Senate in brief
Highlights from the October 30 meeting of Senate
At the beginning of the meeting, a moment of silence was observed in honour of Professor Emeritus David Robertson and former Board of Trustees Chair Norman Rogers, who both passed away in October.
In his oral report to Senate, Principal Daniel Woolf commented on the resignation of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and the impact of an unpredictable provincial environment on post-secondary education institutions, and in particular, the proposed mandate statements recently submitted to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
The principal recently attended an Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) meeting on Parliament Hill. In his meetings with MPs and senior public servants, he provided opportunities to raise Queen’s profile and to call for a national conversation on post-secondary education.
In his written report to Senate, Provost Alan Harrison provided updates on the following items:
- Enrolment planning. With a new budget model nearing completion, the university will soon be in a position to create the Strategic Enrolment Management Group, which will develop an enrolment plan for 2013-2014 and present the plan to Senate in the spring.
- Queen’s National Scholars (QNS) program. The reinstated program has been redesigned to streamline the selection process into two stages. Queen’s News Centre story
- Working group on interdisciplinary graduate programs. The group, established to make recommendations to the provost about mechanisms that would facilitate the development and sustainment of interdisciplinary graduate programs, will report to the provost early in the new year.
- Student Learning Experience (SLE) task force. The establishment of the task force is under way. Its focus will be the assessment and evaluation of Fundamental Academic Skills, identified in the Academic Plan, and the appropriate roles to be played by the Queen’s Learning Commons and Centre for Teaching and Learning in the student learning experience. Queen’s News Centre story
- Bay View Alliance. Queen’s was invited to join this consortium of U.S. and Canadian research-intensive universities with a goal of accelerating the rate of adaptation, exploration and effective integration of methods of instruction that support improved student learning. The alliance is currently seeking funding from U.S. foundations. Queen’s News Centre story
- International Strategy Group. New Vice-Provost (International) Jim Lee recently established the International Strategy Group to coordinate and enhance the activities of Queen’s on the international front.
- Strategic framework. At the request of the Board of Trustees, the provost’s office is in the early stages of developing a strategic framework for Queen’s. The foundation for the framework will be the Academic Plan, the Strategic Research Plan, and the strategic mandate agreement with the provincial government.
- New budget model and budget planning process. The Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Budget (PACB) has been meeting weekly since the spring to advise on the appropriate form of the budget framework; the provost hopes to share the framework with Senate in November. Planning for the budget year 2013-2014 is under way. Heads of units will present their budget submissions to the PACB in December and January. A preliminary university operating budget will be presented to the Board of Trustees in March and a final budget will be prepared for Board consideration and approval at the May meeting.
Council of Ontario Universities (COU) Academic Colleague’s report
Senator Patrick Oosthuizen delivered an oral report on the most recent meeting of the COU in Toronto on October 11. Among the main topics discussed were the Ontario government’s recent discussion paper on the future of post-secondary education and strategic mandate agreements, the provincial auditor general’s audit of teaching assessments of university faculty, and the Educators Accessibility Resource kit. The full report will be appended to the Oct. 30 Senate minutes.
Senate discussed a follow-up question from the September 25 meeting from Senator Mark Jones on commercial advertisements on campus. The provost responded, noting that the university does not currently have a policy, nor a policy on the development of a policy. Senate will be kept informed on the development of a process for creating a policy.
Senate discussed a question by Senator Jones on the teaching of communication skills and discipline-specific training in writing. The provost reported that a new Student Learning Experience Task Force, currently being established, will focus on the student learning experience and the fundamental academic skills outlined in the Academic Plan, one of which is effective writing and communication.
Senate discussed a question from Senator Petra Fachinger regarding the Queen’s National Scholars program. The provost reported that the QNS selection process has been streamlined to include two stages; the QNS committee will accept submissions from all fields. Queen’s News Centre story
Senate discussed a question from Senator Jones regarding the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) report. The provost reported that the university does not agree with the conclusions of the report and that Queen’s is always open to discussion with the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) about matters related to faculty.
Senate discussed a question from interim Senator Kieran Slobodin regarding new residence buildings. The provost reported that no final decisions have been made on growth; growth projections at this time have just been entertained. Whether we grow will depend on Senate’s approval of the enrolment plan, which will be submitted to Senate in the spring.
Senate discussed a question from Senator Jordan Morelli regarding senior administration’s consultation with Senate. The principal advised that the university is fully committed to the consultation process with Senate and its committees.
Senate discussed a question from Senator Eril Berkok regarding short-term mental health initiatives. The principal responded, noting that many initiatives have been implemented over the past two years. The initiatives – including assisting faculty in accommodating student needs, hiring another advisor in disability services, shorter wait times for counselling, and improved psychiatric services – align with a discussion paper released by the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health at Queen’s.
Reports of Committees
Senate approved a recommendation from the Senate Nominating Committee to elect Matthew Scribner to the Nominating Committee.
Senate approved a proposal to amend the policy on transcript terminology for students withdrawing from Queen’s University from the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP).
Senate approved a request for formal centre status for the Surveillance Studies Centre from the Senate Advisory Research Committee (SARC).
Senate received a report on the schedule and timelines for the Senate Operations Review Committee (SORC).
Senate received a report addressing key issues from the Academic Planning Task Force (APTF).
Senate received an oral update from Senator Bakhurst, a member of the Queen’s University Planning Committee, on committee activities.
Senate received the Annual Report 2011-2012 from the Senate Library Committee.
Senate defeated a motion by Senator Jones to have the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD) review academic approval procedures to ensure that all courses, activities, and programs for which Queen’s academic credits are awarded undergo approval by the Curriculum Committee of each faculty.
A motion by Senator Berkok to revise the Rules of Procedure of Senate was referred to SORC along with a request to report back at the February meeting with a recommendation on changes to Senate procedure.
Senate received the Board of Trustees Report to the Senate, the Senate Research Report and the Safe Disclosure Reporting and Investigation Annual Report.