Two-day summit at Sheridan College paves the way for better international student support
Over the past two days, over 200 leaders from postsecondary institutions, community agencies and all levels of government gathered at Sheridan College’s Davis Campus in Brampton, Ontario, to examine the systemic barriers facing international students, and begin laying the foundation for change.
Co-hosted by Sheridan and the City of Brampton on July 25-26, the summit allowed attendees to reconnect in person, engage in meaningful dialogue, and share best practices from national and international jurisdictions. The event welcomed 48 panelists from across Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, who shared their expertise and lived experiences over ten main panel discussions and an additional six concurrent workshops. Panelists included members of the federal, provincial, and municipal government; academic researchers and postsecondary administrators, community agency leaders, student leaders, and more.
Key discussion points included:
- the lived experiences of international students at different stages of their journeys;
- the role that all levels of government must play in enhancing learner supports;
- the importance of establishing strong holistic supports for health and wellness, financial wellbeing, academic success, and quality work experience;
- establishing measures of accountability; and
- the role of media and student advocacy in shifting the international student narrative.
Throughout the summit, panelists reiterated the importance of a connected, data-informed structure of supports; the need to work directly in partnership with international students and community agencies, and most of all – the critical role of collaboration between all levels of government, community stakeholders, and postsecondary institutions in developing impactful solutions that address the full spectrum of student well-being. The detailed agenda for the summit and biographies of all participants can be found on the summit webpage. Links to the recorded sessions are also available on the summit webpage.
Sheridan will capture the key recommendations that emerged from the main panel discussions, workshops, and lunchtime conversation tables, and distill them into the foundation for the proposed Brampton International Student Charter. The Charter will support international student success and will include shared principles and common language, plans for action, and a mechanism for accountability. Plans are in place to share a draft of the charter with the broader community later this fall.
The summit is a key deliverable of the International Student Experience Roundtable that was convened in 2021 by the City of Brampton and Sheridan to develop an integrated strategy that aims to make Brampton the best practice leader in Canada in supporting international students to thrive.
The Summit was generously supported by guard.me International Insurance and sponsored by Centennial College, St. Clair College and Nadya Wen.
Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan College President and Vice Chancellor
“As we move towards a more cohesive approach to supporting international students, it’s vital that we take what we learned over the past two days and turn it into action. The collective conversations that follow this week’s event must go beyond writing the Brampton Charter – and focus on how we are going to live our commitment to it.” - Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan College President and Vice Chancellor
Gurpreet Malhotra, CEO, Indus Community Services and Roundtable Co-Chair
“We must turn our attention to addressing these issues through collaboration and constructive dialogue. In reviewing the data, hearing the community’s concerns, and incorporating feedback from service providers on the front lines, we will better understand the lived experiences of international students and be well positioned to define the problems, work out possible solutions and implement a plan of action.”
Bill Boyes, Chief, Brampton Fire and Emergency Services and Roundtable Co-Chair
“The City’s overarching goal is to work collaboratively to identify the challenges facing international postsecondary students, ensuring we collectively prioritize immediate and longer-term solutions that will keep the community and students safe, successful and well.”
Sheridan's Director of Government Relations for Brampton, Harinder Malhi, moderates a panel discussion with Ruby Sahota, MP Brampton North; Shafqat Ali, MP Brampton Centre; and Sonia Sidhu, MP Brampton South.
Nauman Khan, Sheridan Associate Vice President, Government and Community Relations, moderates a panel discussion with Brampton City Councillors, Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente (Wards 1 and 5) and Gurpreet Dhillon and Harikat Singh (Wards 9 and 10).
Sunand Sharma, Sheridan's Associate Dean - Community Citizenship, Leadership & Engagement poses with Sheridan student leaders who supported the Summit.
Pictured top row, left to right: Jaspreet Singh, International Sikh Students Association; Harikat Singh, Brampton Councillor, Wards 9 and 10; Christine Szustaczek, Sheridan Vice President of External Relations; Gurpreet Malhotra, CEO of Indus; Keera Smiechowicz , Executive Assistant, External Relations; Bill Boyes, Chief, Brampton Fire and Emergency Services; Ravjot Chhatwal, Division Chief - Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, Paul Vicente, Brampton City Councillor, Wards 1 and 5, Manan Gupta, General Manager and Publisher at Newcomer South Asian Media Company; Nauman Khan, Sheridan Associate Vice President, Government and Community Relations. Pictured bottom row, left to right: Roopa Desai Trilokekar, Summit Facilitator; Rowena Santos, Brampton City Councillor, Wards 1 and 5, Sharon Mayne Devine, CEO Catholic Family Services Dufferin Peel; Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan President and Vice Chancellor, and Harinder Malhi, Sheridan Director of Government Relations, Brampton
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