Did you know that Capilano University President Kris Bulcroft meets with students regularly to discuss issues of interest to them? Below Kris provides a summary of what she took away from the latest Student Voices Forum, which was held in October.

Every year I have the pleasure of meeting regularly with a group of students who form the Student Voices Forum.

Recipients of the Capilano Excellence Scholarship or the Paul Gallagher Scholarship for Excellence are invited to participate in a monthly session with the president to discuss a variety of issues relevant to Cap students. The Student Voices group always gives me a great deal of food for thought whatever the topic. The last week of October marked the first Student Voices Forum of the academic year. We gathered to discuss the topic: “Post-Secondary Education – is it just about jobs?”

I have been reading a great deal about the purpose of post-secondary education and there has been a lot of debate about the role of universities. Some argue that post-secondary education should provide skills and training to fill jobs to boost the economy while others argue that landing a job in your field of study should not be the primary purpose of a degree or credential, like in this Globe and Mail article.

A diverse group of students weighed in on this debate. Some felt that it was the learning that was the most important element of their studies and not the outcome, whether it is a degree, diploma or certificate. They argued that students in performance-related programs such as music are judged by how good they are and not by their certification.

Others felt that while the degree is important, most jobs require education plus relevant experience. It is for this reason many students found that opportunities like internships, co-op programs and study abroad programs are important facets of a well-rounded education at Cap. The ability for students to get engaged, work in teams and augment their credentials through experience is something most students at the Forum value.

Students also felt the opportunity within the classroom to have hands-on learning and get engaged with real projects with the community were great ways to encourage networking, experiential learning and connections both within and outside the campus community. One example given was a Cap advertising class where students competed to put together an advertising campaign on the safety of long boarding in North Vancouver.

Students overall seemed to value the connections, critical thinking skills and real-world opportunities they have access to at Cap and this outcome, they believe, will help them in more than just their job hunt, but in their careers, whatever path they take. I’m proud the perception students have of Cap is that we are a university that prepares students not just for the world of work, but for the world. That is what we are here to do.

Submitted by Kris Bulcroft, President of Capilano University