Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University face a future where some funding for scholarships and awards is cut in half.
The Family Campaign, a program designed to allow faculty, employees and administrators at Kwantlen to donate money to scholarships and awards, faces the prospect of losing matching money from the university. In the past, Kwantlen has matched donations from faculty and staff.
“Right off the top, it cuts in half the amount of finances we can contribute to students,” Katie Kinch, an advancement officer at Kwantlen, said.
According to Kinch, there are approximately 800 scholarships and awards across Kwantlen that students can receive, with many of those funded by donations made to them by staff and faculty.
“We have about 800 scholarships and awards across Kwantlen. Of those 50 are exclusively funded by staff, faculty and administration at Kwantlen,” Kinch said.
Last year, through the program, staff and faculty raised over $100,000 for student awards and scholarships. At the time, the university had allotted money in its budget for the program and matched all employee donations, raising the total amount to more $200,000.
This practice is common at other institutions, Kinch points out.
Faculty and staff who choose to donate determine where the money they donate goes. This usually means that the faculty member who is donating will give money to the faculty or program they are a part of, or the field they are currently in.
Kinch not only believes that not receiving additional money from the institution will hurt the program right away, but that it will continue to hurt the program, which also raises money for library resources, further down the road.
“In the past, we have received messages that it is very disappointing for the staff who choose to donate and see it as a real benefit to their employment with Kwantlen and an added value that the institution recognizes their financial commitment back to the institution and matches their giving, so I think it will have a significant impact on the overall performance of the campaign,” Kinch said.
Kinch thinks that the Family Campaign sends a strong message to the community at and around Kwantlen about the staff and faculty who work at the school. “It reinforces a really strong message that we are doing good work here,” Kinch said.
Anyone wanting to learn more about the Family Campaign at Kwantlen can visit its website
When it comes time to select classes for the next semester, it can be hard to know what each class is going to be like. To help, students have ratemyprofessors.com.
The site, which was started in 1999, has compiled over 11 million student-based rankings of teachers at more than 6,000 schools in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Wales to help students find the kind of professor they are looking for.
“It helps students to know more about their instructors. We hope to find an instructor that works for us. I think that it’s beneficial for students,” said Sandy Wong, a Kwantlen human resource student.
The site asks students to rate current and past teachers on easiness, helpfulness and clarity, so that future students can get a feel for the type of teacher they are going to have even before they step into the classroom.
“I know some students check it before they enrol in class to see who the professor is and it kind of sways if they are going to enrol in that class,” said Caitlin Penberthy, an environmental protection program student.
Kwantlen’s average ratings on the site are quite low compared to other universities in the Lower Mainland. While SFU, UBC and UFV have average ratings of 3.24, 3.29 and 3.54, Kwantlen is averaging just 2.7.
“It’s subjective. If you don’t get a good mark, then obviously you’re going to be upset and write something that’s not so great. I would hope that if teachers look at it, they would understand it’s subjective,” said Penberthy.
In a joint effort, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the KSA are providing free H1N1 vaccinations this week to students and employees at all four campuses.
Since Tuesday, more than a hundred on-vaccinations have been administered at the Surrey and Richmond campuses.
Lesley England, a registered nurse with ProGroup, said the turnout for vaccinations has been quite good. On Monday, she expected to give 70 vaccinations at the Surrey campus. She gave 88.
By 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, she’d vaccinated another 45 students on the Richmond campus.
“A lot of people who are getting the H1N1 [vaccine] have never had flu vaccines before,” said England, who is expecting a third wave of the H1N1 influenza virus to arrive in February.
Nurses will visit the Langley campus Thursday and the Cloverdale campus Friday in hopes of immunizing procrastinating students.
When the H1N1 vaccine was being developed last fall, the KSA hoped to include it in the health and dental plan. However, the government purchased enough of the vaccine for all Canadians and offered it for free at clinics.
“It’s readily available now. You can go to your doctor and get the shot,” said Eddie Lee, coordinator of the Student Health Improvement Program.
“However, we know that there are students and employees who probably still won’t go–it’s a lack of convenience for them, so we decided to bring it on campus.”
It’s that inconvenience that has kept Nick Mostar, 22, from finding time for the vaccination.
“I’ve been doing schoolwork and haven’t really had the time to go to a clinic or anything,” said Mostar who is in the engineering program.
Not all students have waited quite as long. Brandon Tuason, 21, got the H1N1 vaccine several months ago. He was at risk of getting the virus because, at birth, he was diagnosed with severe asthma, making him more prone to infection.
“We’re in an environment where everybody’s kinda in close quarters,” said Tuason. “Infections can spread really quickly. I think the school is taking a good initiative in preventing a lot of that by giving the immunization away.”
The Kwantlen Eagles woman’s soccer team flooded the Surrey campus with red last Thursday evening, as they celebrated their record-breaking bronze win at the National Soccer Championships in Ontario.
Students and staff gathered in the main entrance of C building to welcome the team with a roaring round of applause, as they addressed the crowd, flouting their provincial and national medals with pride.
The balloon-filled room was full of emotion as the team laughed through a slideshow of their journey to Toronto, and cried through the numerous speeches addressed to them.
David Atkinson, President of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, was one of the first speakers to congratulation the team.
“Thank you for what was the wettest weekend of my life,” said Atkinson, later joking that he “had to go home immediately and drink half a bottle of scotch.”
After extending an offer to take the whole team out for dinner, Atkinson couldn’t help but mention the accomplishments the university has made during his first year as president of the university.
“I have become very fond of saying ‘this year has been a year of firsts,’” said Atkinson, noting that Kwantlen received university status, established a Senate and now are receiving their first bronze medal for soccer.
Atkinson also surprised the team with a brand new soccer field, which will be built at the Newton Athletic Park by 2010. The field will be owned by Kwantlen, and feature a brand-new Eagles scoreboard.
“See what happens when you win a championship?” said Atkinson. “We spent $2 million. What a great deal!”
After Atkinson’s speech, members of the team shared some of their memories of their journey in Ontario for the national championships.
“We took the longest route possible, [with] shootouts,” said Kelsey Doherty, during her speech. “The ending? Victorious!”
When the time came to describe the big win, there was only one thing the girls could say:
“Overtime penalty kick it was,” said Sarah Davies, “and it landed us third place.”
While the ceremony Thursday evening ended with food and beverages, this is not the end of the Kwantlen Eagles celebration. In 2010, Atkinson will be back to congratulate team members ne more time as they celebrate with an official banner-raising ceremony.