Kwantlen Polytechnic Univer­sity at Thirty-Five

From Far­rier to Physics and be­yond

Asian Journal - - Front Page - Ray Hud­son

Kwantlen Col­lege was born out of Dou­glas Col­lege, in 1981, and man­dated to pro­vide ser­vices to the south Fraser re­gion. Its first cam­pus con­sisted of a num­ber of por­ta­ble class­rooms and of­fices just off King Ge­orge High­way in New­ton. They grad­u­ated 149 stu­dents in their first con­vo­ca­tion. Thirty-five years, and a quar­ter of a mil­lion stu­dents later, Kwantlen Polytechnic Univer­sity has come of age, and ap­pears to be mov­ing quickly to meet the fu­ture needs of this rapidly grow­ing re­gion. To­day the school, which awards about 2200 cre­den­tials

an­nu­ally has a stu­dent body of ap­prox­i­mately19,500. In a re­cent pre­sen­ta­tion to the Cloverdale Cham­ber of Com­merce, Dr. Jane Fee, Vice Provost, Stu­dents, pro­vided an overview of the univer­sity and where it’s go­ing in the fu­ture. The univer­sity has be­come a crit­i­cal part of the fab­ric of the south Fraser in both a cul­tural and eco­nomic sense as it en­deav­ours to pro­duce the cadre of skilled peo­ple who can chal­lenge the jobs avail­able, now and in the fu­ture, in this grow­ing mar­ket. Fee said that a re­cent sur­vey of grad­u­ates showed 87% had found work within four months, and 44% were em­ployed within a month of fin­ish­ing their cour­ses. “KPU has seven aca­demic fac­ul­ties,” said Fee, “Arts, Busi­ness Sci­ence and Horticulture, Health, Trades and Tech­nol­ogy, Aca­demic and Ca­reer Ad­vance­ment and our newly re­named Wil­son School of De­sign af­ter Chip and Shan­non Wil­son (of Lulu Lemon fame) who are now fund­ing our new $36 mil­lion ‘Chip and Shan­non Wil­son De­sign Build­ing’ on our Rich­mond Cam­pus. Chip Wil­son’s re­ally into de­sign and is help­ing move BC into one of the de­sign cen­tres of the world.” Ac­cord­ing to the Vice-Provost, the school sets it­self apart by the spe­cific prac­tice of com­bin­ing ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing with hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence, com­bin­ing the­ory with prac­tice. “There are lots of polytechnic schools in the coun­try,” said Fee, “but KPU is the only polytechnic univer­sity.” “It’s where you com­bine the ap­pli­ca­tion and the the­ory,” she said, “and as a polytechnic univer­sity, it means we take that ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing and ex­tend it up into full univer­sity de­grees. We have bridg­ing path­ways, do work place­ments, co-ops, in­tern­ships, and prac­tica in al­most all of our pro­grams. We join the mind and the mat­ter, the skills to do and the know how to ac­tu­ally make some­thing hap­pen, and be­ing ca­reer fo­cused, most of our stu­dents get work fol­low­ing their train­ing. Our mis­sion is to of­fer a di­verse range of pro­grams that blend the­ory and prac­tice, crit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing, so­cial and eth­i­cal aware­ness that’s nec­es­sary for cit­i­zen­ship and re­ward­ing ca­reers. Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Dr. Fee talked about some of the pro­grams that are at­tract­ing a lot of at­ten­tion, in­clud­ing a Bee Keep­ing pro­gram, that is gen­er­at­ing a great deal of in­ter­est, a far­rier pro­gram where they com­bine the art of shoe­ing horses with the education nec­es­sary to run the en­ter­prise as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, and the course that drew the most cu­rios­ity: On-line Mar­i­juana Grow­ing. She said that it was at­tract­ing in­ter­est from around the world, fore­most com­ing from the Univer­sity of the West Indies, where they are fas­ci­nated by the fact that KPU is the first North Amer­i­can univer­sity to move into the pol­icy world, the regulation world, around leg­is­lated mar­i­juana. She said it was not just the peo­ple here that were strug­gling with this is­sue, adding strongly that it is not a grow-op pro­gram.

Fu­ture Course Di­rec­tion:

Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Dr. Fee spoke with Ray Hud­son about cour­ses she would like to see at KPU.

