Fewer teachers to come

By Karoline Czerski

One hundred extra students overcrowded the Faculty of Education’s capacity of 400 this year, taking advantage of a guaranteed GPA admission policy. This year’s applicants will not be so lucky as admission will be based on a “top down” policy.

“We will be admitting by GPA until we are full,” said Dean of Education Dr. Annette LaGrange.

By setting a high GPA for early admission and monitoring how many students are accepted initially, the faculty will be able to lower the GPA according to how many spots remain. The early admission GPA for this year’s applicants is 3.5, compared to last year’s guaranteed admission at 3.0. This means uncertainty for students applying to the program.

“Students will have to wait and see what the other candidates’ GPAs will be,” explained Carol Webb, Manager of the Student Services Office in the Faculty of Education. Previously, a floor GPA was established prior to early admission and those who met the grade were automatically guaranteed a spot. Now, early admission is open only to those who meet the high GPA requirement and, even then, the admission is tentative for those finishing their winter undergraduate semester.

“Unlike before, we are now looking at the marks for the semester that the student is in when he or she applies,” said Webb. Those who do not meet the early admission requirements must wait for the GPA requirement to decrease before they will be accepted.

“The Education faculty could no longer abide by university procedures of guaranteed acceptance,” explained Webb.

“Two years ago, more students applied then suspected. It was more than we could look after.”

With 100 extra students, the faculty had to accommodate the surplus not only in the classroom, but in the teacher associations and school boards as well.

“We had to scramble this year to pair up the extra hundred students in their student-teacher practicums,” remarked Webb.

“The quality of the teaching goes down because the faculty has to hire sessional professors and the classroom tutorials are less productive,” said one Education student.

The “top down” policy, which gives the faculty greater control over the number of students admitted, is meant to alleviate some of these overloading pressures. Other faculties, such as the Haskayne School of Business have also adopted this policy.

Students already in the faculty and potential applicants are concerned with the admission process and its purely academic nature. For an interdisciplinary faculty like Education, some feel that the application criteria should include more than just the GPA.

A recent Psychology graduate and candidate for the Elementary Education program who has extensive volunteer experience at her daughter’s grade three classroom thinks experience is crucial for a position such as teaching.

“Exams can’t teach someone to be a good teacher,” she points out. “Being able to explain a topic to a child doesn’t necessarily come from having the top grades.”

Although the faculty does not take into account prior experience when admitting students, they do encourage “applications from those who have had direct experience with children,” as outlined in the application guideline. Webb emphasized that the field is highly interdisciplinary but is careful not to steer away from the academic nature of the program.

“Since this is an academic program, we need to stick with academic requirements,” she said.


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