UNBC Senate Update for January 24, 2018

Trevor Ritchie | Contributor


On Wednesday, January 24, UNBC Senate came together for the first meeting of the calendar year.

Students planning to enroll in the graduate program in First Nation Studies should note that several changes were presented to Senate for consideration. A few questions arose from Senate regarding the changes, and the program has been sent to the Senate Committee on Academic Affairs for further consideration. These changes are likely to be brought back to Senate before the end of the academic year to ensure the changes are applied to the 2018 enrollment year.

The Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management has been changed. Rather than having three separate majors that prospective students can choose from, each of the majors has become its own Bachelor of Science degree; BSc Forest Ecology and Management, BSc Wildlife and Fisheries, and BSc in Conservation Science and Practice are the three new degrees that students can apply for.

Due to the changes in the Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and the shift to have three separate degree pathways, Senate also approved new courses to integrate into these new programs. NREM 209-3 The Practice of Conservation, NREM 409-3 Conservation Planning, and BIOL 409-3 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems have been approved as additional coursework for the degree programs being created.

Unrelated to the new Bachelor of Science courses, PHYS 298 (3-6) was also approved by Senate. This course is a Special Topics course, where the topic and content of the course will differ from year to year depending on the instructor and topic requests from students taking the course. The course can be repeated once for credit, allowing a student to obtain six credits from the course, as long as the material within each course offering differs from the previous iteration the student participated in.

The prerequisites for Physics course PHYS 404-3 have been changed to increase the ease in which students may access the class. The change was to remove PHYS 302-3 from the list of prerequisite courses because PHYS 302-3 is only offered on a two-year rotation, making it more difficult for students to take the course and complete their degrees in a traditional four year pattern. Instructors and students in the course also noted that the course material covered in the other two prerequisite courses, PHYS 202-4 and PHYS 206-4 provide enough information to adequately prepare students for PHYS 404-3. This same rationale was provided for removing PHYS 302-3 from the prerequisite list for both PHYS 406-3 and PHYS 407-3. Both of these physics courses retain their other prerequisites.

The Senate Committee on Scholarships and Bursaries brought a number of items to the attention of Senate. Revisions were made to the Doctoral Dissertation Completion Award to clarify the meaning of different points within the scholarship information package. These changes were approved and will be made part of the upcoming year’s award disbursement. The committee also approved and brought to the attention of Senate four new scholarships, and made changes to two previously existing scholarships. The changes to the William Dow Ferry Graduate Fellowship in Political Science and the Northern Society of Oilfield Contractors and Service Firms Bursary focused on changes to the terms and conditions for acceptance. Among the newly approved scholarships, an additional award has been created for students graduating from the Northern Transitions Program. All of the changes to the scholarships will be in effect for the 2018/2019 scholarship disbursement period.

A discussion was held about the importance of maximizing usage out of the classrooms available to the university. To that end, Senators offered comments about making changes to the classrooms to be more effective for different teaching methods. Among the suggestions made were to ensure that overhead projector screens were placed in more effective locations within classrooms to allow for blackboard or whiteboards to be used while using the projector, and also changing the desks to be more economical and useful for students who have laptops or larger notebooks. Senators also noted that some rooms have issues with insufficient power plugs for computers and other electronic devices and that this can present a safety hazard for individuals in the room.