After over a year of delays and gaps in communication, the Ministry of Advanced Education has approved four new degree proposals from UFV.
The degrees approved are: a bachelor of agricultural science, with a major in horticulture, a bachelor of arts in indigenous studies (major and minor options), a bachelor of education, and a bachelor of media arts. For media arts, there will be five concentrations: applied interactive media, digital art, interactive media leadership, media and performance, and screen studies. In the case of the bachelor of education, the degree will be awarded in place of the current teaching certificate.
Addressing the UFV community in an email, vice-president academic Eric Davis included a timeline of correspondence with the Ministry, showing numerous gaps in communication. In one recent case, following news in October of last year that six degree proposals, including the four just approved, would be sent to the province’s degree quality assessment board (DQAB) for further review, the Ministry did not return multiple requests for information until December.
Davis theorizes that, while he was never given an official explanation for the delays, it was likely due to the Ministry reviewing, then revising, the entire degree approval process. In the most recent correspondence noted in the timeline, a DQAB contact “expressed appreciation for [UFV’s] patience in being a ‘test case’ for the new process.”
Moving forward, deans and each respective department will work on how and when to implement the new programs, which are, with the exception of the bachelor of education, entirely new — only certificate accreditation or overlapping courses were previously available to students.
The approval, however, omits two degrees previously grouped together with UFV’s submissions to the Ministry. A theatre major and peace and conflict studies major and minor within the bachelor of arts have yet to be approved — in both cases, the degree proposal has been in some form of waiting approval since 2014.
Addressing those two degrees in an email from the Ministry, Davis was given a minimum of context.
“Staff are working on getting more information for Bachelor of Arts theatre major, Bachelor of Arts peace and conflict studies,” it reads, with no explanation as to what additional information might be needed.
With those two degrees, as well as two degree proposals sent since the initial delay (a bachelor of professional communication and a computing science major within the bachelor of science), the waiting resumes — the approval of four may or may not indicate anything about future communication.
“I’m hoping that process will be more efficient going forward,” Davis says. “I’ll never really know all the reasons why, but I’m pleased that four of them now have received approval.”