What does the Undergrad Committee do?
The Undergrad Committee is involved in decisions
about the direction of the Undergraduate Program.
Thus, any major changes in the courses or programs we offer,
or in the way we deliver course material, have to pass
through the Undergraduate Committee.
Issues for this year
The Faculty of Arts and Science is currently going through a Curriculum
Renewal which will require every existing program we
offer to be either eliminated or reapproved by the Faculty of Arts and Science.
For us this means 7 programs:
(Other programs are housed in other departments. For example, the Statistics Department
has administrative responsibility for the Mathematics and Statistics Program.)
In order to be reapproved, every program will have to conform to certain requirements.
If we interpret these requirements literally, we may have to do a number of things
that we are not doing now, including for example
- mathematics specialist
- mathematics major
- applied mathematics specialist
- mathematics and philosophy specialist
- mathematics and physics specialist
- specialist in mathematics and its application
- specialist in mathematics applications in economics and finance
The math department is being asked to submit our programs for
reapproval one year from now, in October 2009. We have the option
of asking to delay reapproval for some or all of the programs, but
we should have a good reason for doing so. So this year will be an
unusually busy year for the Committee.
- make sure that every program we offer develops competencies in Social and Ethical
Responsibility and in Communication.
- make sure that every program involves an "integrative, inquiry-based activity".
A document from the Faculty of Arts and Science discussing
the new program requirements is posted
here (in pdf format).
As part of the Curriculum Renewal Process, we are also being pushed to make major changes
in the way we deliver certain courses. In particular, we are under pressure to
split MAT135, 137, 235, 237 into pairs of H courses, a change from the current Y format.
Specific questions the Committee must address
- For every program we offer, we must work out a strategy for making sure that the requirements
alluded to above are satisfied. These strategies will differ from program to program; for example, the Social and Ethical
Responsibility requirement is no problem for Math and Philosophy, but may require more
attention for some of our other programs. Overall, our strategies might include
We must also make sure that all of our plans are commensurate with our rather
- introducing new courses
- change the content of existing courses
- changing the requirements, so that certain programs have new courses added
as requirements and other courses dropped.
- In cases where we decide it is necessary to introduce new courses, the committee
will play some role in the design of the courses
- It has been suggested that we introduce courses that are not needed
for our program to satisfy the various new requirements, but that could be
used by other programs to satisfy their requirements, eg, a course that might help
humanities programs satisfy a "quantitative reasoning" requirement. This might benefit
the department. Should we introduce such courses? (and do we have the resources to do so?)
- The Mathematics and Philosophy Program requires special attention, in view of
proposals put forward by the Philosophy Department.
Their proposals are
posted here (in pdf format).
- The issue of whether to split MAT135/137/235/237 into H courses remains open.
The Committee is also free to undertake improvements to the Undergraduate Program
that are unconnected to the Curriculum Renewal Process. In particular,
- we may want to discuss whether our combinatorics courses should be revamped, and
if so, in what way.
suggestions from Committee members about other ways to improve the program are also welcome.