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MINDING OUR MINDS: When Anxiety Meets Ambition

The Office of the Dean of Students at Victoria University in the University of Toronto is hosting our ninth annual Mental Health in Higher Education conference entitled Minding Our Minds: When Anxiety Meets Ambition on Thursday, February 27, 2020, from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

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The full-day conference promises to bring together many compelling voices for stimulating discussions on the state of mental health in Higher Education, particularly around the desire for excellence and its intersection with mental health disorders. Our morning keynote address will be delivered by McMaster University Psychiatry Professor, Dr. Catharine Munn, who leads McMaster’s campus-wide mental health and well-being strategy.  In the afternoon we will have a keynote address from Marija Padjen, Director of the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health (CICMH). We will also offer two discussion panels and will wrap up the day with two workshops – one for students, and one for faculty and staff.

Registration is closed. See below to reference the full-day schedule.

8:30-9:30       Registration

9:30-9:45       Welcome Remarks by Kelley Castle, Dean of Students, and Professor William Robins, President, Victoria University

9:45-10:45      Morning Keynote Address: Catharine Munn, MD, Clinical Professor, McMaster University

Dr. Catharine Munn is a psychiatrist focused on transition-aged youth and post-secondary student mental health and substance use. She completed her undergraduate at U of T followed by an MD, residency in Psychiatry and a Master's in Health Research Methodology at McMaster. She has worked for 16 years as a psychiatrist practicing collaborative care at the Student Wellness Centre at McMaster with family physicians and counsellors. She is currently leading McMaster's campus-wide mental health and well-being strategy, focused on educating and supporting Faculty and staff to address student mental health issues, and conducts research on early intervention for mental health and substance use disorders.

10:45-11:00    Health Break: please bring your water bottle!

11:00-12:00    Student Voices: Narratives, Considerations and Reflections

12:00-1:00     Lunch & Resource Fair

1:00-2:00       Afternoon Keynote Address: Marija Padjen, Director, Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health

Marija Padjen is the Director for the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health. She holds a B.A. from McGill University and a BSW and MSW from York University. After working as a front-line social worker for a number of years, she spent a lengthy tenure as the Chief Program Officer of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. Marija joined the Centre in July 2017, and is a firm believer in the spirit of collaboration. With her team, she is focused on supporting colleges and universities across the Province to enhance their capacity to improve student well-being.

2:00-2:15        Health Break

2:15-3:15          Expert Panel on Student Mental Health with Dr. Andrea J. Levinson, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Health and Wellness, University of Toronto, Dr. Diana Brecher, Clinical Psychologist, Centre for Student Development and Counselling Division, Ryerson University, and Dr. David Kim, Dean of Residence & Director of Student Life, Ancillary Services, University of Toronto   

3:15-3:30          Health Break

3:30-4:45         Concurrent Interactive Sessions: 

  1. Student Breakout Session with Dr. Kate Witheridge, Clinical Psychologist, University of Toronto
  2. Faculty & Staff Workshop with Cecilia Amoakohene, Community Partnership Coordinator, and Pearlyn Ng, Research & Knowledge Lead at the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health

4:45-5:00        Closing Remarks

Event location: Alumni Hall, Victoria College Building, 91 Charles Street West

Please contact for any questions about the conference proceedings. 

Campus (Re)Conciliations: Indigenous Issues in Higher Education Conference

The annual Campus (Re)Conciliations conference was first created as part of the conversation about the role of the University in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action. The conference provides a space to listen to Indigenous leaders and students speak about their research, reflections and experiences, and consider how to move forward. 

Each year, the conference features a mix of keynote speakers, engaging panel and armchair discussions, and interactive student-led workshops. This event is always free and open to all, so please encourage your students, colleagues and friends to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact the Ideas for the World Coordinator, Emily, by email at or by phone at 416-585-4528. 

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Join us for Vic's fifth annual Campus (Re)Conciliations Conference on Indigenous Issues in Higher Education on Wednesday, March 31. We will begin promptly at 1:30 and the conference will end at 4:30 p.m. Toronto time.

Our focus this year will be on health, including questions around COVID-19 and its disparate impacts on Indigenous communities; the relationship between traditional healing and biomedical health systems; and intersectional issues around health and reconciliation.  

This year's conference will open with a keynote address by Dr. James Makokis and Anthony Johnson, experts on Indigenous health and winners of the Amazing Race Canada.

The keynote will be followed by an armchair discussion with Dr. Lisa Richardson, clinician-educator in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Vice-Chair, Culture and Inclusion at the University of Toronto. The discussion will be moderated by Vic student and University of Toronto’s 2020 President’s Award Winner for Outstanding Indigenous Student of the Year, Riley Yesno, a nationally recognized Anishinaabe writer, researcher, and public speaker.

Register for the conference here