A library without books can’t really be called a library, so Archbishop O’Leary High School renamed theirs the Success Centre after the building’s 2014 renovations. The revamp replaced rows of bookshelves with computer pods and couches to promote self-paced and social learning habits. Students have access to more online programs, Alberta Education-approved modules and four staff members specialized in each of the four core subjects to help guide self-learning, as well as counsellors and advisors to help students with life beyond high school.
The change to the library came in the midst of an Alberta Education redesign that focuses on “discovery learning.” Dubbed the “21st-century teaching method,” the redesign has been slowly integrated into the school system since spring 2014 with more free time for students, access to iPads in the classroom and WiFi to connect personal devices.
NDP reverse on market modifiers
The recently elected NDP government has rolled back the previously approved market-modifier hikes that were announced last December by the PC government. The hikes came through a loophole in the tuition freeze to raise fees for 25 specific programs to make up for the 1.4-percent cut to post-secondary education in the PC’s proposed budget.
Until the new budget is introduced in the fall, the proposed Interim Supply Funding will also allocate
$133 million into the 2015-2016 post-secondary year to stabilize funding without raising tuition or making any cuts until a long-term solution is found.
Alberta Blue Cross post-secondary grants
In June, the Alberta Blue Cross announced it will provide up to $350 000 in funding through its Post-Secondary Wellness Promotion Grant Program to “support and promote student wellness iniatives” in the province’s post-secondary institutions. Universities and colleges can apply to fund a variety of programs depending on what the institution is lacking, from helping students quit smoking, encouraging healthy eating habits, to mental health and stress relief.
University of Alberta newly elected provost
Newly appointed University of Alberta president David Turpin won’t be the only one making big changes at the institution this year. The U of A’s board of governors also elected Steve Dew as Provost and Vice-President Academic this past spring. The search committee, which included both Turpin and outgoing president Indira Samarasekera, chose Dew based on his work as associate dean in the Faculty of Engineering, where he helped increase the faculty’s growth in undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a huge growth in research funding.
Dew will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of academic operations for students, staff, alumni and university associations. He will also work closely with the provincial government and its Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education.
Bike to university
Both the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan University student associations are finding ways to educate students about efficient ways to bike to class again. The post-secondary schools have taken to social media and blogs this summer to promote their indoor bike storage and tune-up centres around campus. With the downtown and the University areas becoming highly congested with traffic, the institutions are giving students and staff a way to avoid high-priced parking passes with a free and safe place to store bikes, while promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. V