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October 25, 2001 Search for graduate dean sparks discussion




by Laurie Zack

At the regular meeting of Concordia’s Board of Governors on Oct. 17, the profile of the ideal candidate for the position of Dean of Graduate Studies led to a discussion about the mandate of the position.

The discussion began with a comment that the tasks of the dean resembled more those of a dean of students for graduate students than of a Faculty dean.

Furthermore, it was asked whether the position really warranted a search process and whether someone could be appointed directly from the internal community.

It was pointed out that unlike the other deans, the Dean of Graduate Studies did not have faculty members reporting directly to the position or the budget to carry out major projects. A few members of the search committee expressed the desire to see the dean have greater decision-making, budget and managerial responsibilities.

A faculty representative, while comfortable with the profile, expressed a concern about maintaining the strong graduate studies program developed within the Faculty and not having decisions about graduate studies being imposed on the Faculty.

Dr. Lowy explained that Concordia’s structure, with only four Faculties, centralized all teaching and research decisions in the hands of the Faculty deans.

He contrasted this situation with major research institutions, where a graduate studies unit has sole responsibility for conducting, developing and monitoring research, sometimes to the detriment of undergraduate teaching.

The governors agreed that the search process should go forward. There was also agreement that there should be ongoing discussion about the role of the dean and the most suitable structure for graduate studies at Concordia.

Provost Jack Lightstone assured the governors that this would be done through Senate, its committees and the existing structures in the Faculties.

Building priorities

Reporting on the building projects, Jonathan Wener, chair of the real estate planning committee, said that there is ongoing discussion with the Faculty of Fine Arts about their long-term space needs and priorities with a view to establishing costs and building a proposal to meet these needs.

He added that the demolition of the York Cinema is now completed and preliminary excavation on the site may begin late winter. The Loyola Science Complex is on time and on budget.

Vice Rector, Institutional Relations, and Secretary-General Marcel Danis announced that negotiations have begun with the Continuing Education teachers’ union and with the Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA).