UCAN Lead Conference

2013 ConferenceTakeAway

Overall feedback for the first UCAN conference was very positive and many ideas for future topics have been received.  98% of survey responders had a “take away” value from one or more of the sessions they attended and 99% would attend again. A summary of the presentations is listed below.

Leadership is an Art

Ron Wuotila, Director of Athletics, University of Calgary gave an inspiring presentation on being a leader in our roles as advisors, as well as on how advisors are fundamental to building the leaders of the future.

Recommended reading: Leadership is an Art by Max De Pree

Ron Wuotila’s Leadership Presentation

Nanako Furuyama (Women’s Resource Centre), Cate Hannington (Native Centre), Glynn Hunter (University of Calgary International), and Merlin Keillor (Disability Resource Centre) led a panel discussion on common challenges for International students, including language barriers; cultural diversity; mental health; and supporting the LBGTQ student population.

Gareth McVicar, Manager, Leadership, Training and Development, Centre for Leadership and Community Engagement led advisors through a set of activities to generate discussion on leadership and explore the connection between leadership and advising at the University of Calgary.

Ana Popovic, Special Projects Coordinator, from Student and Enrolment Services led a focus group discussion on the current climate of advising at the U of C. The information gathered will be shared with the Office of the Vice Provost, Student Experience.

Sherryl Melnyk, PhD Candidate, and Instructor in the Department of Drama provided an insightful presentation about happiness and some factors that influence student views with an inspirational W Mitchell video.

W Mitchell Video

Members of the Student Success Centre and the Scholar’s Academy Program guided a session for advisors to discuss current issues for At-Risk Students, Early Warning, and High Achieving Students. The group was able to share personal experiences, best practices, learn from a variety of perspectives, and search for answers to common problems.

Parenting with Love andLogic

Monique O’Sullivan, Mount Royal University, provided a presentation on the evolution of parenting, how the helicopter parent came to be, and some guidelines on how to successfully interact with them.

Recommended reading: Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by F. Cline and J. Fay

To contact Monique regarding questions and/or feedback, please email helicopterparents@hotmail.com

The UCAN Steering Committee would like to thank all presenters and the following for their gracious support:
Susan Barker, Vice-Provost (Student Experience)
Lynn Taylor, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning)
Bill Laing, Department of Art
The City of Calgary, Office of the Mayor
Faculty of Social Work
University of Calgary Bookstore
The School of Public Policy
AUPE Calgary Area Council

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UCAN LEAD: February 21, 2013 Conference


Upcoming Conference at University of Calgary
February 21, 2013

  Please click on this link for conference details:  UCAN Lead Agenda
The invitation to register will be emailed the last week of January
to the UCAN-L mailman list.

Registration limited to 150, so register early.

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Supporting Students from Different Religious Backgrounds

Supporting Students from Different Religious Backgrounds
A part of the ‘Advise the Advisor’ series
Presented by: Adriana Tulissi, Imam Fayaz Tilly, Rev. Kelly Johnson, and Oren Steinitz
Thursday, January 31, 2013

fsc services2

The Faith and Spirituality Centre (FSC), part of the SU Wellness Centre, is located in MSC 373. It is a valuable resource for our diverse campus community. Accommodation of religion – including native spirituality, falls under the Alberta Human Rights Legislation. The FSC facilitates spaces for prayer and meditation in addition to a variety of services open to students, faculty and staff. There are a number of religious observances such as prayers and fasting that can impact a student’s academic life. A list of multi-faith Holy Days are listed on the University Calendar. If students are seeking accommodation for religious reasons or are wishing to connect with a community, please refer them to the Faith & Spirituality Centre.

FSC GroupFSC Group1


 Recommended Readings:

Alberta Human Rights Legislation
Interpretive Bulletins:
Duty to Accommodate
Duty to Accommodate Students with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Institutions

Canadian Human Rights Commission
Information sheets:
Duty to Accommodate Fact Sheet
What is our responsibility in accommodating religious observances and practices and knowing when a practice is a requirement of a religion? – (employment)

Government of Canada
Guide to Religions in Canada – this guide provides descriptions, rituals, dress requirements, major celebrations or observances, dietary requirements, medical, health and death requirements for most of the main religious groups in Canada.

Faith & Spirituality Centre
We are in the works of developing resources to support students from different religious traditions.  Please check back on our website for those resources.
Prayer/Meditation Spaces and Exam Accommodation Info

Presentation by Adriana Tulissi

Blog posted by: Tammy Wong
Photos by: David Bininda

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Aboriginal Awareness

Aboriginal Awareness
A part of the ‘Advise the Advisor’ series
Presented by: Amber Shilling
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012









Enrolled in a Master’s program at the Uof C, Amber brings her own unique background as a self-identified Aboriginal student to the work she does in recruitment and admissions.  There are approximately 800 undergraduate and graduate Aboriginal students studying at the UofC with anticipated growth in the future. Amber  spoke about significant challenges Aboriginal students regularly face including housing, long commutes, wellness issues, lack of funding, and the negative impact the Canadian residential school system has had on many of their families and communities. She explained that advisors can help these students overcome their challenges by showing sensitivity and respect for their cultural practices and the extra effort they must make in pursuing higher education.

