Senate Agenda, EXHIBIT IV, March 24, 2000



1. PhD Thesis Examination Process

Recommended: That the importance of the use of an external examiner in the PhD thesis examination process be affirmed, but that the external examiner's veto at Stage 1 of the PhD examination process be revoked, and that a PhD thesis be allowed to proceed to Stage 2 (oral examination) as long as a majority of the examiners (i.e., three out of four) approve the content and the form of the thesis.


Over the past year a subcommittee of the Policy Committee of the Faculty of Graduate Studies has reviewed the PhD thesis examination process. The work of the subcommittee was informed by discussion of the issues at the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 Faculty of Graduate Studies Divisional Committee meetings, and the final report of the subcommittee was discussed and approved by the Policy Committee in May 1999, reviewed at the Fall 1999 Divisional Committee meetings, and approved by the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at its November 1999 meeting. The report has been published to the Faculty of Graduate Studies website and may be viewed at <>. The report makes eleven recommendations, ten of which deal with improvements to procedure not requiring Senate approval.

The eleventh recommendation is the removal of the External Examiner's veto at Stage 1 of the PhD thesis examination process and leads to the motion proposed here. Currently, following distribution of the thesis to the four examiners, a majority of their written reports on the content of the thesis must be positive in order for Stage 2, the oral examination, to proceed, and this majority must include the external examiner. Thus if the three internal examiners approve the content of the thesis for oral examination but the External Examiner does not, the examination is cancelled and the case goes to an ad hoc committee charged with determining an appropriate course of action. The recommended change to the examination process means that the oral examination of a PhD thesis will proceed if a simple majority (any three out of four) of the examiners approve both content and form of the thesis. In other words, if at Stage 1, at least any two of the examiners indicate that the thesis is unacceptable in content, or is unacceptable in form, the oral will not proceed and an ad hoc committee will meet.

The primary rationale for this change is that ad hoc committees have found that in a significant number of cases where the external examiner was the only examiner who did not approve the thesis going forward to oral examination, the examiner had applied an inappropriate standard in judging whether the written thesis required major (as opposed to minor) revisions to its content. This change also brings Western into line with the practice at other major PhD granting universities in Canada.

2. Change in Name of the Graduate Program in Communicative Disorders to "Communication Sciences and Disorders"

Recommended: That the name of the graduate program of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders be changed from "Communicative Disorders" to "Communication Sciences and Disorders", with the following "fields" added to the wording of the degrees below:

MSc Communication Sciences and Disorders (Audiology)

MClSc Communication Sciences and Disorders (Audiology)

MSc Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology)

MClSc Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology)


These changes are being made at the request of the School to reflect their current designations.


1. Report on New Graduate Scholarships/Awards/Bursaries

SCUP has approved on behalf of Senate the terms of reference for new scholarships, bursaries, prizes and awards shown on Appendix 1.

2. Report of the SCUP Subcommittee on Priorities in Academic Development (SUPAD)

Academic Development Fund

The total budget for the Academic Development Fund in 2000-2001 is $1 million. Of this, $71,877 is required to fund the second and third years of projects given multi-year funding in the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 competitions. The sum available for allocation in 2000 is therefore $928,123, plus $67,680 reverted to the ADF budget from unused portions of previous awards totalling $995,803.

SUPAD has unanimously agreed to set aside 8% (approximately $80,000) of the $995,803 available to support a Small Grants Competition to commence in 2000, contingent on approved revisions to the ADF Terms of Reference by SCUP and Senate. The Small Grants Competition will be administered through SUPAD and funding will be provided jointly from ADF funds and the Research Promotion Fund. Matching support from the Research Promotion Fund cannot begin until the 2000-01 fiscal year (i.e., for the Fall 2000 and Spring 2001 Small Grants Competitions).

This year SUPAD reviewed 54 applications for funding under the ADF, a decrease over the previous year when 63 applications were received. Of the 54 applications, 24 were recommended for funding. The total amount requested by these 54 applicants was $3,318,876; of this, $2,823,797 was requested for 2000-01.

As in previous years, SUPAD divided into three subgroups in order to facilitate the detailed review and preliminary ranking of the applications. The subgroups and the number of applications within each are noted below.

Applications and Funding

Applications received - 24; Recommended - 8; Funding Recommended - $ 257,159

Physical and Mathematical Sciences & Engineering
Applications received - 25; Recommended -12; Funding Recommended - $ 486,127

Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities
Applications received - 5; Recommended - 4; Funding Recommended - $ 160,087

Total Applications Received - 54; Recommended - 24; Total Funding Recommended $ 903,373

Reports from a total of 89 arm's-length external referees contributed to the assessment of the projects this year.

Applications involving computers were referred to the Senate Committee on Information Technology and Services (SCITS) for technical assessment.

SUPAD met twice as a whole to evaluate the applications and related materials. Separate meetings of subgroups did preliminary evaluations.

The total amount of the awards recommended for 2000-2001 is $903,373, excluding recommendations for multi-year projects totalling $12,700 for 2001-2002 and $6,700 for 2002-2003. Details are provided on the attached table (Appendix 2).