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Senate Overview: April

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Senate is the academic governing body of UFV, with the university president and vice chancellor Joanne MacLean as the chair. They are responsible for making decisions on everything academic: approving new courses and programs, approving changes to programs, setting entrance requirements, and setting the academic calendar. The Board of Governors, which looks at the business side of the university, is advised by Senate on matters of mutual interest.  

All at the university are welcome to attend Senate’s public meetings, held once a month at either the Abbotsford or the CEP campus, but most do not. Regardless, Senate makes decisions that impact the daily lives of both students and faculty.

Presentation of Visioning Process

UFV president Joanne MacLean began Senate by presenting on the progress of the mission, values, and vision statements that are being reworked as part of the visioning process MacLean began at the beginning of her presidency term last fall.

MacLean hopes the statements will be approved by Senate and the Board of Governors by May 16, but there is still time for the UFV community to provide feedback and recommend changes.

The four values — integrity, community, excellence, and inclusivity — were presented on in the January town hall meeting, as was the mission statement: engaging learners, transforming lives, and building community.

The values statement is new to the UFV community, and MacLean said the steering committee is looking for feedback before it is proposed to UFV governing bodies for approval.

The statement reads, “UFV will be known as a gathering place for learners, leaders, and seekers, pursuing diverse and innovative pathways of scholarship that lead to community connection and prosperity, both local and beyond.”

General feedback on the statement was it is long. There was also a discussion on the use of communities vs community, and if the word choice is inclusive to the many different communities at UFV and within the Fraser Valley.

Program approvals

Senate approved the creation of the Activity Assistant certificate, a nine-month certificate program for students looking to work as activity assistants, activity aids, and recreation assistants. Activity assistants plan and implement recreational activities for aging adults in various settings, from care homes to community centres and cruise ships.

The certificate will require 120 hours of practicum placements, and there is a pending agreement with Fraser Health for some placements.

UFV’s proposed masters of finance was not approved by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, saying in their review that the area was already well served by other programs and many of the jobs listed in the application did not require a master’s credentials. The door was left open, though, for UFV to re-apply.

The proposed major in biochemistry for the bachelor of science degree was approved by the ministry.

President’s report

MacLean reported that the Ministry of Advanced Education has awarded UFV around $45,000 for programming from funds available at the end of the financial year. The funding was targeted for specific programs at the university, including enhancing mental health peer support, emergency funds for Indigenous students undergoing financial hardship, funding for the Agricultural Centre of Excellence, and for reconciliation work.

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