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Cooper Commission Report


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Bona Fide Academic Requirements (BFAR)

A BFAR describes the knowledge and skills that a student must acquire in order to successfully complete a course or program. These are the essential and minimum requirements, including methods of assessment, which the student must meet.

BFARs are requirements that cannot be waived without consequences to the integrity of a program. They clearly outline the essential knowledge and skills necessary to complete an academic program and to enter into a profession. In essence, BFARs are similar to quality assurance standards, they ensure programs identify and state all required outcomes and that graduates meet those outcomes. BFARs also help prospective and current students determine whether requests for reasonable accommodations are required to complete a given program.

Determining the BFARs for programs are important because they:

  • Clearly define program expectations
  • Ensure academic integrity of programs
  • Increase transparency for students prior to beginning a program of study
  • Ensure students have attained essential knowledge and skills upon graduation

BFARs at the University of Manitoba

In January 2011, an ad hoc committee (the Cooper Commission) within the Senate Executive Committee of the University of Manitoba recommended that each academic unit identify BFAR statements and accompanying rationales for all existing programs and any newly created programs. If you would like to know more about the recommendation to create BFARs at the University of Manitoba, please click here to read the Cooper Commission report.

All BFARs for the University of Manitoba are vetted by an interdisciplinary committee of representatives with final approval required by Senate. The Centre is assisting programs with the development of their BFAR statements and rationales. BFARs are currently being drafted at the graduate level.

The interdisciplinary committee includes representatives from:

A note for students

If you are a student seeking information about accessibility for students with disabilities including academic accommodations, BFARs, or appeals regarding accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services.

If you are seeking information about the UM’s Accessibility for Manitobans Act Plan or the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy including concerns about discrimination, please contact the Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management.