Policy on Probation in Batchelor of Music Degree Program

When a student is placed on probation in the Bachelor of Music degree program:
  • The director will contact the student regarding his/her assignment to a faculty advisor. If the student indicates a preference for a particular advisor, the director will try to accommodate the student's preference, provided that it can be done without distributing the advising load unfairly.
  • The advisor will be notified of the assignment and the student will be advised to contact the advisor as soon as possible.
  • If the student does not seek out the advisor within a reasonable time, the advisor will make at least one attempt to encourage the student to meet with him/her, either by phone call or posting of a note on one of the main bulletin boards.
  • The advisor will try to help the student determine the cause(s) of the poor performance and identify strategies for success in the coming semester. The advisor will encourage the student to return for at least one follow-up visit during the semester to check on the student's progress.
  • Advisors should make sure that they are familiar with the Bachelor of Music degree regulations in the Calendar. (Select "Undergraduate program" from the menu on the School of Music home page.)

Some of the issues that advisors might consider and the options that might be recommended include:

  • Reality check. Encourage the student to determine the specific reasons for the problems encountered the previous semester. Many student just think that "things will be different next term" without really understanding what caused the initial problems. They should be encouraged to convert vague reasons for failure ("I just wasn't ready for university" or " I just needed to work harder") into more specific problems and solutions. ("How exactly was university different from your expectations or past experience, and what exactly will you do differently this semester?" "Do you have a specific plan for study time?" "How will you know before it's too late if your plan isn't enough?")
  • Work load. Students on probation should be encouraged to consider reducing their course load, especially if heavy workload was a factor in their performance the previous semester. The Bachelor of Music degree can be pursued part-time. Many students do not realize this. (Just be sure that the student is aware of the prerequisites for third- and fourth-year applied study courses.) Advisors should also inquire about the student's activities outside their academic work. If the student is spending a lot of time at part-time work or in musical activities outside the School of Music, s/he should be encouraged to list all of the activities and the amount of time each activity requires, and to establish priorities in order to determine which activities might need to be discontinued.
  • Course selection. Students who are having difficulty in a particular subject should give careful thought to their registration in that area. For example, any student with a grade of 50% or 55% in Music 1107 or 1117 should consider taking Music 1120 and/or 1116 in the winter semester to reinforce their understanding of basic concepts--instead of Music 1108 or 1118, where they would be at extremely high risk of failure. Students who have room for electives should be encouraged to select them from areas in which their grades have been good.
  • Remedial work. Students with low grades in a particular subject should be encouraged to get extra help, from the instructor and/or from a tutor. In particular, students placed on probation after the winter semester should consider getting help over the summer in the courses where they were weakest. For example, a student with 60% or less in Music 1108 should consider working with a tutor over the summer to develop stronger competence with the completed material, so that they will have a better foundation for Music 2107.
  • Writing Centre. Students with writing difficulties should be introduced to the writing centre, and encouraged to seek help there with their next writing project.
  • Counselling Centre Courses. Students who have difficulties with time management or test anxiety should be encouraged to enrol in the non-credit short courses offered by the Counselling Centre. They may also be encouraged to take UCC2020 (Applied Cognitive and Affective Learning Strategies for Undergraduate Students) as a non-music elective.
  • Blundon Centre. Students with disabilities (including identified learning disabilities) may be referred to the Blundon Centre for assistance (see the Student Affairs and Services section of the University Calendar).
  • Career Counselling. Students whose progress is negatively affected by concerns or indecision about career interests can be given information, referred to other music faculty with expertise in particular areas of interest to the student, or advised to visit the Career Planning Centre (T3035).
  • Personal Counselling. If the student's performance is negatively affected by personal problems including family and/or financial difficulties, refer him/her to the Counselling Centre for personal counselling. See the Counselling Centre Handbook for further information on the services available to students.
  • Follow-up. Advisors should encourage the student to return for (a) follow-up meeting(s). If a student does not seem to have a realistic understanding of his/her difficulties, it may be a good idea to ask the student to bring documentary evidence of his/her progress in areas of difficulty, such as graded assignments or a note from his/her instructor(s) regarding progress to date. Make sure that the student knows the deadline for dropping courses without academic prejudice, and encourage him/her to take stock before that date, whether or not you plan a follow-up meeting.
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