Mature and part time learner supports in Canadian universities July 11 2012
Mature and Part-time LearnerSupports in Canadian UniversitiesBrian Poser, Director, ACMAPS, York UniversityJanice Ngeno, Special Projects Assistant, ACMAPS, York University Student Affairs and Services Symposium, July 11, 2012
York Facts • Founded in 1959 • Third largest in Canada • 10 Faculties • >50,000 students • 1400 FT faculty members • 1000 PT faculty/TA • 9000+ mature Students • 7200+ part-time students 2
Background: DemographicsYork student population 101s and 105s Highly diverse student bodyHow do we define “Mature”? admissions category age, life experience, etc. 3
Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part- time StudentsEstablished August 2007Pan-university mission and mandateFour Pillars: access support advocacy research3 Full-time staff, 1 work/study student, 15volunteer peer mentors 4
Context for this researchACMAPS 5-Year Review • Unit History • Literature review • Environmental Scan • Analysis of institutional data • Unit self-study 5
Environmental Scan – RationaleLearning what supports were “out there” to assess ourpositioningTesting the perception/assumption that formalizedmature and part-time students supports were a rarephenomenon in Canadian Universities.Building network of practitioners who work with matureand part-time students with a view to sharinginformation and best practices and developingresearch partnerships 6
Environmental Scan – Preliminary FindingsBetween January and April, 2012, we systematicallysearched 95 Canadian university* web sitesSearch terms included: • mature • part-time • adult learner • étudiants adultes • parents étudiant*Universities were identified by their listings on CUDOand AUCC 7
Environmental Scan – Preliminary FindingsWe were specifically searching for universities with: • Administrative units to compare to ACMAPS • Student clubs or associations supporting mature and part-time students • Continuing education programs (which are a parallel site of support for adult learners on university campuses). • Nb. we excluded Bridging Programs and 8 supports at Community Colleges.
Environmental Scan – Preliminary Findings Here is what we found on our preliminary scan: 68 Continuing Education 22 student 16 dedicated programs associations or administrative services for Mature/Part-timeBrock University, Carleton University, Laurentian University, Lakehead clubsUniversity, University of Guelph, McMaster University, OCAD University, StudentsUniversity of Ottawa, Queens University, Ryerson University, University of Laurentian UniversityToronto, Trent University, University of Waterloo, University of Western Lakehead University Carleton UniversityOntario, University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Acadia University of Guelph McMaster UniversityUniversity, Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Ryerson University Queens UniversityScotia Agricultural College, St. Mary’s University, St. Francis Xavier University of Toronto University of WaterlooUniversity, University of Prince Edward Island, Memorial University of University of Windsor University of Western OntarioNewfoundland, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Royal Roads Wilfred Laurier University Dalhousie UniversityUniversity, Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Mount Saint Vincent University St. Mary’s UniversityThompson River University, Trinity Western University, University of University of Prince Edward Island Trinity Western UniversityBritish Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Memorial University of Newfound Land Mount Royal Universitythe Fraser Valley, University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, University of Northern British Columbia University of ManitobaConcordia University College of Alberta, Mount Royal University, University of Victoria University of WinnipegUniversity of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, Mount Allison University University of New BrunswickCanadian Mennonite University, University of Winnipeg, Université de University of New Brunswick Concordia UniversitySaint Boniface, Mount Allison University, Université de Moncton, Concordia University McGill UniversityUniversity of New Brunswick, Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal University of MonctonÉcole des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal, Université St. Anne, Université de Sherbrooke York UniversityÉcole Polytechnique de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Université de Université de LavalSherbrooke, Université de Laval, Université de Québec, , Université de Université du Québec à MontréalQuébec-École nationale d’administration publique, Université du Québec Université du Québec à Rimouskià Montréal, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université du Québec a University of SaskatchewanTrois Rivière, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Université du Québec àChicoutimi, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, First York University 9Nations University of Canada, University of Regina, University ofSaskatchewan, York University
Environmental Scan – Preliminary FindingsWhat do these preliminary findings suggest?•the relatively large proportion of continuing/extended learning programsdoes provides a point of access, recognition of the learning needs(flexibility, vocational focus) of mature learners, and presumably asource of revenue for the institution•The smallish number of clubs and associations may tell us somethingabout the level of engagement in co-curricular activities open to matureand part-time students•The relatively small number of dedicated services for mature and part-time students may reflect smaller populations of mature and part-timestudents, or perhaps an integration or embeddedness of mature andpart-time student needs in all services 10
Secondary examination – looking at the16 service units we found 11
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundHaving found so few dedicated supports for matureand part-time students in Canadian universities, wewanted to learn more about their histories, mandates,and service profiles.We conducted a short survey to examine: 1. When the unit was founded 2. The mandate of the unit 3. Whether it is a university or student government office 4. How the unit defines mature and part-time 5. Staffing complement 6. Population of mature and part-time students at the unit’s institution 7. Issues faced by students at the institution 8. Services offered by the unit 12
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundResults indicate that dedicated service units forstudents were even more rare than originally thought.Services connected to Service unit – university Service unit – studentnon-credit and/or administration governmentcontinuing/extended Carleton Universityeducation Queens University McMaster UniversityUniversity of Waterloo Western UniversityDalhousie University University of WinnipegSt. Mary’s University York UniversityTrinity Western University*Mount Royal UniversityUniversity of ManitobaUniversity of New BrunswickConcordia UniversityMcGill UniversityUniversity of Moncton 13
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundServices connectedto non-credit and/orcontinuing/extendededucation (n=10)University of WaterlooDalhousie UniversitySt. Mary’s UniversityTrinity Western University*Mount Royal UniversityUniversity of ManitobaUniversity of New BrunswickConcordia UniversityMcGill UniversityUniversity of Moncton 14
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –Universityadministration(n=4)Queens UniversityWestern UniversityUniversity of WinnipegYork University 15
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –student government(n=2)Carleton UniversityMcMaster University 16
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –Universityadministration(n=4) • Ban Righ Centre • founded 1974Queens University • serving mature studentWestern University women • run in conjunction withUniversity of Winnipeg University and Ban RighYork University Foundation • 1 FT, 3 PT, 3 student staff • Nearly 15,000 students attend institution. • Numbers of mature and/or part-time students not 17 reported.
