Welcome from the Dean
As Dean of Students I would like to welcome you to the McMaster community. It is rewarding for me personally and for our staff to see the excitement of the new students as they begin the next stage in life -- their university career and to share in their development during their time at McMaster.
I hope that parents of incoming students had the opportunity to attend the information sessions provided through the Summer Orientation Program. Student Affairs is committed to providing students with the quality services they need and expect, and is excited to launch the new “Student Success Centre”. This new initiative offers a coordinated, collaborative approach to supporting students in their success as individuals, as citizens and as members of the vibrant McMaster community. Please drop by the Centre located in Gilmour Hall Room 110 on Welcome Day, August 6th, and tour our new facility.
We are parents too and face the same concerns you have. Like you we are here to provide guidance and support. From time to time you may have questions, concerns or just need some information. Our parent website at http://studentaffairs.mcmaster.ca/parents/ is full of information specifically for parents. We also send out a quarterly newsletter to parents that can be found at http://studentaffairs.mcmaster.ca/parents/news.html. Please consider signing up for the newsletter if you haven’t already done so. Finally, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (905) 525-9140, Ext.27455.
Dean of Students
Mac in a Minute Video
Dr. Rick Mercer joins us for McMaster Convocation 2010 and accepts his Honorary Doctorate.
Written by John Popham. Directed by Kyle Kuchmey.
LINK TO VIDEO
The Student Success Centre has compiled a calendar for parents showing important dates and deadlines, events of interest as well as other useful information to help keep you informed and your student on track. To download the entire calendar or individual months visit http://studentaffairs.mcmaster.ca/parents/important_dates.html. This link also directs to more detailed links regarding academic dates and deadlines, exam dates as well as sessional dates and dates of interest to students in residence.
Patrick Deane is the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University. He began his five-year term on July 1, 2010.
Dr. Deane came to McMaster from Queen’s University, where he served a five-year term as vice-principal (Academic).
More on McMaster's new president.
Student Success Centre
The Department of Student Affairs is committed to providing students with the quality services they need and expect, and is excited to announce the creation of a “Student Success Centre”. The Centre will be located in Gilmour Hall Room 110 and will be open for Welcome Day @ Mac tours on Friday, August 6th.
The new Student Success Centre will support students from the time they consider McMaster and accept our offer to attend, through their years at the University as they make choices, deal with issues and improve skills that will prepare them for future success upon graduation. Staff in the Centre will develop orientation programs, assist students to understand academic expectations and the skills they will need and how to develop them, provide leadership development opportunities, service-learning and volunteer experiences (both locally and abroad), career and employment services, including career groups, workshops and working abroad opportunities, as well as career coaching for our recent graduates.
Lyons New Media Centre coming to Mills Library
Over the summer, the University Library is opening a state-of-the art facility in Mills Library to house the Lyons New Media Centre. New and returning students will likely have their first glimpse at the new centre when they return this fall and they’re sure to be excited about the new services and spaces available to them, which include:
- support and consultation for a wide range of digital media projects, including video and audio editing, graphics and web page design
- short courses on editing video, creating DVDs and producing podcasts
- a scholarly collection of DVDs and CDs (including the Lyons media collection)
- access to software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver, as well as Apple’s iLife suite (iMovie, Garage Band, etc.)
Spaces will include video and audio editing workstations, group viewing rooms, video-gaming rooms, and a small media teaching centre. A variety of equipment will be made available for students and faculty, including portable audio recorders, high-definition camcorders and a green screen.
The Centre will feature a large video wall to showcase the media creation process, highlight faculty and student research, display faculty and student media projects and other media rich presentations. We also hope to offer seminars, workshops and guest lectures.
First Year Orientation
For new students and parents, participating in orientation activities can have a significant impact on successfully managing the transition to university. Orientation helps students learn about the university community, including both the culture of student life and the physical layout of the campus. These programs also introduce students and parents to the services and resources that are available to support their success. Students are educated on the common challenges they may face and learn strategies to deal with them effectively.
Themes that are addressed at orientation include Academic Success and we invite McMaster professors, library staff and other academic experts to deliver presentations and get involved in the program. We also teach students about the importance of setting goals, academically and personally, to help them visualize and define their desired pathway of success. We provide opportunities for students to meet each other and begin developing new friendships that are a critical part of building a new social network that will provide students with the peer support that is so important to their success.
We also provide tours of the residences and local community so students can become familiar with their soon to be surroundings. Students can attend workshops about financial aid opportunities and life in residence or off-campus. They can hear from panels of university staff and upper year students about what to expect from university life. At the Information Fair students and parents will be able to get answers to questions and learn about the resources available on and off campus.
