Shortly after the Quebec government suspended activities at universities in March 2020, McGill moved teaching and many of its services online so that students could complete the Winter term. The University recognized early on that it would need a plan to support student engagement and social connection in this new environment, as they constitute an important part of our students’ experience at McGill.
The Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning) formed the Student Engagement Collective (SEC) in spring 2020 with a mandate to create a remote McGill experience for students that would contribute to their success both inside and outside the virtual classroom.
Martine Gauthier, Executive Director of Student Services, and Gillian Nycum, University Registrar, lead the Collective with leaders from Student Life & Learning and other units from across the University. The SEC also consists of:
- A Student Advisory Committee, with representation from our various student societies to guide the process and embed a student voice and perspective throughout all parts of the Collective
- A planning group to determine the framework(s) informing the collective and resultant implementation of plans
- Multiple working groups to address specific areas of focus, such as:
- Needs Assessment;
- Faculty Engagement;
- Peer Supports;
- Academic Skillsets;
- Virtual Communities;
- Experiential Learning & Employment;
- Resiliency; and
- IT Platforms.
- Faculty Coordination Groups to address faculty-specific needs and carry forth initiatives throughout the academic environment.
After meeting extensively over the course of the spring and summer, several initiatives were rolled out to engage students and expand upon the remote learning experience. These include:
- The Remote Student Life website, compiling key information and resources specific to the remote experience across all facets of student life
- Multiple assessment exercises to understand COVID-19 impacts on students, what students plans for the Fall 2020 semester may look like for them, and a mid-semester check-in during Fall 2020 to better shape offerings for the upcoming Winter semester
- A completely remote Orientation experience for incoming undergraduate and graduate students
- A robust Student Engagement Toolkit for faculty to guide engaging teaching and learning activities in a remote environment
- An extensive two-day remote training for Peer Supporters offered by the Student Wellness Hub’s Healthy Living Annex in collaboration with the McGill Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education
- Consolidated outgoing communications from all SLL units to incoming undergraduate and graduate students throughout the summer
Many of the Student Engagement Collective working groups continue to meet and explore ways to maintain engagement opportunities for students and provide opportunities for success as the academic year continues in a mostly remote format.
To get involved or for more information, contact caroline.arpin [at] mcgill.ca (Caroline Arpin).