Becoming a McGillian 101

Making a Martlet is a new one-hour workshop for all incoming students living in McGill residence halls

For first-year McGill students who live in residence the new school year is a thrill, accompanied by a lot of nervous butterflies.

Making a Martlet is a pilot project designed to help students find their feet at McGill. The inaugural workshops, held on Monday, August 27, were a smashing success with 2,000 students at sessions at Leacock and New Residence Hall.

“We want our students to know their University cares about them,” says Dean of Students, Professor Chris Buddle. “We want them to know we will support them in the transition to life and learning at McGill. Building a foundation on some critically important topics – before Frosh and before students begin academic programs is really important. Our goal is to set the stage.”

“Introducing essential information is key, but alerting students to ways in which they can learn more is absolutely necessary,” says Alexander Liepins, Skills Development Officer, Teaching and Learning Services (TLS).  “We really want students to participate in the SKILLS21 program, learn and be engaged through Rez Project, Indigenous Awareness Week, and more. Making a Martlet is a pilot initiative, and we hope to bring something like this to the entire McGill student community.”

Introduction to life at McGill

Making a Martlet is a one-hour, interactive session, introducing students to their rights and responsibilities. Emphasis is placed on education; McGill’s culture of respect and diversity; and information on consent, gender and sexuality.

Making a Martlet basically means making a McGillian. The Martlet is McGill’s famed emblem bird, a mythic creature which never lands because s/he is on an unending voyage seeking knowledge.

The sessions use TurningPoint polling software, an educational technology supported by McGill’s TLS. Students answer projected questions on their cell phones, introducing a learning tool that many of them will use in class, while increasing engagement.

Speakers at the Making a Marlet sessions included Prof. Fabrice Labeau, Interim Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning); Prof. Chris Buddle, Dean of Students; Alexander Liepins, Skills Development Officer, Teaching and Learning Services; Bianca Tétrault t.s, Sexual Violence Education Advisor; Office of Sexual Violence, Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE); Eve Finley, Equity Facilitator, Office of the Dean of Students; and Alastair Hibberd, Graduate Education Officer, Teaching and Learning Services

Team effort

Dean Buddle says without the close collaboration of Residence Floor Fellows and the Residence community, the first Making a Martlet program wouldn’t have been possible.

Units involved in planning, development and delivery of Making a Martlet include:

  • Office of the Dean of Students
  • Teaching and Learning Services
  • Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education
  • Campus Life and Engagement
  • Student Housing and Hospitality Services

The Making a Martlet sessions also introduce non-academic programming opportunities for students.

If you have questions about Making a Martlet please contact: First year students can also benefit from these related learning opportunities and resources:

Making a Martlet has been certified as a Silver McGill Sustainable Event. That means presenters have been trained in interacting with diverse populations, ensuring event locations are as barrier free as possible, and reducing the possible waste created from events.