What Happened at the November Senate Meeting

Trevor Ritchie | Contributor

On Wednesday, November 22, Senate met for the last time in the calendar year. Proposed changes to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program were brought back for consideration again, and were approved without amendment. The changes affect the math courses that are accepted as part of the degree program, and will not affect any current students in the program. Under the approved changes students in the Biochemistry program will no longer be able to take MATH 105-3 and MATH 152-3 as their math requirements for the program, and will have to take MATH 100-3 and MATH 101-3 instead.

A significant number of course descriptions were changed in the Integrated Wood Design Program, with the main change being to reorder some of the courses required for the program. Many of the Integrated Wood Design classes had their course descriptions changed, but these changes did not impact what the courses would cover, and were mainly to ensure uniformity of how the courses were explained.

The admission requirements for the Integrated Wood Design program have also been changed, and the changes were made to clarify the English language requirements for entry. Under the fourth point in that section of the program description it indicates that other test scores accepted by the university will be accepted for entry into the program, not just the specific English language proficiency exams noted earlier in the policy. This was done to demonstrate that more than just the listed language exams would be acceptable, so as to not limit students from applying who haven’t taken any of the listed English exams and don’t meet the requirements for an exemption from the policy.

The academic calendar for the 2018-2019 year was discussed and approved. This includes which days will be statutory holidays and the number of professor contact hours would be on each day of the week. These changes will be part of the 2018-2019 student calendars. Due to the number of statutory holidays on Monday, there are only ten instructional Mondays in the Fall 2018 semester, three less than the standard number of instructional days for each of the other weekdays.

Changes to the Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting were made to reflect the fact that only a single body represents accountants, and thus it is unnecessary to certify accountants for Chartered Accountants or Certified General Accountant positions that no longer exist. The program itself has not been changed, but it no longer refers to Cas and CGAs as these professional bodies do not exist in Canada any longer.

The Bachelor of Commerce in International Business was changed to reflect changes in two INTS courses, which have new names and course descriptions. The program also allows for a third option with the introduction of INTS 220/ECON 220 – Global Economic Shifts along with the new INTS 100-3 Introduction to International Studies and INTS 210-3 Globalizations. The rationale behind these changes was to provide more choice for students to fulfil their graduation requirements, as these courses may not be taught each year.

UNBC is also involved in the creation of a new Pre-MBA program in partnership with Tianjin University of Technology, where UNBC professors would teach a condensed set of curriculum to students at Tianjin University of Technology in order to prepare them to join the UNBC community the following year as MBA students. The proposed program would be cohort-based, with new sets of students being brought into UNBC each year by Tianjin University of Technology.

This is a pilot project being discussed and has not yet been confirmed, but it is hoped that this could become a template used with other universities to help increase enrolment at the university in the medium term. Of note is that the successful completion of the Pre-MBA program would guarantee acceptance into the UNBC MBA program in the following academic semester, which has the potential to impact enrolment from other sources.

Several senators expressed concerns with the academic freedom of faculty sent to Tianjin to teach UNBC curriculum to Chinese students, and were concerned that agreements made with Tianjin University of Technology may not be sufficiently able to protect the rights of UNBC faculty while teaching abroad. UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks reiterated his strong support for protecting the rights and safety of UNBC professors teaching as part of this program, and will be working to ensure that there remain solid guarantees protecting our faculty in the final agreement between the two schools.

The Senate Committee on Scholarships and Bursaries provided information on a number of scholarships that will become available during the 2018-2019 academic year. These scholarships will be made available for students to read through on the university scholarship website, and are generally for undergraduate students.