Print Edition: February 18, 2015
The Student Union Society (SUS) held an extraordinary board meeting on February 11 (over reading break) to hear from UFV administration about their decision to change UFV’s Writing Centre into an “Academic Success Centre.”
SUS met with VP students Jody Gordon, director of teaching and learning Maureen Wideman, and director of communications Dave Pinton to discuss the Writing Centre’s change to the Academic Success Centre.
VP external Dylan Thiessen noticed the issue has caused concern in many students.
“About a couple weeks ago, both myself and Ryan were contacted by students, faculty, and alumni expressing concern about the closing of the Writing Centre,” he said.
Although the closing of the Writing Centre was briefly discussed at the previous board meeting, Thiessen felt that the discussion raised more questions than answers — the most prominent regarding the re-assignment of faculty.
“The main concern lies with the fact that the current five or six full-time professional tutors are being replaced by peer tutors,” he said.
Gordon said the Writing Centre is not closing, but is becoming an Academic Success Centre. While it will employ peer tutors, there will still be a faculty co-ordinator and two staff positions held by instructors with master’s degrees.
“That part of the centre still [has] the level of support that people see in the Writing Centre right now,” she said. Gordon thinks peer tutoring in the Academic Success Centre will be valuable for students.
“We don’t just learn and absorb information from faculty, we learn from each other,” she said.
SUS was presented this information by administration in hopes that they would support the decision to create the Academic Success Centre, and therefore share that information with students. The SUS board did come to the conclusion that they tentatively support the decision, but are disappointed with the “level of communication and lack of active consultation in the decision-making process,” as stated in their motion.
SUS president Ryan Petersen explained that he felt there could have been better communication on UFV’s part.
“It’s understandable that they are in a rather delicate position dealing with contract agreements with individuals — they need to be rather tight-lipped on that,” he said. “On the other side, I think the Student Union and the membership at large would have liked to see a larger, if not consultation, then at least information about what was happening to the centre.”
Despite the lack of communication, SUS still supports the changes in the Writing Centre and released a statement that they are “currently optimistic that the Academic Success Centre will be able to serve a greater number of students than the current model and can meet the needs of students throughout their university careers.”