Upcoming Events

June 17, 2018

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

2018 ARUCC/CACUSS Pre/Post-Conference Sessions & Events


2018 Pre-Conference Sessions

Meals and Nutrition Breaks Included in the fees outlined below


1. Thriving in Action Training Institute

$249.00 – member

$299.00 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Wondering how to reach languishing students from across your campus? Curious to learn about innovative, skill-based interventions to support students who identify as First Generation, mature, living with disabilities, seeking counselling services, and/or on academic probation? Want to help students move from surviving to thriving, and do so via sustainable programming?

In the winter of 2017, Ryerson Student Affairs’ ThriveRU Initiative launched Thriving in Action, a ten-week program braiding Positive Psychology and progressive learning strategies. Inspired by Carleton University’s successful From Intention to Action (FITA) program, clinical psychologist Dr. Diana Brecher and learning specialist Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer developed Thriving in Action to support students’ resilience through post-secondary’s transitions, expectations, and demands.

Thriving in Action offers a scalable, flexible, recreatable, and group-based model to reach struggling students, prevent distress, bolster self-efficacy, and support persistence. The Thriving in Action skills-based curriculum focuses on mindfulness, learned optimism, gratitude, grit, and self-compassion. These are entwined with such essential learning skills as note-taking and time management, taught within a holistic framework to empower agency, restore focus, and deepen belongingness. Participating students are taught tools to flourish, academically and personally.

Join us for a buoyant, experiential one-day training institute. You will walk away with the full curriculum, rich resources, tips for implementation, an introduction to the What Went Well? methodology, and a deepened connection to your own resilience.



Dr. Diana Brecher, C. Psych., ​has worked at Ryerson University’s Centre for Student Development and Counselling since 1991. As adjunct faculty in the Ryerson Psychology Department, she has taught several graduate level courses in CBT and clinical supervision to graduate students. Diana’s long-standing interest and certification in Positive Psychology led to ​the development of the ThriveRU program.  Her current role is to train students, faculty, and staff in her 5 Factor Model of Resilience and to facilitate a cultural change within the university. www.ryerson.ca/thriveru

Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer, Coordinator of Student Transitions and Retention in Ryerson University's Student Affairs, is a learning specialist and co-creator of the Thriving in Action program. She holds a doctorate in nature-based pedagogy. She is also a freelance education and wellness writer, and a published poet (The Grey Tote, Véhicule Press, 2013). To keep nourished and well, Deena gardens, cooks, and savours hikes with her husband and two daughters.

SAS Competency: Student Advising, Support, and Advocacy

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Academic Learning; Advising; Post-Secondary Counselling; Student Case Managers


2. Advanced Media Training

$349 – member

$399 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 9:00AM – 4:00PM

This session is designed with SSAOs in mind, but is open to other senior-level professionals (Registrar, Dean, Director, etc.) interested in developing communication and media relation competencies at the advanced level. Participants should be experienced communicators, looking to be challenged with interviews and scenarios more advanced than typical sessions.

The day-long session will be designed for experienced communicators in high-stakes situations, with practice that will be challenging, interactive, collaborative, instructive, and fun. The session will be tailored to focus on particular priorities, issues, and scenarios, based on feedback from participants and consultation with SSAOs.

The morning session will include a presentation (including an advanced “Media 101” primer, communications strategies for dealing with and briefing the media, and relevant, real-life examples of media interviews, both good and bad), along with on-camera, tape-recorded, and telephone interview practice for participants. Key areas of focus for the morning session include: the importance of preparation and practice; strategies for delivering key messages; storytelling; bridging techniques; and answering tough questions.

The afternoon session will be devoted to working on crisis communications, including a tightly-focused presentation, followed by a mock crisis scenario, with teams formulating their strategy, messaging, and on-camera practice. All interviews would be replayed and reviewed as a group to discuss what worked, what needs more work for next time, how the messages came across, body language, tone of voice, energy, etc.


Presenter: Hugh Fraser is a communications consultant with experience on both sides of the great divide between journalism and public relations.

His practice focuses on media training, public affairs, and strategic communications. His clients come from many corners: primary to post-secondary education; industry, innovation and non-profits; energy, health car and law; tourism and research and development.

Hugh spent a decade as a broadcast journalist with CBC Television and Radio, writing and producing national and provincial programs. He served as press secretary for the premier of Nova Scotia and led the media training team at one of Atlantic Canada’s leading marketing firms.

He has a Master of Journalism from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University.

