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Enhanced student supports and services, with focus on student wellbeing and resilience

Students sitting around a table outdoors

We are sharing an update on the Strategic Plan deliverable “Enhanced student supports and services,” which falls under our commitment to being a people-focused organization. Under this deliverable, we continue to focus on student well-being and accessibility.

Student Success, in collaboration with many campus partners, is focusing on making our services more accessible and inclusive, while leading cross-campus dialogues in the importance of attending to student wellbeing.

Accessibility Services has fully implemented Automatic Individual Accommodation Plans (IAPs) and students can now renew their IAPs via a seamless process through an online student portal. Since Fall 2023, we’ve seen over 550 IAPs renewed through this portal. We’ve had great feedback from students, who tell us that this streamlined approach has enabled them to access their accommodations more quickly, eliminating delays that were once inevitable. Additionally, Accessibility Services launched an instructor portal for real-time access to student accommodations, ensuring faculty can efficiently meet student needs.

In May 2024, we look forward to piloting a new online exam management software through Accessibility Services, to enhance exam experiences with strategic improvements, particularly through pre-scheduled and predictable exam seating. This project is expected to be fully implemented by Fall 2024.

Student Financial Aid and Awards
Modernization has also been a priority in Student Financial Aid and Awards, with the aim to increase access for students in financial need. Improvements include:

  • Piloting drop-in financial aid advising during the first few weeks of the semester
  • Moving our bursary applications online so students can apply for financial aid at their convenience

Student Housing
Student Housing has fully adopted the province’s Leading Practices for Priority Access to Student Housing recommendations, ensuring that Indigenous learners and students who are or were former Youth-in-Care (FYIC) receive priority access to student housing. By enhancing flexibility in our application processing, we have been successful in prioritizing Indigenous and FYIC learners for housing with minimal or no time on the waitlist allowing for increased access to education.

In 2025, we look forward to moving students into BCIT’s new Tall Timber Student Housing building, which will increase our ability to support housing access for all student demographics, while continuing to prioritize Indigenous and current and former Youth-in-Care learners.

Student Well-being
In 2023, we shared the Canadian Campus Well-being Survey findings through open and targeted dialogue sessions, which fostered a deeper understanding of community needs and informed intervention strategies. In response, we launched the inaugural session of Healthier Substance Use, Addiction, and Harm Reduction Dialogue Series, focusing on debunking myths and increasing access to supports.

The Well-being Advisory Committee —a dedicated group of academic, student, and service representatives was established in 2023. The Committee is currently focused on updating our Student Well-being and Resilience Framework and further our commitment to systemic approaches to student wellbeing at BCIT.

What does the future of student wellbeing look like to you? We want to hear your ideas to help us shape a healthier BCIT. 

This Spring, there will be several opportunities to help shape our approach to wellbeing at BCIT:

  • Participate in a drop-in Solution Lab on campus and/or a ThoughtExchange to provide input on the Student Well-being Framework. We welcome insights from all faculty, staff, and students. Contact to incorporate engagement for the Framework at a department meeting.
  • Join us for a panel discussion to learn about examples of trauma-informed practices and their impact on student well-being in late March.

As a reminder, Early Assist is the best and most efficient way to get a student connected with assistance. It is a confidential service that provides BCIT faculty, staff, and students an opportunity to identify students who may be struggling personally or academically and offer them appropriate support and services at an early stage.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Laura Vail
Senior Director, Student Success

Commitment: People-focused organization
Initiative: Learner support and services
Deliverable: Enhanced student supports and services, with focus on student wellbeing and resilience
Deliverable lead: Laura Vail, Senior Director, Student Success