Brock University is looking for innovative ways to ensure it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before.
Through its new Academic Initiatives Fund (AIF), the University is supporting 18 projects aimed at attracting new student populations, building on retention initiatives, and better aligning academic offerings with industry needs and student demand.
The AIF was created this spring to offer one-year seed funding for new initiatives that will address key priorities outlined in Brock’s Institutional Strategic Plan and position the University to face the challenges of recovery from the pandemic.
Proposals were submitted in early June, with options for ‘shovel-ready’ projects discussed with the Strategic Academic Leadership Team, which includes the Deans, the University Librarian and academic administrative leaders. Provost and Vice-President, Academic Lynn Wells, who is also now Brock’s Interim President, struck an administrative committee to review the proposals and make funding allocation recommendations. Recipients were selected at the end of June.
“The call to action was meant to spark innovative ideas to strengthen Brock’s post-pandemic position and further improve enrolment prospects, and the University community certainly delivered,” Wells said. “It is with this creative thinking that Brock will continue to build its reputation as a student-centred university that fosters excellence in teaching, learning and research.”
The selected projects, which will impact a number of areas across the University, will see the expansion of student mental health services, development of new programs, and the creation of new staff positions to enhance supports and opportunities for students.
The following projects will be supported by the AIF during the 2021-22 academic year:
- Faculty of Applied Health Sciences — Enhancing Faculty-based advising to support first-year student success and retention
- Faculty of Applied Health Sciences — Development of a continuing education certificate in Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Compliance Consulting
- Faculty of Social Sciences — Early-stage program development in the area of social work
- Faculty of Graduate Studies — Creation of an Academic Specialist position
- Faculty of Education — Creation of micro-credentials to support student retention and expand experiential education
- Faculty of Mathematics and Science — Early-stage program development in cannabis science, data analytics and applied ecology
- Faculty of Humanities — Early-stage program development for Arts and Science
- Goodman School of Business — Case writing, teaching and learning centre
- Goodman School of Business — Centre for Business Analytics post-graduate work initiative
- Library — Creation of an Access Services staff position
- Library — Creation of a Digital Scholarship Lab Co-ordinator position
- Student Life and Success — Expansion of BU4U program to support first- and second-year students
- Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre — Partnership to support the mental health of graduating students
- Brock Sports — Return to learn concussion interventions
- Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement — Partnership to create an Indigenous Curriculum/Educational Developer position and create an Indigenous Plus program
- Registrar’s Office — Creation of a Transitions and Access Programming Specialist position
- Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, and Alumni Relations — Career coaching pods: An innovative approach to career coaching for alumni and students
- Brock International — Support for the creation of courses grounded in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
More information on the projects will be available in the coming months through a series of stories on The Brock News.