Faculty society presidents seek Orientation summit

Capes and Techs call for more accessible training

Orientation Week ran Sept. 3 to 11.
As students were welcomed into the Queen’s community this September, some Nursing Orientation leaders faced challenges with accommodations for Orientation Week. 
On Sept. 22, Crystal Sau, president of the Nursing Students Society (NSS), asked AMS Assembly for advice about nursing leaders—NOCs and Capes—who were not granted accommodation requests during Orientation Week. 
Orientation Week was held over two weekends this year, divided by the first week of classes, from Sept. 3 to 11. According to Sau, this was not ideal for student participants and leaders.
“Across all faculties, I have heard of copious reports about stress after the first week and students not wanting to continue attending Orientation. Attendance was noted to be significantly lower in the second half of Orientation,” Sau said in a statement to The Journal.
Nursing students must do clinical rotations at the hospital for their program. The Orientation weekends conflicted with patient preparations done on Sundays which are necessary for Monday clinical days. 
Four days before Orientation Week, those with Monday clinical days who requested accommodations from class were notified they would not be granted, Sau said at Assembly. 
According to Sau, the Orientation Roundtable team (ORT) was “phenomenal,” but Nursing leaders requested to have clinical placements on Wednesday or Friday, and the requests were rejected by the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs, School of Nursing, citing professionalism. 
Some Nursing students led a day of Orientation on Sunday, went to the hospital that evening to prepare, and completed an eight to 12 hour clinical the next day.
“I would encourage the implementation of a formal accommodations process specific to faculties [...] It is my hope we can come together to do what is best for the students,  the university, and Kingston at large,” Sau said.
Other faculties associations, such as Computing Students Association (COMPSA), took issue with the accessibility of Orientation week for leaders. 
All faculty Orientation committees are under the AMS and ORT, which connect the faculties with the University. The leaders of different societies are required to complete training provided by ORT.
Leader training was conducted in the ARC for the thousands of faculty leaders, Jagrit Rai, COMPSA president, said in an interview with The Journal. 
Initially, Orientation leaders were told ORT was working to develop plans for those with extenuating circumstances—in the end, accommodations were not feasible.
Hard-to-read slides, poor audio quality, and incorrect captions made it difficult to understand the training, Rai said at Assembly. No asynchronous option was provided, which meant leaders who could not be present had to resign he said the team was already “stretched thin.”
“We’ve been working with the AMS and with the coordinators to tackle this issue, and they’ve been very supportive in trying to get to the root cause of these problems,” Rai said.
The AMS and ORT are receptive to feedback and being held accountable as student leaders, Callum Robertson, AMS vice-president (university affairs), said in an email to The Journal.
“Given, the return to an in-person Orientation was always going to present challenges,” he said. “We are glad to receive feedback to improve future Orientation Weeks.”
An Orientation Week Summit will be held at the beginning of November with faculty representatives, Orientation leaders, and other stakeholders to receive recommendations. 
The feedback ORT and the AMS have received so far has prompted them to improve the accessibility of events and training, by planning in conjunction with faculty societies. 
“A summit will be important to find new ways for our faculty societies to partner with each other and with the AMS, and more importantly, creating a united student voice in regards to what the student body wants for Orientation,” Robertson said.


A previous version of this article referred to action taken by the Associate Dean of Nursing, a position that does not exist within the department. It has been corrected to Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs, School of Nursing.

The Journal regrets the error.

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