Senate Deliberations for October 24

Trevor Ritchie | Contributor

On October 24, UNBC Senate held its second meeting of the academic year. This month’s meeting included significant changes to the psychology program, some changes to environmental programs, as well as graduate admissions.

Looking first at the psychology program changes, all three psychology programs offered by the department have been altered. For the Bachelor of Science in Psychology, foundational courses will now be offered in second year which are meant to help prepare students for senior level coursework. These foundational courses cover the four major aspects of psychology: social psychology, lifespan development, learning, and psychobiology.

Upper level psychology students will have changes made to the two sets of course options, but will still have to pick at least two courses from each set. The main change for upper level students is the elimination of the laboratory course requirement, which will be replaced by an additional 400-level course of the student’s choice in order to obtain the fifteen credit hours of upper level Psychology courses needed to graduate.

The honours in Psychology program only had a minor change. The Senior Seminar class has been eliminated and replaced with an additional 400-level class of the student’s choice. The minor in Psychology has been increased to 27 credits overall, instead of 21 credits.

For students planning on entering the MSc Psychology program, applications will now be required to submit a curriculum vitae. The department also notes that after this point, the department will not have separated 600-level courses for Master’s students. They will be combined into 400/600-level courses. There was some debate in Senate about the merits of this proposal, though it was noted that other departments have similar processes. For Master’s students taking these courses, they will be asked to complete the standard curriculum plus additional work to bring the course to the standard of a Master’s course. Two courses are exempted from this; PSYC 600 and PSYC 605 will remain stand-alone 600-level courses.

Within the department, the following Psychology courses are being deleted and will no longer be offered. PSYC 610-3, PSYC 712-3, PSYC 720-3, PSYC 725-3, PSYC 726-3, PSYC 730-3, PSYC 740-3, PSYC 750-3-6, PSYC 760-3, PSYC 770-3-6, PSYC 200-3-6, PSYC 202-3, PSYC 220-3, PSYC 301-3, PSYC 317-3, PSYC 320-3, PSYC 345-3, PSYC 442-3, PSYC 445-3, PSYC 450-3, PSYC 455-3, PSYC 460-3, PSYC 470-3, PSYC 480-3, and PSYC 497-3. Many of these courses are no longer offered, or are being re-numbered as a new course number, so be sure to check the academic calendar during course selection to ensure your preferred courses are still available.

As noted, a number of new courses were created to offset the newly deleted courses. They are numbered as follows: PSYC 207-3, PSYC 211-3, PSYC 212-3, PSYC 221-3, PSYC 319-3, PSYC 322-3, PSYC 422-3, PSYC 608-3, PSYC 618-3, PSYC 622-3, PSYC 627-3, and PSYC 685-3. Again, as with the course deletions please ensure you check the academic calendar during course selection to ensure your preferred courses are still available.

A new Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability and Business Leadership is being developed. This program would be housed within the Environmental Studies program, and is one of the only such programs offered in all of Canada. The program includes both two and four year options, dependent upon previous coursework completed by the student. In order to create this program, the following five new ENVS courses have been created, with the hope being that this program could be offered as early as September 2019: ENVS 180-3, ENVS 381-3, ENVS 482-3, ENVS 483-3, and ENVS 484-3. These courses will primarily focus on sustainable business models and should help students looking to merge business and environmental concerns.

Three Bachelor’s degrees have received new minors for students to specialize in. The BA Environmental and Sustainability Studies now has a minor in Social Dimensions of Natural Resource management. The BSc Environmental Sciences program now has a minor in Earth Sciences. Finally, the BSc Forest Ecology and Management program has two new minors: a minor in Forest Recreation and a minor in Natural Resources Operations and Planning. These four minors were originally part of the Natural Resources Management program, which is no longer offering these as minors.

Amendments to graduate admissions at UNBC were debated and passed regarding visiting graduate students and graduate students on exchange. The amendments to the text of the appropriate section of the graduate admissions guide are for clarity and do not impact the meaning of the text. In this case, it was to clarify the process of application where visiting graduate students must submit a letter of permission from their home university, and exchange students must submit a signed Western Deans’ Agreement form. Amendments to section 4.1.6 of the graduate admissions process are more substantive, with the amended text allowing each individual graduate program to make the choice of accepting courses taken at other schools for UNBC course credit. The previous text had included the Vice President Research and Graduate programs in the decision. A second amendment also removed the provision that transfer credits could not be used for graduate program admission requirements.

The final substantive discussion of the day was also one that did not have a clear resolution. Senate discussed and has not yet finalized plans to replace the two college system with five separate faculties. Students are currently placed within CASHS and CSAM depending on their program. The proposed changes would create five faculties: Business and Economics; Natural Resources and Environmental Studies; Health and Human Sciences; Humanities, Social and Indigenous Studies; and Physical and Applied Sciences. Senators will be continuing to discuss and receive feedback about the proposed changes, which should continue through to the next Senate meeting.