Trailblazer: Bona Fide Academic Requirements (BFARs) process officially launched
Major commitment by the U of M to increased accessibility and inclusive education
At the end of September, University of Manitoba faculty, instructors, administration and students gathered to celebrate the official launch of the Bona Fide Academic Requirements (BFARs) process.
The full-house event took place Sept. 29 in the beautiful 205 University Centre room. Featured speakers included President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard and Vice-President (Academic) and Provost Joanne Keselman; the program was emceed by Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs) Janice Ristock, with concluding remarks by Mark Torchia, director of the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (the Centre). The Centre will lead and support faculties through the process.
There is a sense of excitement surrounding the BFAR initiative, which represents a major commitment by the university to accessible, inclusive education. The University of Manitoba is one of the first universities in Canada to implement a BFAR process, and has been commended by the Province of Manitoba’s Disabilities Issues Office for its strong action plan in support of barrier-free education.
Provost Keselman thanked academic faculty and students for their dedication to improving the campus community and for recognizing the importance of the BFAR initiative. Every academic program at the U of M, including degree, diploma and certificate programs, will undertake the process through discussion with faculty and students about core academic requirements and removing barriers to education.
The initiative has already begun, with the Faculty of Graduate Studies first to engage in the BFAR process.
President Barnard noted that discussions happening within faculties and with student involvement support the strategic pillar, “Building Community that creates an outstanding learning environment,” of the U of M’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, Taking Our Place. Part of the goal is creating a culture of accessibility on campus through collaboration and consultation.
The BFAR process is a shared venture with input and support from a number of the offices on campus, including Student Advocacy and Accessibility Services, the Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management, the Office of Fair Practices and Legal Affairs, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU), and the BFAR Liaisons from each program across the university.
“The BFAR process is about inclusion, equality, and supporting human rights towards success for all learners,” added Centre for Advancement in Teaching and Learning director Mark Torchia.
Inquiries regarding the BFAR process can be directed to BFAR [at] umanitoba [dot] ca
Read more about the BFAR process: