President’s Message – Letters and Numbers, Faces and Names

Do you still remember your UBC student number? You would have had to write or recite it scores of times over the course of your four (or more) years here, and chances are good that it has lodged itself indelibly in your memory. Due to the logistical exigencies of an institution with thousands of students, that number – along with the letters and numbers that got added to your transcript each semester – was for all intents and purposes your UBC identity.

Paradoxically, now that our student population tops 55,000, that is changing. Three initiatives are helping UBC evolve to a “faces and names” relationship with every new student who enrolls with us. The news might just convince you to pull out your student card again…

Broad-based Admissions

Effective for the 2012-2013 academic year, all applicants to undergraduate programs at UBC Vancouver will be evaluated using a broad-based admissions process. In addition to high school grades, each applicant will provide a personal profile detailing their educational accomplishments and plans, as well as their life and community learning experiences and the ways those experiences have shaped them.

UBC’s Sauder School of Business and the faculties of Science and Arts have been using broad-based admissions for several years, and have found that the process lets them consider a much fuller range of applicants’ accomplishments and assemble a more diverse and engaged student body. Applicants find the process gives them a chance to reflect on the lessons inherent in their life experiences and challenges, and to be considered for the full breadth of aptitudes they possess.

The evaluation process is therefore much more rigorous – and a much greater investment for UBC – than it has ever been in the past. Hundreds of specially trained staff will evaluate each application individually according to standard, campus-wide criteria. UBC receives over 30,000 applications every year, and we accept approximately one out of every five. We don’t expect those numbers to change this year, but we do expect to be referring to each one of them by name.

Names, Not Numbers

Beginning this June, every undergraduate student arriving at UBC will be assigned an Enrolment Service Professional (ESP), who will be a source of advice and assistance throughout the student’s entire UBC career. By June 2013, every undergraduate will have one. The ESP relationship will mean students can access admissions, registration, student records, student financial support, fee assessment and more, all through one person – and that person will know their name. The ESPs, each of whom receives six weeks of training, will also know the student’s history with UBC and be able to build a
relationship over time.

The Learning Plan Strategy

Learning plans are currently used by a number of faculties to help students document their goals, both personal and professional, and tie those goals to learning experiences in class and in the community. Over the coming year, UBC will formalize a learning plan strategy for the institution as a whole.

We are changing the way we interact with our students, with an approach that sees and supports the whole student throughout the whole UBC experience. Our goal is nothing less than a transformative learning environment, filled with faces we recognize and names we know.

–Stephen

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