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SFU NOW engages thousands of working adults


Simon Fraser University Convocation. Images by Greg Ehlers.
August 27, 2014
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By Amy Robertson

SFU NOW: Nights or Weekends has welcomed over 4,000 students.

Developed to meet the needs of adults who work full-time, SFU NOW, part of SFU Continuing Studies, offers evening and weekend courses in Vancouver and Surrey. Since 2008, 424 SFU NOW students have been able to graduate from SFU while maintaining their work and family responsibilities.

"More and more, we're finding that students in Metro Vancouver are working full-time or almost full-time because they've got to pay the bills,” says Yvonne Tabin, the SFU NOW program director. “This can make finishing a degree difficult. We began SFU NOW to help make sure this key demographic has access to the education they need."

Jeffrey McCloy is an SFU NOW student who balances his studies with child care and running a business. “Without it, I wouldn't have gone back to school,” he says.

SFU NOW reserves its evening and weekend courses for students like McCloy so they can work their class schedules around full-time jobs.

"Ultimately, working adults are able to fit a degree into their lives that they wouldn't be able to otherwise," says Tabin.

To make SFU NOW even more focused on student needs, this year, staff organized several new events that allowed SFU NOW students to access key student services that are typically available only during the day, while they’re at work.

Student Services Workshops

An afternoon with Student Services, Career Services, Student Learning Commons, the Library, and Health and Counselling helped 16 SFU NOW students learn new study skills and gain a better understanding of available services.

Student Learning Commons Workshop

SFU NOW sponsored a workshop called Concentration Strategies designed especially for adult students, who often face different study challenges than younger students. Ten attendees left equipped with new techniques that they could apply to their studies immediately.

Academic Options Evening

During this event, representatives from each of SFU NOW’s partner departments spoke with students about their programs and what a major or minor in that area might mean. Over a dozen students declared a specialty that evening.

McCloy expressed appreciation for being able to spend one-on-one time with a program representative at the event. He was able to make a degree plan in 45 minutes.

“If time management is a key part of your existence, then that kind of stuff is really important,” he says.

SFU staff members are planning to organize even more student-focused events in the future.