Background

Physical and Occupational Therapy students Julie Letendre, Marie-France Laurin, Sarah-Ann Duchesne and Maximilian Zucchi make their way to class in the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building. (CLAUDIO CALLIGARIS)

Composition

The Task Force was composed of individuals from the McGill community, who had broad experience of, and/or a demonstrated interest in, issues affecting student life and learning, including students, faculty members and members of the administrative and support staff of the University. Each member also served on one of five working groups, two of which were chaired by students, two by faculty members, and one by a member of the administrative staff.

Working Groups

In light of the nature of McGill’s campuses, the international orientation of McGill University and the very rapid transition to electronic interaction within our community, the following themes were addressed by the working groups:

Working Group A: The Place of Students in the McGill Community
Where and how can McGill be more supportive of the academic life of our students, including transitions into and out of the University?

Working Group B: Administrative Supports: Personal Well-being, Counseling and Special Support in Times of Personal Crisis; Residences; Financial Assistance
What range of other services linked to student life and learning does and should the University offer students to ensure their personal well-being, as well as to assist in times of personal crisis, should these occur? What levels of financial assistance are we currently offering, what is the level of student need, how can we best bridge the gap?

Working Group C: Diversity among our Students and the Internationalization of Education
How can the University administration best foster sensitivity to cultural and personal differences in the delivery of academic and other administrative supports to our students, while respecting our primary academic purposes? How can we best provide an internationally informed experience for McGill students, both in terms of experience abroad and in the content of campus-based programs?

Working Group D: McGill University and the Quebec Experience
How can we enhance relations between students from Quebec and students from outside Quebec and enrich the Quebec experience for students coming to McGill from outside the province?

Working Group E: The E-experience
What is the optimal role of e-interaction between students and the University? How effective are the various ways in which students deal with the administration electronically? What additional services and information could most effectively be provided via the web? What is the impact of electronic aids to teaching on student life and learning?

Terms of Reference

The Task Force on Student Life and Learning at McGill sought views broadly in the McGill community on the most effective ways to resource and structure University administrative support and services so as to deliver services that further enhance student life and learning. It considered how we can most effectively frame our standards and goals for the delivery of services to our students in a secular setting. It sought input from students, individually and through their representative organizations.

In carrying out the mandate, members of the Task Force paid close attention to the different perspectives of full-time and part-time students, undergraduate and graduate students, students in professional faculties, Quebec students, Canadians from outside Quebec and international students, as well as the experiences of students who are members of minority groups. The Task Force aimed to report its findings and make recommendations in the fall term of 2006.

The Task Force considered and made recommendations on:

  • The aspirations of McGill with respect to student life and student learning
  • How best to structure services so as to foster the optimal personal well-being and active engagement of our students, not only within the McGill community, but in the broader community as well;
  • The range, structure and delivery of services and support currently provided to students at McGill University and at our peer institutions;
  • The optimal administrative requirements, including structures and guidelines, for planning and achieving the most effective and efficient delivery of student services at McGill. These must be realistic with respect to constraints imposed by our best estimates of our resources over the next five to ten years, but must also be ambitious.
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