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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: UnSettling Conversations

The Office of the Dean of Students at Victoria University is pleased to invite you to Campus (Re)Conciliations, our annual conference on Indigenous issues in Higher Education on Monday, March 9, 2020.

First created to address the role of the University in responding 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. Now in our fourth year, this year’s broadly construed theme is the land, including its teachings, the role of land acknowledgments in the University and more. Our subtitle to the conference, respecting what is happening as we speak, is “UnSettling Conversations."

The conference will feature keynote speakers, engaging panel and armchair discussions, and an interactive student-led workshop.This event is free and open to all, so please encourage your students, colleagues and friends to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily Paquette-Leahy by email at or by phone at 416-585-4528. 


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Event Location: Alumni Hall, Victoria College Building (91 Charles Street West)

Conference Schedule: 

8:30-9:15        Registration and light breakfast

9:15-9:45        Welcome Remarks by Jackie Esquimaux-Hamlin, Knowledge Keeper

  • Remarks by Professor William Robins, President, and Kelley Castle, Dean of Students, Victoria University

9:45-11:00      Opening Conversation

  • Student Facilitator: Liam Austin, Student and Student Life Professional
  • Bonnie Jane Maracle, Learning Strategist, First Nations House
  • Riley Yesno, Student, Activist and Speaker

11:00-11:15      Health Break: please bring your water bottle!

11:15-12:30      Morning Activity: Speaking the Land

  • Michael White, Special Projects Officer, Indigenous Initiatives, University of Toronto

12:30-1:30       Lunch provided by NishDish catering

  • Exhibit: Taddle Creek: The Indigenous Landscape Project

1:30-2:45         Afternoon Conversation

  • Conversation Chair: Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Issues, Victoria University
  • Jayce Chiblow, Research Assistant for the Indigenous Environmental Justice
  • Hannah James, Journalist and Communications Manager, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

2:45-3:00        Health Break

3:00-3:30        Water Drumming by Grafton Antone

3:30-4:00       Concurrent Sessions: 

  1. Faculty and Staff Guided Conversation: Land Recognition
  • Michael White and Kelley Castle
  1. Student-led Community Building Exercise (for students)
  • Iakoiehwahtha Patton, Activist and Student

4:00-4:15        Closing Remarks by Jackie Esquimaux-Hamlin, Knowledge Keeper