Cap proposes to offer its first general Bachelors degree

The proposal for a Bachelor of Arts Degree program has been under review by the school’s Senate and Board of Governors, and is expected to be completed in time for the September 2011 semester.

The Senate has approved the principle of the Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree, though that is just one step of the ladder to authorization. Once the Senate and Board of Governors (representing the internal panel) approve the full program proposal, the details must be approved externally as well, by other Universities in the Lower Mainland, through an online posting of the proposal that gives other schools the opportunity to comment on its quality.

The proposal then goes to an official degree quality assessment board, and finally to the Minister of Education.

Dr. Robert Campbell, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Capilano University, states “I can’t imagine why our proposal, if it gets through the process, which I have every confidence it will, why it wouldn’t be approved.”

In regards to transferability to other Universities with different accreditation bodies, Dr. Campbell affirms, “I think it will be perceived like other General Studies degrees ... we’ve been sending out our Approval in Principle [the document outlining the terms and contents of a proposed program] to other institutions that have General Studies degrees just for the feedback. I’ve heard back from SFU, and they gave us a fairly, quite positive response. So I think this degree will be well received by other institutions and by the broader community.”

The implementation of the BA program has been a topic of conversation since the school first became a university. The main question is why the administration did not work on developing the program before the change from college to university was complete, so that the degree program would be well under way by now. 

Dr. Campbell answers, “we couldn’t. When we were a college, we were under a different act, we were under the college and institutes act. We could grant four-year degrees, but they had to be applied degrees.”

Applied degrees are typically designed to train students for employment, such as Capilano’s Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)-Autism degree, which was started under the old college legislation, whereas full degrees are not based on one specific discipline, but a broader spectrum of skills, allowing personal flexibility to the student for future employment opportunities.

Elana Zimmerman, student of the Arts & Entertainment Management Diploma program, believes this will be a positive upgrade: “If Capilano is a university, why not go the full nine yards and offer a Bachelor of Arts Degree? All of the other universities have it,” though she speculates the possible negative effects: “Are the professors as well qualified to teach if the capacity of the student body increases? Capilano is known for small class sizes and more in-depth learning, but would a Bachelor of Arts degree change that?”

Dr. Campbell expects the new program to have many positive impacts on the school, such as more options for already-enrolled and future students alike.

“It’s going to provide a high quality opportunity to students that allows them to complete four years of education here…a lot of our students don’t want to leave Cap. They love it here.”

// Meagan Bibby,

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