January 2016 Senate Roundup: Annual Report Edition

The UBC Vancouver Senate will be holding its January meeting this Wednesday. Here’s a rundown of some notable items on the Agenda.

Mark Your Calendars

Senate will be approving all of its meeting dates for 2016-17. What, you don’t schedule your life all the way out to May 2017? Get on to Senate’s level then.

Mark Your Calendars, part 2

Senate will be approving all the important dates for the 2016-17 academic year: first and last days of the term, reading break, and exam period dates. You can pencil in next year’s AMS Block Party for April 6, 2017.

Routine Admissions Business

  • Students will no longer be able to enter the Computer Science major directly from high school. This was introduced as an option when enrolment was low, but now that the program is oversubscribed, students will have to enter the program starting in second year like all other Science majors.
  • Language is being adjusted so that Aboriginal students will be able to enter the faculty of Science through UBC’s partnership with Langara.
  • Medicine is removing mandatory science pre-requisites from the admissions process. They’re still highly recommended, but the only firm requirements are now 90 university-level, graded credits, including 6 credits of English. This change is meant to open the field to a broader range of candidates.
  • Lots of minor changes are being made to admissions requirements for Education programs, to make the standards more consistent between the various specialties. There is also some language changes to dual degree programs in Education.
  • Admission to the Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering option is being suspended

Stanley B. Knight, stickler for accuracy

In April 2015, we noted that “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.” Senator Knight, apparently a stickler for accuracy, would like the minutes to reflect that the term “VP Legal” was corrected to “University Counsel” from the floor during that meeting.

New Awards

As usual, a number of new scholarships and bursaries are being approved. The most charming of the bunch is definitely the “Oluna and Adolf CESKA Award in Mycology”, a $1,000 award where “Preference will go to students researching the mushrooms and fungi of British Columbia.”

Another interesting thing to note is that each faculty has an International Student Scholarship that can be offered to continuing international students. The current maximum value of these scholarships is $5,000, an amount that was set in 2012. Now, this maximum is being doubled to $10,000 to keep pace with rising tuition.

Gordon Awards

Lindsay Gordon is the current UBC Chancellor. His family is creating four awards for Aboriginal students pursuing health-related programs. The total commitment is $100,000, to be distributed over 4 years.

Annual Enrolment Report

This is a demographic report about who’s applying to UBC. It always has lots of interesting information and could merit a post of its own. Some brief highlights:

  • Total headcount for UBC Vancouver in all programs in 2015 was 52,721.
  • Domestic applications grew 2% last year while international applications grew 18%.
  • The mean entrance GPA in 2015 was 90.0%, not much different from the past 5 years.
  • Broad-based admissions accounted for about 20% of offers of admission.
  • In terms of origins of international students, China is the most common place of origin, followed by the USA, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

If you like this type of stuff, go read the whole report.

Report on Student Evaluations of Teaching

Another one where if you care about this, go read the whole report. Results averaged over every single course and every single instructor show general satisfaction with teaching at UBC, but that type of data isn’t particularly useful for anything more specific. Data for individual courses or instructors is not reported and is up to the instructor to disclose. They are still looking at strategies to increase participation rates.

Internal Review of External Reviews

This report to Senate summarizes all of the various external reviews that were done of UBC academic units from September 2014 to September 2015. There are too many to list, but reviews were done of SALA, SLAIS, School of Social Work, Belkin Art Gallery, Kinesiology, Law, and Forestry undergraduate programs, among others. One small tidbit: multiple reviews noted that the Dean of Applied Sciences, Marc Parlange, was not licensed to practice engineering in Canada. (He has since obtained this license.)

Policy Revision: Emeritus Status

A small tweak to this policy is being made to clarify some limits on the provision of tuition waivers for dependents of Emeritii. It’s the type of change that really gives off the impression that someone found a loophole and is being cut off.

Master of Data Science on the move

Senate will be considering a motion to move the newly-created Master of Data Science program from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to the Faculty of Science. Not much detail for the motivation behind the move is stated except that “…given the specialized needs of these students and the market-based tuition they will be paying, there are benefits to having program administration in the Faculty of Science.”

Shipyards Chairs

Seaspan committed $2M to establish two new “Shipyards Chairs”, one in Marine Design Systems and another in Naval Architecture. Senate needs to approve the creation of these chairs.


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  1. Did you mean to link to the Annual Enrolment Report or the Report on Student Evaluations on Teaching? The words ‘read the whole report’ had me looking for hyperlinks, but alas, I had to Google.

    Interesting that this year’s AER doesn’t have admissions averages etc. Last year’s did. At least, I think it was last year. I can never remember if this year is 15/16 or 14/15.

    Posted by PsychoRecycled | January 18, 2016, 2:51 pm
  2. The full reports have not been put up on their own yet. Each has only been published as part of the overall Senate package linked at the top. If I get some time today, I’ll isolate each report and upload them myself, and put in links.

    Posted by Neal Yonson | January 20, 2016, 9:30 am
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