Associate Dean Newsletter - September 2018

tracyTracy Isaacs, Associate Dean (Academic)
Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Dear Arts and Humanities Students,

Welcome back to a new academic year. September is always an exciting time, full of possibility for the year ahead. As always, with the help of my team in the Arts and Humanities Academic Counselling Office, I’ll be posting a monthly newsletter for students. The letter will contain some reminders of important dates, as well as other information that you might find useful at various times through the year. It’s meant to be a helpful resource, and I hope you find it to be. 

I would like to welcome back Carrie Connelly, who will return to the Academic Counselling Office in mid-September after a year of maternity leave. I’d also like to extend a special welcome to our newest students and hope you all had a great Orientation Week, have settled in nicely, and are finding your way around campus.

You may have noticed that the Academic Counselling Office has moved to a new location this year. If you haven’t done so yet, come by and check out our newly renovated office space in University College 2230.

In this month’s edition of the Associate Dean’s Newsletter, I’ll be covering:

  1. Important dates
  2. What to do if you miss exams, classes, assignments, etc.
  3. What to do if you’re struggling
  4. If you're unsure why you got the grade you got
  5. Fund Your Studies! Scholarships for Arts and Humanities Students
  6. Upcoming events

1. Important Dates

  • Monday, September 3 – Labour Day
  • Thursday, September 6 – First day of Class
  • Friday, September 14 – Last day for late registration; Last day to add a full course, first term half course first term full course or full year half course on campus and Distance Studies
  • Monday, October 1 – Last day for students on exchange or a letter of permission to submit transcripts for graduation at Autumn Convocation.
  • Monday, October 8 through Friday, October 12 – Fall Reading Week

You can find a more comprehensive list of important dates in the academic calendar on the Western website:

2. Missed Classes, Tests, Assignments, Exams, etc.

If a situation arises in which you miss a significant amount of classes, or any assignment, test, exam, etc., you should seek official accommodation. Usually students are not excused from any course responsibility without a professionally documented reason, i.e., illness, death in the family, legal commitment, etc. Any request for accommodation must come through the Faculty counselling office in University College room 2230. If you have to miss an exam, assignment, etc., due to illness, you should see a doctor right away, both to be treated and to document the illness. For documentation, don't wait too long since some doctors will not issue notes to excuse you from an exam if you aren't exhibiting any symptoms of the illness that caused your absence. In turn, you must submit your documentation to your academic counsellor no later than two business days after the date specified for resuming responsibilities.

By the way, for medical accommodations, you must use the Student Medical Certificate that can be found at the following link:

3. If You're Struggling

Should you run into any difficulties whatsoever during the course of your studies, please don't hesitate to communicate with your instructors if it involves a single course. If the difficulties affect more than one course, or you feel that they are too personal in nature, then please stop by the Academic Counselling Office in University College room 2230 to see one of our academic counsellors, Amanda Green and Ben Hakala. Anything you relate to our counsellors is done so in private and any dealings with course instructors, or any other individual, is done in complete confidentiality. There are stringent privacy laws in this province and we adhere to them. Counsellors are also able to direct you to the appropriate support services if you require counselling that goes beyond academic counselling.

You do not need an appointment to see a counsellor. Just check in with Sarah or Carrie at the reception desk when you arrive. We have drop-in office hours Monday through Thursday from 9:30-noon and 1-4, and on Fridays from 9:30-noon.

4. If You're Unsure Why You Got the Grade You Got

If you are uncertain why you received the grade you received on a piece of work or for a course, you may ask your professor for an explanation. If her/his explanation doesn’t satisfy you, then you have every right to appeal to the undergraduate chair of the department offering the course. This is your education and you have a right to an explanation of how you were evaluated in a course. Ultimately, you have the right to submit a formal appeal if you do not believe that your work has been assessed fairly.

The appeal process is spelled out in the University Senate regulations and is a confidential process. Ordinarily, the instructor is not involved in the appeals process.

5. Fund Your Studies! Scholarships for Arts and Humanities Students

Did you know? Over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships, awards and bursaries was available to Arts & Humanities students in 2017-2018! Visit for a full list of funding opportunities available.

Are you eligible? To be eligible for (or retain) any scholarships, awards or bursaries you need to have a 5.0 course load in any given year. There are awards based on merit, need, and a combination of these two criteria. Students may only submit for need-based awards if they have applied for (and had approved) a Financial Assistance Profile Application (due September 30th):

What’s available? Our Faculty has a number of scholarships. Many you are considered for automatically, but there are a few that you need to apply for. A list of these awards is available on the Arts and Humanities website at I encourage you to apply for any award for which you might be eligible -- we've had large awards that have gone unclaimed even though we knew we had students eligible for them simply because many felt they didn't have a chance of being awarded one.

Some awards require that you fill out an application by September 30th, including the very generous Neen Hodgins Award, valued at $25,000.00. Other awards that require an application include: the Arts and Humanities Student Council Award, the Rogers Family Award in Arts, and the Parents Fund Award in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For your convenience, I’ve included the award descriptions here so you may determine whether you’re an eligible candidate. If you are, I encourage you to apply.

Neen Hodgins Award
Awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate entering the second year of a four-year degree program and pursuing an Honors Specialization, Specialization or Major in English within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, based on academic performance, financial need and a demonstrated commitment to the study of English at Western. Note: In order to receive the award you must complete the online FAP and submit a one-page statement outlining your aspirations and motivations in choosing to attend Western and pursue a degree in English by September 30. Value: 1 at $25,000.

Arts and Humanities Student Council Award
Awarded annually to a full-time student in second, third, or fourth year in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, who has achieved a minimum 80% average in the previous year of study, and has contributed to the growth and development of the Arts and Humanities community through extra-curricular involvement and/or philanthropic work. A one-page statement outlining the candidate's extra-curricular involvement must be submitted to the Academic Counselling Office in UC 2230 by September 30th. The scholarship and awards committee in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities will select the recipient. This award was established by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Student Council through student levy donations. Value: 1 at $1,000.

Rogers Family Award in Arts
Available to full-time students registered in the third year of study in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at The University of Western Ontario based on academic achievement in Year 2. Preference will be given to students who have demonstrated the greatest increase in their annual academic average between the first year of university study and completion of the second year of university. Candidates must also demonstrate an aptitude for creative and innovative thought, exceptional achievement in extracurricular activities and commitment to active citizenship. Application forms can be obtained from the A&H Academic Counselling Office in UC 2230 and should be submitted to the same office by September 30th. A university selection committee will choose academically-qualified recipients based on the application and essay submission. Established through the generosity of Ted and Loretta Rogers and Family. Value: 2 at $2,500.

The Parents Fund Award in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Awarded annually to a student in second, third or fourth year in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities who has achieved at least a 75% average while demonstrating leadership in the community and participating in extra-curricular activities. Application forms can be obtained from the A&H Academic Counselling Office in UC 2230 and should be submitted to the same office by September 30th. The recipient will be chosen by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities scholarship committee. Established in 1997 through the generosity of Western Parents. Value: 1 at $750.

To see a full list of scholarships visit:

6. Upcoming Events of Interest

There are always lots of things going on at Western and in Arts and Humanities. You’ll see posters that tell you about different things that are happening, but you can also get the information online.

Follow @westernuArts on Twitter to stay up to date with all of the activities going on in our faculty!

To see what’s happening soon in Arts and Humanities, you can go to the Arts and Humanities Events page:

To see what’s happening all over campus, check out the Western Events Calendar:

Best wishes for a fantastic year!

Dr. Tracy Isaacs, Associate Dean (Academic), Arts and Humanities