Senate Recentred: SEI’s, external review and memorandum of understanding

The Senate meets monthly to discuss and vote on UBC academic matters. But, Senate can often be hard to understand for the average student and the agenda docket can be super long and dull to read.

Senate Recentred is written by members of the Student Senate Caucus to demystify Senate by giving students a snapshot of what Senate is doing this month.

Here’s what to expect at the March 20 Senate meeting.

2021/22 SEI reports released

The Senate will also receive Student Experience of Instruction (SEI) reports for the 2021 and 2022 Winter Sessions. The SEI’s ask students to assess their course instructors on various metrics (did the instructor give clear instructions, provide useful feedback, show genuine interest, etc). A key finding was that the rates of students filling out SEI’s has been gradually declining. In 2020, 51 per cent of surveys met the recommended minimum response rate in Term 1, and 40 per cent did so in Term 2. 

In 2021, these numbers fell to 46 per cent (T1) and 38 percent (T2), and in 2022, the response rates were 44 per cent  (T1) and 35 per cent (T2). Another observed trend is that average scores given to Instructors have been increasing. Potential reasons for these trends are the move back to in-person classes after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes in wording of the questions asked.

Moving forward, the university aims to improve response rates by sending out more email reminders and encouraging instructors to give students class time to complete the SEI survey.

Approval of Indigenous academic regalia

Last year, Senate approved a request from UBC Ceremonies and Events allowing students to adorn their graduation caps to reflect their Indigenous identity. At this month’s meeting, Senate will vote to permanently allow the practice.

External review report released

Following a recommendation from the UBC Senate triennial reviews, external consultants conducted a review of the UBC Vancouver Senate.

Up for approval of the review report at the upcoming Senate meeting, this review encompasses a comprehensive assessment of the Senate's governance and operations.

The review's Terms of Reference encompasses ten key requirements addressing opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the Senate. Its findings and recommendations are anticipated to spark insightful discussions among Senators as the Senate collectively assesses ways to enhance the Senate's effectiveness and uphold its commitment to academic governance.

CARE Program memorandum of understanding

A partnership agreement regarding the Climate Adaption, Resilience, and Empowerment (CARE) Program is up for approval. 

Under this agreement, UBC along with Sciences Po, the University of Guelph, and the University of Toronto will receive a multi-year grant of around $10 million to enable exchange and academic opportunities in developing leadership addressing the climate crisis.

Students of the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs will be able to access the CARE programme through its four components: scholarships and fellowships, remote student activities, in-situ student projects, and advocacy.

Next month’s Senate meeting will be on April 17, 2024.

If you have questions for the Student Senate Caucus, you can email co-chairs Kareem Hassib at and Kamil Kanji at