Suggestions for Dialogues

Dialogue initiatives Description Theme(s) addressed How this is considered a "continuous dialogue" Campus partners Links to other recommendations
Conference on Student Mental Health Research The first University of Waterloo Virtual Conference on Student Mental Health Research was held on November 5, 2020. Seven key themes were highlighted for oral and poster presentations, including the six examples listed in recommendation 14.   All By presenting research in each of these six areas, the campus and broader communities are informed of new evidence and ongoing challenges, and are able to engage in conversation with the presenters about their findings. In particular, graduate student participation is emphasized, allowing them to network with others who share similar research interests and to highlight their contributions. Wellness Collaborative


Further exploration of the development of a research institute or specialty area in student mental health and wellness. It was evident that there is a strong base of expertise relevant to the topic of student mental health in our institution, including researchers in Applied Health Sciences faculty and the Centre for Mental Health Research (Psychology). There are some examples of institutions that have marshalled this expertise to create a research institute dedicated to addressing questions that are, so far, difficult to answer. These might relate to our population of students, to the range of service options, or the most effective promotion, prevention and intervention options.
Townhalls Townhall meetings allow for senior University administrators to listen to student, faculty, and staff concerns and address their questions. These events are traditionally held by the President, but there is potential to recommend that the Equity Office also hold a series of townhalls. All Townhalls offer a formal platform to enable conversations between senior administrators and members of the University community. By offering a townhall that recognizes Recommendation 14 topics specifically, institutional progress can be communicated and questions can be directly asked. The President

Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion

President's Anti-Racism Taskforce
Student Course Perceptions Project/CTE Workshops  The Student Course Perceptions Project is in the process of changing student evaluations at the end of the semester. The goal is to use information to improve course design and delivery, as well as to provide students with an opportunity to 'voice their learning experiences.'

CTE Workshops facilitate group conversations on pedagogical techniques for faculty and teaching assistants.
All Course evaluations can provide students with a platform to convey their experiences to their professor, which may include information relevant to Recommendation 14 topics. Since it is anonymous, it is a one-sided dialogue in practice. However, using the feedback, the professor can engage in a dialogue with future students if they wish.

CTE workshops utilize universal design/group participation techniques to promote conversations among group members. Several of these themes are addressed in workshops, such as "inclusive instructional practices" and "creating a positive learning environment"
The Student Course Perception Project Team

Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)

Support the professional development of faculty, including the following:
Explore ways to share existing best practices between instructors on an ongoing basis, particularly in an online format.

Encourage faculty involvement in teaching-related professional development by recognizing these efforts in their merit reviews. Go beyond numbers generated by the student survey. Acknowledge and value up-to-date course assessments, participation in CTE workshops, and pedagogical conferences.
Counselling Services Graduate Student Community and Conversation Circles This group - run out of Campus Wellness - provides a space for graduate students to come together and discuss the stressors that they are facing.  All Conversation circles provide graduate students the opportunity to talk with others in their community about their struggles, fostering community and facilitating an open dialogue. If possible, there could be "special feature" conversation circle days that are dedicated to the topics included under Recommendation 14. Campus Wellness n/a
Mental Health Training Training sessions offer the space to discuss concerns about how to manage student mental health concerns, make participants aware of available services, and apply best practices. All Individuals who take training sessions can engage in conversations with group members and training facilitators about how to promote student mental health in everyday practice. Dialogues stemming from these training sessions can extend to the broader community if individuals share these practices with others in their network (e.g., faculty members recommend strategies/training programs to colleagues) Mental Health Literacy Certificate program

Equity Office (collaborating with MHLTSC to develop new training programs for marginalized communities)
•        Ensure that faculty have appropriate and timely information to support students, through the following means:
•        Make mental health training part of the on-boarding process for new faculty.
•        Strongly encourage mental health training in existing faculty.
•        Provide clear guidelines to instructors regarding who they can contact when they have concerns about a student’s welfare, even if he or she does not yet require interventions.

•        Implement a comprehensive education and training strategy to increase mental health literacy among students, staff, and faculty. Create situational mental health training based on role and/or faculty and make it available to all.
University of Waterloo anonymous online reflection board (proposed) All members of the University community could access this proposed online platform/board to post and reply to reflections on the topic of mental health (though many issues could come up with this idea that would have to be considered) All Before the pandemic, physical spaces were dedicated to posting anonymous thoughts related to mental health. This helped to reduce the stigma surrounding talking about mental health and illness, and fostered a positive space for comments. An online board could serve the same function, though it would have to be moderated carefully. IT staff. Need to identify someone who could oversee the moderation of the forum n/a
Department conversation circles (including departmental staff, grad students, faculty, and undergrad students) (proposed) Each department could host open conversation circles for any member of the department who would like to participate. Topics could include those covered under Recommendation 14. These would also potentially foster a sense of community within the department.  All These conversation circles could happen once a month, once a term etc to provide continuity. Thgey would be open to all University members, and people would be welcomed to particapte in the discussion.  Support from department chairs within each faculty n/a is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower youth activists in promoting mental health. The University has a chapter through Campus Wellness but it is unclear how active it currently is. All provides resources to youth/students to host talks that are relevant to mental health. Students are given a platform to deliver and participate in discussions about mental health (including the topics in Recommendation 14), and University community members at large can attend.

Campus Wellness 
Substance use peer health education team, Residence & Orientation programming The substance use peer health education team operates out of Campus Wellness and provides education on harm reduction approaches to substance use. To disseminate information, the team offers online and print resources, hosts events, and sets up booths across campus. It also partners with external organizations like DrinkSmart and Leave the Pack Behind.

Orientation and Residence Life staff have frequent contact with incoming students and provide events and programming to support their transition into university. Student group leaders also fulfill this role and are an excellent source of peer support and training. 
Harm reduction approaches to substance use By deliverying resources and hosting events, the substance use peer health education team can engage community members (particularly students) on issues pertaining to substance use. It would be helpful if the team was able to host a  large event for incoming students, similar to the Single & Sexy event about sexual violence and consent.

Student group leaders and Residence Life staff already provide some training to incoming students — incorporating substance use could be helpful. It is also important to reflect on Orientation traditions in departments, which may include alcohol.

Beyond Orientation, residence staff and student leaders can still support ongoing dialogues on substance use, as can Health Promotion and Student Life staff.   
Campus Wellness

Residence Life

Student Success Office


The student society for each faculty

First-Year Orientation studnt leaders

Peer Support Leaders
University of Waterloo should join the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction Postsecondary Education Partnership – Alcohol Harms, a partnership that other universities across Canada have joined. It focuses on:
Reducing harm associated with drugs and alcohol.
Developing an institutional implementation and measurement plan based off the framework.

Review the need for expanding services on campus relating to substance abuse

Suggestions for Dialogues PDF