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 – April 19, 2023
Continuing the theme from my reports this year, I would like to take the opportunity today to highlight some of the recent successes and accomplishments coming out of the Office of the Registrar and Enrolment Services, as well as Professional and Continuing Studies.
Office of the Registrar and Enrolment Services
Beginning in August 2022, Student Recruitment returned to full in-person global recruitment activities on and off campus while maintaining expanded digital offerings. This includes over 1,000+ in-person and virtual events in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world in over 50 countries. Fall Preview Day, Open House, campus tours, and special groups returned to full capacity, welcoming over 15,000 prospective students, supporters, and partners to campus over this same period.
Working closely with Marketing and Communications, Brock’s refreshed brand was integrated into all recruitment materials, the Ontario Universities’ Fair booth, and a comprehensive, global, digital-first marketing strategy. This work, and the contributions of Brock’s community of staff, faculty, and students, have resulted in the largest undergraduate applicant pool in Brock’s history. The task ahead is to convert this pool into confirmed and then registered students (through various events and outreach) and support their transition to university through Smart Start.
This year’s strong applicant pool has also resulted in significant increases in admission to Brock. The Admissions team has not only seen a significant increase in output in this space but has also expanded its expertise in curriculum assessment as this year we have enjoyed international applicants from over 140 different countries. Recognizing the value to the community to have diverse and access-driven options to consider new students, the team also continues to enhance and strengthen both the new Academic Bridging pathway and the Strategic Transition for Accomplished and Recognized Students (STARS). These new admission paths were introduced in Spring 2022 and this past cycle we have seen increased participation in both programs. In October 2022 Admissions developed a comprehensive plan composed of seven strategic and unique initiatives aimed at improving the transfer student experience, supported by funds awarded from the Credit Transfer Institutional Grant. Work in articulation and collaborative agreements continues, with the unit supporting the development of nine new agreements since September. Additionally, the team developed a new agreement template and tracking tool resource, now available for department use via SharePoint.
Enrolment Supports & Enrolment Operations
At the start of 2023, Central Academic Advising welcomed a new Transfer Academic Advisor to the team; this role focuses on academic support and success for the University’s transfer students. To improve the student experience, the Curriculum Management, Policy, and Outreach team has developed new Academic Calendar support resources that include a glossary of common academic terminology and a “how to use the calendar” guide. In efforts to provide 24/7 student support, Brock Central is developing REGGIE the ChatBot (Registrar’s Electronic, General Guide and Information Engine), scheduled to launch on the Office of the Registrar and Enrolment Services website this month. Finally, as we look to meet evolving student expectations, the Director, Enrolment Supports led a Convocation Working Group this term. This group worked from a lens of improved student experience based on student survey feedback and engaged with a variety of special topics that included undergraduate hooding, recognition of student award recipients, decolonization, and EDI best practices. We are excited to share some of these changes at this Spring’s convocation ceremonies.
Looking ahead to current projects underway in support of student success and retention, investigation is underway on a potential Leave of Absence process for undergraduate students. The team is also exploring University documentation (parchment, transcript, etc.) produced in the office for best practice in terms of legal name vs name, working on expanding/developing student mentorship connections in Central Advising to better support student success navigation, and working on making the Office of the Registrar and Enrolment Services website more accessible (in partnership with IT and MarComm).
Professional and Continuing Studies
On March 6, PCS held an online leadership session to align professional development for International Women’s Day 2023. The lead generation event was entitled “From Trauma to Triumph, An Indigenous Perspective” and was hosted by Dr. Robyn Bourgeois. Over 180 registered (over 90 of which were external to Brock) and over 100 attended. Attendees’ demographics were generally professional women from Niagara and the GTA with notable audience reach from as far as Calgary, Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, Ottawa, and Montreal. There is a second event being planned on May 25 to launch the programming being led by the Indigenous Engagement Office.
In collaboration with TOES Niagara, PCS was to host an event at the end of Black History Month focused on consultations for allyship, as well as EDI training. The snowstorm resulted in rescheduling and future training and collaborations are being discussed for training in these topic areas. This is a follow-through on the market data PCS gathered from across the region with alumni, industry, and the labour market.
Brock PCS is pleased to be offering the first ever “Speaking with Pride” educational opportunity in collaboration with Pride Niagara. This first-ever training will be held during the weeklong events that kick-off Pride Month in the region. The session will be focused on allyship and building awareness of PCS training solutions.
English as a Subsequent Language (ESL) programming continues to draw interest in our three existing markets: 1) conditional pathways to undergraduate programs, 2) special groups, and 3) EXPLORE programming. This winter term, we welcomed back an existing partner for the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) and celebrated the undergraduate pathway students’ completion of the IELP winter term. Spring and Summer programming has multiple intakes starting in May through August. There are nine special ESL program partners that PCS has reconnected with to restart programming.
Brock PCS/ESL has also been selected by the Official Languages Program to offer the first English offering of “Projet Nordique”, which is intended to support EXPLORE programming for students from northern communities who would otherwise not have the opportunity to have a language immersion experience. We will welcome two learners from the community of Nunavik this summer for our program.
Julian Inglis, the new ESL Associate Director is starting in May and we look forward to renewed focus and support in the ESL programming space.
PCS Community of Practice
We thank all members of the Brock CE community who are members of the PCS Community of Practice. Their efforts to collaborate on information sharing and current and best practices is an opportunity to elevate the non-credit programming at Brock. The group continues to welcome new members and can be reached CE@brocku.ca.
Provost and Vice-President, Academic