Surrey welcomes new programs

April 07, 2005, vol. 32, no. 7
By Terry Lavender



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Science and arts and social sciences' students will be joining the SFU Surrey community this fall as the university's two largest faculties introduce new first-year programs at the campus.

Arts and social sciences will offer a two-year cohort-based program called Explorations, while science is introducing Science Year One, a one-year cohort program. In a cohort program, students are guaranteed access to all their core courses, and can expect to have the same classmates in all those courses.

The two new programs join the existing offerings at the Surrey campus, which include TechOne (a cohort-based applied sciences program), continuing studies courses and degree programs in interactive arts and technology, business administration, computing science and education.

With Explorations expecting up to 100 students and Science Year One as many as 50 students, SFU Surrey will have a total first-year enrolment of 550 when classes start in September 2005, the largest entry class yet for the three-year-old campus.

Both Explorations and Science Year One are stressing small class size and cohort groups as selling features for their programs. “We don't want large classes. Much of the time classes will have 20 or fewer students,” says Roger Blackman, special advisor to the dean of arts and social sciences. And because Explorations and Science Year One are cohort programs, “students can make friends and get the support of classmates more quickly. They become members of a learning community,” he says.

The arts and social sciences program offers students a choice of themes, including contemporary issues reflected in economics and politics and contemporary issues reflected in literature and film in the first year, as well as skill development and project courses.

Science Year One offers introductory biology, chemistry, physics and math courses. For now, students in the biology and chemistry courses will use lab facilities at the Burnaby campus. Expanded science facilities are under consideration for the Surrey campus, says Alistair Lachlan, who is developing the Surrey science program.

Lachlan points to the first-year studio physics course as one of the innovative features of Science Year One. Instead of sitting in rows of seats, listening to a professor or teaching assistant lecture, students sit in small groups around round tables and engage in experiments and projects. A typical class would combine discussion, group activity, and a mini-lecture, Lachlan says.

Students who complete Science Year One can apply for life sciences year two, computing science, business administration or mathematics on the Surrey campus or other science majors at the Burnaby campus, he says. From Explorations, students can pursue majors in arts and social sciences at the Burnaby campus or apply for business or education programs, Blackman says.

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