News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB seeing more students over the age of 25

Author: Communications

Posted on Apr 1, 2011

Category: UNB Fredericton

April 2-9, is International Adult Learners’ Week in Canada. The University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning celebrates the courage and dedication of adult learners everywhere. For many adult learners going back to school can be an intimidating experience. Part of this is the fear of being in a classroom filled with young people with whom they have little in common. “Have no fear,” said Marilyn Carkner, coordinator of adult learner services at UNB College of Extended Learning in Fredericton. “There is a growing trend of adult learners returning to university.” The reality is that about 20 per cent of the undergraduate students at UNB are over the age of 25. “Many students, both young and mature, bring a great deal of experience to the classroom, making it an enriching environment for all,” said Ms. Carkner. Tracey Martineau, UNB graduate of the bachelor of integrated studies program, a program designed for adult learners, left university in the 80’s after accepting a position with the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization. “I ended up doing peacekeeping work on three continents for about 10 years,” said Ms. Martineau. “During that time it became evident that education, particularly a bachelor’s degree, was increasingly important to my career.” Working in the field as a regional administrative officer, with only basic living conditions and travelling frequently made it hard for her to work on a degree.  Eventually, Ms. Martineau started looking for universities in Canada, and found the UNB’s bachelor of integrated studies program (BIS). “Not only was it [the BIS program] flexible, but UNB seemed to be very willing to look at all of the courses I’d accumulated beforehand even though it had been a while,” said Ms. Martineau. She applied, was admitted, and started the BIS program in the fall of 2006. Within the BIS program, she was also able to do adult education courses and says her experience at UNB was very positive, “I found that no matter who I spoke to, it wasn’t so much what do you want, but more, what can I do for you now? I have dealt with a number of administrations in different organizations in my lifetime and I have never been so impressed by an institution as I was by the people at UNB,” said Ms. Martineau. Ms. Martineau finished her bachelor’s degree in 2007, and was on the Dean’s List, In 2006, after a long and arduous selection process, she was selected from thousands of Canadian applicants and was appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board as a member to the refugee protection division. “It was a fantastic experience which I achieved in large part thanks to my UNB degree,” said Ms. Martineau.  “I got the job because of the great program.” Currently, as family time becomes a larger priority, Ms. Martineau, resigned from her position; sold her home in Montreal, and she and her husband purchased the Sauble Falls Bed & Breakfast in Wiarton, ON. They will take over the business in May 2011. “I am using the business plan model as well as the accounting and financial planning theories I learned in my business courses,” said Martineau. “It is fun and rewarding to take what you learned in theory and apply it to your life’s dream.” Attending university as an adult learner is a very different experience than it is for a student right out of high school. Adults bring a wealth of experience to the classroom and can often provide real life examples of some of the concepts they learn. “I felt that I had the ‘building’ already from my life experiences, and my UNB degree gave me the ‘foundation’. It was very interesting to learn the proper names and theories and I am now even better equipped to analyze things.” For more information on services available for adult learners or details on the bachelor of integrated studies (UNB’s degree completion program for adults), visit the College of Extended Learning website at -30- International Adult Learners’ Week (IALW) in Canada April 2-9, 2011 The Canadian Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, together with its partners, identified International Adult Learners’ Week as a priority project that would foster joint action by a broad network and would raise the profile of adult learning throughout Canada. IALW is both a promotional campaign to raise awareness of a broader public and an opportunity for the cooperation of diverse partners, including governmental, non-governmental organizations and civil society, to demonstrate the importance of adult literacy and lifelong learning. International Adult Learners’ Week has been celebrated in Canada since 2002. For media interviews, please contact Belinda Elliott at 453-4848.