Lynn has also seen first-hand how the culture of the university has changed over the years. She notes how the main campus has become less of a commuter campus and more student-centered, which she views as a positive change. This shift is evident in the proliferation of online/distance courses and weekend classes offered through the highly successful SFU Now programme, and reflects a desire to accommodate the needs of mature or professional students who want to brush up their skills and/or broaden their knowledge-base, but can only attend school on a part-time or flexible basis. Given that mature students are more likely to be women, ethnic minorities, and to have disabilities, the future success of the arts and social sciences will need to find ways to effectively communicate with this growing cohort.
The students have also changed. Lynn has observed how many are “in a rush” to finish school either because they want to graduate with their friends and/or get out into the work world. As a result, she finds that many students overload courses while also trying to hold down some kind of employment. A “solution-oriented” person, Lynn advises students not to take so many classes at once if possible, and to “get experiences” such as taking on volunteer work or enrolling in co-operative learning courses to gain practical skills. Not surprisingly, Lynn is especially attentive to the needs and issues facing mature students, and goes out of her way to ensure that they are getting the best educational experience possible. Most of all, she feels strongly that students take advantage of everything that postsecondary learning has to offer - “do everything you can do that you can’t do after graduation”.
Within the Department of Political Science, Lynn has seen students go on to work in a variety of professions such as provincial/federal politics, international embassies, CSIS, the military, journalism and so on. This is why, when asked how the BA prepares students for the “real world” Lynn contends it’s “not the degree but what you do with the degree” that matters most. The arts and social sciences teaches students to “see thing differently” and provides them with new ways of looking at the world.