In recent months CAGS has made a commitment to expanding its offering of virtual content, and to providing opportunities for engagement between our members and the higher education community at large.
Building on the success of its summer webinar series, CAGS is pleased to announce its newest online event – the 2020 CAGS Virtual Symposia, to be held from 24-27 November. This free, week-long event will feature four unique webinars on some of the most pressing issues facing graduate education in Canada, including mental health and wellness, remote graduate supervision, adapting to the new normal, anti-black racism, and inclusion. Discussions on these topics will be led by a diverse group of presenters from across Canada, including deans of graduate studies, faculty members, administrators, and graduate students. The goal of this virtual event is to provide a forum for sharing information and experiences, posing questions, and building strategies for adapting to our new environment.
The 2020 CAGS Virtual Symposia will be conducted using the Zoom video conference platform. The webinars are free of charge and registration is open to all deans, associate deans, faculty members, administrators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. The webinars will be presented in English, and French interpretation will be provided simultaneously through the Zoom platform.
To register for one or more webinar, please click on the links below. For further information about the 2020 CAGS Virtual Symposia please write to Ian.Wereley@cags.ca.
2020 CAGS Virtual Symposia
Webinar I: Cultivating Graduate Student Mental Health & Well-Being
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
1:00 – 2:30 PM (EST)
Campuses have an opportunity to proactively support positive mental health and educational achievement of graduate students by focusing on the supervisory relationship, and cultivating the resilience of Teaching Assistants. This session will introduce the strengths-based approach in Well-being in Learning Environments initiative, which includes a framework to intentionally consider how the supervisory process impacts the well-being of graduate students, and targeted programming for Teaching Assistants who juggle the unique role of student and instructor. Following a 60-minute overview, participants will be invited to ask questions, share feedback and reflect on/identify one or two strategies they can apply to their local context.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Identify the contributing factors to stress in graduate settings, and opportunities for embedding well-being within the supervisory process and Teaching Assistant role
- Create awareness of Well-being in Learning Environments initiative, which includes the Well-being through the SFU Supervisory Process: A Guide for Action and Thriving in Graduate School projects
- Articulate the strengths-based approach used in the development and implementation of both projects
- Reflect on and identify one or two ways these projects or processes could be applied in their own role on campus, personal experience or local context.
- Yuna Chen, MPH, is the Acting Associate Director, Health Promotion at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Health and Counselling Services. Passionate about student health and well-being, Yuna leads the implementation of the Healthy Campus Community initiative with her team – a systemic health promotion strategy that supports learning and resilience. Prior to joining SFU, she was a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health with the University of Waterloo, and contributed to the development of the Health Services Delivery Framework: Recommendations for a Model of Care to Improve Palliative Care in Ontario (Focus Area 1: Adults Receiving Care in Community Settings). Outside of work, Yuna enjoys running, coffee, and going through the snack aisle at the grocery store.
- Russell Thomsonis a Health Promotion Strategist at Simon Fraser University. Having recently joined the Health & Counselling department, he is contributing to the SFU Well-being in Learning Environments initiative, working with the Student Health Advisory Committee and leading the graduate student well-being project. He is passionate about contributing to student well-being, with over five years’ experience in the post-secondary sector. While working at the University of Calgary, Russell contributed to the Campus Mental Health Strategy for students, faculty, and staff. Russell’s interests include mental health literacy, physical literacy, and stigma reduction. He is an experienced facilitator and a certified Inquiring Mind and Working Mind Trainer from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Webinar II: Virtual Supervisor v. 2.0
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
1:00 – 2:00 PM (EST)
Join us for a conversation with Dr. Meghan Burchell, Memorial University of Newfoundland, who will discuss some of the challenges, opportunities, and best practices in the remote supervision of graduate students. Reflecting on nine months of remote supervision, this webinar will share strategies for connecting with graduate students, monitoring progress, changing expectations and maintaining a virtual research community.
- Meghan Burchell is an associate professor of archaeology at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL. She completed her PhD in Anthropology/Earth Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario part-time while employed as an instructional assistant in Social Sciences. Her unconventional experience through graduate school has informed her approach to graduate supervision, which emphasizes student well-being, research excellence, experiential education, professionalism and community building. From 2015-2019, she served as the coordinator of the Graduate Program in Archaeology at Memorial.
Webinar III: Graduate Student Mental Health and Wellness
Thursday, 26 November 2020
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM (EST)
Join us for a conversation with Dr. Kathleen Clarke, Wilfrid Laurier University, Dr. Nathan C. Hall, McGill University, and Dr. Susanna Harris who will discuss their research, practice, and advocacy in the realm of mental health, both for graduate students and faculty. This session will involve an overview of current Canadian datasets that can be used to understand mental health in the postsecondary context. We discuss some of the limitations of the existing research, particularly in terms of graduate students, and identify ways in which we can enhance our understanding of graduate students’ mental health and well-being. Promising practices and resources will also be shared with attendees and there will be time allocated for a discussion period.
