By: Lorelei Kenny
- UPEI officially opened the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering
The new School of Sustainable Design Engineering opened in September 2016. The expansion of UPEI’s engineering program provides engineering students with a hands-on, project-based, team-oriented learning environment, helping students to make a lasting impact on society and the environment.
- New School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences UPEI opened
As of January 2016, students now have the opportunity to graduate with a B.S. with a specialization in statistics, video game programming, financial mathematics or actuarial science. This was one of the biggest advances UPEI made in the mathematical and computational areas.
- Great changes were made to Provincial Student Financial Assistance Program
Provincial Student Financial Assistance Program made great improvements including “the addition of a Severe Permanent Disability Benefit, a Rehabilitation Program for individuals who have defaulted on their student loans, the extension of the grace period for repayment after completing studies from six months to a year, an increase in the weekly maximum loan a student can receive, and indexation of this weekly maximum to the Consumer Price Index, the latter two being priorities for which the UPEI Student Union has advocated to the Provincial government for the past two years.” (http://upeisu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Feb-23-2016.pdf)
- New policies were implemented for drop date regulations and double counting of courses
In the fall of 2016, the UPEI SU Senate eliminated one of the two course drop dates from each semester, keeping only the later date in October and February; they also increased the refund rate to 50%. The Senate also made the decision to allow for the double-counting of courses. As a result, one course can satisfy the requirements of two different and concurrent designations within one degree. (There are some limitations that apply, further information can be found on the SU website.)
- UPEI Administration and Faculty Association reached deal
The Faculty Association and UPEI Administration finished negotiations and came to a collective agreement, which the UPEIFA states “ensures fairness and equity for members.” As a result, UPEI avoided a strike and the fall 2016 semester to flowed smoothly for students and professors.
- Increase in overall enrolment and international attraction efforts
In 2016, UPEI’s total full-time undergraduate and graduate enrolment increased by of 2.8 percent, while the regional average declined by 0.5 percent. And as of 2016, over 70 countries from across the globe are now represented on the UPEI campus. Our diverse student body enhances the UPEI learning experience by widening the possibilities for cultural exchange and exposes students to new perspectives and world views.
- New Turf field opened
UPEI’s twelve-year-old turf field was replaced with a new turf field in September 2016 just in time for fall sports season. The turf field now meets industry performance guidelines and is FIFA certified. The new turf opens doors in terms of events the facility can host says Chris Huggan, athletic director at UPEI. Lastly, it improved the playing experience for UPEI Panthers and the greater community.
- Canada and PEI invested in Dalton Hall
The Government of Canada, the Province of Prince Edward Island, UPEI and private donors all invested funds into the century-old Dalton Hall. Dalton which was previously home to the department of engineering is being converted into an eHUB and Student Success Centre. The eHUB will allow UPEI to further aid students reach their full potential and better prepare students for their time after UPEI.
- Student Centre mortgage was paid off
From its conception in the early nineties to its opening in 2002 to spring 2016 the government, UPEI, alumni, and students have been investing money into the building and paying off of W. A. Murphy Centre. Finally, in June 2016 we made the last payment and the Student Centre’s mortgage is officially paid off!
- The success of NSO 2016
NSO’s focus shifted from pounding information into incoming students to helping them build healthy connections on campus and in the larger community. NSO 2016 provided students with the chance to connect with a variety of groups on PEI that they can stay connected with throughout the rest of their time at UPEI. One of the largest changes was the decision to not participate in Shinerama and redirect focus to local charities, keeping the money local.
****These accomplishments are listed in no particular order