Report of the Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Admissions

Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT III - November 14, 1997


1. First Year Course Requirements for Mathematics and Applied Mathematics

Recommended: That, effective September 1, 1998, students in their first year be allowed to register for up to four half-courses offered by the Departments of Applied Mathematics or Mathematics.



First year general program courses are grouped into four divisions....

At least one course from each of two of the faculties of Arts, Science and Social Science must be included. One of the five required courses (numbered 001-099) may be taken as two half-courses for a total of six different subjects. Except as noted below, not more than one full-course equivalent in a particular subject may be taken in first year. Exceptions are: the first year of any of the honors or combined honors Visual Arts programs which require two Visual Arts courses in first year; Applied Mathematics and Mathematics courses where up to two full-course equivalents may be taken in first year. For complete regulations see the Graduation Requirements page.

Note: (no change)


On page 23 of the 1997 Academic Calendar is the following regulation:

Not more than one full-course equivalent in a particular subject may be taken in first year. For example, a student may not choose Mathematics 027 plus any other full- or half-course in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics.

In "Leadership and Learning, Western's Strategic Plan," the following appears in the section entitled "Undergraduate Students and Programs."

.. . . address procedural restrictions which unduly circumscribe program flexibility and undermine our recruiting efforts. For example, the current limitation on the number of first-year courses which may be taken within a single Department appears to weaken our ability to recruit outstanding undergraduate students in Mathematics.

In a survey of Ontario universities York and Western were alone in denying Mathematics (and Science) students the opportunity to study linear algebra in their first year. All others include at least a half course in this topic; most provide the equivalent of two full courses in Mathematics for their first-year students.

Calculus and linear algebra are fundamental to the discipline of mathematics and to almost every application of mathematics to other areas of study. While these are best taught in separate courses, they are also closely linked, and it is a distinct advantage to be able to study both subjects at the same time. A course in calculus has always been offered to first-year students, but students (except for Engineering students) have so far been unable to register for any course in linear algebra until their second year. This is a severe impediment to progress in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Economics, for example.

There is a definite disadvantage when recruiting in the high schools in trying to persuade students gifted in mathematics and wishing to pursue studies in the Mathematical Sciences to choose Western. Mathematically gifted students often see the present first-year offerings as pedestrian and tedious. The passage of the above motion will help to make changes both in substance and perception. With the exception of York University, all other Ontario universities, and most in other provinces, offer a more exciting introduction to the study of Mathematics than is available at Western.

In view of the new entrance requirements for the Faculty of Science, which make the OAC Algebra and Geometry course optional, and in consideration of other groups of students with non-standard backgrounds, it is anticipated that a number of students will require Mathematics 017a before being able to take Mathematics 040a/b. Such students, if they also need calculus, would then probably take four half courses in mathematics in their first year.

The above motion is not asking for any change in the first sentence of the above regulation other than to allow exceptions in the particular case of courses offered by the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Mathematics. It is expected and hoped that the preponderant effect of the proposed motion would be to encourage mathematically talented students to choose Western as the place to pursue their undergraduate studies, and that, in consequence, Western's "market share" of such students will be increased.

2. Admission and Progression Requirements for Honors Programs in Psychology

Recommended: That the admission and progression requirements for Honors Programs in Psychology be revised as shown below:

[For current calendar copy, please refer to page 156 of the 1997 academic calendar.]


Admission and Progression Requirements

Students are not admitted into the Honors BA or the Honors BSc programs until after they complete the first-year requirements (see the HONORS PROGRAMS section of this calendar). Because it is expected that the majority of students who wish to enter the Honors programs will begin their work in these programs at the start of their second year in university, students are strongly encouraged to apply for admission during their first year. FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS WHO MAY WISH TO DELAY ENTRY INTO THE HONORS PROGRAMS UNTIL AFTER SECOND OR THIRD YEAR ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO TAKE BOTH PSYCHOLOGY 280E AND PSYCHOLOGY 281 IN THEIR SECOND YEAR IN PLACE OF PSYCHOLOGY 282E. THEY ARE ALSO STRONGLY ADVISED TO COMPLETE THE OTHER HONORS PROGRAMS REQUIREMENTS AS SPECIFIED BELOW.

To enter the Honors programs at the end of first year, students must have a minimum overall average of 70% in their first year courses with no mark less than 60%. To enter or remain in the Honors programs in each of the subsequent years students must satisfy the following requirements:

principal courses: an overall average of at least 70% with no mark less than 60%.

subsidiary courses: an overall average of at least 60% with no mark less than 50%.

principal and subsidiary courses combined: an overall average of at least 73%.

(Students who were admitted to the Honors programs prior to September 1997 will be governed by the procedures in effect at the time the students were admitted to the programs.)

Note: The Honors programs in Psychology have limited enrolments. In cases where the number of applicants exceeds the number of available spaces, entry into the programs will be competitive; students who meet the minimum requirements may be refused admission. For additional information students should consult an Academic Counsellor in the Psychology Department. Students registered at an Affiliated College who plan to complete an honors degree should consult with an Academic Counsellor in the Psychology Department prior to registering for 300-level courses.


