Note: This article initially ran with the headline, “Six program proposals rejected by province.” The headline has been changed to clarify that the proposals have not been completely rejected, and are to undergo further review. The Cascade apologizes for any confusion the previous headline may have caused.
The UFV Senate met for their monthly meeting last Friday, October 16 at the Chilliwack CEP campus. Big news came from the Ministry of Advanced Education.
New programs declined after a year of waiting
Six programs have not been approved and have been sent back to the Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB) for review.
“It’s disappointing.” UFV president Mark Evered said. “We do take into account the opportunities for students when they graduate. We take into account the demand from students for these programs. We’re not frivolous in our choice of new programs.”
The proposals for the theatre major, peace and conflict studies major and minor, indigenous studies major and minor, bachelor of media arts program, bachelor of education, and agriculture major have been awaiting approval from the ministry for approximately a year.
VP academic Eric Davis said that to his knowledge, the ministry gave no reason as to why the program proposals were not approved. Both Evered and Davis expressed concern for this, as some of the programs wouldn’t need as many monetary or logistic resources from the government as the others. The peace and conflict studies program would be funded in part by community donations, and would need very little funding from the province. The degree in agriculture proposal follows B.C. premier Christy Clark’s visit to UFV’s new Agricultural Centre of Excellence in 2014, showing direct support from the provincial government for this area of study. Evered said this is particularly confusing, as agriculture lines up with the province’s educational priorities.
Dean of the College of Arts Jacqueline Nolte inquired about the bypassing of “site visits” — a physical review from the ministry — to assess degree program components. The six programs had all gained “exempt” status, meaning they were expedited to the Ministry of Advanced Education.
To this, Evered said he was not sure what will happen.
“I don’t know what the process will be,” he said. “The ministry has been asked to develop a new process for reviewing programs in light of the B.C. Jobs Plan. I don’t know whether there will be an expectation of site visits or not.”
The programs will go to the DQAB in November to begin the review process. The Cascade will continue to cover this story in the coming weeks.
UFV to make changes to admission requirements
There were two major proposed revisions to UFV’s undergraduate admissions policy: first, to delete the change in admission requirements policy, program waiting lists policy, and the re-admission policy; and second, to add a minimum entrance requirement for the university and a process for special admission, re-admission, and the denial of a student who could be dangerous to the UFV community. The revised policy would also include admission to graduate studies.
However, these changes did not pass through Senate.
A few members of Senate voiced concern that the new policy was unclear in places where other programs have more specific admission requirements.
“There are issues that are arising that we hadn’t contemplated,” said vice-chair Gerry Palmer, noting that the senate governance committee can revise the policy draft by the end of the year to reflect those changes.
The item was tabled for November.
Donations, convocation, and UFV 2025 formation
The rest of the meeting was mostly a discussion of what’s coming in the latter part of the year.
Convocation 2016 has changed from the traditional June 11 and 12 to a week earlier — June 2 and 3 — so as to line up UFV’s convocation with other universities. The motion passed unanimously.
Senate also unanimously passed program reviews for both the bachelor of general studies as well as for anthropology and sociology.
Director of Advancement David Leis talked about donations to the university: how to treat donors, types of monetary donations, and how to keep donors coming back. He said that UFV Advancement is drafting a formal strategic plan to continue seeking donations for the university.
In his report, Davis said there will be a UFV 2025 forum on November 20 to start planning five goals based on last year’s discussions for the 2016 to 2020 education plan.
The next Senate meeting will be November 12 at 2:30 p.m. at the Abbotsford campus in room A225 / A229.