Queen's University

Senate in brief


Highlights from the Feb. 28 meeting of Senate.

Principal's report

In his oral report to Senate, Principal Woolf provided updates on several items including:

• The report recently released by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, led by School of Policy Studies fellow Don Drummond. He noted that while the report does reflect the importance of education at all levels, it also makes it clear that any significant infusion of resources for universities is unlikely in the near future.
• Ongoing external relations, including an upcoming meeting with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
• The book Taking Stock, co-authored by Queen’s professor Joy Mighty, which focuses on teaching and learning in higher education.
• The upcoming Back to Class event on March 9, during which regional politicians will visit the Queen’s campus and spend some time in a classroom.

Click here to read the principal’s complementary written report to Senate.

Provost's report

Provost Alan Harrison updated Senate on the following:

• The recent ceremony held to honour the winners of the Employment Equity and Human Rights Initiative Awards, School of Computing staff member Wendy Powley and campus group Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuiP), respectively.
• Budget planning, and working to prepare a balanced 2012-13 budget. After the March Board of Trustees meeting, Provost Harrison and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Caroline Davis will be providing a financial update to the community. The provost will also be providing a date by the next Senate meeting for beginning the discussion with the community around the development of a new budget model.
• Decanal renewals processes, as advisory committees have recently been established for the Dean of Engineering and the Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and feedback has been sought from the community.

Reports of committees

Senate passed a motion from the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD) to introduce a Graduate Certificate in Community Relations for the Extractive Industries. For more information see the Queen's News Centre story.

Senate also approved the elections to Senate committees. Senator Patrick Oosthuizen noted that there are currently several vacancies on Senate committees for September 2012, and encouraged senators to apply for positions on committees and spread the word to their colleagues.

Senate received for information reports from the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures, the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline, and an oral report from the Senate Operations Review Committee (SORC). In her report, SORC chair Senator Elsie Culham noted that the group is currently undertaking a review of senate committees and how they align. They have begun a series of consultations with stakeholders about the primary functions of Senate committees and hope to continue those meetings throughout the term. Senator Culham noted that they have heard a number of excellent ideas so far and hope to report back to Senate as soon as possible.

Senate heard from fourth-year student Ryan Marchildon, Sci ’12, who represented a larger group of concerned students about perceived negative impacts of the implementation of the GPA-based grading system at Queen’s. Mr. Marchildon encouraged Senate to re-examine whether percentage and letter grades could be added to official transcripts in addition to the GPA. After his address, Provost Harrison noted that he will be convening a meeting of faculty deans to discuss the matter, and would report back at the next meeting of Senate.


Senate passed a motion to establish the Academic Planning Task Force (APTF) for 2012-’13. The Senate Nominating Committee will be tasked with soliciting and selecting the APTF members and presenting the slate to Senate for approval by the May 2012 Senate meeting. The task force will be composed of three faculty members, one staff member, two students (one undergraduate and one graduate/professional), and one dean.

After a lengthy discussion, Senate also passed a motion to obtain independent legal advice about the authority and responsibility of Queen’s Senate with respect to decisions that are intrinsically academic in nature or that have significant academic impacts. The Principal agreed to take this motion into consideration and to report back at the March Senate meeting on the action that will be taken.

Communications and Reports Submitted to Senate

Senate received for information a communication regarding the honorary degree recipients for spring and fall 2012 and the Senate research report.

The minutes of the meeting will be posted to the University Secretariat website.



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