From the editor
// Kevin Murray

The basic assumption of students at a university is that we are somehow important to the administration's decision making processes. In most cases, this is true. We are considered to be clients for the course selections and we are canvassed in order to keep our instructors accountable. We hold seats on the newly elected, 30 person senate (four fabulous seats) and on the 15 person Board of Governors (an influential two spots). Once more, services like a students union or a student newspaper can receive a portion of the students revenue in order to provide outlets for our Charter rights and freedoms. But that is where the dialogue ends.

Case in point: The surgery of the fourth hour from our curriculum that was enacted in 2008. This change, ushered in in part to keep with our shiny new upgrade to University from College (even though it affords no more opportunities for students at all) effectively reduced our class contact time by 25% and compromised the reputation of the school, which had up to that point been based on smaller classes and personal relationships between students and teachers. That lost hour was made up by supplementary learning, such as the Moodle strategy or extra readings. In effect, it amounted to a massive loss in learning with no change in the costs of tuition. The cut also resulted in class times being scheduled into lunch hours, creating only two communal lunch blocks, Tuesdays and Thursdays, which severely compromises the ability of students to organize their Clubs, meetings and gatherings.

The change was met with much grumbling and gnashing of teeth by students and teachers. I reported on the change when it came into effect and could not find a single teacher who felt positive about it. Most felt that their hard-wrought curricula were simply cut off like a moldy crust. The student responses weren't much better, but some reveled in shorter classes.

Due to this dissent, the administration decided to officially canvass students and faculty to find some hard data. The survey was sent to the student inboxes of the Capilano webmail service and thus finds itself in questionable scientific statistical territory due to its voluntary component (typically this type of research is not regarded as credible).

A greater problem is the length of time it took for these survey results to be addressed. It has been almost a solid year since the survey was completed. The Courier only obtained these documents after months of inquiry and finally, after beginning procedures for a Freedom of Information request.

The final survey, which concluded on March 27th, 2009, resulted in a fat and bloated 200 page document that must have cost enormous amounts of time and resources, and simply summarizes what we already know –  that the students who remember what it was like to have a fourth hour disapproved of the switch, and those who enrolled when the change was in effect preferred it that way. The length of time it took for the survey results to be compiled effectively ensured that end, and no address is in sight.

The final recommendations of the survey state that no changes will be made, that more surveys should be performed when actualizing such changes in the future, and that teachers are still unhappy with the switch.

It should be noted, however, that these changes did come about for a good reason. Classes were overflowing and the administration could not continue to offer courses without performing major surgery. Still, it simply points to the administration's priorities: quantity of student dollars over quality of student experiences. Increasing the scheduling of courses in the evenings was deemed an unpopular and unprofitable option.

As we bid goodbye to our long-standing university president, the mathematically minded Dr. Greg Lee,  we should also lament. The vicious fourth hour cut tarnishes and shames his career of excellent service to students and should stand as a warning for his impending successor. Once more, the disrespectful and dismissive way the survey was handled leaves much room for student unrest in our publicly funded university. We were 'waited out', with the hopes that the students who remember the old way will move on and simply forget. But don't worry, the Capilano Courier is still here, to help you remember.

See the news section for further explanation of the survey and its results.

// Kevin Murray, editor-in-chief

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: