Compiled by Barbara Black
A regular meeting of Senate, held November 4, 1998
Rector's remarks: Rector Frederick Lowy informed Senate that the long-term space plan had been accepted by the Board of Governors, and that a committee was being formed to study the addition to the plan of a humanities and social sciences college at Loyola. He said he had just returned from a highly successful series of visits to alumni chapters on the West Coast.
Changes to undergraduate programs included the following:
* Applied Human Sciences: adjustments in the wake of the merger last year of the Departments of Leisure Studies and Applied Social Science. (See story, page 8)
* Physics: number of programs reduced from nine to three
* Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics: a new specialization in Spanish. (See story, page 6)
Changes to graduate programs:
* Commerce: three new 18-credit graduate certificates in Commerce (Cultural Affairs and Event Management, Management of Health Care Organizations, and Community Organizational Development)
* English: the deletion of an option in the MA program, and changes to thesis requirements
* Études françaises: the deletion of two of the three options and 12 elective courses, and the introduction of four new elective courses
* Journalism Diploma: changes to make a clearer distinction between print and broadcast options
* Physics: changes in credit values to the PhD and MSc programs to bring them into line with science programs elsewhere
* Art History: deletion of an archival resources course made unnecessary by the increased knowledge of incoming MA students
Change of name: The School for Building, which was established only a year ago as a result of the merger with the Department of Civil Engineering, will be renamed the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dean Nabil Esmail said that the decision to include engineering in the title was a unanimous one in light of Web searches and the face presented to other engineering institutions. There had been some debate over the relative prestige of school and department, but the latter won out to demonstrate the equality of academic units within the Faculty. Under questioning, it was admitted that environmental engineering is an element of civil engineering.
Response to L'Université devant l'avenir: Concordia's response to this government discussion paper was circulated. The final version incorporated suggestions made at the September Senate meeting.
Year-end financial results: Chief Financial Officer Larry English explained aspects of this overview of the financial year 1997-98. "It's a balanced year, a break-even year," he said, "and very good considering what we had to go through to achieve it." A surplus of $164,000 had been forecast, but the University ended up with a surplus of $339,000. He provided a breakdown of how each Faculty finished the year; factoring in "unavoidable costs," most broke even. The University did well in renting space in its newly acquired properties, realizing a net surplus of $847,000, and English said that until the promised $37 million for new buildings arrives from the government, "we will maintain the buildings by borrowing." A net loss in the budget of Food Services was explained by the fact that this internal unit is charged relatively high rent by the University, a policy that is under review. The privatization of Commerce programs (affecting 114 students last year) realized a net profit of $30,000. Unusual items in the budget included the cost of the pension plan lawsuit, the Loyola revitalization task force, and the ice storm. (In the case of the ice storm, however, insurance settlements are expected to more than make up the initial loss.) Finally, every year, the University must absorb the cost of unpaid debts. Last year, on approximately $34 million of collections, there were $544,000 in bad debts.
In answer to a question about the timing of government funding, English said that while the universities teach from September to June, the government administers funding by the calendar year. This means that funding is always out of step with enrolment for a given year, and further delays the delivery of the grant, requiring him to adjust payment to Faculties to compensate for fluctuations in their number of FTEs. There was some discussion of how much Faculties can absorb the start-up costs of new programs.
In general, English said, Concordia compares very favourably to the other Quebec universities in its struggle with the government cuts. Provost Jack Lightstone added that some of these universities are cutting sections, which means that they're cutting off valuable FTEs. In addition, Concordia has seen enrolment hold steady, while it has fallen at virtually all the other institutions.