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SAF Symposium

Provost Susan Tighe
Susan Tighe
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Message from Provost Tighe

Innovation doesn’t just happen; it needs to be supported and nurtured.

At McMaster, we understand that groundbreaking ideas and transformative projects require a robust support system. One of the tools we have for that is the University Fund, a pool of funds that we use strategically in support of excellence, innovation and renewal in all areas of the university.

Over the past two years, 31 initiatives have received support through the Strategic Alignment Funds (SAF), which are administered through the Office of the Provost.

On May 7, 2024, we celebrated this commitment to innovation at the inaugural SAF Symposium, where 14 presenters from across the university showcased their SAF-supported initiatives. Their presentations are shared below and I encourage you to explore them.

2024 SAF Symposium Presentations

The SAF Symposium was structured into four thematic sessions, each highlighting a critical area of focus for our university: (1) Student Success, (2) Future Readiness, (3) Inclusive Excellence, and (4) Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity.

1. Student Success

International Student Engagement and Success International Students

  • McMaster welcomes
    students from 120+ countries.
  • International students face unique barriers.

Financial Education and Empowerment Student Finances

  • Finances are a top three stressor for students.
  • Open to students, alumni and low-income community members.

Graduate Supports: Career and Writing Graduate Students

  • Helps transition to professional and academic ventures.
  • Available to graduate students across all Faculties.

TalkSpot: Student Mental Health Support Student Mental Health

  • Potential for localized, embedded mental health supports.
  • Accessible services tailored to specific student groups.

2. Future Readiness

Co-Op Program in Social Sciences Co-op Program Develoment

  • Announced in 2023 with first Level II cohort now heading on Work Term in Summer 2024.

Skills Curriculum in Humanities Skills Curriculum

  • 68% of applicants say “career” a major reason for applying to postsecondary education.

Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) More about OUR

  • Make research an integrated component of undergraduate experience in Science.

3. Inclusive Excellence

McMaster's Hidden Special Collections Open the collections

  • More than 100,000 books and manuscripts.
  • Open to students, faculty, staff, researchers, public.

CoDesign Hub: Equity-Based Co-Creation Co-Design Hub

  • Equity-Deserving Groups involved in co-creation to recognize, overcome barriers to their participation in public services.

Outreach to improve EDGs Graduation Rates Outreach Program

  • SAF supports coordinating efforts around access and outreach to Equity-Deserving Groups in Science.

Indigenous Health Learning Lodge Indigenous Health

  • Address barriers and improve FHS Indigenous health education
    services/programs for students.
  • Support for FHS faculty and staff.

4. Collaboration & Interdisciplinarity

STEM Innovation Agenda: Science & Engineering STEM Agenda

  • Aim is to advance priorities, increase Science and Engineering research revenue.
  • Partnerships with other national labs, government, municipalities, industry associations.

INSPIRE Office of Flexible Learning INSPIRE Spring Intersession

  • Create a fulsome spring semester with novel interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities (Spring Intersession).
  • Micro-courses open to students in levels II-IV.

Experiential & Interdisciplinary Learning Experiential and Interdisciplinary

  • Experiential learning is embedded into McMaster’s renowned culture of teaching and learning.
  • Interdisciplinary programming plays a key role in future of higher education.