SFU’s FD grade seen as necessary; Kwantlen has no plans to introduce it

December 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It was a little more than a year-and-a-half ago that a senate sub-committee for Simon Fraser University implemented the FD grade, also known as failure for academic dishonesty, in an effort to strengthen the school’s policies on academic integrity and prevent cheating by use of the internet.

Today, SFU is still the only university in Canada that uses the FD grade, which stays on a student’s transcript for two years after graduation.

Kate Ross, SFU’s registrar and executive director, student enrollment explained the rest of the FD grade’s process.

“If no further acts of academic dishonesty have occurred [after two years], the registrar will automatically change the grade to F,” said Ross.

Although no statistics on how many students have been affected by this grade have been released yet, SFU students have been generally accepting of the grade’s purpose since its introduction. General studies student Jayna Bhindi believes that the FD grade is necessary for students who cheat.

“If I receive an FD, then not only does it mean that I plagiarized in that specific course, but it can also give the impression that I may have done the same thing in my previous classes and I was lucky enough to not have got caught, so whoever receives an FD receives it because that’s what they essentially deserve,” said Bhindi.

Silvia Duran, also a general studies student, agreed with Bhindi.

“[An FD] blatantly states the dishonesty that the student receiving the grade has practiced, and it not only shows future…schools, or even employers that you’ve failed, but you’ve failed for passing off somebody else’s work as your own,” said Duran.

A third student, Alvin Gutierrez, has some doubts about the grade.

“To me, there’s an inconsistency with the FD grade because what if a student simply forgets to put quotes around something someone said? I’m not sure how easy it would be to get out of that one,” said Gutierrez.

The question now is whether any other universities in Canada will follow suit and implement an FD grade of their own.

“We have certainly had inquires about [the FD grade], but to date I am not aware of anyone else introducing it in Canada,” said Ross.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s director, admissions and records, Zena Mitchell, said Kwantlen has no plan of introducing an FD grade at this time.

Kwantlen emerges as leader in energy conservation

December 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen is shooting well under par in a game it is becoming very good at.

According to an article in Metro, “Kwantlen’s campuses use 40 per cent less energy than the typical college and 66 per cent less energy than the average university in Canada.”

Recently, Kwantlen was awarded with a 2010 BC Hydro Power Smart Leadership Excellence award for its continuing success in energy management and conservation. This is the fifth time BC Hydro has recognized Kwantlen’s involvement in energy conservation and the third year in a row it has been acknowledged with the leadership excellence award.

Kwantlen was only one of 13 other organizations in B.C to be a recipient of the award in 2010. The award recognizes organizations that have been geared towards energy savings year-over-year and continue to strive towards more savings.

“It actually becomes kind of fun. It’s like when you get better and better at a video game… you know you want to go to the next level,” said Karen Hear, executive director of facilities management at Kwantlen.

Hearn says that a huge part of the success has come not only out of her contributions, but those of the entire Kwantlen team.

“I think because we’re taken an approach that ‘We is smarter than Me’ and tried to involve a great number of stakeholders, from our service suppliers to our maintenance contractors to our in-house personnel. Everything from security officers to janitors, involving them all… they’re part of it.”

According to Metro, Kwantlen’s energy saving efforts over the past 10 years are enough to power over 4,100 homes for a year, which has also resulted in the big savings on utility costs.

For Hearn, this is major part of the big picture.

“We really want to be conscious of, one, reducing our impact on the environment, but at the same time saving money,” she said.

“Basically our costs for utilities, that’s water, natural gas and electricity, in 2001 at that point our budget was about $1.4 million. We were about 850,000 square feet. We are now 1.1 million square feet, plus or minus a slight bit, and our utilities budget this year is about $1.43 million.”

Kwantlen has been innovative with the way it is going about conserving the amounts of energy. Recently, a new system was introduced to minimize the amount of kitchen exhaust. Instead of having the exhaust fans above the grills in kitchen going all the time, Hearn and her team came up with the idea to installation of variable speed drives that work like an accelerator in a car depending on the amount of smoke and heat in the air. Now, when the grill is being used a lot, the fan speeds up, but when it isn’t, it automatically slows down to a minimum speed.

