November 21, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 47  

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New degree system on its way

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

Effective next September, Western will be introducing a new modular degree system.

Brian Timney, social science dean and chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Awards, explained the new system in a presentation to the University Students' Council at Wednesday night's council meeting. Degrees will still be offered by the faculties, but the modules will be the responsibility of specific departments, much like the areas of concentration and honors programs of old, he explained.

According to Roma Harris, Western's vice-provost and registrar, consultation with students inspired the changes to the degree. "We have decided to completely revamp the undergraduate curriculum," she said at the meeting. "We've done a lot of consultation with student groups all across campus."

All students entering first year in 2004 will pursue modular degrees, and those in second and third year have the option of switching into the modular program. Students choosing to follow the old standard must convocate no later than 2008.

The new modules - which will include specialization, major and minor modules - bring with them new requirements; every student must have one science credit to graduate and science students will need two essay courses, Timney said. The new degree will give all students flexibility equivalent to that of scholar's electives students.

Timney also noted that the actual scholar's electives program would be adjusted accordingly. "We're looking at another way to cater to those students because [scholar's electives] has been so successful."

"The modular degree is a good thing and will give students more choices in their studies," said USC VP-education Dave Ford. "They'll be acknowledged for diversifying the courses they take."

I wish I had this option - I would've liked to have taken a minor in something my [program] doesn't offer," said fourth-year administrative and commercial studies student Jim Mendrinos.

-with files from Marshall Bellamy



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