Senate in Brief
In his report to Senate, Principal Daniel Woolf provided an update on academic planning. TheAcademic Writing Team’s report has been referred to the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD). SCAD will consult with Senate, the Academic Writing Team, and other members of the university community and report back to Senate on its progress for developing a draft academic plan. This is expected to take the bulk of the academic year.
The Principal indicated that there has been progress on the university’s application for amending its Charter to reduce the size of the Board of Trustees from 44 to 25. Amendments would also give University Council the ability to determine its size and membership without having to seek further changes to the Charter.
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Bob Silverman presented the first provost report, now a standing item on the Senate agenda, and indicated that the transition to the provost office and model are proceeding well. He told Senate that as he is the chief academic, budget and operating officer, this changes his role and the work that is done in the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).
Stressing that the core of the provost model is better planning for the university, he provided an update on several planning exercises including:
• Moving the budget process to earlier in the year so that it is finished in December.
• Establishing the Queen’s University Planning Committee (QUPC) as approved by the Board of Trustees and Senate last spring. The first meeting will be held in October. The terms of reference are posted on the Senate website.
• Striking an enrollment planning task force chaired by the provost to work with faculties and schools to review enrollment options for Queen’s. The final recommendation is expected to go to the principal in early 2011 for consideration by Senate and the Board of Trustees.
• Providing the Ontario government with five key capital project proposals that would further the ministry’s mission to maintain excellence in teaching and research. These include a teaching complex, an engineering building, renovating existing teaching space to repurpose and an animal care/life sciences building. He clarified that no funding from the government has been committed for these projects; rather, the exercise was intended to give the provincial government a better understanding of the capital needs of universities in order to establish a long-term framework.
• Working with City of Kingston staff to develop a city-Queen’s strategic plan focused on four key areas: quality of life, community planning, economic development, and student engagement.
• A small working group under the direction of the deputy provost has been working over the summer drafting a Queen’s-specific response to the Council of Ontario Universities Quality Assurance Framework. The group’s policy document will be presented to Senate for information on October 20.
On labour relations, Provost Silverman indicated that:
• In August the Ontario government convened talks to establish a provincial framework to achieve its policy directive of ‘net zero’ salary increases in the sector. While this framework was not achieved at these talks, the government confirmed that the policy directive applies to the university sector and it is the expectation that the policy directive must be achieved.
• An initial meeting has been held with representatives of PSAC Local 901 representing teaching assistants and teaching fellows. Negotiations for a first collective agreement will begin in the fall.
• The result of the vote conducted in the spring that would determine if general support staff are to be represented by the United Steelworkers is still not decided. The university and the union will be meeting this fall.
• Negotiations are upcoming with other union groups.
The Provost said financial updates will be posted on the web and he will update Senate as relevant issues arise.
Internal Academic Reviews
Senate approved, as an omnibus bill, seven internal academic review committee reports. Recurring themes for 2008-09 reviews included:
• The negative impact the lack of resources is having on the continuation and creation of new programs.
• The importance of retaining core faculty complements including replacing faculty members who move on to other employment.
• The impact of the increase of graduate enrollment and the introduction of new graduate programs has on undergraduate teaching and student experience.
To a request from Senator Safiah Chowdhury for details about the committee’s recommendation for more active monitoring of the School of Music, Provost Silverman said that active monitoring is done at the faculty level led by an associate dean. Senator Alistair MacLean, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, said the faculty is maintaining close contact with the School of Music and working through the issues.
Senator Jordan Morelli asked about the impact the inability to keep pace with retirements and resignations will have on the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Provost Silverman said the report identified the current fiscal situation and the reality is some positions can’t be replaced.
Review of Senate
An informal session was held to assist the Senate Operations Review Committee (SORC) in determining the “guiding principles” for the composition of Senate. Senators broke into four groups to discuss the primary purpose of Senate, the vital functions of Senate that should be preserved, what functions should be let go, and considerations for moving forward.
The research and Senate committee agenda topics for 2010-2011 were received for information.
Stuart Pinchin, associate university registrar (undergraduate admission), gave an oral report on preliminary admissions and enrollment data. The final report will be presented to Senate in November.
Invitations to receive honorary degrees at fall convocations have been accepted by Nelson Mandela (in absentia), Phillip Fontaine, Gareth Evans and Hector DeLuca.
Senate received for information the recommended 5 per cent (8 per cent for the Spring Law Program) 2011-12 tuition fee increase for Bader International Study Centre. The report will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval Oct.1.
Senate approved three recommendations from the Advisory Research Committee:
• Revised procedures governing the establishment of research centres and institutes.
• Amendment to the terms of reference of the Senate Advisory Research Committee.
• Amendment to the Senate policy on integrity in research.
Senate approved a revision to the Senate Policy on Student Appeals, Rights and Discipline to reflect the Provost assuming the Principal’s responsibilities as set out in SARD.
The full September 23 agenda is available online.
The next meeting of Senate has been moved to Wednesday October 20, 3:30 pm, at Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 202.