Academic Programs Committee ReportsUNIVERSITY COUNCIL
Academic Programs Committee
FOR INFORMATION ONLY
PRESENTED BY: Geoff Hughes, Chair, Academic Programs Committee
DATE OF MEETING: June 19, 2003
SUBJECT: Annual Report of the Academic Programs Committee
to University Council for 2002-2003
COUNCIL ACTION: For information only
Annual Report of the Committee 2002-2003
The Academic Programs Committee is responsible for:
1. Recommending to Council policies and procedures related to academic programs.
2. Undertaking the academic review of proposals for revision of existing programs, for new programs, and for deletion of programs.
3. Undertaking the academic review of proposals for the establishment, disestablishment or amalgamation of any college, school, department or any unit responsible for the administration of an academic program.
4. Undertaking the academic review of the proposed or continuing affiliation or federation of other institutions with the University.
5. Considering the academic implications of quotas and admission standards.
6. Approving minor program changes, including additions of new courses and revisions to or deletions of existing courses and reporting them to Council.
7. Approving the annual academic schedule and reporting the schedule to Council for information and recommending to Council substantive changes in policy governing dates for the academic sessions.
8. Approving minor changes (such as wording and renumbering) to rules governing examinations and reviewing and recommending to Council substantive changes.
9. Recommending to Council classifications and conventions for instructional Programs.
The Academic Programs Committee of Council held 16 meetings this year and made six reports to Council. Subcommittees were also established to review program submissions. The Committee dealt with 11 new programs and program revisions this year, an increase over previous years.
The Committee anticipates that its workload will continue to increase as colleges revise curriculums in response to SPR, accreditation reviews, and their College Plans. The Committee's revised procedures, as described below, make it possible to handle this workload efficiently yet still implement Council's goal of improving the quality of academic programs.
Council's curricular approval process
Over the last several years, the Academic Programs Committee has overseen a quiet revolution in the procedures for course and program approvals at the University of Saskatchewan. As a result, while university standards for program excellence are maintained, colleges are able to implement curricular changes in timely way.
Before 1995, the U of S system required that every program change, even so much as a course title, had to be approved by a university-level committee. Complexity and gridlock were disincentives for curricular renewal. Approval authority has been devolved so that colleges are now in substantial control of their own curriculum. University-level approval is needed now for major curricular changes or changes which may affect the students or programs in other colleges. The university-level approval procedures have also been simplified, so that many curricular changes can be approved quickly and, for the most part, automatically through the Course Challenge. This allows the Academic Programs Committee to focus on the major curricular innovations and improvements which colleges propose.
Last year, using the framework of the nomenclature report, Council approved a further simplification of procedures by delegating to the Academic Programs Committee the authority to approve several types of curricular revisions in colleges if these changes do not have budget implications. The Committee reviewed and approved several program changes this year, as listed below. The Committee also adopted the procedure of referring some proposals to the Budget Committee for review, to determine whether there are budget implications to the proposal. If there are budget implications, the Committee forwards its recommendations and the Budget report to the Planning Committee, to develop a motion for Council on the proposal.
Implementing all these changes over a relatively short period of time has been challenging, particularly keeping department heads, college staff and faculty informed.
This year, the Council committees who deal with curricular changes (Academic Programs, Budget and Planning) offered a Program Workshop for department heads, undergraduate chairs and graduate chairs and it is intended to make this workshop an annual event. For complete information about approval procedures, see the APC website.
New Programs and major program revisions
The Academic Programs Committee reviews major curricular innovations and improvements, and makes recommendations to the Planning Committee regarding their approval. This year, the following new programs and major revisions were considered:
College of Arts and Science:
-B.A. Four-year and B.A. Honours in Aboriginal Public Administration
-B.A. Four-year and B.A. Honours in Sociology with a focus on Indigenous Peoples and Justice
-Second Degree program in Arts & Science and Law (Indigenous Peoples and Justice) leading to LLB and Four-Year or Honours B.A. in Sociology
-Cooperative Education program option in Biotechnoloy (approved for two years)
College of Graduate Studies and Research:
-PhD in Community Health and Epidemiology
-MBA program revision
-MSc in Finance
College of Education:
-Post-Degree Certificate in Special Education.
The Academic Programs Committee has also been delegated the authority to approve several types of program changes from colleges. This improves Council's ability to handle these types of program changes more quickly and efficiently, while still maintaining a university-level review of the changes to maintain quality and resolve any conflicts with other colleges.
The following program changes were approved by Academic Programs and reported to Council for information:
College of Arts and Science:
-New Philosophy Minors (Philosophy, Science and Technology; Philosophy, Science and Biotechnology)
College of Graduate Studies and Research:
-MA in Anthropology, changed to MA in Archaeology
College of Nursing:
-Program changes to the BSN program:
College of Kinesiology:
-Program changes in Exercise and Sport Studies and in Physical Education specializations
For regular updates on the progress of curricular change proposals through Council committees, consult the Update chart - Academic items on Council committee agendas 2002-2003 which is posted in the Reports section of the Academic Programs Committee website
Course challenges are now posted on a website, which allows for easier reference and review by departments and colleges. For this academic year, 19 course challenges were distributed containing new courses, prerequisite changes and minor program revisions from Agriculture, Arts and Science, Commerce, Dentistry, Engineering, Education, Graduate Studies and Research, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine. Two challenges were raised, and departments responded by voluntarily revising their curricular changes. If a challenge cannot be resolved by the departments involved, it is decided by the Academic Programs Committee.
Policies and Procedures
The Committee also approved additional tests for demonstrating English proficiency, the double-listing of a Mathematics/Engineering course, and the 2003-04 Academic Schedule.
The Academic Programs Committee is the lead committee for review of the proposed Enrolment Plan foundational document and has spent several meetings discussing this document.
Committee members also served on the Quota Subcommittee and the College Plans Subcommittee this year. A Service Courses Subcommittee also developed some proposals for service course policies, which the Committee will deal with over the next year.
I wish to thank Committee members for their willingness to undertake detailed and comprehensive reviews of program proposals. Their commitment to excellence and high standards resulted in improved programs for the University of Saskatchewan. Special thanks go to Steve Reid for serving as Vice-Chair of the Committee and to Cathie Fornssler for the administrative support she provided the Committee.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Committee,
G.R. Hughes, Chair
Glen Beck, Economics
James Brooke, Mathematics and Statistics
Ron Cooley, English
Lal Kushwaha, Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering
Steve Reid, Chemistry
Sam Robinson, Education
Nancy Senior, Languages and Linguistics
Rob Warrington, Biochemistry
Ross Nicholson (Sessional lecturer)
Blair McDaid (USSU)
Robert Peterson-Wakeman (GSA)
David Hannah, Associate Vice-President, Student and Enrolment Services
Asa Kachan, Director, Student Record Services and Registrar
Pauline Melis, Director of Institutional Planning
C. Fornssler, secretary, Office of the University Secretary