So for this blog post, I would like to highlight two points in particular. First, I am very pleased to see what the university has done with the Bridging Program under the guidance of Dr. Bill Connor, who served as Dean of Students for ten years. Second, I am excited to see what the SU’s Student Governance Office has done under the guidance of the Student Governance Advisor, Amanda Henry.
During the 2011 SU executive campaign, I talked briefly about the implementation of what is generally called a “Foundation Year” program. Foundation Year is prevalent at Australian universities, and has been established at Simon Fraser University, through a private company called Navitas.
The University of Alberta is not following in the footsteps of SFU or Australian universities. Rather, it is improving the current U of A Bridging Program, which provides ESL courses (ESL 140 and 145) to international students in their first year at the university. Basically, the new Bridging Program will introduce a new course, ESL 135, in order to open up to a larger number of international students, and provide additional transition support to the students in the program. The fact that the University of Alberta is running this program internally, instead of outsourcing to a private company, is impressive and well-received by the Students’ Union.
As for student governance, the Student Governance Advisor has made outstanding progress over the last year, and it is very much becoming apparent now. An introductory meeting was held for students serving on different GFC standing committees. This meeting, along with the range of services that will be offered by the SGA, should lead to deeper engagement from the students participating in university governance.
I will be out of the office (and the country) from May 14-24, and will probably be without internet or anything like that. When I return, I’ll respond to whatever you send me as soon as possible.