May 2015 Senate Roundup: Everybody Graduates!

The UBC Vancouver Senate will be holding their May meeting this Wednesday, which is their last until September. Here’s a rundown of some notable items on the Agenda.


This is the meeting at which Senate formally grants degrees and diplomas to all those students graduating this month. Congratulations if that’s you!

Don’t put that on Facebook, B.Ed. students

Education wants to revise the code of conduct for would-be teachers in the Bachelor of Education program. As per the senate materials, “The policy clarifies that the actions of teacher candidates are under scrutiny not just in the classroom, but outside of it as well.” There’s a long list of dos and don’ts but shall we cut to the chase and assume this is mostly about the social media clauses?

  • Ensure that all communications, including those on the internet and social media, are respectful.

  • Use social media responsibly, refraining from posting any information or comments related to students or colleagues or any personal information without appropriate consents.
  • Respect boundaries between teachers and students in all interactions, including social media.

Don’t be that teacher exchanging snaps with your students, mmmkay?

Alberta Admissions Bump Gets Bigger

Did you know that UBC has a policy which allows the Senate Admissions Committee to adjust the admissions averages of incoming high school students based on where they originate from? They do: read more about it here. When it was introduced in 2010, all students from Alberta got 2% added onto their averages when being assessed for admission to UBC. In 2014 that adjustment was up to 4%. Good news for all the youth who will no doubt be desperate to flee New Albertastan.

Gupta Graduate Scholarship

    Arvind GUPTA and Michelle Pereira Graduate Scholarship – A $3,500 scholarship has been made available through an endowment established by Professor Arvind Gupta and Dr. Michelle Pereira. Professor Gupta began his leadership role as President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC in July, 2014 with the support of his wife, a UBC alumna (MD 1991). Eligible graduate students will be from any discipline and any year of study with the scholarship alternating years between UBC-Vancouver and UBC-Okanagan. The award is made on the recommendation of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (UBC-Vancouver) or the College of Graduate Studies (UBC-Okanagan). (First Award Available in the 2016/2017 Winter Session)

The university endowment’s current spend rate is 3.5%, so this represents a $100,000 contribution. Stephen Toope and his wife did something similar in 2010 (page 18 of the PDF).

Annual Committee Reports

Senate has a number of committees and sub-committees. Since the May meeting is the last of the year, they all submit reports summarizing their activities for the year. Here are the highlights:

  • The Senate Academic Building Needs Committee had a bunch of meetings for the year where they met with people and then held more meetings.

  • The Senate Library Committee took a tour of the Automated Storage Retrieval System, the giant book robot on the North side of IKB.
  • The Vancouver Sub-committee of the Council of Senates Budget Committee concluded that “In the absence of obvious problems or requests for advice the Sub-committee continues to operate in a largely reactive mode.”
  • The Committee on Student Appeals on Academic Discipline heard some appeals.
  • The Flexible Learning Ad Hoc Committee spent the year mostly trying to figure out what the heck they were supposed to be doing. Having now done that, the priority for the next year is exploring an enhanced learning record, which they describe as “a complementary representation of a student’s involvement in experiential learning opportunities meant to accompany the traditional academic transcript.”
  • The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing consulted with a lot of people and wants to consult with some more.
  • The Senate Admissions Committee reports that the number of appeals for admission to UBC has been growing. (This is when a student alleges they have been unfairly denied admission to UBC.) Despite this increase, the number of appeals upheld has been fairly flat. They don’t mention it, but I will: A side effect of the move to broad based admissions?

Goodbye old programs, Hello new programs

Want to enrol in an engineering degree in Electrical Energy Systems, Nanotechnology and Microsystems, or Software Engineering? Too bad. “In part as a result of issues identified by a recent accreditation site visit, these options will no longer be accepting students.”

Want to enrol in a Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management program? Good news! Sauder is starting “a specialized joint exchange program between the Sauder School of Business (UBC), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), and Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen (CUHKSZ).”


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  1. It’s worth noting that you’ll still be able to do the options in electrical engineering. It’s just that the entire degree now has more electives–you can take the same courses that the options used to take, you just won’t get the words on your transcript, which, really, no one cared about anyway.

    It’s also worth noting that this initiative has been chaired by EECE’s undergraduate chair, Sathish Gopalakrishnan, who is an all-around great guy. These changes are positive for the department.

    Posted by John | May 12, 2015, 11:11 pm
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