Senate in Brief
The meeting began with a moment of silence for Robert Nason, an upper-year student who died on February 15.
In his report to Senate, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Bob Silverman provided updates on several items including:
• Enrolment planning: Provost Silverman reported that the Enrolment Planning Task Force is working through various enrolment strategies with the goal of producing a long-term plan. The long-term plan will be guided by the principles outlined in the preliminary report while taking into account a number of factors including the academic planning process, residential capacity, student demand and demographics. The Task Force is exploring various on- and off-campus enrolment strategies and will produce a planning document in the coming weeks.
• Tuition fee changes: The Provost also presented proposed changes to the 2011-12 tuition fees structure for professional Master of Engineering programs. Upon review of particular programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science it was determined that in comparison with other Ontario universities Queen’s has significantly lower fee levels in select Masters of Engineering professional programs. These changes will be proposed to the Board of Trustees at its March 4 meeting.
• Budget process: The Provost reported that the Provost Advisory Budget Committee is exploring new revenue and innovation ideas in the face of the University’s difficult budget situation. He noted that difficult decisions will need to be made this year, and that overall budget planning for the next three years will be a challenge. The Provost encouraged members of Senate to share any ideas they may have in this regard.
• Financial situation: Provost Silverman informed Senate that he and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Caroline Davis have released a financial update that focuses on the impact of philanthropic giving on the University. An update on the pension situation will be released in the coming weeks.
• Queen’s University Administrative Systems Replacement (QUASR): The Provost noted that a new student self-service support centre will soon replace QCARD. The Student Online University System (also known as SOLUS) will be launched the week of March 8 and is the next in a series of critical changes to the student information system.
• Graduate student accessibility training: The Provost reported that the Graduate Studies Executive Council recently passed a motion that will require all incoming graduate students to complete an online course in accessibility training, effective September 2011. He noted that the move was made after more than a year of extensive consultation and is an important step in taking responsibility for advancing accessibility at Queen’s.
• University planning: Provost Silverman noted that a large part of the Provost’s role involves University planning, and that he is the chair of the Enrolment Planning Task Force, the Queen’s University Planning Committee, and the Provost Advisory Committee on Budget. He reported that the three groups are converging on a number of ideas related to Queen’s future, and that he believes they are having and will continue to have an impact on the University.
During Question Period, Academic Planning Task Force chair Peter Taylor responded to questions about the Task Force’s progress. A new website provides fundamental information about the group, and that the Task Force is hopeful that a lot of feedback will happen through the discussion threads on the website and through town hall and open meetings.
Reports of Committees
Senate approved the Enrolment Plan 2011-2012, which recommends an increase in first-entry undergraduate enrolment of no more than 100 students in 2011. It also proposes that previously approved graduate growth targets continue in programs that have not yet reached their enrolment aspirations and where faculty capacity exists. Senate approved the enrolment plan.
Senate also approved a request for formal centre status for the Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePower).
Senate approved the the following people to Senate committees:
Orientation Activities Review Board – D. Johnson – undergraduate student
Dispute Resolution Advisor – M, Singh – Faculty, Department of Physics
Senate Orientation Activities Review Board - L. Boulos – undergraduate student
Senators, observers, visitors and guests broke into informal groups to discuss issues proposed by the Academic Planning Task Force. Topics included:
• Writing – How Queen’s can best integrate the teaching and learning of writing with the learning of specific disciplines.
• Inquiry – What is the best way to design a class, curriculum, or program to enhance students' experience with inquiry?
• Interdisciplinarity – What is the best way to design a program that will give our students genuine interdisciplinary experiences?
After the informal discussions, the groups provided brief reports. Task Force members also answered several questions. They will use the information to help guide their discussions on these topics. The team also stressed that these are just some of the pillars the Task Force is focused on, and others will be added.
Communications and reports submitted to Senate for information:
Matters referred to standing committees
• Proposed amendments to the name, terms of reference and composition of the Internal Academic Review Committee (IARC).