Dr. Fee: “I’m imag­in­ing cour­ses that would bet­ter en­hance things we’re do­ing. For ex­am­ple, cour­ses about how to run a far­rier busi­ness. Our stu­dents go out to shoe horses all over the world and re­turn to tell us they would like to turn it into a busi­ness and can we help them do that? We have de­vel­oped some cour­ses in con­junc­tion with our Grow­ing and Brew­ery Op­er­a­tions Pro­gram that takes brew masters into the world of hav­ing their own busi­nesses. We’d like to take those kinds of cour­ses and ex­tend them to other pro­grams that we have. Our new Grow­ing and Brew­ery Op­er­a­tions pro­gram in Lan­g­ley, is a won­der­ful way to teach the el­e­ments of craft brew­ing, which is about busi­ness and chem­istry, and it goes right through to the pro­duc­tion area where the stu­dents ac­tu­ally pro­duce beer. We’d like to do some course work in Man­u­fac­tur­ing En­gi­neer­ing, tak­ing the kinds of tech­nol­ogy that we cur­rently use at our KPU Tech, cam­pus and be­gin to ex­tend that into the fu­ture world of man­u­fac­tur­ing, which is not about some of the man­u­fac­tur­ing tools we have now, but de­vel­op­ing the tools for the fu­ture. It’s about sec­ondary in­dus­try, which is well needed in this part of the world.

Ray Hud­son: With the de­sire to move to the high tech realms, does the univer­sity plan to be­come more in­volved in the In­no­va­tion Boule­vard med­i­cal pro­ject?

Dr. Fee: I think there are huge con­nec­tions and one of them is through de­sign. We have a young stu­dent right now who is start­ing up her own com­pany, based on a line of clothes that she has cre­ated through our fash­ion pro­gram. It’s about mak­ing cloth­ing for lit­tle girls who have com­plex med­i­cal prob­lems. The idea is to cre­ate clothes that al­low tub­ing to be run through them. It al­lows breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus to be imbed­ded into a vest or a jacket, so lit­tle girls can feel that they’re not al­ways in the hos­pi­tal, that they are not al­ways on dis­play. There are huge ad­vances in terms of tex­tiles, and what we of­ten think about as fash­ion, that can move us into the world of sup­port­ing health and medicine.

Ray Hud­son: The School of Nurs­ing is a sig­nif­i­cant pro­gram of the Univer­sity. Could we see it evolv­ing to the point of turn­ing out Nurse Prac­ti­tion­ers for ex­am­ple?

Dr. Fee: I think that’s prob­a­bly where we’re think­ing of go­ing next. We’ve just done a full re­view of all our nurs­ing pro­grams so that stu­dents will be able to come into a first year of ex­ploratory pro­gram­ming in health and nurs­ing and then de­cide where to go from there. We are also work­ing on de­vel­op­ing a pro­gram in Chi­nese Tra­di­tional Medicine and her­bol­ogy, which is be­ing done in con­junc­tion with the Univer­sity of BC. The pri­vate schools are teach­ing the Acupunc­ture pro­grams, but our pro­gram would al­low that kind of education to be given to MDs as al­ter­na­tives to western modal­i­ties.

Ray Hud­son: You men­tioned de­sign in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent con­texts. Tell me more about the de­sign school in Rich­mond?

Dr. Fee: It’s so new, I’m not even sure where it’s all go­ing. What we are work­ing to do, in con­junc­tion with Chip and Shan­non Wil­son, is to cre­ate a de­sign cen­tre in BC. Our pro­grams are in fash­ion and fash­ion mar­ket­ing, in­te­rior de­sign, graphic de­sign, but one of the things our stu­dents are telling us is that there is a world of de­sign which is about de­sign­ing an­swers to crit­i­cal ques­tions, about learn­ing the back­ground pro­cesses of de­sign think­ing to help solve the world’s com­plex prob­lems. So de­sign doesn’t need to be just about prod­ucts nec­es­sar­ily, it can be about an­swer­ing prob­lems, con­cep­tual ap­proaches and chal­lenges.

Ray Hud­son: You are about to ex­pand busi­ness education con­sid­er­ably at the fu­ture down­town Sur­rey cam­pus at Sur­rey Cen­tre.

Dr. Fee: The new cam­pus will be open­ing in Cen­tral Plaza, down­town Sur­rey in early 2017, in the 52 story pro­ject known as the 3 Civic Plaza. This com­plex will of­fer a bou­tique ho­tel, high-rise con­do­mini­ums and house Kwantlen Polytechnic’s down­town cam­pus, which will be the fo­cus of the con­tin­u­ing pro­fes­sional stud­ies and our post bac­calau­re­ate pro­grams in busi­ness. It will join the four other cam­puses in New­ton, Rich­mond, Cloverdale and Lan­g­ley.

KPU Civic plaza

Pho­tos: Ray Hud­son

Dr. Jane Fee, Vice-Provost, Stu­dents, speak­ing about the com­mu­nity as­set that is KPU.

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