Dalhousie to host undergraduate education forum

Students and faculty are joining Dalhousie University’s Senate for a discussion about education.

The forum, DalVision 2020, runs all day on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and is open to all students, both at Dal and King’s.

The idea, says the Senate, is to spark discussion between students, faculty and administration about the evolution of undergraduate programming at Dalhousie in order to keep it “relevant and exciting.”

On the day’s timetable are roundtable discussions and a lineup of education-focused speakers. The conference coordinator, Alan Pinder, says he hopes to have a mix of senators, faculty, students and senior administrators.

“I feel that King’s students tend to be more opinionated per capita than Dal students… Despite our size, our voice is heard”

– Noah White, KSU Student Life VP

“The idea is to break down any power structures there are,” said Pinder, who is also the Senate’s vice chair of student affairs.

Third year King’s journalism student, Amaris Bourdeau, says King’s students have a stake in the discussion, even though it’s about Dalhousie courses.

“Half of my classes are at Dal, so I do think it’s important that King’s students do voice their opinions for the Dalhousie administration to hear,” said Bourdeau. “It’s important to take part.”

More than that, she says King’s students will likely go, as does Noah White, the King’s Students’ Union vice president of student life.

“I feel that King’s students tend to be more opinionated per capita than Dal students,” said White. “Despite our size, our voice is heard.”

Jamie Arron, president of the Dalhousie Student Union, will be speaking on student experiences and future prospects, and several professors from across the country have been invited to speak. These include Nick Mount, a professor at the University of Toronto, who is a nationally acclaimed teacher of literature and speaker on education, and Shelagh Crooks, who was named as one of Atlantic Canada’s top teachers.

King’s president George Cooper sits on the Senate as the King’s representative, but won’t be attending. He says he would go if he were not out of province on a prior engagement. Cooper says people from King’s should go and that “a lot of people at King’s have given a lot of thought.”

Former King’s student Bryan Heystee agrees, saying that Dalhousie’s undergraduate policies affect King’s students “immensely.”

“All of my major’s courses were at Dal,” he said. “Their policies affected the activity of my department.”

Pinder says he has high expectations for the forum and hopes for lots of discussion. His picture of success is exactly that – lots and lots of discussion.

“Chaos, noise, different viewpoints being exchanged, a full room that’s very loud.”