“We have tried to be very creative that whenever we are doing a renovation or a system upgrade or new building construction, we try to take that opportunity to look at what are some very creative ways that we can minimize the amount of energy that is required in support of the facility,” said Hearn.

The next project that her and the facilities management department are focused on is what Hearn refers to as the Awareness Program, which will be aimed more at ensuring students are being guided to helping making Kwantlen more environmentally friendly and identifying what a student can do on an individual level to help.

More information on Kwantlen’s energy and environmental management and its action plans and records can be found at the college’s sustainability web site.

Kwantlen fashion students finalists in Télio design competition

December 11, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Fashion students pose with some of their work

Earl Mabaquiao (left), Kristin Yip and Laura Nickel pose with some of the work they have done for school. None of the three have begun the creation of their garment yet. (Photo by Josh Saggau)

For most students the semester is winding down, but for three of the fashion department’s top students, the work is just beginning.

Earl Mabaquiao, Kristin Yip and Laura Nickel have been named three of 25 finalists in the 2001 Télio Design Competition.

They now have just five days, once their schoolwork is done, to complete a garment they designed for the competition, which will be held in February. The competition, put on be Montreal-based textile company Télio, invites fashion students from across Canada to design and, now that they have been named finalists, create a garment, which will be presented to judges during Montreal Fashion Week.

“Part of the thing that’s also stressful about the competition is that we’re students, and part of the competition rules is that we can’t ask for help from anyone else, so we have to figure everything out on our own. We’ve all done these crazy designs, not thinking that were actually going to get in and now we have to make it on our own,” said Nickel.

But the trio is excited to showcase what they can do.

“It’s a pretty big deal for us, especially as students. It’s a great opportunity. I think one of the best opportunities as a student in Canada, to show at this event, because it’s a national competition and we have so many opportunities in winning the competition. Also, just in being place in those sort of circumstances, getting to talk with media, getting to talk with industry professionals, doing that networking, making those connections, and then also it’s a super-fun opportunity for most of us who don’t have the opportunity to travel, to have someone put us up in Montreal. Fly us out there and put us up and wine us and dine us. It’s really fun,” said Nickel.

Following the Montreal Fashion Week, Télio will announce five winners of scholarships totaling $10,000. The will be awarded based on the student’s ability to show creativity, use technical skills and capture the theme of the competition: Great Canadian North.

“I was inspired by the Aurora Borealis and its beauty. I wanted to take that beauty and take a still picture of it in the form of a garment,” said Yip.

Mabaquiao drew his inspiration for the weather of the north, while Nickel’s inspiration for her design came from the imperfections found in the north.

“There’s all these cracks and crevices and there’s such a rawness about it… These are the things we find so beautiful about the north,” said Nickel.

With the semester wrapping up and the university closing for winter break, the three finalist don’t have much time to complete their intricate designs before the competition. Because the fashion week and competition have been pushed up a month, the trio won’t have much time in the new year to complete their work.

“We don’t want to leave it ’til January,” said Yip.

Although the stress is clearly beginning to mount for them, with schoolwork to take care of before the start their garment, they have not lost their enthusiasm.

“At the end of the day, we are showing at Montreal Fashion Week, and to do that as students and someone else is giving us that opportunity, it’s great. It’s exciting but we just have to deliver because our names are attached to it,” said Mabaquiao.

The three garments designed by the winning trio for the TELIO competition.

Design sketches by the three finalist for the TÉLIO Design Competition. (Photo composite by Josh Saggau)

Best Buddies comes to Kwantlen

November 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Students and their buddies

Students from the University of Victoria participate in their school's Best Buddies chapter. (Photo provided by Best Buddies)

A nation-wide charitable organization called Best Buddies fosters strong friendships between high school and university students, and individuals with intellectual disabilities has come to Kwantlen’s Richmond and Surrey campuses.

Students are matched up by chapter presidents to community residents who share interests, personalities and schedules. And the rest is pretty much left up to participants.

“It’s up to the students to make and develop their friendship as they want,” said Amy Lynn Taylor, the Western Canada program manager and current chapter president for the Surrey campus.

“We hope they are meeting as frequently as they’d like to,” she said, adding that students and their buddies are encouraged meet a minimum of twice a month.