And we also offer a series of events and activities the week prior to classes beginning that are designed to help students feel like McMaster is a familiar place with people they know and are friends with, and like a second home. Students need to feel like they have a meaningful place in the university community to begin feeling a sense of independence and responsibility for themselves, while knowing there is a support network on which they can rely.
Residence Move-in Procedures
It’s time to think about Moving to Mac!
All first year students will move into their assigned residence on Labour Day weekend.
Saturday September 4:
Sunday September 5
||M E Keyes
Move in for all upper year students living in any residence is Monday September 6.
Start planning now for what to bring, and just as importantly, what to leave at home!
Detailed information about move-in times and directions will be e-mailed directly to your student in early August so please encourage them to check their accounts regularly.
Move-in tips and information will be posted on our website in early August.
Check it out: housing.mcmaster.ca.
Tips for Off-Campus Living
Back to school is upon us again! But this time, instead of backpacks and binders being the number one concern, you have much more to think about with your child entering university; even more so if your son or daughter is going to be living off-campus. At the Off-Campus Resource Centre (OCRC) we have all the resources you need to prepare your child for a successful off-campus living experience in Hamilton. The OCRC office is located in the student centre basement in room B112. Along with our online student rental listings (www.macoffcampus.ca) , our staff also offers help with any lease or general housing issues that may arise throughout the year. The online student listing provides an extensive up-to-date listing of available student housing in Hamilton. Students can search housing based on price, location, or even number of bedrooms in a house or apartment.
Your son or daughter needs to know that they can have an awesome Off-Campus Experience (OCE), which they can learn more about through the OCE website - www.macoce.ca – which contains tips for an entire year of living off-campus in Hamilton.
And to kick things off on the right foot and ease the transition, all first year off-campus students – whether living in Mississauga, Oakville or Hamilton – are encouraged to participate fully in Welcome Week. The best way to do that is to buy a MacPass (available at http://fye.mcmaster.ca) and then also buy a membership to the Society of Off-Campus Students (SOCS) for just $5 more. The SOCS membership includes many benefits for an entire year of activities and student discounts. Visit www.socs.ca for details.
Each Faculty provides students with access to academic counselling from professional Academic Advisors who can provide assistance in many areas including:
- course and program selection
- registration procedures
- preparation for a wide variety of post-degree initiatives, including graduate studies, professional studies and vocation
- comprehensive academic direction that spans a student’s undergraduate educational career to help prepare for lifetime success
- sensitive and encouraging alternatives for those who have not met their academic goals
- admission information including assessment of advance credit for applicants from a wide range of educational sources
- advice, referrals and options provided in one-on-one, small group and large group sessions
- petitions for Special Consideration for students in distress
- petitions for missed term work and deferred examinations
- study elsewhere options including McMaster Exchanges and Letters of Permission
- appeal procedures
- referrals to a multitude of support services on campus
Getting ready for September?
How to choose the right computer for University
Before shopping for a computer, we encourage you to visit MacMicro, McMaster University’s on campus computer store to discuss the school’s recommendations for each program.
Our on-site service and friendly, non-commissioned sales staff are here to help recommend the system that is right for your student.
Deciding between a laptop or desktop / Mac or PC?
Laptop vs. Desktop
If you are on the fence about getting a laptop or a desktop, take into consideration how much you will be traveling, whether that be to class or back home for the weekend. A desktop may offer more value when looking at sheer computing power, but you can’t just throw your desktop in your backpack and make a presentation in class.
Apple vs. PC
One thing to consider when deciding between a Mac and PC is what is the industry standard for the field of study your student is entering? Traditionally Windows PCs have been the best choice for business while Apples have been considered a superior graphics machine but climate has changed a bit when you factor in virtualization tools like Parallels or Bootcamp.
The team at MacMicro can discuss your needs as well as the pros and cons between the two systems. Our sales people in MacMicro were and are McMaster students and are familiar with McMaster’s networks. We work directly with professors and the University Technology Service Department to ensure we stock computers that fit our students’ needs.
In the end it comes down to preference; we carry Apple to Toshiba to IBM / Lenovo and Fujitsu and more to ensure we have the systems on hand that best fit our students’ requirements.
It’s all in the software
Your computer is only useful if you have the right software. MacMicro offers student discount on essential software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe and TrendMicro Anti-Virus (McMaster University’s official Antivirus).
Don’t forget the details
Because we deal with McMaster students every day we can also help make sure your student has all the little things that are easy to overlook but make setting up their study area a whole lot easier, like power bars, laptop locks, flash drives, extra printer paper and ink.
