Humanities SHEQAB - FAQ
Questions and answers regarding Saskatchewan government's degree granting announcement
Why did the Premier come to campus?
Premier Brad Wall was on campus to formally announce that Briercrest College is authorized to award a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities. Authorization was provided through The Degree Authorization Act and The Degree Authorization Regulations, which came into force in the fall of 2012. Prior to this, only the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina had the authority to grant degrees, other than theological degrees, in the province. The newly created Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board (SHEQAB) reviews all applications for degree granting authority before they are approved.
"Briercrest is known across Canada for its academic excellence. We are pleased today to recognize that by authorizing the college to provide a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, this is the first time this has been done outside the province's two universities."
Premier Brad Wall
Why does the Saskatchewan government's authorization matter?
The government of Saskatchewan's authorization and SHEQAB's seal of approval is important to us for two reasons. First, it is another affirmation of the quality of education that we offer and, second, it helps our students who are going on to further study because other academic institutions often look for provincial government approvals when assessing entrance qualifications.
"This approval tells us that another vital external witness has found us to be offering high quality education that is worthy of being called a bachelor's degree in Canada. For our BA Humanities students, this gives them one more thing to tell employers and other institutions that would be assessing their degree and its recognition. It's another endorsement for the studies they've completed." Dr. Dwayne Uglem
How long has Briercrest been working toward this?
This process began decades ago following the recommendation of the Briercrest board, but started to gain momentum over the last several years as Dr. Uglem worked closely with government officials. It has always been our mandate to provide outstanding Christian education and now we are being recognized for that quality.
"Over the last 20 years there have been lots of moments where it felt like this journey could go on forever. But the minute we began to see a policy framework emerge, we knew that at least it was possible. It was just a matter of waiting to work through the procedure in the right way. So, the hope really came with the Degree Authorization Act being approved last June. As soon as that happened, we knew that the next steps were just a matter of time."
Dr. Dwayne Uglem
"I think I've worked with eight ministers since the journey began in my experience," Uglem recounted. "I've worked with several deputy ministers and lots of government staff."
I thought Briercrest already offered accredited degrees?
We do; our degrees are accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education and Association of Theological Schools. For over 75 years we have been providing outstanding Christian education to our students. This is just an additional stamp of approval and an assurance of quality for the people of Saskatchewan and academics across Canada.
What is the role of the Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board?
SHEQAB's role is to review each degree presented to them and to forward a recommendation to the Government of Saskatchewan. The government will not approve any degrees that do not meet the strict SHEQAB standards. We are thankful for this step and it will help us maintain our high standards.
"Saskatchewan has created a quality assurance board and Briercrest was absolutely first in line to submit itself to it. Briercrest is pleased to work with this board." Dr. Dwayne Uglem
What does this mean for our MSU agreement?
The MSU agreement is independent of this authorization; however this authorization does affirm the decisions of universities like MSU to recognize our degrees and work with our students.
What does this mean for our current students?
Our students will be able to transfer into this newly authorized degree track. The college will work with these students to make transitions as seamless as possible.
Students will be able to graduate from this degree after July 1, 2013.
What does this mean for our graduating students - can my degree be grandfathered in?
This authorization is not retroactive. Students with previous versions of the BA Humanities degree (or other Briercrest degrees) may apply to have their degree assessed to determine what would be required to complete the requirements of the authorized degree.
How does this affect our other degrees?
The authorization of the BA Humanities degree doesn't lessen the value of any of our degrees. Briercrest's academic policies and practices are the same for all of our degree programs. However, with this new authorization protocol in place, Briercrest will be submitting other existing and new degrees for this same authorization. The next two degrees we will submit are BA degrees in English and History.
How do I know which degrees are approved already?
Currently only Briercrest's BA Humanities degree has been reviewed by SHEQAB and authorized by the Ministry of Advanced Education. As we move forward, the degrees authorized by the ministry will be listed separately on web menus and the SHEQAB seal will be displayed on each of the approved degree program pages.