Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the BAS program on March 22, 2023 | College of Arts

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the BAS program on March 22, 2023

Date and Time


Event #1: ASCI 4010 Research Poster Presentation

  • Location: UC Courtyard from 12:30 to 3:00pm


Event #2: Public Lecture "AI Futures, embodied computing, and Creativity" by Professor Isabel Pedersen, Director of the Digital Life Institute at the Ontario Tech University. 

  • Location: Clark Hall, UC, at 4:00pm 


Bachelor of Arts and Science Degree Program Continues to Innovate: 20 Years old and going strong


BAS History

Just over twenty years ago now, the University of Guelph searched for a way to integrate perspectives from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences in an innovative and unique approach to learning. Looking to build on the success of the previous Akademia initiative and broaden its scope, the University approved the creation of the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS) degree program. On Wednesday, March 22nd, the University community is invited to celebrate its postponed (Covid oblige…) 20th anniversary.

The first class of the BAS program was admitted in 2001. It addressed challenges that had hindered the success of the Akademia initiative. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science students in the Akademia program rarely moved past the first semester because it required them to trade-off some prerequisites needed for the next level of science and arts courses. They found the initiative academically stimulating and challenging, but felt the original approach put them behind.

BAS Today

As a stand-alone interdisciplinary degree program, the BAS integrates the arts, the social sciences, fine arts, and the natural sciences – no trade-offs required. The interdisciplinary design has become a hallmark of U of G’s approach to learning.

Designed to be relatively small, the BAS has stayed close to its original size, admitting about 150 students per year, the total number of students in the program being 500. The program has held its own over the past two decades and continues to flourish.

The biggest program of its kind in all of Canada, in 2022 the BAS saw a large increase in first year enrolments to 175. The program regularly graduates 75 to 80 students each year, many of whom are on the Dean’s List.

With only a handful of faculty members to teach the core Asci courses (Profs. P. Barclay, D. Bruce, M. Goldenberg, and A. Souchen), over the past years the BAS has further refined its focus to support the development of transferable skills that respond to the needs of contemporary society and our fast-changing work and social environments.

Most recently, the BAS has initiated new forms of teaching by moving to a largely flipped classroom structure that encourages engagement with issues, critical analysis, communication skills, and team collaboration in the classroom. In addition, in collaboration with the Experiential Learning Hub, the BAS has also developed the Arts and Science Conference that links career preparation to curriculum. Students develop the capacity for complex, multi-faceted approaches to problem-solving and link classroom learning to transferable career and life skills. This online Conference has been presented five times now and has an archive of recorded sessions available for UG faculty and students to consult. Student reviews of both of these changes have been very positive.

20th Anniversary Events

On Wednesday March 22nd the College Community is invited to join in two events to celebrate the the BAS program and its students.

  1. The first event will a presentation in the UC Courtyard from 12:30 to 3:00pm of research posters created by past Asci 4010 classes illustrating their 4th year research projects.
  2. The second event will be a public lecture at 4:00pm in Peter Clark Hall, UC, by Professor Isabel Pedersen, Director of the Digital Life Institute at the Ontario Tech University. Her topic: AI Futures, embodied computing, and Creativity. Refreshments provided.


Come join the celebration!