Relate to the Senate: What to expect in the November 16 Senate meeting

The UBC Senate meets monthly to discuss and vote on academic matters pertaining to the university. What goes on in the Senate Chambers can often feel very overwhelming or dull to the average student, and the dockets posted before every Senate meeting can be long and tedious to read. Here’s what to expect in the November 16 Senate meeting:

New biomedical engineering program

A proposal for a new four-year, 153-credit biomedical engineering (BME) program is being brought to Senate for approval. It's intended to replace the biomedical engineering streams in the mechanical and electrical engineering programs.

A direct-entry program from high school, this program will start with a pilot program for 25 students, all of whom have completed first-year engineering, who will take part in the offered summer courses in 2017. Following this, the first cohort of 100 first-year students will start in September 2017, taking a modified first-year curriculum that is different from the standard first-year engineering curriculum.

Changes to admission requirements for undergraduate degrees

The approval for a proposal to accept the use of BC First Nations Studies 12 to satisfy both the Social Studies 11 admission requirement and an approved Grade 12 course that may be used to calculate admission averages is being brought forward to the Senate.  At the moment, BC First Nations Studies are only allowed to exclusively satisfy either one requirement and not the other. By allowing the course to meet two admission requirements, BC First Nations Studies 12 will be consistent with the other courses already used to satisfy both Grade 11 and Grade 12 requirements. If approved, allowing the course to meet dual admission requirements will allow greater flexibility for students applying to UBC and help align the university’s strategic priorities with regards to Aboriginal engagement.

Changes to admissions for doctoral degrees in the faculty of graduate and postdoctoral studies

The Senate will be looking to possibly approve a proposal reducing the number of coursework credits (from 12 to 9) required for students who are looking to transfer from a master’s to a doctoral program. In the proposed changes, the nine coursework credits that are required will need to be at the 500-level or above, and all of first-class standing.  

The proposal will also introduce a probationary requirement which demands that all applicants complete 12 credits with a first-class average in order to maintain registration in the doctoral program.  In addition, the proposal will also be eliminating the requirement for direct-entry applicants to present an honours bachelor degree for admission to the doctoral program, and extending the time direct-entry students are allowed to meet the probationary requirements from one to two years.   

This Senate meeting will take place tonight at 6 p.m. in IKBLC 182 (Victoria Lecture Theatre). You can read all 135 pages of the Senate docket online and, as usual, Senate is open for anyone to attend if you’re ever interested in academic affairs or meeting Santa Ono.

Daniel Lam is a third-year atmospheric science student and a student senator at large. Daphne Tse is a third-year business technology management student and the commerce and business administration student senator. Their views expressed do not reflect those of the Student Senate Caucus or the UBC Senate.