Volume 93, Issue 47

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


UWO dealt blow by province

TA strike looms at Toronto U

Ad hoc committee fails in close Senate vote

Four year BAs and BScs considered

A week of false alarms and theft

Report reveals funding concern

Caught on campus

Bass Ackwards

Four year BAs and BScs considered

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

Students who say they never want to leave Western should be careful what they wish for.

Universities across the province could move towards changingundergraduate Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees to four year programs, said Jim Turk, director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

"The three year degree was created when Grade 13 was created," Turk said, adding the move is being considered because a shorter time at high school may lead to students wanting a longer university career. "If there's only four years of high school, it's hard to argue for a three year BA," he said.

Turk explained two negative consequences of elongated university BA program would be a condensed high school curriculum and increased student debt, since the once free Ontario Academic Credit courses will be replaced by a costly year of university education.

Western president Paul Davenport said while there has been no official discussion of the elimination of three year BA and BSc programs at Western, the idea is definitely looming on the horizon as Ontario is the only province to still offer three year BAs.

"We assume, with the change in high school curriculum from five to four years, there will be an increased demand for four year degrees," Davenport said. He added the university's strategy would be to offer a curriculum demanded by the majority of students.

"The four year degree is a North American standard. I know of students who have had trouble getting three year programs recognized," Davenport said. He added a four year BA or BSc would help students realize the richness and wide variety available in an Ontario education.

At the University of Alberta, where three year BAs were eliminated in 1986, associate VP-academic Anne-Marie Decore said she agreed with Davenport's comments which pointed out the discrepancies between Ontario's and the rest of the country's programs. "Ontario is a bit strange," she said.

Decore said U of A made the switch because the three year degrees were becoming scarce in North America and there was an increased demand from students looking to specialize, without doing an honours program.

University Students' Council president SzeJack Tan said he thought talk of extending undergraduate BAs would have to be weighed against the issue of accessibility.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999