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 the new courses and program, approving changes to program, setting entrance requirements, and setting the academic calendar. The Board of Governors, who 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.
Approval of new School of Creative Arts
The creation of the new School of Creative Arts was met with no discussion. The school will involve the merger of visual arts and the theatre department, effective May 2019. The departments under the school will include visual arts, art history, theatre, and media and film.
It was reported that the creation of the school saw strong support from faculty and staff.
Open discussion on international students
Having recently come into her role as president of the university, Joanne Maclean has been encouraging a period of more open discussion after presentations during Senate meetings.
This session, the conversations around international student number targets was continued. UFV has recently reached its target of 20 per cent of the full-time student population of the university, and is in the process of making new goals for enrollment targets.
One commenter expressed concern over UFV’s policy of charging international students for five full courses, regardless of how few they actually take. Many B.C. universities are revising this policy, and it was mentioned this will be a recommendation going forward as well.
There was also discussion around putting additional funding towards more counselling services, and if this was an effective solution. Some students in Canada on study permits fear losing their permits if they come forward to discuss issues related to their permit requirements, one commenter stated.
The matter of money and how much international student enrollment is bringing into the university was broached, but not extensively discussed.
Recommendations concerning the policies on international student enrollment will be coming out in May of this year from the international department, who are holding focus groups and discussing the matter.
Approval of changes to programs
Senate approved the new Integrated Learning Design Associate certificate. The certificate focuses on classes in adult education, but will also integrate aspects of communications and graphic design. There is expected to be an increase of an estimated two courses annually to accommodate anticipated increased demand for the certificate.
The new philosophy honours and the new graphic and digital design major, set to start in September 2020, were also approved.
Certificate and program discontinuations
Senate approved the discontinuation of the Family Child Care certificate. There had been no student interest enrolled since 2015, as the certificate has been in suspension. Senate also approved the discontinuation of the one-year aviation degree. No one had graduated with the diploma since 2010.