The Psychology Department at present admits students who have an overall average of 70% to the Honors programs at the end of first year. This standard for admission, which is compatible with the standard for admission in all of the other departments in the Faculty of Social Science, enables as many promising students as possible to enter the Honors programs at the start of their university training. In subsequent years, however, a large number of additional students apply to the Honors programs, many of whom have much higher overall averages and, therefore, are better qualified to enter professional schools following graduation than the students who were initially admitted at the end of first year. Unfortunately, because of the limited number of spaces in the Honors programs, the Psychology Department is frequently forced to reject many of these highly qualified later applicants. By introducing this slight increase in the cutoff, the Department's prior enrolment statistics indicate that a sufficient number of spaces will become available in the third and fourth years of the programs to enable the Department to meet the needs of these later applicants.

3. Release of Information Concerning Scholastic Offences (S.97-187)

Recommended: That the section of the "Procedures for Handling Scholastic Offences" with regard to "Release of Information Concerning Scholastic Offences", be revised to read as shown below:

Release of information concerning scholastic offences

The letter informing a student that he or she has been found to have committed a scholastic offence, and the penalty or penalties imposed is a confidential document. Copies will be sent only to involved parties (instructor, Chair, designate, Dean of faculty in which the course was taught and the Dean of the student's home faculty). In the event that the penalties imposed are to be reflected in the student's academic record, a copy will be sent to the Registrar. If a student transfers to another faculty or to an affiliated college of this University, that faculty or affiliated college may request that the offence record be transferred to the Dean's Office of that faculty or college. The letter informing the student of the penalty shall also indicate that the offence record may be sent to another Faculty or affiliated college within the University should the student transfer from one to another.

In addition to the exception noted above (i.e., for students transferring between undergraduate faculties) information may be released with the express permission of the student or if required by a court order or if required by a professional licensing authority or board of certification or similar institution. Under all other circumstances, the information contained in a student's offence record shall be considered confidential. Unless the offence is to be recorded on the student's transcript, no information about the student's offence record shall be provided to any person or institution outside the University. To provide consistency in the application of this rule, the existence of a student's offence record shall not be revealed to Faculties within the university that normally require completion of an undergraduate degree prior to admission (e.g. Business, Education, Graduate Studies, Law, Medicine & Dentistry).


At the September 19th meeting of Senate the revision to this policy which had been proposed by SCAPA (Para. 1, line 4: that copies of the letter would be sent to the Dean of the student's home faculty) were approved. However, Senate representatives from the Faculties of Engineering and Law stated that policies of the professional societies in which they are members stipulate that they report to these societies any unethical behavior of professional members. The policy appears to be in contradiction with these requirements. Dr. Davenport agreed to refer the issue of professional responsibilities back to SCAPA.

The Guidelines on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy, approved by the Senate in May 1996, have addressed this issue. Item 21, Disclosure of Personal Information states: (1) The University shall not disclose personal information in its custody or under its control except under one of the following circumstances: ...(h) where disclosure is made to another educational institution or to a professional licensing authority or board of certification or similar institution, provided that the University has made reasonable efforts to inform affected individuals of the existence of a practice of making such disclosures. SCAPA has approved the revision shown above to satisfy the concern raised at Senate.


1. Scholarship/Prize/Award Conditions

SCAPA has approved on behalf of the Senate the following Terms of Reference for new scholarships, bursaries and awards for recommendation to the Board of Governors through the Vice-Chancellor:

Lynn Fordham Awards in Science and Engineering (4) (Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering Science)

Awarded annually to students in Science or Engineering Science who demonstrate financial need, academic excellence (full course load and minimum 75% average) and possess leadership qualities. One award will be given to a student entering first year, one to a student entering second year, one to a student entering third year and one to a student entering fourth year. This award may continue until graduation; however, the student must reapply each year and demonstrate financial need. Application forms are available at the Office of the Registrar and must be submitted not later than October 31. A statement outlining leadership qualities must be attached.

Value: Up to $2,500 each

Effective: May 1999 - First and Second Year at $2,500 each

May 2000 - Third and Fourth Year at $2,500 each

This award will receive matched funding from the Ontario Government through the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund program.

2. The Role of the Instructor in the Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The recently revised University Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities identifies the course instructor as the key individual in the consideration of requests for accommodations from students within his/her class. In a recent letter, Dr. Clive Seligman, Chair of the Department of Psychology, requested that SCAPA consider a change to the Policy that would allow for a course coordinator in a multiple-sectioned class to assume the role now assigned to the instructor. SCAPA discussed the matter extensively in two meetings and invited Dr. Seligman and Dean Peter Neary of the Faculty of Social Science to address the Committee regarding the matter. It was the unanimous opinion of the Committee that the Policy's current wording is both adequate and appropriate. The Committee concluded that the original intention of the Policy was to ensure that each request for accommodation is dealt with by the individual most familiar with both the student and the course requirements, i.e., the instructor. The Committee supports this intention. Should concerns of consistency arise, they are best dealt with through consultation among instructors in a multiple-sectioned course. In team-taught courses, one instructor should be identified to fulfill this role, just as is necessary for other general tasks of course administration.

The Chair of SCAPA was directed by the Committee to communicate the substance of its discussion and conclusion to Dr. Seligman. Dr. Cass also was directed to ensure that the guidelines for the application of the Policy, currently being developed under the direction of Mr. Bill Wilkinson, the Director of Equity Services, and the University General Counsel, Dr. Peter Mercer, include a statement and elaboration on this matter.