The Faculty of Science unveiled its new Undergraduate Science Centre (USC) on Wednesday. Located in EEEL 445, the USC is home to science-specific and expanded student advising services, offering direct value to students as they navigate through their degrees.
Faculty of Science Dean Ken Barker hailed the USC’s opening as an important milestone for the faculty and as a key piece for supporting students’ academic journey.
“The successful establishment of the USC is a testament to this institution’s and this faculty’s relentless commitment to putting students first,” he said to the more than 100 faculty members and staff who attended the inaugural open house event. “By committing dedicated financial resources and an assigned space to the USC, we can offer our students the services they need to reach their goals,” he added.
Historically, Faculty of Science academic advising was handled centrally through the Student Success Centre (SSC). In early 2013, a review of undergraduate academic advising at the university involving students, staff, and faculty identified several priority recommendations. Among the suggestions outlined and approved by the provost were moving the science program advising to the faculty and adding new program advising positions to increase advising resources.
Vice-Provost (Student Experience) Susan Barker spoke at the unveiling event, emphasizing how this shift in the advising services to the Faculty of Science is in line with the institution’s Eyes High strategic direction.
“Becoming one of Canada’s top five research universities by 2016 also means being committed to improving the depth and breadth of student experiences,” she said. “It’s fantastic to see the Faculty of Science deliver on this promise through its USC and to move the needle forward with respect to the attainment of the university’s ambitious targets.”
As part of the new USC, science students will have access to services related to academic advising, academic rules and permissions, course selection, degree planning and program changes, co-op and internship programs, international science program, and science programs.
Associate Dean (Undergraduate) Cindy Graham thanked all those who helped to make the review's recommendations a reality and highlighted the student-centric nature of the project.
“The USC illustrates what great things come about when all spheres of the university and faculty come together,” said Graham. “I’m delighted these efforts will result in direct benefits for the students – both in terms of increase service quality and quantity.”
Amar Deshwar, who is graduating this June with a BSc in Zoology and acted as Science representative for the Students’ Union until earlier this month, spoke on behalf of the students.
“With the new USC, science student are gaining so much clarity and efficacy,” he said on behalf of the students. “The Faculty of Science doesn’t lack in opportunities – and the USC certainly bridges what used to be a missing link in students’ experience. It’s so important for students to be able to rely on dependable and knowledgeable academic support,” he concluded.
The SSC will continue to play a significant role in the advising of students, remaining a centralized advising location for several student populations, including those who are undecided about their programs, open studies students wishing to pursue a degree, visiting international students, and those students who are academically at-risk. It will also become the institutional co-ordinator of retention programs such as the Academic Turnaround Program. As well, academic support programs such as writing support, study skills development, academic improvement planning, and programming for high-achieving students will remain the expertise of the SSC.
Science students are invited to visit the USC and to schedule appointments online effective immediately.