Depending on the pair, time between students and their buddies is spent doing what the average young adult does: shopping, dining, movie-going and chatting.

Ora Chen, Richmond chapter president, spends most of her time with her buddy Winnie shopping at Richmond Centre.

“Our relationship is very good; she thinks I’m really a good friend, and she’s really good in our friendship,” Chen said.

While the chapter presidents generally host four group meetings each school year, the program is mainly meant to provide a safe and encouraging way for students to get involved in the communities around Kwantlen, and meet and interact with people outside of school who don’t necessarily have the same opportunities as they do.

Both chapters work closely with Community Living British Columbia, an organization that works with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As Taylor explained, the community clients from CLBC genuinely appreciate being able to meet students, go out, have fun and spend time with people who enjoy spending time with them as well.

The Surrey and Richmond chapters are relatively new, and as there are currently more buddies than volunteers, both chapters are always seeking student participation.

Students can participate in either the Surrey or Richmond chapter for as long as they attend Kwantlen, or have the time to commit to the program. But even when schooling comes to an end, the friendships made between students and their buddies often don’t.

“In a lot of cases, they do continue to stay in touch,” Taylor said.

For more information on the program, visit www.bestbuddies.ca, or seek out the Best Buddies booth at the Kwantlen volunteer expo being held at the Surrey campus Nov. 23 from noon-5 p.m., and at the same time on Nov. 24 at the Richmond campus.

Kwantlen’s first ever dodgeball tournament a success

November 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Marissa Dionne playing dodgeball

Marissa Dionne, of Team McCulloch, squares off against some of her teammates from the Kwantlen women's soccer team. Team McCulloch won the Movember Dodgeball Tournament. (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

Students filled the Surrey campus gym ducking, diving and dodging their way to dodgeball fame on Friday night.

With more than 15 teams participating, Kwantlen’s Movember dodgeball tournament was unquestionably a huge success for the KSA and Kwantlen Recreation, who collaborated to host the event.

“Our goal initially, because we’ve never done one, was if we got eight to 10 teams we would have been happy and we got 15. We also got a lot of singles who came in and tried to pick up teams. It definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Eddie Lee, who coordinated the event.

“It’s one of those things that snowballs. You do as much as you can and some things are going to work and some things aren’t and you kind of just have to roll with it. Not everything you do or plan is going to work out the way you anticipated. This is one of those successes that hopefully we can build on.”

The KSA has not always had a lot of success promoting events — the Oct. 2 street hockey tournament was cancelled due to lack of interest — but the dodgeball tournament was an unbridled success.

“It was a lot of fun. We’re just happy to come out and play and support a cause,” said Amy Basi, winner of best female moustache.

Perhaps the best part of the day was that everyone was there for more than just dodgeball. Exact numbers for the fundraiser, for cancer research, will take some time to add up but organizers seemed happy with the donations made by students.

“We all knew it was for Movember, and we just came back from nationals, so we all said, ‘Let’s do this and see if we can raise some money,’ so that’s what we all came out for,” said Courtney McCulloch, who captained her team to victory in the championship.

The win for McCulloch’s team was no small victor,y either. Competition was fierce through round robin play and intensified once the knockout round began.

“It was a tough run. Eventually our team decided to settle down and took it for the win,” said McCulloch.

What has to be exciting for the KSA is the enthusiasm that the event brought. The Surrey gym was filled with participants and spectators and the crowd really seemed to be enjoying the event.

The KSA’s marketing coordinator, Nathan Griffiths, said they were excited for future events after the success of the dodgeball tournament and that it was good to see Kwantlen developing that university spirit. He also said that after interest shown in the event this year they could probably have 10 more teams next year.

Sean Mitchell playing dodgeball

Sean Mitchell , of the DeMOlishers, warms up before the start of the tournament with some throwing and catching. (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

Hairy Lipped Eagles team stretching

From left to right, Nathan Griffiths, Tonya Myhedyn, Reese Motzek, Shawn Mitz and Chelsea Campbell, of the Hairy Lipped Eagles, get in some good stretching before the start of the Movember Dodgeball Tournament at the Kwantlen Surrey campus on Nov. 19.

Team McCulloch shows off their medals

The tournament's winners, Team McCulloch, captained by Courtney McCulloch (centre, back row). (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

Kwantlen event: Hello, Africa!

