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March 14, 2002 Senate Notes





A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held on March 9, 2002

Evaluation committee: Much of the discussion time was taken up with the report of a task force of the Board of Governors, submitted to Senate for comment, on the composition of committees to evaluate sitting senior administrators.

Dean of Arts and Science Martin Singer asked why some of the resolutions taken previously by the faculty council and submitted to the task force had not been incorporated in the report, and how the task force came to its decisions. Noting that Arts and Science has some 50 per cent of the faculty members and students of the university, he moved that the number of full-time faculty members on the committees to evaluate the rector and the provost be increased from four to five, of whom two, rather than one, be from Arts and Science, and that the number of students be increased from two to three, of whom one would be an undergraduate from Arts and Science.

The motion passed, 17-6, with at least one abstention. During the discussion, consensus was reached on two further recommended changes: that the committee chair not vote except to break a tie, and that the number of votes be recorded to indicate to the incumbent the degree of support he or she had from the evaluation committee.

Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering: This new body was proposed by the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science as an interdisciplinary research and learning institute for professors and graduate students that would be active in telecommunications, software development, electronics, multimedia, aerospace, finance and banking, automotives, manufacturing, and construction.

Provost/Vice-Rector Research Jack Lightstone and Dean Nabil Esmail both spoke of the importance of moving from the model of a permanent research centre to a model that is both more interdisciplinary and more flexible in terms of its membership. Interim Dean of the John Molson School of Business Jerry Tomberlin remarked that he hoped that it might also extend in future to include other Faculties. The motion to establish the Institute was unanimously carried.

Buildings: Rector Frederick Lowy reiterated the university’s intention to finance the $300-million construction plan with one-third of the amount from supporters, one-third from financing, and one-third from government. To that end, he had met with Premier Bernard Landry last week, and there is ongoing communication with the Ministry of Education.

Research: Lightstone said that Concordia has received more than its pro rata share of grants; most recently, the bulk of a joint Concordia/UQAM/UdeM CFI grant of $21.9 million to the Hexagram digital-art project, and a CFI New Opportunties grant of $500,000 to Virginia Penhune, in the Psychology Department. Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Claude Bédard said that federal minister Allan Rock had released substantial funds to help cover the indirect costs of research at Canadian universities, of which $3.06 million will come to Concordia, welcome news. Also, NSERC has increased the quota number of Concordia undergraduates who will benefit from its summer internship program USRA by four, to 43. The amount is also increased from $4,000 to $4,500. At the start of the senate meeting, Lightstone introduced the new director of the Office of Research Services, Benoit Morin.

CSU: Student senators announced that they have appointed a chief electoral officer, and were glad to see the rector’s notice saying that the senior administration is neutral in the coming student election. However, they asked how this squared with remarks Lightstone made at a Montreal synagogue recently, as reported in the Canadian Jewish News and CTR (Feb. 28). Lightstone replied that those were his personal views, to which he is entitled. Clarence Bayne (JMSB) asked if he does not have the right to express his views and influence those of students, and CSU president Patrice Blais replied that there is a difference between saying what you want and using university resources to advance your opinions.

University bylaws: A start was made on examination of changes to these bylaws, beginning with the purely editorial changes, and moving into changes made to conform with current or longstanding practice. This matter will be taken up at future senate meetings, as will examination of suggested changes to the university’s mission statement, which was on the agenda.

Next meeting: April 5