September 2017

Associate Dean Newsletter - September 2017


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

Dear Arts and Humanities Students,

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 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.

Returning students, you’ll find that the academic calendar has changed a little bit this year because of the new Fall study break in the week of Thanksgiving (October 9-13). There will be no classes, tests, or exams that week.

You’ll also notice that we have a new face in Academic Counselling. Welcome Sarah McKay, who has joined our team as our new Counselling Assistant this year, taking over for Carrie Connelly who is away for a year on maternity leave.

I’d 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.

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. Scholarship eligibility
6. Faculty of Arts and Humanities Scholarships
7. Upcoming events

1. Important Dates

Thursday, September 7 - First day of Class
Friday, September 15 – 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, Deadline to apply for relief against a Summer Day course.
Saturday, September 30 – Last day to submit the Financial Assistance Profile Application to determine eligibility for need-based scholarships and awards.
Monday, October 9 – Friday, October 13 – Fall Reading Week
Monday, November 13 – Last day to drop a first-term half course or a first-term full course (2017-18 Fall/Winter Term) without academic penalty.
Thursday, November 30 – Last day to drop a full course and full-year half course [on campus day and evening and Distance Studies] without academic penalty.

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 the International and Graduate Affairs Building room 1N20. 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 in a timely manner. If you sit on a medical note and only see the Counselling Office a month later, we will likely not be able to accommodate your need.

By the way, for medical accommodations, you have to use the form that is 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 at IGAB-1N20 and see one of our counsellors, Amanda Green or 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 with Sarah McKay at the reception desk when you arrive. Our hours are Mondays to Thursdays, 9:30-noon and 1-4, Fridays 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 also a confidential process. Ordinarily, the instructor is not involved in the appeals process.

5. Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible for or retain any scholarships, awards or bursaries you need to have a 5.0 course load in any given year.

To be considered for need-based scholarships and awards, you need to submit a Financial Assistance Profile (FAP) application by September 30. If deemed eligible, you will be considered for these awards.

Did you know?
Arts & Humanities awarded over 1.4 million dollars in scholarships awards and bursaries to our students in 2015-2016!

I’d like to draw special attention to the very generous Neen Hodgins Award, which is “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.” 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: $25,000.

To see a full list of scholarships visit:

6. Faculty of Arts and Humanities Scholarships

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. 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 30)

7. 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.

To see what’s happening 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!

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