There are already enough challenges in the first year of university. We make sure that computers and computer supplies aren’t one of them. See our Back to School Flyer for Educational Deals and more information
CONTACT US TODAY!
(905) 525-9140, ext. 24751 option 4,1
A Week at Mills Library Will Soon Be Two Days Longer:
Mills Learning Commons Goes 24/5 Starting September 2010
The Library has good news for new and returning students in Fall 2010. Starting September 13th, the Mills Learning Commons will remain open 24 hours a day during the week from Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, it will remain open until 2am. As usual, once the exam period begins in early December, the hours will shift to 24/7.
The move has been made in response to student requests for more late night study space and means that the Library is open an astounding 51 extra hours a week! That's almost an addition of two days worth of studying time.
Former McMaster Students Union President, Vishal Tiwari commented that, "In these past few years especially, McMaster students have witnessed a progressive transformation in their libraries in accommodating student needs, in spite of the difficult economic situation faced by the University. The move to the 24/5 Mills Learning Commons is a fantastic step in assuring unparalleled access to one of the top libraries in the country. McMaster is demonstrating its commitment to continuously bettering the quality of education on our campus."
The Library first began extending the hours in the Learning Commons in the Spring 2007 exam period, less than a year after the space had been renovated, and successfully experimented with opening 24/7 during the Spring 2009 exam period.
Budgeting for the Academic Year
As each new school year begins, it is important for students to evaluate their financial situation and prepare a financial plan that will cover their costs during the academic year.
Budgeting is about understanding the difference between income and expenses. To budget effectively, a person must realize the difference between the amount of resources available to them (earned or saved) and the total cost of their essential expenses. Suggest that your student visit McMaster University’s Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarship’s website to try their online interactive budget builder and play the online budgeting game… Budget BONANZA. Both contain tips and advice to help students build a budget and make wise choices to get them through their academic year.
An effective budget will balance expenses with resources. If a student’s expenses exceed resources, the student must immediately formulate a reasonable plan to either decrease expenses or increase income.
Share these ideas with your son/daughter to assist him/her in balancing their budget.
Tips for Decreasing Expenses
- Clip store & manufacturer coupons to save on the cost of grocery and personal items. Read advertising flyers to search for the best deals on items.
- Stick with BASIC services. Avoid expensive elaborate options for cable, TV & telephone service.
- Reduce minimum monthly required payments by using credit cards only in emergency situations.
- Use your student bus pass - a great alternative to spending money on gas & parking.
- Carpool with friends if commuting.
- Eat nutritious meals at home instead of splurging on meals at a restaurant. (eg. You can buy a whole bag of bagels that will last you one week for the same cost as purchasing one bagel at your local donut shop. Those daily coffees can add up too! Make coffee at home to take with you on the go.)
- Purchase used textbooks.
- Pay student account and other bills on time to avoid unnecessary interest charges.
- Look for 'student discounts' offered by many merchants.
- Return library books on time to avoid unnecessary late fees.
Paying for University
Paying for university can be a stressful time for both students and parents. We want to help you get through this very exciting, but sometimes complicated time of year.
Information and Communication is the Key!
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) is in place to protect the confidential information of your son or daughter. Our friendly staff will be happy to decipher any of the general information or processes you see on our website. However, for specific account information, we are required to speak directly to the student. For more details, please click FIPPA
It’s a student’s responsibility to ensure that all Dates and Deadlines are met, payments toward fees have been received by McMaster and to monitor their Account Statement on a regular basis. We encourage you to go through our web pages with your son/daughter to discuss what information is important to you, and to discuss how and when they can provide you with this information. We have found that parents who make plans with their son/daughter have the best success in managing their student account.
Our website is a great source of information for parents. From our Home page, you can access both our Student Page as well as a Parent’s Page, which was designed from frequent parent questions. http://www.mcmaster.ca/bms/student/index.htm
Arrange Online Payments
McMaster’s preferred method of payment is through INTERAC Online or regular online banking. Details on these Payment Methods and others are explained on our website. Online payments are very quick, safe and secure so you can have peace of mind by paying by this convenient method. Sorry, credit card payments are NOT accepted.
R.E.S.P.’s (Registered Education Savings Plan)
If your child has an RESP available to them, they should be inquiring now on what is required to access the funds before the payment deadline date of September 1st. Many RESP providers require a form in order to release.
RESP forms for undergraduate students are completed by the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar’s Office requires the student’s signature either on the form or an accompanying cover letter as authorization to release the academic information before processing.
Forms can be dropped off at the Registrar’s Office in Gilmour Hall, Room 108 (forms can be deposited into the Drop-Off Box located outside the doors after business hours). Please call the Registrar’s Office for additional information at (905) 525-4600 or (905) 525-9140, Ext.24796.
