Falling into coming to school in Vancouver for me was primarily motivated first by place, then by price, then by sheer luck I think. I came from the University of Wisconsin, where, as you may know, there is a library school and one that is looked fairly well upon (or so I hear). I had a job, I had friends there, so in many ways it would have been ideal, but I guess I was just ready to leave. Madison is a wonderful community and I secretly hope to make it back one day, but at the time of the decision, I’m sure now that it was the right thing to leave.
You can see the pictures that I uploaded to describe my “ed experience” here. The whole class project group is here. I first entertained the notion of coming to Vancouver for graduate school because I had heard such good things about living in the Pacific Northwest. Then I saw the tuition rates. A calendar year at SLAIS runs me $7,200 CAD. All UBC graduate students are required to maintain a year-round relationship with the school, so that price is for 2 normal semesters, and both summer terms regardless of whether I enroll in classes.
To compare, fall and spring semesters at UW-Madison are $5,600 USD, plus $4,100 for summer (if I chose to enroll). That is a total of $15,300 for the year. More than double! I couldn’t believe it, and started working immediately on my application.
I always have to temper my enthusiasm with the fact that the cost of living in Vancouver is much higher than in the States (though perhaps not New York City, as those of you living there may attest) so that evens things out a bit. But either way, that turned my Pacific living dream into a reality.
So what else can I say about my education experience here? It is a time of political struggle at SLAIS, but that makes it a good time to be around in many ways. We are currently conducting a series of interviews for the school director positions (the candidates are currently confidential) as well as for two open faculty positions. It has been very interesting to be in on the process of selecting a new figurehead for the school… for example, I am personally very interested in technology so it was hard for me to like (though I did end up liking) one candidate whose research interests were of a more humanist bent. I have a background in the Humanities, but I’m not sure that’s where the field of LIS needs to be heading.
Along those lines, I have been talking with several of my peers about desiring more technology oriented classes in the SLAIS curriculum. There are some, though none along the lines of web development and design, which I am personally interested in as it applies to our field. They are offering a social media course next fall which I am happy about, but I’ll have already been in this one. I know there are options outside of SLAIS for courses such as these, but that is difficult and there has been little outreach between departments so far in my experience.
This is not to say I am unhappy here. Overall, my experience in the classes I have taken have all been very positive, and though there is some want for a larger, stable faculty, the base faculty here now is solid and they have all been very warm and welcoming of new students, and, now that I am one, of continuing students as well.
Well. I think I’ve said enough. There is more of course, but I will spare you. If you’re interested in talking more just let me know. I could go on, I am sure.