Senate Update: Guidelines for Course Cancellation
Concordia Course Cancelled Two Weeks Into the Semester
A faculty member brought up concerns about guidelines regarding the cancellation of classes during the question period at Concordia Senate on Friday afternoon.
A course taught by a part-time professor was cancelled two weeks into the semester, according to Patrice Blais, the Vice-President of the Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association.
Twelve students had been enrolled into the course in question, Blais said, but he declined to say which department, and which course was cancelled at the senate meeting on Jan. 20. Saying that it was to protect the identity of the teacher.
“I’m a bit concerned that courses can be cancelled in the second week of class, with students already in it,” Blais said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the students, and I don’t think it’s fair to the teachers who have signed contracts months in advance.”
Blais recalled that at a senate meeting on Feb. 14, 2014, CUPFA president Dave Douglas asked about the guidelines regarding course cancellations. Then Concordia Provost, Benoit-Antoine Bacon, said that the minimum enrolment for an undergraduate course is 10 to 12 students, but other factors are taken into account when deciding whether or not to cancel a course, such as whether the course is a core course.
According to Blais, the department in which the course was cancelled required that their courses have a minimum enrolment of at least 25 students per class.
“I don’t think there’s any epidemic of course cancellation happening at Concordia,” said current Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Graham Carr. “Decisions to cancel courses are not taken lightly.”
Concordia President, Alan Shepard, said he’s not in favour of cancelling classes once they have already begun. He also said that this issue is something that is worth talking about in the future.
Blais said that the guidelines for course cancellations should be discussed at larger bodies, such as senate.
“It’s not a question of can the university do this, it’s should the university do this?” Blais said. “There’s reasons to cancel a class before, which you need a good reason. Once class starts, you need a super good reason.”