Academic Success Centre launching Fall 2015

UFV is expanding its Writing Centre into an Academic Success Centre to increase support for students.

The new centre will expand the support available to students across all disciplines, in addition to continuing to offer writing support. The change to a cross-disciplinary, faculty-led, student-peer driven Academic Success Centre model is in line with best practices across Canada and the US.

Work is underway on a transition plan with the aim to launch the new Academic Success Centre in the Fall of 2015. An advisory committee will provide input into this process, with representatives from UFV and the UFV Student Union Society. Students and faculty will continue to be served by the existing Writing Centre during this transition. There are no budget savings nor position reductions resulting from this change. We are expanding the level of service and support for students within the existing budget model.

Important information regarding the Academic Success Centre

Recently there has been inaccurate information circulating in regard to the expansion of the Writing Centre into the Academic Success Centre.

We admit we should have done more initially to foster broader consultation and communication with the community in regard to this project.

While there were certain confidentiality requirements due to human resource considerations, we have learned from this experience and we’re seeking better ways to communicate that are consistent with what we all value about UFV.

UFV administration recently met with the UFV Student Union Society board and are pleased with their open approach and appreciate their February 12, 2015 statement on the Academic Success Centre. Their view is in part, that "UFV administration is working with the best intentions for the diverse range of students and their associated needs." We encourage you to read the SUS board’s full statement on this project.

UFV is dedicated to an environment of freedom of expression and open debate, and it is vital to base this discussion on accurate and relevant information.

In this light, below you’ll find answers to some of the questions you may have about the transformation of this service into the Academic Success Centre.

Questions and Answers:

Is the Writing Centre closing?

No, the Writing Centre is not closing. The university will expand our Writing Centre into an Academic Success Centre to increase support to students across all disciplines, in addition to continuing to offer writing support. The change to a cross-disciplinary, faculty-led, and peer-driven model is in line with best practices at universities and colleges across Canada and the United States.

Will the Writing Centre be open for the remainder of this term?

Yes, the Writing Centre will remain open until the end of classes this term and the transition to the Academic Success Centre will take place over the summer months.

When will the new Academic Success Centre open?

UFV is developing a transition plan and aims to successfully launch the new Academic Success Centre in the Fall of 2015.

Is this a result of Government or UFV budget cuts?

No, this is not a cost-cutting measure. The budget dedicated to teaching writing will not change and there are not any layoffs associated with the transformation to the Academic Success Centre.

How many people will be supporting students in the new centre?

There will be one faculty position and two staff positions in the Academic Success Centre and approximately 30 to 40 accredited student peer tutors. The university will have more people supporting writing across the campus than under the current model.

Will the quality of instruction suffer?

As always, we will strive for exemplary quality of instruction. The three employees in the Academic Success Centre will likely hold Masters or PhD level degrees. Plus, we will have peer tutors who will be carefully selected for their academic standing and their ability to teach. Peer tutors will receive rigorous training through an accredited training program.

Is UFV off-loading teaching to less expensive student peer tutors?

This is not a cost cutting measure. Our budget does not change. This will be a faculty led and cross-disciplinary, peer-driven process. This model is widely accepted as a best educational practice across Canada and the US. The peer tutors will also be paid for their tutoring sessions, so this creates an excellent student employment opportunity.

What training will the peer tutors have?

The UFV peer tutoring model will be certified by the College Reading and Learning Society. Over 1,000 college and university tutor training programs around the globe have received International Tutor Training Program Certification from this internationally recognized certification body.

SFU, UBC and hundreds of other colleges and universities across North America use this model.

Will this be the only place students receive writing instruction?

UFV is very pleased to be able to provide the Academic Success Centre to students, but it’s not the only way for students to learn how to raise their writing to the next level. We’re fortunate we have highly qualified and very dedicated faculty who teach writing to students in classrooms in many areas of study across our campuses. UFV’s small class sizes facilitate excellent student-faculty interaction.

Administration has been quoted as saying this is a more cost effective delivery method – how so?

More students across a wider range of disciplines and needs will be served with our current resources. Right now, peer tutoring programs exist across campus with no coordinated oversight or support; with limited administrative coordination and resources. The Academic Success Centre will bring these initiatives together, creating synergies and faster delivery methods to better serve students who require learning assistance.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Eric Davis, Provost and Vice President Academic eric.davis@ufv.ca
Jody Gordon, Vice President Students jody.gordon@ufv.ca
Maureen Wideman, Director, Teaching and Learning maureen.wideman@ufv.ca

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