 Recommended Websites:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Residential School information)

Paper on First Nations Education Funding

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (General information on government policies relating to First Nation, Inuit and Metis people)

And last but not least (most importantly actually!): A Tribe Called Red

Powerpoint Presentation by Amber Shilling

Blog posted by: Carole Taylor
Photos by: David Bininda

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Advising International Students

Advising International Students
A part of the ‘Advise the Advisor’ series
Presented by: Glynn Hunter and Melissa Ostrowski
Wednesday, November 21, 2012







With Internationalization being one of the University of Calgary’s main academic priorities this year, Glynn Hunter and Melissa Ostrowski’s presentation on “Advising International Students” could not have been more timely.

Glynn Hunter, who is currently the Executive Director U of C International, started the session off by outlining where the University is now, and where it would like to be, when it comes to our international student strategy.  Overall, the University has decided upon four main goals to work towards over the next few years, which include: 1) Increasing the diversity of the student body; 2) Improving global and cross cultural competencies for staff, students and faculty; 3) Enhancing opportunities for international partners in research; and 4) Leveraging our unique areas of specialization globally.

Melissa Ostrowski, International Student Advisor in the Centre for International Students and Study Aboard (CISSA), then provided some extremely valuable information on what she believes to be the common challenges faced by international students, and what advisors can do to help them.  Melissa concluded by outlining many of the fantastic services offered by CISSA to support international students.  Of particular note,  are the Mentorship and Friendships programs, as well as the new Spouse and Partner program which provides connection and support for the spouses of international students.

If you missed this session, and you work with international students, then it is definitely worth your while to check out Melissa’s presentation linked here:

UCAN Supporting our International Students

Blog posted by: Lesley Gerein
Photos by: Marion Jaffray

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Mental Health Awareness and Advising

Mental Health Awareness and Advising
A part of the ‘Advise the Advisor’ series
Presented by: Clem Martini, Carolyn Clare, Aleesha Bray and Kendra Ardell
Thursday, October 25, 2012


Thanks to everyone who came out for today’s talk on Mental Health Awareness.

Clem, author of Bitter Medicine, shared some of his personal stories.  He discussed the complexity of mental illness in terms of getting a diagnosis, securing appropriate treatment, and the involvement of family and support networks. He talked about ripples and repercussions and how the impact of mental illness reaches far beyond the patient.  What Clem has learned is that it is in everyone’s best interest to connect with and find support for the person who is diagnosed with a mental illness, so that the long-term outcome is more positive.

The need for connection and support segued into the theme of Carolyn Claire’s overview of the services provided by the Student Union through the Wellness Centre. She indicated that often a student presents a problem that is intertwined with other challenges (for example anxiety due to financial or home situation which leads to poor academic performance, which leads to physical symptoms). The Wellness Centre provides access to Health Services, Counselling Services and the Faith and Spirituality Centre, and works closely with other units on campus and in the community to provide comprehensive support.

Kendra Ardell and Aleesha Bray closed the session with some information about the Common Reading program, which began two years ago as a means to encourage students to engage with each other and with the campus community. This engagement continues throughout the year, as several instructors incorporate the book into their course curricula.

The session ended with the distribution of author-signed copies of Bitter Medicine to five advisors:

  • Nanako Furuyama, Women’s Resource Centre
  • Yanmei Fei, Mathematics/Statistics Department
  • Helen Werner, Schulich School of Engineering
  • Alison Schmal, Drama/Music Department
  • Kevin Wiens, Undergraduate Admissions

Recommended Websites:
SU Wellness Centre
Mental Health Awareness Week

PowerPoint Presentation by Carolyn Claire

Blog posted by: Heather Smith Watkins

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Academic Advisory Symposium 2012

Please see attached for detailed information on the Academic Advisory Symposium 2012 to be held at Grant MacEwan University this November.

Conference information:
Academic Advisory Symposium 2012

Hotel Information:
Hotel Academic Advisory Symposium -Nov 4_1

Map of Grant MacEwan campus:
MacEwan Map

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Advise the Advisor Series – Dates for 2012/2013

Please find our tentative dates for upcoming Advise the Advisor Series workshops and other events below. Hope you can make it out to some of these events. Finer details to follow as the workshop date approaches:

  • Thursday, October 25th
  • Wednesday, November 14th
  • Tuesday, December 11th
  • Wednesday, December 19th (Holiday Cheer/Tea)
  • Thursday, January 31st
  • Thursday, February 21st (Conference – more details to follow)
  • Tuesday, March 19th
  • Thursday, April 18th
  • Thursday, May 30th
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Summer ends. Fall begins.

It has been such a glorious summer! I hope you all had a lovely break (some departments; others very hard at work over the summer.)

You may not have heard much from the UCAN Steering Committee over the summer, but we have been hard at work! We’ve worked on and completed UCAN’s mission statement, and are now working on Terms of Reference which will be released sometime in the coming month.

We have also set the dates for our Advise the Advisor series for the next academic year and will get those published on the Blog in the next day or so.

Stay tuned…


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Free Webinars for NACADA Members!

Hello UCAN community!

While professional development funding can sometimes be minimal, it is always wonderful to find some wonderful opportunities that come at no cost! Who would not love a week of free webinars!? The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) is putting on a week of free webinars August 6th-10th with the focus on how to best use technology to enhance our advising! Space is limited and is restricted to the first 100 people who request access on the day of the session and is restricted to current members of NACADA. For more information take a peek at the following link.


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