim of the Student Success Centre is to support students from the time they accept an offer of admission, all the way through to graduation as they transition and become the new successful leaders of tomorrow.
Students and staff in attendance were encouraged to populate a bulletin board indicating "What student success means to me...". Submissions included: "Enjoying the Learning", "Having Fun and Experiencing Life", "Feel good about who I am and what I am doing", "Being able to recognize the opportunities in everything", and "Discovering Myself". Although not quite ready in time for the grand opening, the centre now boasts a new Smart Board in its meeting room, enhancing the delivery of workshops and programs for students. Encourage your student to explore what the centre has to offer.
DeGroote School of Business Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington
On October 7th McMaster's satellite campus in Burlington celebrated its grand opening. The DeGroote School of Business Ron Joyce Centre has been designed to meet the needs of graduate management students and executives, providing a learning environment reflective of that used in leading corporations. Currently the centre offers MBA programs with Co-op, full-time, part-time and accelerated options, both degree and non-degree.
Proper course selection
Proper course selection allows students to complete their degree requirements in a timely way. Students require the correct combination of the courses, completed number of units and appropriate grades in order to be considered for entry into their level II degree programs. Academic Advisors in each Faculty/program are available to discuss any questions about these matters.
Course Drop and Add
Students can add, drop or cancel courses within certain timeframes in each term. Courses are dropped or cancelled for a variety of reasons including avoidance of the academic penalty of a low or failing grade. Academic Advisors are able to answer questions in regards to the impact of course changes on such things as level II program admission, full-time or part-time status and degree completion.
Students are charged for all courses in which they remain registered. There are no course charges for ‘dropped’ courses. There are partial course charges for ‘cancelled’ courses based on the date of the cancellation. The last date to cancel a term 1 course is November 12, 2010. The 2010/2011 Undergraduate Course Cancellation Schedule can be found at
http://www.mcmaster.ca/bms/student/pdf/fees_cancellation.pdf. Please note that ‘dropped’ courses are removed from the student’s academic record and ‘cancelled’ courses will be noted on the academic record but no grade will be recorded for them.
Sessional dates for the 2010/11 Fall/Winter and 2011 Spring/Summer sessions are located at http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/registered/sessional.html. These dates indicate such things as when classes begin and end in each term, when students can add, drop or cancel courses, examination periods, and dates that the University is closed. These schedules allow students to plan around their academics. Please note that students must be available during the examination period and that the University will make no accommodation for missed work due to personal travel.
Submitted by Darlene Hayward
Academic Advisor, Faculty of Humanities
20 million scholarly articles now available where you are
McMaster University Library is pleased to announce that all of its Scholars Portal academic journals are now easily accessible from a mobile device such as a Smartphone. This is certainly good news at this busy time of year when many McMaster students are writing papers, completing assignments and need access to peer-reviewed academic research resources.
In order to access the Scholars Portal journals, McMaster students, faculty and staff can simply visit Journals @ Scholars Portal on a mobile device and click the "Mobile" link in the upper right corner of the screen.
The latest search interface for Scholars Portal journals also features an enhanced Browse results screen with a Journal Information tab that lists the publisher, publication frequency, classification code, and peer-review status of a journal (information is not yet available for all journals, but is constantly being added so that future releases will have more data.) The Browse screen also now provides easy marking of records for saving, printing, or emailing.
Scholars Portal provides access to some 8400 journals across the disciplines, with nearly 20 million fulltext articles: now available where you are.
Academic dishonesty is a very serious offense that may result in penalties and could lead to expulsion. McMaster University strives to assist students with issues of academic integrity. The Office of Academic Integrity provides students with:
- information that will help them interpret the Academic Integrity Policy
- on-line videos on plagiarism
- quizzes to test their knowledge of academic integrity
- guidance if they are accused of academic dishonesty
- examples of inappropriate collaboration
Encourage your son/daughter to be informed about academic integrity by visiting the website http://www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity/.
Programs & Services
McMaster Granted over $700,000 for First Generation Programs (2010-2011)
The Student Success Center has partnered with the Faculty of Social Sciences for the next two years in offering programs and services to First Generation (FG) students attending McMaster University. McMaster has delivered a FG program for the past three years but this will be the first time Social Science students will have targeted FG programming.
