The University of Pax was the premier institution of higher learning on Unda. Students had been sent to Pax to study for many years, but the University of Pax was officially founded by the Island Union in 3.
In accordance with the Treaty of 304, students at universities on their home islands could apply to spend a year of their education at the University of Pax. Each island selected their own student representatives. Professors were chosen from their home islands in an equally rigorous manner, and teach and conduct research at the university for four years. These years were generally the high point of a professor's career.
Academic Program Edit
The University of Pax offered programs in the following disciplines:
- Geology and Environmental Sciences
- World Languages
- International Relations
- Economics and Business
- Visual Arts
- Performing Arts
- Creative Writing
Students generally chose to compose a research paper at the culmination of their study in the University of Pax, a practice replicated in most other institutions of higher education on Unda as well. Although research was not necessary for the conferring of a degree, a published paper was seen as useful in seeking employment as well as opportunities to continue study.
Pax Institutional Review Board Edit
The Pax Institutional Review Board (PIRB) is tasked with reviewing research proposals for and maintaining ethical standards of conduct for all UI-funded scientists. Younger students and even some older professors colloquially refer to it as "the pirbies", as in, "Good luck getting that request for 1,000 fake plastic cookies for your World Languages experiment past the pirbies."
Due to the university's rigorous nature, each island's student selection process was rigorous and demanding. Extracurriculars, standardized tests, and academic work throughout the student's life were all held to the highest standard. This created an intense culture of pressure in IU schools, as the University of Pax was a prestigious and desirable place to continue one's education -- and organizations such as the IU Space Committee recruited heavily from UPax graduates. In recent years, many had begun to criticize the University of Pax for motivating students to burn themselves out in order to get good grades, rather than focusing on creativity, enjoyment of life, and the pleasure of learning.
A small fraction of spots in each new class of admitted students were reserved for non-IU members who demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication to their work. There was no active recruitment on these islands, and student applications had to be accompanied by the recommendation of at least one IU-approved higher-level teacher.
Much criticism had been leveled against the University for this policy, as no IU-approved higher-level teachers existed on non-IU islands -- making it nearly impossible for non-IU students to actually fulfill the requirements for applying. There were also other stringent requirements one had to meet in order to be admitted. These included agreeing to forfeit your original nationality in favor of IU citizenship, and signing a contract promising to work in service of the IU for at least ten years after graduation and also promising to inhabit an IU member island for at least ten more.
When the University failed to fill all spots ostensibly reserved for non-IU students (a common occurrence), they would distribute those spots among other IU islands. This has been a point of contention on non-IU islands and is frequently cited as proof that the IU is not the kind of welcoming and equitable organization it claims to be. Grieshi families nevertheless value higher education, and the majority of non-IU students at UPax are from Griesh.
Additionally, there were reports of discrimination against those few non-IU students by students and professors alike. There had been rumors that one or two families of talented students from non-IU islands had even gone through the rigorous emigration process to the IU, leaving home and friends behind so that their children would be able to claim citizenship on an IU island and would therefore not be required to sign the binding work contract.