|dc.description.abstract||It is important to get an understanding of 1) how Science and Technology (S&T)
students feel supported at Vancouver Island University and 2) the level of knowledge of
the available support programs by the faculty themselves since they are the first point of
contact by students looking for guidance.
This study was designed with a mixed methodology approach that included conducting
on-line surveys and face to face interviews. Surveys were issued to S&T faculty at the
Nanaimo Campus as well as to 400 students enrolled in S&T based courses during the
spring 2016 semester. Fifteen faculty and seventy student participants were asked to
provide comments on how to improve the overall student experience in the upper part of
the campus. Face to face interviews were conducted with 8 student volunteers. The
responses provided insight to what is important to S&T students at VIU. The
importance of feeling connected with other like-minded peers, and faculty were very
strong factors in the overall positive academic experience.
Through the use of thematic analysis, responses to the suggestions from both surveys
and the interview responses were coded and categorized. These major categories
included academic support programs, electronic support, social support, faculty support,
and program structural support, barriers to support and finally, recommendations.
Results showed what was important to the enrolled students were also important to the
faculty: accessibility to support programs, peer support programs, feeling connected to
faculty and other students, and interdisciplinary discussion. Student participants
expressed the importance of social media to feel connected to the campus and further
develop student social structure.
During the interview process, barriers to accessing support were identified that included
first year struggles, scheduling, transit/parking, computer access, library access,
location and faculty access.
The researcher provided a list of recommendations that may be useful for faculty and
VIU Administration in identifying key supports that could be offered with a science
based focus in the upper campus.||en_US