Site Visit #4: Brock University
After waking up early in the morning and making our way to Brock University from Toronto, we were thankful to be greeted by such welcoming faces. We were fortunate to talk to senior administrative leaders, student services staff, faculty, and students. We heard about Brock’s growing student population, the increasing services and opportunities, and collaborative ventures between faculty and student services.
Brock students shared with us the positive experiences they have had with faculty, student services professionals, and with their peers. There is a wealth of support for students at Brock, from the moment they enter throughout their education. We heard about SMART START, an ongoing orientation program for incoming students that blends meeting friends with exploring the Brock campus, enrolling in courses, and parent information sessions. This program gives incoming students the tools and confidence necessary to start their academic career at a dynamic and growing institution. With this, SMART FINISH was recently launched, providing graduating students with tools and workshops to aid in their transition into the workforce or post-graduate studies.
It is evident that Brock is committed to the holistic development of the student. Signs highlighting Brock’s commitment to “both sides of the brain” acknowledged the importance of having a well-rounded education. The Experience Plus program encourages students to participate in co-curricular activities by documenting their valuable out-of-classroom learning experiences. Brock boasts a suite of Plus programs (Med Plus, Volunteer Plus, and International Plus are just a few) that invite students to experience life outside of the classroom—opportunities that entice both sides of the brain and allow students to explore their interests.
Along with a supportive atmosphere and holistic university mandate, Brock University has invested money in creating useful spaces for students. The newly developed Learning Commons provides students with the space to work and offers a number of workshops on a variety of topics—from career advice to writing and skills workshops. There are opportunities for student groups to meet, and programming that allows student leaders to develop certain skills. Overall, we heard about the benefits of this newly developed space.
While there were also a number of challenges that were mentioned throughout the day, there was an overwhelming sense of support for a positive student experience, where everyone we spoke to had a vested interest in student success. Thank you to all of those who participated in our focus groups and interviews, and for the stories and experiences you shared with us.
We are currently at site visit #5: Fanshawe College. Check our blog next week to see how it went!