November 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Africa Poster

Hello, Africa! is being held at Kwantlen’s Surrey Campus on Monday, Nov. 15. The event will be “an evening of African words, wisdom, song, dance, drumming, crafts, food and drink.” Photo by Jeff Groat

Hello, Kwantlen, Africa’s calling.

Hello, Africa! kicks off International Education Week at Kwantlen on Monday and features a keynote address from UBC sociology Professor Kogila Moodley.

“This event came about as a result of myself and two colleagues going to Kenya this summer,” said Joan Nesbitt, who is part of Kwantlen’s criminology faculty and is an organizer of the gala.

“The three of us went to Kenya to look at the feasibility of setting up international field schools there,” she said. Part of the grant that paid for the trip to Kenya included a community dialogue session back at home, leading to Hello, Africa!

Moodley’s address is titled “Gandhi & Mandela: Reconciliation in Divided Societies” and is expected to touch on themes of building dialogue between local communities in the developed Western world and the continent of Africa, or the global south at large.

Nesbitt and her colleagues are in the very early stages of setting up international field schools in Kenya and Tanzania, where Kwantlen criminology or sociology students may be able to go on exchange.

Monday’s event is meant to highlight the importance of exchanges and of sharing educational resources between communities. It is sponsored by Kwantlen’s criminology department.

Moodley, according to the Hello, Africa! program, is professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, where she was the first holder of the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Studies.

Kwantlen scores low in student ratings

November 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Jacqueline Ho on her computer at ratemyprofessor.com (Photo by Josh Saggau)

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.

SFU to rally for education: Will Kwantlen?

November 7, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

(Provided by the SFU Community Coaltion's education rally campaign)

Simon Fraser University will host a student-led education rally Wednesday to protest funding cuts to universities and issues surrounding student debt.

The SFU Community Coalition aims to raise awareness about the current state of education funding in B.C., in the hopes of making post-secondary education a high priority in B.C.’s next provincial budget.

The Nov. 10 rally, scheduled for the Convocation Mall at 3 p.m., is an offspring of the Canadian Federation of Students’ student debt campaign, which focuses on similar issues and unites students in an attempt to induce legislative education reforms.

Unlike other universities across Canada, Kwantlen has yet to speak out about those issues.

“The KSA will have a campaign, it’s just a matter of to what extent students grasp it and to what extent we are able to use our capacities to the fullest in the KSA,” said Bradley Head, the KSA’s director of academic affairs, and the chair of the academic issues committee.

The capacity of the KSA is currently limited: internal politics have rendered council ineffective since the start of the fall semester, and there haven’t been any official meetings since September, according to Head.

“We’ve been in discussion with SFU a little bit, but not to the extent where we can do any big campaign,” he said.

Head said that the KSA would like to look into receiving more operating funds and grants for the university, increasing class sizes and making student loans more accessible.

These are similar to the issues being brought up on Wednesday on SFU, along with reducing student loan interest rates, and increasing funding to StudentAid B.C., a government program that helps students with the cost of post-secondary education.

The provincial budget will be finalized mid-November, so students have limited time to voice the changes they’d like to see in the 2011 budget.

But change is possible. And with Premier Gordon Campbell’s recent announcement that he will be resigning, there may be hope for increased funding towards education.

“I think that [with] the change in premier, there’s a lot of positive that could come from it for the school,” said Head.

“Depending on who is placed in that position, their opinions based on student debt and the way the education system’s currently funded, [it] could massively change any chances the student unions have of decreasing or maintaining current tuition,” Head speculated.

Head said he hopes the issue be brought up within the KSA in the next two to three weeks.

“[But] that’s if council meets,” he said. “If council doesn’t meet, there’s no way to actually do the campaign.”

‘Thirstday’ costume contest scarier than midterms

November 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

On Oct. 28, Kwantlen students and staff gathered in the Richmond campus rotunda for a THIRSTday Halloween costume contest. Hayley Woodin and Jeffrey Yip document the fifth annual spooky fashion show through video and photos.

Dating: The best, and worst, of it

November 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Amanda Punshon, Meagan Gill and Miranda Gathercole explore some of Kwantlen students’ strangest and most memorable dates.

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