A proud Canadian and former resident of Victoria, Calgary, Ottawa, and Quebec City, he’s now based in Halifax with his wife, three sons, and black Lab. www.fraserandsons.biz

SAS Competency: Emotional and interpersonal Intelligence (Core); Leadership, management and administration (Core); Student advising, support and advocacy (Core); Student learning and development (Core)

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Communication (Advanced)


3A. The 3x5 Model for Building and Assessing a Culture of Assessment
3B. 13 Steps to Creating a Learning Organization

Full day:

$199 – member

$249 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 9:00AM – 4:00PM


Half day morning:

$99 – member

$149 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 9:00am – 12:00pm


Half day afternoon:

$99 – member

$149 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 12:00pm – 4:00pm


The 3x5 Model for Building and Assessing a Culture of Assessment

With increasing calls for accountability both within and outside of higher education, student affairs educators need to place more emphasis on demonstrating the impact of programs and services on student learning and student success. However, assessment cannot be happenstance, isolated, incidental, or transient. It must be integrated into the fabric of student affairs work. There must be a sustainable culture of pervasive values and behaviours focusing on accountability and improvement. In this interactive session, participants will learn the components of a culture of assessment, evaluate the extent to which the organization in which they work has a culture of assessment, and develop an actionable plan for creating a culture of assessment when they return to their own campuses.

NOTE: While not required for this session, attending the afternoon pre-conference workshop entitled 13 Steps to Creating a Learning Organization will help maximize the learning that can take place in both workshops.

Learning outcomes

After attending this session, participants will

  • describe components of a culture of assessment
  • evaluate the extent to which their own department or office has a culture of assessment
  • develop an actionable plan for creating a culture of assessment for their department or office


13 Steps to Creating a Learning Organization

In some ways, higher education has not changed much since the founding of first the university, the University of Bologna in 1088. Masters still lecture to students who reproduce in oral or written form what they learn. In other ways, higher education changes daily. A review of Insidehighered.com or the Chronicle of Higher Education demonstrates the rapidly changing landscape of higher education. To manage and adapt to this constant change, colleges and universities must become learning organizations. In this session, participants will learn the characteristics of learning organizations and develop a plan to transform their units into learning organizations.

NOTE: While not required for this session, attending the morning pre-conference workshop entitled The 3x5 Model for Building and Assessing A Culture of Assessment will help maximize the learning that can take place in both workshops.

Learning outcomes

After attending this session, participants will

  • Describe a learning organization and its characteristics
  • Articulate the similarity between a culture of assessment and a learning organization
  • Develop strategies for implementing a learning organization on their campus

Presenters: Dr. Gavin Henning, PhD, is Professor of Higher Education at New England College in New Hampshire where he directs three graduate higher education programs including the Doctorate of Education program. A national leader in higher education, Gavin serves as President of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and is a past president of ACPA – College Student Educators International. He has 20 years’ experience in higher education assessment and institutional research and frequently consults and presents regionally, nationally, and internationally on the topic of higher education assessment. His scholarship includes 80 peer-reviewed presentations and over 80 invited presentations and keynotes regarding. In addition, he has published articles and books on assessment including Student Affairs Assessment: Theory and Practice (2016, Stylus) with Darby Roberts that serves as the foundational text for assessment courses in many higher education graduate programs. Gavin earned his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of New Hampshire.

SAS Competency: Strategic Planning, Research, and Assessment; Post-Secondary Acumen

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Research, Assessment, and Evaluation


4. The Way is Made by Walking

$69 – member

$99 – non-member

Sunday, June 17 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Join colleagues for a guided reflection walk (~20km) along the Confederation Trail that runs through PEI.  In our "on-the-go" profession, creating space for contemplation while responding to challenges is critical yet often undervalued. The conference theme challenges us to find possibilities and potential for change in our work; and to find our place in it. Walking provides a way to reflect and tap into our capacity for action.  At the end of the walk, we will debrief and hear from colleagues about the impact of long walks. This workshop invites participants to take a step toward the future.

This is a kinaesthetic experience and will require participation outdoors rain or shine.  Participants are advised to pack suitable footwear and rain gear.

Organizers ask delegates to speak to them about their needs and how they would best be supported in order to feel truly included in the experience.Please email events@cacuss.ca to inquire further about this session and how we can accommodate your accessibility requests.



Christine Adam is Dean of students at Thompson Rivers University. Along with the other facilitators, she has earned her Compostela for walking the Camino de Santiago trail in northern Spain. Chris helped create the multi-faith space at TRU in 2015, recognizing the need for students to have a quiet place to fill their private spiritual needs.

Rachel Barreca is a community builder and educator with an interest in transformative learning through the arts. For more than twenty years she has worked in Canadian and British higher education, providing students with opportunities for holistic learning through co-curricular programming in residence life, orientation and transition, student leadership, student activities, and career education. She currently works as the Manager, Campus Engagement at Ryerson University’s Career Centre. 

