Enrichment Studies Unit wants input from faculty and graduate students
Since 1987 elementary and secondary school students have experienced university life through Enrichment Studies Unit (ESU) programs. The initiative has been popular for more than 20 years, but Andy Mills still sees room for improvement.
“As it stands right now, our programs are really good,” says Mr. Mills, the ESU manager. “Over 95 per cent of the 2,500 students who attended the programs last year rated their experience positive or very positive. So we just want to make it a little bit better.”
Since becoming the ESU manager in September, Mr. Mills has focused on improving the course evaluations. Students completed surveys before and after participating in the programs last year and offered their feedback in focus groups. He is now using that feedback to guide improvements in the enrichment courses.
“We want to make sure these courses meet the needs of these bright young people,” Mr. Mills says.
Faculty and graduate students can influence the program’s direction forward by proposing new courses for any of the three ESU streams: the Enrichment Mini-Course (EMC), Seven-Eight Enrichment Days (SEEDS) and, new this year, the Grade 6 Enrichment Day. Staff members from the ESU will evaluate the expressions of interest with the best proposals being developed into full courses.
With the addition of the Grade 6 program, 3,500 students will visit campus in April, May and June, a thousand more than last year. And in future years, Mr. Mills wants to explore more international programs and possibly a summer enrichment program.
“I am excited to be in the position to try these things out,” he says.
ESU programs allow students to explore topics and material they normally wouldn’t be able to at the elementary or secondary school level. The students also get hands-on experience with the resources and tools available at Queen’s.