Academic Programs Committee ReportsReport of the Academic Programs Committee
to University Council
Jan. 25, 2001
Items for Information
Review of Proposals and Electronic Calendar
Several proposals from Colleges are now at various stages in the review process in Council committees. The following proposals are now under review: revisions to the Diploma in Agriculture, revisions to Drama programs, introduction of an Honours program in Womenï¿½s and Gender Studies, change of requirements for the Agronomy major in Agriculture, new minor in Political Studies, program in Double Honours in Physics, and introduction of a Four-year degree option for Palaeobiology.
At its Jan. 17 meeting the Academic Programs Committee approved a motion that the Departments of Drama, Womenï¿½s and Gender Studies, Palaeobiology, Political Studies, Physics and Agronomy can insert a notice in the Calendar that program revisions have been approved by the Faculty of their respective colleges and are now under consideration by University Council. The notice would direct faculty and prospective students to consult with the department or the July, 2001 electronic version of the Calendar for more information.
It is expected that proposals approved on or before the April meeting of Council will be placed in the electronic version of the Calendar by July, 2001.
Short Form for new levels of concentration in existing programs
At the December Council meeting, the APC considered whether all new programs require Council approval, including areas such as minors and double-honours, and whether colleges making proposals such as this need to submit the complete proposal form for new programs which was approved by the Academic Programs Committee last year.
It was agreed that a new designation on a transcript is, in effect, a new program and so should be approved by Council. The Academic Programs Committee does not want to discourage departments and colleges from providing additional program options for students, however. Programs like minors and double-honours usually introduce new levels of concentration within an existing field of specialization. They follow an approved template within the College concerned and the resource implications are usually insignificant.
The Committee will be devising a ï¿½Short Formï¿½ for such proposals, which will reduce the amount of paperwork such proposals now require.
Course Deletions Policy
Council regulations give the Academic Programs Committee of Council the authority to delete from the Calendar courses that have not been offered for five years or more. The policy is based on the philosophy that our Calendar should list only those courses which departments offer regularly, so that students can make informed choices about their programs.
The Academic Programs Committee approved a policy three years ago which allowed three exceptions to the deletion rule: if the course is a special topics or seminar course; if the course is part of a program that is or will be reviewed relatively soon; and if this is the courseï¿½s first appearance on the list and the department or /college requests its retention.
When it passed this policy, the Academic Programs Committee felt that exceptions to the deletion rule would be few, and would seldom be allowed. Now that Systematic Program Review is underway, however, virtually any department or college on campus can protest a course deletion under exception #2. This year, of the 115 courses that have not been taught since 1995 or before, departments and colleges asked that 69 be retained because the program has been reviewed recently or will be reviewed in the near future. In contrast, a total of 17 courses were retained based on the other two reasons (and in these cases, the Committee will delete ten of these courses next year if they are not taught by then.)
The Academic Programs Committee considers that retaining such a large number of untaught courses in the Calendar is misleading for students, particularly for prospective students. A course that has not been taught for that long should no longer be considered as part of a program because, realistically, it is not available for students.
The Committee is developing a new policy on deletions that would allow courses to be deleted from the Calendar but ï¿½archivedï¿½ for a period of time after deletion, so that they could be taught again without requiring additional approval. This policy will likely be presented to the February meeting of Council.
Amending Academic Records
The Committee has also discussed the university policy on retroactive withdrawals.
A ï¿½retroactive withdrawalï¿½ from a course can be approved by the Office of the Registrar, provided the student has applied for this change to the college in which he or she is registered, and the college supports the appeal. Such an appeal can be made when a student has failed or received ABF or INF (30 per cent) in courses due to catastrophic personal circumstances or has made a mistake in registration. Changing such a mark to a Withdrawal removes these failures from the studentï¿½s average. University policy has been that such a change in an academic record can be justified only on personal grounds (serious illness, etc.) rather than academic grounds. Other procedures already exist for academic appeals.
At the request of a college, the Committee discussed whether this policy should be changed to give instructors the authority to authorize retroactive withdrawals. The Committee agreed that to leave this decision up to instructors would place undue pressure on instructors to make changes in marks, would make it more difficult for students who might have to apply to several instructors for such changes, and would lead to inconsistent treatment for students.
Committee members suggested that the existing policies on retroactive withdrawal should be available in a central location, such as the Office of the University Secretary or the Student Services office, so that instructors and students would be aware of the policy.
Academic Schedule for 2001-2002
The Committee has approved the enclosed academic schedule for 2001-2001. Please note that September classes will start on the Thursday after Labour Day. The Committee received a request from Vera Pezer, Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs and Services, that September classes begin on Thursday to allow both Tuesday and Wednesday to be used for student orientation. The delayed start does not affect the number of teaching days in term one, but does end final examinations one day later, on December 21. A discussion at Deanï¿½s Council and a survey of colleges showed strong support for the Thursday start.
As approved by Council last fall, Intersession and Summer Session will be merged into a single session, ï¿½Spring and Summer Session.ï¿½ The mid-May to June period will be known as Spring and Summer Session Term One, and the July to mid-August period will be known as
Spring and Summer Session Term Two. In response to another poll of colleges, the deferred exam periods for these two terms will remain separate.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Committee,
Bob Lucas, Chair
Academic Programs Committee of Council
L. Brown, Extension
L. Currie, Library
R. Kushwaha, Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering
G. Hughes, Plant Science
L. Proctor, Curriculum Studies
D. Pennock, Soil Science
S. Reid, Chemistry
N. Senior, Languages and Linguistics
H. Wagg, Sessional Lecturers
S. Shukla, USSU
M. Acharya, GSA
K. Smith, Registrar
P. Melis, Office of the Vice-President (Academic)
M. Evered, Acting Associate Vice-President (Academic)
M. Atkinson, Vice-President (Academic)
P. MacKinnon, President
C. Fornssler, Committee Coordinator (Secretary)