Please enable Java in your browser's "Options" (or "Preferance") menu to view this page Concordia's Thursday Report____________March 18, 1999

Senate Notes

Compiled by Barbara Black

A regular meeting of Senate, held March 12, 1999.

A regular meeting of Senate, held March 12, 1999.

Rector's remarks: Rector Frederick Lowy said the senior administration was pleased, on the whole, with the Quebec budget (see story, page 1), and had been making strenuous efforts to obtain funds for new buildings from the government. He noted that the new Canadian Institutes for Health Research should give Concordia more access to research funding. CREPUQ, the Quebec council for university rectors and principals, has persuaded other Canadian university presidents to join them in asking the federal government to be more flexible regarding its Millennium Scholarship Fund, and give the Quebec government some authority in how the province's share of the money is disbursed. He congratulated Concordia's varsity athletic teams (see page 11), and noted the awarding of the Helen Prize for outstanding women.

Moment of silence: At the suggestion of Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Nabil Esmail, Senate observed a moment of silence in memory of Mechanical Engineering Professor Tadeusz Krepec (see page 4).

Research on human subjects: Provost and Vice-Rector Research Jack Lightstone supplied his response to the three government funding agencies regarding how Concordia is likely to apply this policy.

Mel Hoppenheim Prize for Cinema: This prize is to be awarded at spring convocation. Registrar Lynne Prendergast noted that policy has been to restrict presentations at convocation to one prize per department to keep ceremonies to a reasonable length; it was agreed that the policy might be reworded. The prize was approved for recommendation to the Board of Governors.

Councils: New outlines of the membership of the Faculty Councils were presented, which reflect, among other things, changes in the configuration of departments. Revised powers of the Council of the School of Graduate Studies were also presented. There was considerable discussion over several phrases in the presentation for the School of Graduate Studies, which some senators felt gave the School too much potential authority over programs. The revised powers were tabled for further study, and the revised memberships of Faculty Councils were approved for recommendation to the Board.

Budget: CFO Larry English presented the current projection of the University's budget for 1998-99, which showed a slight reduction in the anticipated deficit. Recent financial commitments include $1.75 million to replace some of the professors who took early retirement, $800,000 over two years to provide salary incentives for computer technicians (who are being lost to the private sector), $400,000 over two years to equip classrooms with computer technology, $194,000 over two years for salaries, and $290,000 over two years for the consolidation of the Rector's Cabinet. English also gave an overview of the effect of the latest Quebec budget on the University (see page 1).

Objectives of undergraduate education: Charles Giguère (Engineering/Computer Science) led a 30-minute segment of this continuing discussion. Lightstone said that universities should get the message out to industry that we are not here to provide a quick fix for their specific job-market needs, but must take students' entire careers into account. A student said that education is becoming too narrow, and students are rarely exposed to the ethical and societal impact of their studies. Esmail said that the general-education package now under review helps to address this, but it cuts both ways; arts graduates should also be expected to have some basic literacy in science and technology. He added that where universities once had a monopoly over knowledge in his field, "we are now running after industry to learn." Prendergast said we must redesign our programs to give students interdisciplinary flexibility; despite our intentions to open things up, as departments are downsized and resources dwindle, students' margin of choice is narrowing.

Next meeting: April 9.

Copyright 1999 Concordia's Thursday Report.