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January 25, 2001 Senate Notes



A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held January 19, 2001

Rector’s remarks: Rector Frederick Lowy formally announced the conclusion of the architectural design competition for the downtown buildings. The design for the science complex at Loyola is being fine-tuned, and a project manager has been appointed. Fundraising is proceeding “reasonably well.” He congratulated the Concordia Student Union on having been accredited by the Quebec government, in December. He also said that student groups involved in the Middle East controversy on campus have agreed to mediation by retired Religious Studies professor Sheila McDonough.

Academic planning: Provost and Vice-Rector Research Jack Lightstone said that the second round of academic planning is coming to an end, and we are looking to the next round. Money is slowly appearing, he said, but in an unexpected way: not through increased federal transfer payments, but probably through increased funds for research and graduate work.

Special certificate: Senate approved the establishment of the Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning. Dean of Arts and Science Martin Singer explained that of the 18 students working on their Concordia Master’s in Education at UNIQWA, in an isolated part of South Africa, only nine or 10 are likely to finish their thesis in the year-and-a-half remaining in the CIDA grant that funds the program. The certificate is designed to acknowledge the work done by those students who will not complete the MA.

Interim evaluation of deans: Questions were raised about the procedures recommended by Senate Steering Committee, among them, whether evaluation committee members should be chosen from Faculty Councils or from the faculty at large and whether the external dean should be a member of the committee or a consultant. Dr. Lowy remarked that many universities go back and forth on whether to search every position or evaluate the incumbent first. He said that the object of the process is not so much to spare the feelings of the incumbent as to protect the institution. Members will submit their views in writing to steering committee and vote on the procedure at the next meeting.

General education: Fine Arts, Engineering/Computer Science and Arts and Science made submissions, all of which were accepted by Senate. In the case of Arts and Science, this was an explanation of why the Faculty will design its own multifaceted general education requirement, including a core program, clusters, and a list of electives. Dean Singer said that this is a mammoth undertaking, and will be directed by Professor William Byers.

Students at protest: The Concordia Student Union presented a resolution aimed at making it possible for students to attend a protest in Quebec City at the meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, April 21 to 24, potentially during final exams. They asked that departments and professors “be encouraged to be flexible, insofar as feasible, in making alternative arrangements for examination for non-graduating students.” Registrar Lynne Prendergast pointed out that procedures exist to have exams deferred, and application must be made well in advance through her office. Though there was a good deal of discussion as to whether this was necessary or appropriate, and whether it was fair to students and instructors whose courses end in reviews or performances rather than exams, the resolution was carried.

Research: Non-substantive revisions were made by ethicist Professor Fred Bird to the Policy for the Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans, a policy undertaken at the behest of the Tri-Council of Canadian granting agencies, and previously passed by Senate. The revisions were also approved.

Next meeting: February 2.