UBCO says they are standing by their students and reversing their decision made last week to cut three accounting courses from the school's curriculum.
“The level of concern from students was significant and it was clear that they had a high level of anxiety about this and that could not be allowed to stand,” said Bud Mortenson, Director of University Relations of UBC Okanagan.
Shortly after their announcement last Monday and the subsequent media storm that followed, Mortenson says they had several meetings with students who were very vocal with their concerns about the change.
“We recognized that it has certainly caused some anxiety for students and some confusion and we didn't want to prolong that, so the faculty decided that it needed to commit to making sure those courses are available to students on campus next year,” he said.
The reason the campus gave for initially deciding to cut three classes (tax, audit and advanced financial accounting) was because of scarce resources and a lack of teaching staff, but the university has now committed to finding solutions to those issues.
“The reason the announcement was made in the first place was that it had become quite clear that the sessional instructors that would be needed to offer these three courses in September might not be available,” explained Mortenson.
“But, we are committed to finding a way. We do not yet know all the details of how we will be able to offer those classes in September but that is actively being worked on and the faculty is going to find a way.”
He says there is a very small pool of people available and qualified to teach these courses and they did not feel they would have instructors for the fall.
“The core issue is that these CPA courses are defined by the CPA professional body and is delivered typically by people who are actively working with accounting firms in the region and they come in as sessional instructors to teach these courses on campus. There is a very limited pool of people that have the qualifications to be a sessional instructor,” said Mortenson.
“We are going to have to make it work. The faculty is steadfastly committed to those courses being offered on campus.”
He says despite last weeks comments from the Faculty of Management Dean that the decision was final, there was a clear need to consult more with the students affected on campus.
“We are responding to the needs of the students,” said Mortenson. “We truly hope this announcement will help relieve some of the anxiety students were feeling about this.”
UBCO has committed to offering the three CPA pre-requisite courses for the 2014/15 year but says they will have to work with those in the profession and students to find a way to make it sustainable for the long term.