By Natalie Sit
Years ago, when the University of Calgary was founded, students entered the Arts and Science faculty, completed their degree and went their merry way. Soon U of C became too large and administration decided to differentiate facultiesÑand the concept of a university college was born. The university college eventually became the Faculty of General Studies which morphed into the Faculty of Communication and Culture. Now the U of C is proposing another change in admission. Come Fall 2002, frosh students can directly enter any open faculty provided they have a 70 per cent average upon high school graduation. However it is still unclear how it will affect the university. Some issues are still unresolved; like student advising and approval of new degrees. Some believe the university will not be ready by 2002 while others are eager to meet this challenge.
Currently, frosh students can directly enter five faculties: Communication and Culture, Engineering, Fine Arts, Nursing and Kinesiology. With the new program, frosh students can directly enter any faculty and choose a major.
The university conducted focus groups and asked current university and high school students for their input. They found students wanted to be in the program or faculty of their future degree.
The university will admit new students with a 70 per cent average.
"The major reason we went to direct entry was mainly the fact that students felt very strongly they wanted to be immediately identified with a faculty rather than doing the pre-program thing," said Registrar and Direct Entry Implementation Committee Chair Dr. Gary Krivy. "Students said, ‘I’d at least like to know that I’m a Faculty of Science student’ because other universities allow direct entry and we haven’t allowed that for 20-odd years for certain programs. When we spoke to students in Engineering, Kinesiology and Nursing, they all seemed to applaud it."
Dean of Communication and Culture Dr. Kathleen Scherf found another reason when she talked to parents and students at U of C 101.
"[Foreign students] want to come, they want to get into their program," said Scherf. "They don’t want to pay a couple of years of foreign students’ fees before they’re even in the program."
At the University of Alberta, students can directly enter any non-quota faculty.
U of A Associate Registrar and Director of Admissions Carole Byrne believes faculties find fault in non-direct entry programs.
"They like to know if the student is committed," said Byrne. "It helps the student to some extent make up their mind earlier on. But perhaps it helps students make their mind up later on."
Students’ Union Academic Commissioner Nic Porco sees another reason why the university is implementing direct entry.
"I think the aim of direct entry… [is] to attract the ‘cream of the crop’ students as well as local students and students who want to go to the university for a variety of programs," said Porco.
However, some people are concerned. Porco doesn’t believe the university will be ready by Fall 2002 because certain things need approval by GFC, such as new degrees and the admission guide. Porco is also worried about providing student advising services as MacEwan Hall construction continues to force the relocation of offices.
"I’m a bit of a pessimist," said Porco. "Everything that is part of direct entry has to be put into the Fall 2001 admission guide and approved by GFC. There will be a lot of people scrambling to put things into GFC’s agenda… and I don’t think they can do it."
Another of Porco’s concerns is
the possibility of faculties competing for students, which might
harm students because they were aggressively recruited by a faculty they were unsuited for.
"The problem is that faculties like Humanities and Social Sciences don’t have the money to put out full-colour brochures saying why their faculties are the best," said Porco. "And a faculty like Management or Engineering has a little bit of disposable income or revenue [with which] they tell you about their graduates and why their faculty is the best."
A proposed solution establishes the position of Director of Enrolment Services, which Krivy hopes will be hired by September 2001 in order to address issues before 2002 frosh students choose their faculty.
"One of the first responsibilities of the Director of Enrolment Services is to come up with a policy about recruitment," said Krivy. "That would include not only recruiting officers but things like brochures."