General degree faces extra year
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Secondary school students who thought they would have to suffer one less year of school with the elimination of grade 13 may have to pick it up in university if schools like Western eradicate the three-year general degree.
The abolition of the three-year degree is currently under discussion within the university. It could possibly be replaced with a four-year general degree, said Western's VP-academic Greg Moran.
The examination of the general undergraduate degree at Western was first brought up by English professor David Bentley, who sent discussion papers to all faculties to re-evaluate undergraduate programs, Moran said.
The paper raised several issues with respect to undergraduate degrees but due to the recent elimination of grade 13, it seemed like a good time to begin focusing specifically on the three-year degree, he added. "We are reviewing undergraduate programs all the time we want to offer the best."
The four-year general degree would differ from the honours degree, which requires higher-level courses, said University Students' Council academic affairs officer Roxanne Porter.
In last night's USC meeting, Porter asked for student input on the issue. "It looks like the university will recommend to cut the three-year program I think students will have concerns about that," Porter said.
In presenting the issue to council, she portrayed both sides of the argument. Negatives could be found in increased tuition paid for the extension of the three-year degree to four years and positives in giving students a competitive edge, since Ontario is the only province which still offers three-year degrees.
Some students were clearly upset by the proposal, such as third-year philosophy student Rawl Chan. "I'm terrified of it. It seems there is a conflict of interest if they are raising tuition and asking us to stay another year it just doesn't add up."
The administration is waiting for feedback from students and a panel meeting scheduled for May 21 in hopes of preparing proposals this summer. The panel will be made up of Bentley, Porter and Roma Harris provost and registrar, while it will be moderated by Jeffrey Stokes, the dean of music.