April 2015 Senate Roundup: Imaginary Censure

The UBC Vancouver Senate will be holding their April Meeting this Wednesday. Here’s a rundown of some notable items on the Agenda.

New Senators!

All of the recently elected student senators will take their seats at this meeting and the departure of uber-student-politician Chris Roach means the election of a new Senate Vice-Chair.

Dual Master of Architecture/Master of Landscape Architecture

The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) currently offers a Master of Architecture (MArch) and a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA), and each is a 3-year program. Because of the significant amount of overlap in courses, this new dual-degree program will allow students to complete both degrees in 4 years. Sounds great.

Not mentioned in the curriculum proposal, since it’s technically not Senate’s business, is the tuition proposal for this program. SALA tuition is charged as an annual fee, regardless of a student’s course load – currently it’s about $5,100/year for MArch and $5,000/year for MLA. The plan is to charge dual-degree students both tuition fees concurrently, or about $10,000/year. This, despite the fact that dual-program student will be in the same courses as single-program students, and taking a similar course load. The elevated fees will also be paid for longer (4 years vs. 3 years). Thanks to how closely the two programs are related, SALA has found really impressive efficiency in the curriculum, but has managed to turn that efficiency into hugely increased costs to students.

Vantage Expansion

Vantage College, UBC’s international college wants to expand their offerings. Currently they have Arts and Science streams, and the goal is for Engineering and Management streams to come online for Fall 2015, pending Senate approval. To show you the deep respect the UBC higher-ups feel for the Senate approval process, applications are already being accepted for both new streams.

Both new streams are designed to funnel students into the Okanagan campus. In the Management stream, students do the first two terms in Vancouver, but then are transferred to complete the rest of their degree in Kelowna. In the Engineering stream, students do the first two terms in Vancouver, and the third term in Kelowna. For the start of second year, half will stay in Kelowna and half will return to Vancouver for the remainder of the degree. While Vantage claims this will be made clear to applicants, what are the chances that students are being sold on the promise of Vancouver, while then being shunted off to Kelowna.

For Engineering, because half the students will end up in Vancouver, and half will end up in Kelowna, and the two campuses have different paths for progressing into second year, the curriculum is a hot mess. Students will be eligible to enter all Engineering programs offered in Kelowna, but will only be eligible for about half of the Engineering programs offered in Vancouver. That is not made even remotely clear in the explanation of the curriculum.

Motion to Censure Imaginary Things

Dr. Stanley B. Knight, a convocation (alumni) senator has introduced a motion asking Senate censure the “Athletics Management Committee”, which does not appear to exist, and for disciplinary actions to be imposed by the “VP Legal”, which also does not exist. Bravo, Senator Knight.


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