A First Generation student is defined as, “a student who is admitted and enrolled in a program of instruction offered by McMaster (or other post-secondary institutions funded for FG programs) and whose parent(s) / guardian(s) has/have not attended a post-secondary institution… Postsecondary attendance means parent(s) / guardian(s) who have attended (but not necessarily having obtained a credential) any institution of higher education in Ontario or elsewhere including outside Canada after high school (includes programs that lead to a postsecondary credential e.g. degree, diploma, certificate).
The objectives of this project are to increase the retention rates for FG students, increase their graduation rates and to inform the government of the effectiveness of support programs to help FG students be more successful at university. Retention programs at McMaster will include social networking opportunities, a peer mentoring program, and information workshops dealing with common academic concerns such as library research skills and writing skills. Support around career and employment issues such as resume critiquing and career planning will be offered by the Student Success Centre. In addition, Social Science FG students will have the support of Academic Advisors, identifying students at risk, providing interventions to get them back on track academically.
Supporting FG students is important at McMaster and these programs are possible only through the funding provided by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
What’s new in Disability Services
Disability Services continues in its efforts to facilitate learning and development for students with disabilities. A multi-pronged approach is being taken to directly support students with disabilities, addressing such questions as ‘How does one support academic skills development while encouraging independent learning?’, and ‘How can we further the McMaster community to be aware and educated on these complex issues?’ .
Through the work-study program, students are employed within Disability Services and given the opportunity to contribute to answering questions like those mentioned above. The student voice is an invaluable part of the work that we do, and is an important part of our programs such as HYPE, disability awareness, and disability workshops.
HYPE (Helping You Personalize Education) is a summer transition program led by learning disability specialist Mei-Ju Shih. The program successfully ran again this past August with the aim of helping students with disabilities transition to university. In conjunction with HYPE, the same team of students launched Learn2Learn.ca, an online tool for building academic and independent learning skills.
Other endeavours such as a disability workshop series on topics like ‘I’m wondering if I have a learning disability’ and ‘Writing that winning paper’ are geared to address common concerns that students are facing. Maintaining a dialogue with instructors on disability issues is another way to approach the concerns of students with disabilities: This September we launched the ‘Yellow File’, a practical tool for instructors to address common questions on disability and accommodating students.
Furthermore, a poster campaign seeking to raise awareness on issues facing students such as accessibility, and stigma has been put out to the McMaster community.
For more information please visit our web site at http://csd.mcmaster.ca/sswd.html - soon to be re-launched with the goal of simplicity and ease!
Submitted by Clark Cipryk
Centre for Student Development
Policies and Procedures
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
Undergraduate students who have missed academic work due to an absence can now use the improved online self-reporting tool called the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF).
The MSAF is available to undergraduate students whose absence is five days or less in duration. Students will list the work they have missed, by course, into the system and an email request for relief will automatically be sent to the course instructor or designate.
It will continue to be the responsibility of the student to follow up with his/her instructor to discuss the nature of the relief.
If a student's absence is longer than five days, he/she will be instructed to obtain appropriate documentation and report to his/her associate dean's office. The same will occur if a student attempts to self-report more than twice per term, or during the final examination period. Faculty offices will then determine whether relief should be approved. When potential abuse of the self-reporting tool is detected, the request for relief will be denied and the student will be asked to meet with the associate or assistant dean.
Please note that the MSAF is not intended to address accommodations due to disabilities. The Centre for Student Development will continue to assess students for disability related issues and will provide them with the necessary documentation.
Storm Emergency Policy and Procedures
The University will “close” because of severe winter weather when normal operation would pose a danger to students, staff and faculty (including Mohawk students at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences) while on campus or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes.
When the University is “closed”:
- classes are not held
- meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled
- all areas and operations not defined as “essential” are closed
- examinations are cancelled and rescheduled
- deadlines for student assignments and other submissions due on a “closed” day are postponed until the same hour on the next academic day on which the University is not “closed”
- deadlines for job applications and other employment requirements are postponed to the same time on the next business day on which the University is not “closed”
To determine whether the University is closed check the McMaster homepage, Daily News or check for announcements concerning closings on:
- OLDIES 1150 am/K LITE 102.9 fm
- CHAM 820 am
- CHML 900 am/Y108 107.9 fm
- CFMU 93.3 fm
- WAVE 94.7 fm
- CFMU 93.3 fm
Read the full Storm Emergency Policy and Procedures.
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