- Kathleen Clarke is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University and mainly teaches in the Master of Education – Student Affairs field of study. Kathleen received her PhD in Higher Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her recent study involved analysis of the Canadian graduate/professional student sample in the National College Health Assessment and interviews with doctoral students who identified as having a mental health condition or mental health disability. The focus of her research agenda is understanding the challenges that specific populations of postsecondary students experience and how they can be further supported. To date, she has undertaken work that examines undergraduate and graduate students with mental health conditions, students with disabilities, and international students.
- Nathan C. Hall is an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University. As Director of the Achievement Motivation and Emotion Research Group (www.ame1.net), Dr. Hall’s research program examines how students and educators in K-12 and post-secondary contexts maintain their motivation, performance, and well-being in response to academic and personal challenges.
- Susanna L. Harris believes in building communities through communication. As a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Susanna works in science marketing and engagement. Susanna founded PhD Balance to break the stigma around mental illness in higher education and create spaces where grad students can have open conversations around their most difficult challenges. She hosts and presents public speaking events about mental health, academic support, and science communication. Susanna can be found on Instagram and Twitter at@SusannaLHarris while PhD Balance can be found at @PhD_Balance and at http://www.PhDBalance.com.
Webinar IV: Bringing a National Focus to
Black Graduate Students in Canada
Friday, 27 November 2020
1:00 – 2:30 PM (EST)
Webinar IV (NEW): Black Graduate Students and the Truth of Oppression
Conversation: The Most Powerful Piece in the Game
Friday, 27 November 2020
1:00 – 2:30 PM (EST)
The objective of the panel is to openly discuss our experiences as Black graduate students as they relate to the racist structures embedded in Canadian Academia.
The discussion will highlight the trajectory of the concept of Blackness in the Academy (in modern times), what it means to be Black in a Canadian post-secondary institution, and as well as the effects on academic progression. The panel will also review the significance of the teaching of critical history, and what it looks like to decolonize teaching and research methods.
Some questions we will attempt to engage in during the panel discussion include: How does the spatiality of Blackness get instrumentalized in our post-secondary institutions? How does this impact academic progress? How is double consciousness manifested in the process of inclusivity?
- Zeenat Ladak moved to Edmonton for graduate studies in 2017, where she took on multiple leadership roles in addition to her degree. She was Co-President for the Pediatric Graduate Students’ Association where she provided academic and social opportunities to fellow grad students. Zeenat is currently Co-Chair of a non-profit organization in Edmonton, Women in Science, Engineering and Research (WiSER) where she takes part in planning and executing events that provide individuals with an opportunity to establish or advance their career in STEM. She is also a member of the University of Alberta Graduate Students’ Association. Zeenat is passionate about advocacy and proactive planning and implementation of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Zeenat will be defending her MSc Thesis in Pediatric Neurology at the University of Alberta in December, and hopes to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology in the future.
- Evelyn Asiedu moved to Edmonton in 2013 following the completion of a Honors Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Western University. While there, she served on the executive committee of the Black Students’ Association (2010-2012) and facilitated discussions about race, identity, politics, and the experience of Black people on campus. In recent years Evelyn has also pursued roles that promote diversity in science and was an executive member of the Edmonton chapter of WiSER (Women in Science Engineering and Research) between 2016-2018. She also served as administrator and event-planner for the local non-profit organization called What I Wish I Knew (WIWIK) which aims at discussing issues in the workplace and offering practical advice to young female professionals. In this role, she spearheaded the event “Championing Diversity and Challenging Unconscious Bias” which brought WiSER and WIWIK together (2018). In July 2020, Evelyn published an opinion piece in Maclean’s describing everyday racism as a Black Canadian academic. There, she states the absence of race-based data at universities renders the experiences of racialized students untenable and provides no incentive for change. Evelyn defended her PhD in Analytical Environmental Toxicology at the University of Alberta this October.
Luam Araya completed an honours BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta as well. She completed her first year of studies at the University of Alberta’s francophone campus, Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ) and has held leadership roles within the CSJ community throughout her undergraduate degree. She has also served as an executive member of OUTreach, the university’s 2SLGBTQ+ student group, where conversations about 2SLGBTQ+ representation and inclusion often took centre stage. Along with pursuing her master’s degree, Luam currently serves as an executive on the Biochemistry Graduate Students’ Association and volunteers her time with the University of Alberta 2SLGBTQ+ support centre “The Landing” & with the Canadian Association of Colleges and University of Student Services (CACUSS) Internationalization of Student Affairs Community of Practice.
Karine Coen-Sanchez is a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology at the University of Ottawa. Karine is actively involved in the anti-racist movement, and her recent work involves administering a series of panel discussions for both racialized graduate students and faculty members. Committed to taking a collaborative leadership role, Karine has been working in conjunction with the Faculty of Social Sciences to develop an inclusivity statement to be included in all syllabi, and has encouraged the teaching of a critical history of Anthropology/Sociology. In November 2020, Karine published an op-ed article in University Affairs magazine, titled “I can’t breathe: feeling suffocated by the polite racism in Canada’s graduate schools,” which garnered national attention and was read by many.