It is customary for the the Provost & Vice-President, Academic to provide a report to each meeting of Senate outlining plans, priorities, issues and other news. As these reports are already public through the University Secretariat Office, they will also be shared regularly through this memorandum page.
Note that appendices to the report can be found on the University Secretariat Office website.
Report to Senate of the Provost & Vice-President, Academic – March 22, 2023
Following up on my reports in December and February, I would like to take the opportunity today to highlight some of the recent successes and accomplishments coming out of the student service and academic support units reporting to the Provost.
At the end of my report, I also include annual reporting on the cyclical academic reviews scheduled for 2024-25.
Hadiya’dagénhahs FNMI Student Centre
In September, Brock welcomed Phyllis Webstad, the creator of Orange Shirt Day, along with 16 members of her family. The day began with the raising of the Survivor flag and a drum ceremony, before continuing with lunch in the Market and ending with a book signing in the FNMI Centre student lounge.
REDress Day was held on February 14 as part of a weeklong initiative to honour the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. The event featured a traditional song and drumming from Dr. Robyn Bourgeois as well as art displays and workshops, which saw participants make beaded medicine pouches, Métis sash bookmarks, beaded red dress earrings, and seal skin bracelets.
Over March Break, 45 youth from the Niagara Regional Native Centre were on campus for a two-day camp which included cultural activities, crafts, swimming, and lacrosse skills. The event was organized by self-identified students at Brock who work part-time in Hadiya’dagénhahs. Seven Brock students volunteered to help for both days.
Centre for Pedagogical Innovation
Work continues to modernize Brock’s Learning Management System as the institution transitions from Sakai to Brightspace. The adoption rate for Brightspace has climbed from 25% during the Fall term to 37% for the Winter term. As per the decommissioning plan adopted by IT&I on February 3, on June 30 lms.brocku.ca will begin to point to Brightspace instead of Sakai.
Finally, at the annual Tribute to Teaching event on December 12, 2022, CPI celebrated the recipients of the Brock-wide Teaching Awards, including:
- Tim Fletcher, Kinesiology (2022 Distinguished Teaching Award)
- Priscilla Burnham Riosa, Applied Disability Studies (co-recipient, Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty)
- Alisa Grigorovich, Recreation and Leisure Studies (co-recipient, Brock University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty)
- Kate Cassidy, Communications, Pop Culture, and Film (co-recipient, Don Ursino Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Large Classes)
- David Hutchison, Education and Digital Humanities (co-recipient, Don Ursino Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Large Classes)
- Natalie Spadafora, Child and Youth Studies (Clarke Thomson Award for Excellence in Sessional Teaching)
Nominations for the Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence (to support the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning) are due by March 31.
Career, Co-op, and Experiential Education
CCEE and Brock LINC have been collaborating to ensure that student entrepreneurs are able to have their business ventures count towards their co-op requirements. Entrepreneurial co-op work terms have been an area of growth at Brock. Through this partnership, CCEE has found ways to support students through resources such as financial awards and mentorship. It will continue to collaborate in this area of growth to ensure students can successfully explore business ownership.
International Student Orientation for the Winter term was held on January 4, as more than 250 international students planned to begin their studies at Brock in the Winter. The virtual kick-off event focused on topics essential to supporting international students, including immigration, health and well-being, living in Niagara, getting involved and academic success. Additional support was also added this year when Brock International participated as a pilot partner with the iCent Airport Welcome program. From Sunday, Jan. 1 to Sunday, Jan. 8, all arriving international students were welcomed by the iCent team, which provided a welcome package and assistance with transportation, accommodation, lost baggage, free calls home to family and other services.
Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre
With the project completed in 2021, Student Accessibility Services (SAS) launched this year its new Exam Centre at Heritage Plaza. With approximately 10,000 tests and exams administered over an academic year, the centre allows for improved efficiency in scheduling and administration of exams. The space includes 57 video-monitored partitioned workspaces, two isolation and three semi-isolation spaces. Each workspace includes computer access with all supported assistive technologies available and each user access is controlled remotely from a central hub at the reception/check in area.
Brock Sports and Recreation
In September, Canada Games Park became the new official home of the Brock Badgers, housing permanent space for its women’s and men’s hockey varsity teams with dedicated team rooms and office space for full-time hockey coaches and equipment staff.
In January, Brock Sports & Recreation celebrated 265 student athletes with its first in-person recognition event for varsity athletes who obtained 80% or higher while representing Brock with their respective team. Over 100 participants attended the Academic Excellence Breakfast, with Faculty Deans on hand to present awards to students from their respective Faculties.
Participation in programming at the Walker Sports Complex by students and community members has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and for most community-based activities to the highest levels we have ever seen, with waitlists for many programs. Swimming programs have involved 3,300 people to date this year. Intramural sports have included 925 teams and 7,205 participants. Open recreation (including use of the Zone Fitness Centre, the track, gymnasia for basketball, volleyball, soccer, cricket, swimming, and badminton) is averaging 2,000 participants each day.
Spring and summer school programs, as well as camp programs, have very strong numbers registered so far. Overnight Youth University programming (where school classes take part in science, technology and leadership programs and stay in residence for two nights) have over 1,800 participants registered for spring. Spring day programs (elementary school classes) have 240 school classes registered, with expansion to Canada Games Park planned for next year. Summer camp registration opened March 1 and over 700 campers registered within the first week, with over four months to go before the first day of camp.
Moreover, Brock varsity student-athletes have been successful provincially, with OUA championship titles in men’s rowing, women’s volleyball, women’s wrestling and men’s wrestling. Men’s wrestling captured the USPORTS national championship title for the eighth consecutive time – an unprecedented achievement for the sport.
Student Life and Success
In September 2022, Brock hosted the first fully in-person Welcome Week since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Welcome Week programming is developed by the Orientation Planning Committee (OPC) and led by Student Life and Success. One of the largest events was the New Student Welcome and Academic Orientation, which welcomed more than 2,000 new Brock students to the Ian Beddis Gymnasium.
After a year and a half of fully remote learning and hybrid Fall and Winter terms in 2021-2022, Learning Services transitioned back to in-person services. This year, we have seen increased demand for academic learning services, particularly drop-in support and order-a-workshop (in-classroom) workshops, with demand for services more than double pre-pandemic levels.
Provost and Vice-President, Academic