The office supports students with their personal crises and keeps the students’ code of conduct updated
“A safe place where all students can go to get help with a variety of issues that they may face while attempting to complete their educational goals.” This is the objective of the new student concerns office at George Brown College (GBC), according to the manager, Dale Hall.
Hall has worked at GBC for 17 years and she spent the past year researching and running a pilot project for the new office.
With guidance around the students’ rights and responsibilities in relation to college policies and community standards, the new office is a space where students can ask for support to resolve any concerns that they may experience such as health, financial or housing issues.
“If they (students) are in a crisis, I can look at what person is available; what we can do to support this student in the short and long-term”, explained Hall.
Hall lead the updating of GBC’s code of student behaviour and community standards policy this summer. The old code was about 12-years old and the office is responsible for keeping it updated; providing information to students about their rights and duties and assisting them in the resolution of issues with the code.
“The new policy emphasizes student development, quality of student overall educational experiences and the importance of students understanding the community standards expected of them,” said Hall.
The student concerns office also provides education on the code and specific training to students faculty and staff in conflict resolution.
Similar offices can be found at other colleges in Ontario.
At Seneca College, the student conduct office has nine staff supporting all campuses. The manager, Rachel Morris, explains that while the office ‘focuses on the code of conduct’, they also help students with personal issues connect with the right person on campus.
“Our main goal is to balance the students’ community here on campus and make sure they are in a respectful and safe environment for everyone,” said Morris.
The student relations office at Centennial College works as the first point of contact, centralizing students’ questions and recommending them to different departments according to their needs. The student code of conduct also is part of the office’s responsibilities.
“When they come to college or university, they bring their entire life with them. It’s not the only academic issue and we have to be sensitive to the needs of students outside of the academic area,” said Kevin Rajpaulsingh, director of the advice office at Centennial College.
The manager of GBC student concerns office also agrees with this way of dealing the students problems. Hall said that part of her job at the new office is making sure students feel connected to the college community and can ask for help.
“No matter if you’re in a new city, a new college, or have been here for two years and you have a feeling something is not right” said Hall. “You need to know there is a place you can go.”
The office of student concerns at GBC is located at St. James campus, A Building, in room B173A. But Hall also attends the others campuses by appointment.