Dr. Robert and Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium (September 2015)

In Nov. 2013, McMaster’s Fine Arts program received a $3 million donation—the largest donation ever made to the program—from McMaster alumnus Robert Fitzhenry to build a new addition to the studio space in Togo Salmon Hall. The space, which has not been updated since the 1960s, will be available for student use in Sept. of 2015. Named the Dr. Robert and Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studies and Atrium, the new addition will add 1,700 square feet to the studio space. The space is specially designed to let in plenty of natural light, and the atrium portion of the building will cover a courtyard workspace that will function as a reception area for students creating art. Fitzhenry graduated from McMaster with a BA in political economy in 1954. He dedicated the studio and atrium to his late wife, Andrée.

Downtown Health campus (April/May 2015)

The brand new downtown health campus will be opened in spring of 2015. The building is 195,000 square feet, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, and will provide space for 4,000 students and 450 McMaster employees. The building will see 54,000 patients per year and provide physicians to over 15,000 Hamilton residents who do not have a family doctor. This care will be provided at the Family Health Centre located on the third floor of the building, which will be a space where students can work alongside health care providers to treat patients. The campus will be located at the corner of Main and Bay Streets, beside the MacNab Transit Terminal, an easily accessible area.

The campus will also contain the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine, the School of Nursing’s nurse practitioner program, McMaster’s continuing health sciences education program, the Maternity Centre of Hamilton, Shelter Health Network, and the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Department.

L.R. Wilson building reaches substantial completion (December 2015)

The new L. R. Wilson Hall will reach substantial completion in Dec. 2015, meaning that parts of the building will be open to the public, although there will still be uncompleted areas. The building will serve as a home for liberal arts students and faculty, including the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences. The building will have five floors and will be 62,000 square feet in size. It will contain one large 400-seat classroom, two 100-seat rooms, and a number of smaller classrooms as well as research spaces and laboratories. In addition, the building will have a joint Social Sciences-Humanities student lounge, gardens, a cafe, a 350-seat concert hall, and a theatre space. The theatre features a unique “black box” design that can be adapted for difference performance needs. Along with student areas, the building will host the Wilson Institute for Canadian History and the Gilbrea Centre for Health and Aging, as well as McMaster’s Indigenous Studies program offices.

Wilson Hall is also LEED certified building made possible by a $45.5 million investment from the Ontario government, a $10 million donation from Chancellor Lynton (Red) Wilson, and a $1 million gift from the McMaster Association of Part-Time Students. In June 2013, construction began on the $65 million project, which will provide much needed space to liberal arts students at McMaster.

Mental Health Plan (February 2015)

McMaster University and the McMaster Students Union have partnered to create a mental health plan that will be released on Feb. 25, 2015. The plan was first conceived at a student-led forum on mental health in April 2013 where recommendations were made to the university. Over 150 meetings held with students, staff, faculty, and groups were held to determine student needs, and five key priorities were developed.

First, the plan looks to increase the services at the Student Wellness Centre by adding one mental health support person immediately, and a second in the future depending on the budget at that time. It also hopes to focus more on students experiencing trauma, including childhood or gender-based trauma. Next, the plan will re-evaluate the policies for Student Accessibility Services, as they are over a decade old and do not properly take into account students with mental health disabilities. Third, the plan will train 100 front-line staff, including librarians, financial aid, or other staff that interact with students, in how to identify signs of mental health issues.   

Internally, the university will increase coordination among services to better understand complex student cases. This will help student cases involving mental health to be better understood by the university so that students can receive the support they need. Lastly, Dr. Catharine Munn, McMaster psychiatrist and professor in the health sciences department, will be conducting research on child and young adult mental health, an area that does not have a lot of existing research. This research will be applied to the plan once completed to better understand how to serve students regarding mental health.

SOLAR and Mugsi to be replaced with Mosaic (March 2015)

SOLAR and Mugsi will be replaced by a new system called Mosaic that will improve on the course selection and student account management tools. Mosaic aims to provide a platform that will serve students’ needs in one place. This includes admission status, student fees, scholarships and awards, registration, schedules, degree audits, and transcripts.

The new course selection system will assign students designated times to log on and register, without the notification that the system is full. Timetables will also be available immediately for students on the new system.

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