Senate Academic Policy Committee Call for Comments on Draft Policy V-135 - Academic Concession

Draft Senate Policy V-135 Academic Concession is presented for broad feedback from the community of the Vancouver Campus of the University, including faculty, administrative and service staff, and students.  This policy articulates the expectation that under normal circumstances students will manage their various private commitments so as to avoid creating conflicts with their academic responsibilities. It also deals with the responses of instructors and academic units to requests made by students resulting from unanticipated conflicting responsibilities, temporary illnesses or other compassionate grounds that may hinder their attendance, participation in class or examinations, or the completion of assignments or other requirements.

The revisions were prompted by concurrent revisions to related policies, including Board and Senate Policy #73 – Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities and Board Policy #65 - Religious Holidays.

The draft policy linked below is a revision of the policy found in the Academic Calendar.  For the most part, the revised policy formalizes and makes clear current practice.  However, there are a number of places where additional guidance is provided to align practice with current circumstances and understanding.  For instance, the revisions incorporate considerations of Board Policy #131 – Sexual Assault and other Sexual Misconduct and reflect attention toward the impact that requests for medical notes can place upon the health services of the University and the Province.

To consider revisions to the policy, a working group was struck under the auspices of the Senate Academic Policy Committee.  The Working Group had broad representation from across campus and included the following members:

  • Chair, Max Holmes, Student Senator, member of the Senate Academic Policy Committee and AMS VP, Academic and University Affairs
  • Jeanie Malone, Student Senator and member of the Senate Academic Policy Committee
  • Dr. Paul Harrison, Chair of the Senate Academic Policy Committee
  • Dr. Claudia Krebs, Professor of Teaching in Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Senator and member of the Senate Academic Policy Committee
  • Shirley Nakata, Ombudsperson
  • Janet Mee, Director Centre for Accessibility, Student Development & Services
  • Susanne Goodison, Director Arts Academic Advising Services
  • Brianne Howard, Director, Academic Support, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Marna Nelson, Director, Student Health Services. Student Development & Services
  • Cindy Nahm, Director, Student Academic Services, Faculty of Science

Following the Senate Framework for Student Mental Health and Wellbeing (2014), the Working Group developed the following principles for the consideration of requests for Academic Concession:

This policy articulates the University’s commitment to support students in their academic pursuits through recognizing that students may experience unanticipated events or circumstances that interfere with their ability to accomplish academic work. Academic concessions, where granted, are intended to help a student through a difficult period as part of a plan for recovery and success. In responding to students’ requests for academic concessions, the University upholds the integrity of the curriculum and expects that the requirements of each course or academic program will be met within the university’s broader academic mission and values.

When considering requests for academic concessions the University applies principles of transparency, flexibility and compassion.  Fairness is achieved by applying this policy and its procedures in a flexible manner. Flexibility allows for the reasonable exercise of discretion and compassion in response to the unique circumstances of an individual student’s case. Following these principles, this policy is designed to set out the circumstances under which academic concessions may be granted to students, which types of academic concessions may be granted to students under various situations and by whom, as well as requirements and procedures for submitting and responding to student requests for academic concessions.

To accommodate for the volume of feedback that we anticipate in response to this consultation, and to allow for its timely analysis, synthesis, and consideration by the Senate Academic Policy Committee, a survey accompanies this consultation (please note that you will need to review the policy to provide your feedback in the survey format). Open responses are always welcome from individuals and groups.  Any comments that cannot be accommodated in the survey platform are welcomed and should be made to  with the subject line “Consultation Feedback for draft Senate Policy V-135 – Academic Concessions”.

The consultation will be open from Wednesday February 27th to Sunday, March 31st, 2019.  The Working Group and the Senate Academic Policy Committee appreciate your feedback.  Our aim is to collaboratively arrive at a policy that provides the greatest amount of clarity for all in an area where there is a high degree of nuance and variable situations. 

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