Formerly the Dean of Students at Redeemer University College, Karen Cornies has worked in Student Affairs for over twenty years at four post-secondary institutions. She has just begun working as Executive Director at Silver Lake Camp and Outdoor Education Centre.

Tricia Seifert is department Head and Associate Professor, Adult & Higher Education at Montana State University, and is interested in the role of higher education organizational structures, environments and experiences in student learning and success; international and comparative perspectives of the student affairs and services field; and higher education's role in facilitating students' journey toward life purpose and meaning.


SAS Competency: Emotional and interpersonal Intelligence (Intermediate); Leadership, management and administration (Intermediate)

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Campus Mental Health; Spirituality and Religious Pluralism


5. Advisor Training and Development – Building Structures that Support Success

Sunday, June 17 9:00AM – 12:00PM

$99 – member

$149 – non-member

This half-day session will include an opening talk, a panel discussion, and an opportunity for small group discussion, on the topic of advisor training and development programs.

In 2015, the CACUSS Advising Community of Practice (CoP) was established with the goal of raising awareness of student advising to the CACUSS membership and to create a professional space for advisors in Canada. Since then the work of the CoP has been to generate interest in the work of student advising and invite advisors/advising professionals to share their expertise and identify topics of interest for further exploration.  
One of these topics that has gained momentum from across the country is advisor training and professional development. It is no surprise that this topic resonates with so many, as it aligns with the release of both the CACUSS Competencies for Student Affairs Professionals as well as the NACADA: Global Community for Academic Advising Core Competencies for Academic Advisors. The time is ripe for a national conversation on the topic and even more so for a dedicated exploration of formal training programs currently in existence and how these contribute to professional development for student advisors. 
Join us for a facilitated workshop that will feature experienced advising coordinators speak to their own efforts in establishing a formal training and development program on their home campuses that align with professional competencies, standards and a diversity of approaches to academic advising. 
At the end of this three-hour workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate how the CACUSS Competencies for student affairs professionals and NACADA Core Competencies complement each other 
  • Reflect on the components of successful advisor training programs, their implementation and the relationship to professional development 
  • Understand the sensitivity of bridging the professional space between academic affairs and student affairs as it relates to advising, student success, and retention
  • Articulate and reflect on how advising communities are developed among campus stakeholders
  • Design a blueprint for a successful advisor training program that can be taken back to their own campus
  • Network with presenters and session delegates to understand requirements for a successful training and development program


  • Heather Doyle, Senior Advisor on Retention and Director, Student Academic Success – Dalhousie University
  • Paula Greenwood, Manager, Student Advising – Centennial College
  • Paul Sileika, Coordinator, Academic Advising – Ryerson University
  • Brigitte Wiebe, University Advising Services Coordinator – University of Manitoba

SAS Competency: Student Advising, Support, and Advocacy

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Advising


6. Creating a Healthy Campus Needs Everyone – Strategies into Partnerships & Action, presented in partnership with NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation

Sunday, June 17, 12:00PM – 4:00PM

$99 – member

$149 – non-member

Join colleagues from many areas within student services and associated units that want to dive into deep learning, advanced strategies for creating healthy campuses, as well as opportunities to leave with an action plan. A variety of expert voices will guide conversations and discussions allowing for new partnerships to develop. Bring others from your institution that you want to involve in designing new organizational and environmental cultures of health and well-being including new upstream approaches to infuse and contribute to a healthier community. Among the many practical outcomes will be learning from those of who have recently adopted the Okanagan Charter and the efforts to create the genesis for change.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the potential role of the Okanagan Charter (and other frameworks) in providing a unifying and visible framework for success on our campuses.
  • Discover current principles and strategies that build on a broad theories/frameworks.
  • Discuss policy, strategies and emerging best practices in creating conditions for health and wellbeing in every department - all contributing to student success.
  • Learn new ways to infuse physical movement into the fabric of your campus and the role that plays in creating a healthy campus.
  • Build an initial action plan to mobilize others to be part of the culture shift - healthy, thriving, and engaged!


  • Kathleen Hatch & Chris Dawe (moderators/facilitators)
  • Kandi McElary – Director, Wellness Services, Mount Royal University
  • James Sanford – Executive Director, Student Services, Acadia University
  • Kevin Dickie – Executive Director, Athletics & Community, Acadia University (U Sports)
  • NIRSA Canadian Region Representation
  • CACUSS Community of Practices – Student Health & Wellness, Campus Mental Health
  • CHPUCN – Canadian Health Promoting Universities & Colleges Network (Matt Dolf)

SAS Competency: Student Advising, Support, and Advocacy

Community of Practice Focus Areas: Student Health and Wellness

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