Compiled by Barbara Black
A regular meeting of Senate, held February 5, 1999.
Capital Campaign: Rector Frederick Lowy reported that successful meetings with donors were held recently in Boston and Toronto. The $55-million goal is sure to be reached, and even surpassed, by the time the Campaign ends in the fall at Homecoming. While graduates have responded enthusiastically, he expressed some disappointment at the level of faculty donations.
New ministers: CREPUQ representatives have had an encouraging first meeting with the new education minister, François Legault. Vice-Rector Services Charles Emond remarked that whereas his predecessor's emphasis was on rationalization, Legault's appears to be on efficiency and equity. The Rector added that the newly created portfolio of science, technology and research is being filled by Jean Rochon, who at one time was a dean at Université Laval.
Building plans: In answer to a question from a student about the architectural drawing for a new building on Ste. Catherine St. that appeared recently in the Concordia University Magazine, the Rector said that plans are nowhere near that stage. A committee chaired by Vice-Rector Emond is studying the subject, then the City of Montreal must approve building plans, and finally a competition for architectural ideas will be launched. The community will be consulted about such issues as green space, and corporate sponsorship will be sought for appropriate elements of the new buildings.
General education: A progress report on the concept of requiring students to take some courses outside their chosen field of study was circulated by a task force chaired by Professor Danielle Morin, and it elicited support from the Faculties, with various caveats. Arts and Sciences, which will bear the burden of delivering most of the courses, debated the subject in Faculty Council, where many considered the report at best a distribution exercise rather than a comprehensive plan for a general education. However, Arts and Science has established a committee to investigate their options, and Dean Martin Singer said its report would likely be ready by December. After considerable discussion, Senate approved the concept in principle, and the Faculties will continue to discuss the four recommendations made by the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities.
Research involving humans: Senate passed without debate a resolution accepting a new policy of the public granting agencies that will go into effect this September.
Tuition: The privatization of Arts and Science international undergraduate students' tuition came in for discussion. The policy includes a recruitment drive, and a student asked if the International Students Office would be swamped, or, alternatively, have its services duplicated; she was told this was unlikely. She said that international students feared that their tuition fees would increase; this also was denied. In fact, Dean Singer said, some students would probably benefit from scholarships created by the new money. Putting the policy in perspective, Provost Jack Lightstone said that the tuition of fewer than 1 per cent of students (162, to be exact) will bring in $500,000 in added revenue. The loss of government funding to the University for these students has been taken into account. Commerce and Administration instituted this policy in 1997, and while international students pay considerably higher tuition than regular students, as Dean Mohsen Anvari remarked, they are still much lower than those of many American universities. He added that "when students pay close to the actual cost of their education, an interesting thing happens: the level of service goes up, because the staff feel they have to go the extra mile."
Academic planning: The first of a series of discussions on broad issues regarding this subject was postponed to the next meeting.
Next meeting: March 12.