Langley resident ladders to academic success

Wed, Sep 16, 2015

Langley, B.C. – When Langley resident Alison Cowie first decided to upgrade her English through Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement (ACA), she had few expectations.

That changed very quickly.

“I quickly began to understand the necessity of the course and the countless benefits. I developed useful writing skills, like the importance of idea generation and organizing thoughts before writing,” said Cowie.

“At first, I believed the organization and planning process was difficult, and I often wondered if the process was beneficial,” added the KPU student, who was enrolled in KPU’s business management diploma program at the time.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I began to apply it to all of my classes. You need to have strong English skills to be successful in post-secondary school.”

Cowie will be completing her diploma this semester. While unsure whether she would continue on with post-secondary studies at the start of her program, her experience at KPU led to pursue a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial leadership.

“The English skills I developed are extremely important. They are skills useful in all areas of my education and career.”

Reading, writing and oral communication are among the nine skills the Canadian government deems essential to success in the workplace. At KPU, the Faculty of ACA ensures all learners receive the essential skills training they need to succeed in the classroom and on the job. In the weeks leading up to Essential Skills day on Sept. 25, the faculty will celebrate the successes of students like Cowie, and promote the programming the university offers to foster such success.

“These essential skills are really an umbrella over all that we do in ACA and at KPU as we stimulate and facilitate learning with our students. We want them to be intentional about their learning and to find multiple ways to develop the skills and experiences that will make them top choice for B.C. employers,” said Patrick Donahoe, dean of ACA. “I love to watch student self-confidence grow as they make the connection between learning here, a work life beyond university and service to the community.”

Promoting and developing essential skills isn’t exclusive to ACA: this month, the Faculty of Arts will host a speaker on the topic at its annual Explore Arts event, and the Wilson School of Design’s Designapalooza back-to-school event will also incorporate essential skills.

The sixth annual Essential Skills Day is Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The event was created by Life Literacy Canada to raise awareness about the importance of workplace literacy and essential skills training. The nine essential skills – reading, writing, numeracy, thinking, document use, oral communication, teamwork, computer use, continuous learning – form the basic foundation for finding success in the workplace and society.

The Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement at KPU focuses on delivering programming that helps all learners master these skills and more, before pursuing additional post-secondary education, or careers in the workforce. For more information, visit

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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