The Payment Agreement
The Payment Agreement is mandatory part of the registration process and is completed immediately after your child finishes selecting their courses. It serves as a contract between the student and McMaster where they agree to pay their fees. The student will be asked to select a Payment Plan before confirming, so if you will be involved in the payment process, we encourage you to discuss which Payment Plan best suits your financial abilities before he/she goes on to register. Changes can be made and Payment Agreements can be updated as many times as necessary, up to and including September 1st. We recommend each student print and keep a copy of the last updated Payment Agreement because all important messages for follow up will be there. If your student is having trouble with the Payment Agreement, we have a guide to help.
Payment in Full or the initial payment of any Flex Plan is due no later than September 1st
Student Accounts and Cashiers
Health and Dental Insurance Plan
The McMaster Students Union (MSU) administers the health insurance/dental plan for undergraduate students. Please ensure that if your son/daughter does not wish to participate in the Plan they “opt-out” by the September 30th deadline. Here is a link to more information www.msumcmaster.ca/services/health.
Making Good Decisions
In many ways learning at McMaster transcends the classroom. One way Student Affairs has been working hard to help students meet their goals is through teaching students how to make effective decisions themselves.
We can all relate to the feeling of making a decision that in hindsight we regret. Whether a big one, like a career choice, or an everyday matter – like what to have (or not to have) for lunch –
we are all human and will make some poorer choices from time to time. However, even a poor choice represents an opportunity to learn.
Using some classic problem solving tools called “Interest Based Problems Solving”, Student Affairs is helping students across the University reflect on how they make choices, both big and small. Students are taught how to make decisions that are in their own best interest by first determining what their goals are and what they ultimately want for themselves.
We all know that it is much easier to pick your courses if you know what degree you want. We all know that it is much easier to tackle hard work if you know it will lead to an outcome you want. The same principle can apply to any decision – establish your goals and use them to make decisions that will help you get there. This can include what career you want, what marks you desire, how you want others to perceive you and even what type of person you want to be!
If what you want is clear in your mind, it is much easier to make some decisions that are not so palatable in the short-term. You can make hard decisions because you understand that they will help you ultimately get what you want and be who you want to be. That makes the difficult decisions much more comfortable to accept which is something that dozens of McMaster students learn every year.
Value of Volunteering
Is your son or daughter looking for a meaningful way to get involved on campus and gain valuable knowledge outside the classroom? The best way, by far, to get involved in campus life, gain hands on experience, build a resume and make a connection that will last a life time is through volunteer opportunities. Many students don’t realize that the connection to their dream job is right under their nose, personally rewarding and 100% free!
The secret to a successful volunteer experience is matching volunteer work with academic interests and finding a volunteer opportunity that will help achieve future goals. Volunteerism is a fantastic method of personal empowerment and self-esteem building. It provides an opportunity to get involved on campus and in the community. Volunteering is not only good for the community or organization you are helping, it is good for you! By helping others, students often feel a higher sense of personal accomplishment. So, whether your favourite Mac student is looking to give back to the community, boost their esteem or resume, meet new people, develop transferable skills or get more involved at Mac and in the Hamilton community, encourage them to check out the various Volunteer Opportunities offered at Mac!
Rights and Responsibilities
What happens when one roommate wants to go to sleep every night at 10 pm and the other is a night owl? What happens when one campus group passionately believes in one side of an issue and another group defends the other side? At McMaster, Student Affairs believes in educating students that the rights they hold as students and citizens are accompanied by responsibilities to be respectful to others around them and to the community as a whole.
Both the Residence Code of Conduct (RCC) and the Student Code of Conduct (SCC) contain a "Statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities" which is one way McMaster encourages students to embrace their own rights while also respecting the rights of others. For example, this document states that the right “to participate unhindered in the academic, intellectual, cultural and social life of the University” comes along with the responsibility “to respect the rights of others to the same participation”; the right “to the safety and security of your person in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, discrimination or assault” comes with the responsibility “to treat others with respect”.
Several of the programs linked to the newly created Student Success Centre specifically focus on increasing respectful interactions amongst community members and creating a culture of civic engagement at McMaster. Service learning trips in Canada and abroad, decision-making workshops, the processes for addressing student behaviour under the RCC and the SCC and a host of volunteer opportunities all encourage students to reflect on how their behaviour and choices impact others around them and around the world.
Growing the capacity for respectful interaction and civility in our students is important to McMaster. For, isn't learning to deeply respect individual rights as well as to embrace responsibilities to others what will lead our students into success in their future careers, families, goals and lives?
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