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –Universityadministration(n=4) • Part of what is now called the Student Success Centre • founded in 1950’sQueens University • supports critical transitions ofWestern University students throughout theirUniversity of Winnipeg university careerYork University • 4 FT (5-10% each), 1 PT and 2 student staff • Approx. 21,000 attend institution • 1500-2500 mature and 3500 part-time students attend 18
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –Universityadministration(n=4) • Adult Learner Services and Prior Learning Assessment and RecognitionQueens University • founded 2006 (PLAR 1999)Western University • advocacy and promotion ofUniversity of Winnipeg learning environmentsYork University supportive of adult learners. • 9500 students attend institution • 3000 mature students in 2008; number part-time not reported. 19
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –Universityadministration(n=4) • Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students • founded 2007Queens University • 3 FT, 1-2 PT, and 15 studentWestern University volunteer staffUniversity of Winnipeg • Mandate of access, advocacy,York University support and research • More than 50,000 students attend institution • 9000+ mature and 7200+ part- time 20
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –student government(n=2) • McMaster Association of Part-Carleton University time StudentsMcMaster University • founded 1979 • representing and advocating for the distinct needs of part- time students. Also provides lounge and workshops. • 2 FT, 2 PT/Student staff. • 27,000 students attend institution • 3000 part-time students attend any given term; number of 21 mature students not reported.
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundService unit –student government(n=2) • Bill Ellis Centre for Mature and Part-time Students – a serviceCarleton University of CUSA, Carleton UniversityMcMaster University Students’ Association. • Other data not reported. 22
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundDefinitions of mature•Began undergraduate studies at age 21 or later and/or has children; one year or longerinterruption to studies (Queen’s, Ban Righ)•Will be at least 21 years of age in the calendar year in which admission is sought.Do not have a formal basis of admission (applicants having previously attended a universityor community college will be reviewed under those regulations). Have not normally been infull-time attendance at an educational institution within the previous four years. Haveachieved at least a “C” (60%) standing in ALL academic work attempted within the previousfour years. (Western)•Mature Status - a student who is at least 21 years of age and does not meet Regular Statusbut meets one of the criteria. Mature Access - a student who is at least 21 years of age whodoes not meet Mature Status. We use the term, Adult Learner which is defined by a studentwho has been out of school for at least three years. Adult learners could be Regular Status,Mature Status or Mature Access Status - the latter two are temporary statuses. (Winnipeg) 23
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundDefinitions of mature (cont’d)•21 years or older as of the first day of the session for which you have applied, and if youhave been out of full time high school studies for at least two years. You can also apply as amature student if you have previously attempted less than one full year of studies at anaccredited university or college. Undergraduates aged 25 or older. (York)•21 years of age, out of school 2 years, not completed full year of university (McMaster) 24
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundDefinitions of part-time•Students taking 3 or fewer courses during the term (Western)•Any student who registers for less than 3 half courses (9 credit hours) per term. A studentsstatus can change from part-time to full-time and back again depending on how manycourses they register for in any one term. (Winnipeg)•Students taking fewer than 9 credits per term. (York)•There are two definitions of "part-time" at McMaster University. The first is an academicdefinition used by McMaster University to refer to any student enrolled in less than 24 units(80 percent). The second definition of "part-time" is used by the McMaster Students Union(MSU) and the McMaster Association of Part-Time Students (MAPS) to refer to a student thatis enrolled in less than 18 units (60 percent). (McMaster) 25
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundIn response to the question “what types of support does youroffice/service provide to mature and/or part-time students?”: • Orientations and meet & greets (8 of 8) • Referrals (8 of 8) • Academic advising (6 of 8) • Workshops (6 of 8) • Financial aid (4 of 8) • Advocacy (3 of 8) • Counselling (2 of 8)•Other support services include: computer lab, quiet work spaces, groupwork spaces, free soup or salad at lunch, personal and financialadvising, speakers series. 26
Secondary examination – looking at the 16 service units we foundWhen asked “what are some key issues/barriers/challenges facingmature students at your university?”: • Financial barriers (8 of 8) • Competing responsibilities (7 of 8) • Academic Transitions (6 of 8) • Course availability (6 of 8) • Engaging in student life (5 of 8) • Childcare (4 of 8)Other responses: • parking, • a lack of on-line learning, • more options for financial aid and entrance scholarships for non- traditional students. • emotional and physical issues that are not considered serious enough 27 to be disabilities, but that still affect school work.
Key take-aways• The service units we found share some commonalities, but also suggest different “models” or “elements” of service delivery• Sharing expertise through network has potential to enhance service to students• Future directions could include: examination of Bridging Programs, continuing education programs, Community College supports; cataloguing of student clubs/associations; and understanding better how other schools support these populations of students 28
5-Year Review UpdateFrom January 2012-end of May 2012, we developed a series of“backgrounder” documents for each of the areas previously mentioned: • Unit History • Literature review • Environmental Scan • Analysis of institutional data • Unit self-studyA working group whose role will be to generate recommendations forACMAPS’ mandate going forward has been established and our inauguralmeeting takes place this week. 29
Contact informationAtkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students, York University www.yorku.ca/acmaps Brian Poser, Director: firstname.lastname@example.org 30