Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 29, No.12

March 17, 2005


Senate Notes

A meeting of University Senate, held March 4, 2005.

Searches: Provost Martin Singer said that the advisory search committee for a Dean of Arts and Science was drawing up a shortlist of three or four candidates from more than 50 applications from all over the world. The candidates would start March 9 to make daylong visits to Concordia that would include meetings with administrators, faculty, staff and the advisory board. He welcomed feedback, which should be sent to Ann Bennett, secretary of the committee. The search committee for the Dean of Fine Arts has received about 35 applications and they continue to come in (see below). He is pleased at their quality and at the level of interest. In answer to a question, President Frederick Lowy, whose second term ends in June, said he had no news to report about the search for his successor, and was not involved in the process.

Senate composition: A document outlining proposed changes to article 41 of the by-laws regarding the composition of Senate was discussed. The changes to the voting membership were proposed in accordance with the agreement in principle adopted at the May 21 Senate meeting; changes to the non-voting membership were proposed by steering committee as the result of new titles and new positions. CUPFA president Maria Peluso, with speaking privileges, reminded Senate of the election procedures of the part-time faculty association, which would determine the choice of the part-time faculty members of Senate. Questions were raised about the proportion of undergraduate vs. graduate students, and the proportion of graduate students from the four faculties. CSU president Brent Farrington proposed an amendment by which there would be three graduates and 12 undergraduates, rather than 11 and four; this was defeated. The revised composition of Senate was then approved, as proposed by steering committee.

Senate Research Committee: This proposal to alter the membership and mandate was questioned by William Bukowski (Arts & Science) as being too vague. Dean Nabil Esmail (ENCS) agreed, and said the document should go through the faculty councils. Dean Jerry Tomberlin (JMSB) asked for background information.

President’s remarks: Lowy said that under new leadership, fundraising is becoming very active, with a number of events planned.

Appointment of senior administrators: Lowy discussed an issue that has raised the concern of the Faculty Association (CUFA), namely, changed procedures for recruiting and hiring senior administrators. He explained that as the university has grown in size and complexity, the need for non-academic experts has become apparent, and such experts do not readily apply under the conditions laid out in the university’s search procedures. In the case of Marcel Danis, while he is a professor, in his new role as Vice-President, External Relations, he is concentrating on his extracurricular expertise, dealing with the Quebec government. The executive committee of the Board recognized that appointing senior administrators in this way would require changes in procedures, and asked Me Rita De Santis to assemble a working group for that purpose.

For his part, CUFA president David Frost, with speaking privileges, said he was distressed that the position of Vice-President, Institutional Relations, was abolished and the position of Vice-President, External Relations, was created in a closed session of the Board on Dec. 15, and was not announced until January. He felt it was a violation of CUFA’s collective agreement and of the Board’s own procedures. “The method appears to be underhanded and should not have taken place.” Catherine Mackenzie (Fine Arts) said she hoped the Board “keeps in mind that regardless of skills and origin, these people represent our community and our values. There has to be a way for our voice to be heard.” Bukowski pointed out that in order to preserve the balance of interest groups in an enlarged Senate, one of the non-academic administrators (Vice-President, Services) had just become a voting member; he recommended that this issue be brought back to Senate for more discussion. Lowy replied that he had no intention to make these appointments in a way that provoked division.

Canada Research Chairs: Esmail announced that Engineering and Computer Science has acquired two more Canada Research Chairs, their names to be announced at a later date.

Student action: Farrington said a “massive movement” to recoup financial aid was being mounted. He asked faculty members to be sympathetic to students who may not be in class March 16. Further, he reminded them that there will be a student election in late March, and students should be allowed to leave class 10 minutes early in order to vote.

Next meeting: April 1.