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Board in brief

Highlights from the March 6-7 meeting of the Board of Trustees

Welcome from the Chair

Chair Barb Palk congratulated the incoming executives of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS). She reported that Trustee Edward Speal was appointed Vice-Chair of the Board for a term to May 31, 2016, and that Trustee Deborah Alexander had resigned from the Board. 

Consent Agenda

As part of the consent agenda, the Board approved naming dedications. 

Principal’s Strategic Update

Principal Daniel Woolf updated the board on the topic of HLTH 102 and noted the Provost’s review of the matter. He highlighted the March student leadership summit, co-hosted by the Principal and the Rector, which involves incoming and outgoing student leaders in the AMS, SGSPS, and faculty societies. Two Queen’s projects received funding from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, enabling 35 Queen’s students to pursue an internship or study abroad opportunity. Queen’s recently launched Major Maps, an academic and career planning tool that is a first of its kind at a Canadian university. The Principal concluded by recognizing the outgoing SGPS and AMS executives.

Provost’s Operational Update

Provost Alan Harrison highlighted a number of initiatives underway including:

Operating budget overview

Provost Alan Harrison provided an overview of the university’s preliminary 2015-16 operating budget, as well as an overview of applications to date as part of an enrolment update. He noted that the university faces increased special payments to fund the pension plan’s deficit, beginning in 2015.

Campaign Update

Vice-Principal (Advancement), Tom Harris, provided an update on the Initiative Campaign, noting that more than $67 million has been raised so far this fiscal year, on a goal of $60 million. Overall, $480 million has been raised out of a total campaign goal of $500 million. Vice-Principal Harris highlighted two upcoming events: an information session on family wealth and succession planning and an event focusing on women as philanthropists.

Research Update

Vice-Principal (Research) Steven Liss provided an update on Queen’s application to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and noted that the competition will be extremely competitive. The announcement of the results is expected in July, and a second round of the competition will have additional funding available. He also noted that a new open access policy will require researchers with tri-council grants to make their peer-reviewed journal articles available freely online.

Senate report to Board

Senator Eric Rapos provided an oral report to the Board, noting that Senate had approved the establishment of several new programs, including an internship program in the Faculty of Arts and Science. The Senate had discussions about the Interim Sexual Assault Support and Response Protocol developed by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group, as well as governance reforms related to the composition of Senate and committee terms of reference.

Student Reports

Rector Mike Young noted that the consultation process for Richardson Stadium is now underway and he is excited about the prospect of a new venue for sports. He noted that the issue of sexual assault on university campuses has been troubling, but that the consultation process at Queen’s around the interim protocol has been robust and thorough. The Rector expressed his thanks to fellow student leaders for their hard work over the past year.

AMS President Allison Williams expressed her desire to see Queen’s maintain its reputation as a balanced academy, ensuring equal focus on research excellence as well as its transformative student experience. She thanked the administration for working collaboratively with the AMS over the past year.

SGPS President Kevin Weiner reported that a working group has been set up to consider the university’s policy on personal (non-code) harassment. He noted this is an example of the Principal’s and Provost’s engagement with student leadership and he thanked them for working constructively with student executives. He noted that the SGPS is overhauling how it delivers its student advisor program and stressed the importance of ensuring delivery of services to students away from campus, such as while on an internship or practicum.

Queen’s University Alumni Association

QUAA President George Jackson presented on the changing demographics of Queen’s alumni and the growing importance of young alumni, with 40,000 new alumni expected to graduate over the next 10 years. He provided an overview of the new QUAA organizational structure adopted in May, and highlighted current QUAA activities including the ongoing work for Queen’s 175th birthday celebrations.

Student Alumni Association

QSAA President Taylor Jennings provided an overview of the role of the QSAA in supporting the work of the QUAA. QSAA volunteers undertake many projects and host events that help connect current students with Queen’s graduates, including an upcoming alumni speaker event featuring NASA astronaut Dr. Drew Feustel, PhD'95.

Committee Motions and Updates

On the recommendation of the Capital Assets and Finance Committee, the Board approved:

The Board also approved amendments to By-law No. 4 ”Signing Authorities” on the recommendation of the Governance and Nominating Committee. 

The Board also received a report from the External Relations and Development Committee, which included an overview of the revised Approvals Procedure for Philanthropic and Service Namings

As part of the Pension Committee report, the Board received an update on the University Pension Project from Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Caroline Davis.  Universities and employee groups involved in the project are examining the feasibility of a new multi-employer, jointly sponsored pension plan for the university sector.

Faculty Report

Susan Mumm, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), provided an overview of the faculty, noting that it includes 30 departments and schools, 550 faculty members and 10,000 undergraduate students. The faculty has developed new degree programs, including a 2+2 joint degree program with Tongji University. FAS offers a common first-year curriculum to encourage students to take a breadth of courses before choosing a major. The faculty’s Continuing and Distance Studies unit will offer more than 130 online courses next year, and the Bader International Study Centre will begin offering a science stream to first-year students.

Sexual Assault Interim Protocol

Principal Daniel Woolf provided an update on the Interim Sexual Assault Support and Response Protocol developed by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group (SAPRWG) and the ongoing consultation process. Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, provided an update on sector-level work related to sexual assault response and prevention. Arig al-Shaibah, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs (Student Life and Learning) and chair of SAPRWG, provided an overview of Queen’s related activities and provided the board with an opportunity to give feedback on the interim protocol.

Student learning experience and research prominence

Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research), provided an overview of the strategic framework metrics associated with the research prominence strategic driver, noting how the variety of funding programs, with differing funding structures, can impact year to year research revenue reporting. He noted that a three-year average offers a more reliable outlook of research revenue trends.

Provost Alan Harrison provided the Board with an overview of experiential learning at Queen’s, noting that it is defined as learning through experience or reflection on doing. An experiential learning working group is working to better track participation in experiential learning opportunities, to enable better reporting and target-setting. He noted that experiential learning opportunities arise in many contexts, such as individual courses or programs, and through employment, volunteerism and co-curricular activity.