Last Thursday, the Academic Affairs Committee approved minor program changes and amendments, beginning next September, for the sciences, social sciences and humanities departments.

The humanities will undergo 22 minor program changes, will have 44 new courses, and one new full-year course.

According to the meeting’s agenda, “The new courses are being proposed to respond to re-organization within departments and institutes, the interests and strengths of new faculty hires, and the need to provide units with more flexibility in determining course offerings based on teaching availability of faculty.”

“These changes also enrich program requirements and allow more choices for students and better opportunity to study the subject matter in-depth,” the agenda added.
Additional changes to the minor programs include changes in course descriptions, course names, pre-requisites, and exclusions.

The minor in Francophone studies and the specialist program for Italian and French have been suspended.

The sciences department will include 41 minor program changes, including the addition of 15 half-courses and four full-year courses. Sciences will also receive new course descriptions, new course requirements, and updated pre-requisites and co-requisites.

A new 100-level math course and two new calculus-based physics courses will be offered to first-year students.

The astronomy major program will increase its credit requirements from 8.5 to 9 credits, by adding a second-year required course, Thermal Physics and Fluid Mechanics, PHY242H5.

“The astronomy major has always been a 9.0 credit program and this change is to correct an error previously of not listing the pre-requisite,” read the agenda.

According to a report by the Social Sciences Division Curriculum Committee, starting in 2019, students applying to the management minor and specialist programs will be required to complete a math course, MAT133.

Although the committee debated the merits of adding this requirement, arguing that it was not fair to students who chose business because of their aversion to math, it was resolved that the inclusion is designed for students who intend to pursue finance. The motion was ultimately carried.

The committee further noted that all high school students wishing to enter into the social sciences will be required to take a calculus course in Grade 12 instead of just Data Management to help with their transition.

Other program changes in the social sciences involves updates to course requirements, “such as that for economics, now adding that a 63 percent is required for MAT133 in its economics and political science specialist program in order to clarify the requirements for the program.”

According to the agenda, 37 new half-credit courses and three full-year courses will be offered in the department.

“In combination across all units, these new courses will significantly increase course options for students. They also reflect the expertise and interests of new faculty hires as well as new areas of study proposed by existing faculty,” read the agenda.

The Department of English and Drama also provided a follow-up report to the Academic Affairs Committee regarding the sexism incident made in an English classroom last year.
The follow-up report detailed several measures taken against the sexist comments. In November 2015, the chair of the English and drama department, Alexandra Gillespie, arranged for all faculty within the department to undergo a presentation by UTM’s Equity and Diversity Officer, as well as the establishment of an Equity and Diversity Committee, on which the department chair and other tenured faculty will hold positions.

Additionally, a number of the new courses for the 2017-2018 academic year, designed by Gillespie, will address issues of equity.

Another item discussed at the meeting was the progress of UTM’s Vision Draft. According to Amrita Daniere, UTM’s vice-principal academic and dean, the UTM community has provided feedback regarding the draft through feedback sessions.

The committee debated that the Vision Statement should be “eloquent and concise,” and that the draft appears to be a plan of action more than a declaration of goals.

Daniere explained that the draft is in two parts: a statement and a plan, and added that she will be restructuring the document to avoid confusion.

The next Academic Affairs Committee meeting is scheduled on January 9.

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