Senate in brief
Highlights from the October 24 meeting of Senate:
In his report to Senate, Principal Daniel Woolf said the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health is up and running. Open forums will be held later in the year to initiate broader community discussion on the subject of mental health.
On the topic of government relations, the principal reported that he has reached out to the newly-re-elected provincial government, particularly new minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Glen Murray, in hopes of meeting with him in the near future to discuss matters relating to post-secondary education.
The Principal also reflected on the achievements of the Senate Academic Planning Task Force, which will present the final Academic Plan document to Senate for approval at the November meeting. He noted that it has been almost two years since Where Next? was released, and in that time, an enormous amount of effort and consultation have gone into creating an academic plan. He encouraged senators to think of the plan as a living document that can and should be updated, changed and improved as needed.
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison provided a written report to Senate. He also referenced the financial update to the Queen’s community that he and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Caroline Davis recently released, which has since been posted.
Other reports requested by Senate
Senator Patrick Oosthuizen delivered an oral report on the most recent meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). Among the main topics discussed at the meeting were the recent Ontario election and the credit transfer process in Ontario. The full report will be published in the minutes from the Senate meeting.
Senate also received the Board of Trustees’ report from its September meeting.
Reports of committees
Senate passed motions proposed by the Senate Committee on Academic Development (SCAD) to approve degree name changes in the Queen’s School of Business and School of Graduate Studies and to establish the Hazell Research Professorship in Chemical Design and Innovation in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Senate approved the Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements of Faculties and Schools submitted by the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP).
Senate also approved the elections to Senate committees.
The Senate Academic Planning Task Force (APTF) submitted a notice of motion with a draft of its work to date. Further revisions will be made, posted to the APTF website and circulated to senators in the coming days to allow for a final discussion to take place prior to a vote on the plan at the November meeting.
APTF member Steve Tanner remarked that the task force has done its best to capture a vision for the university that will allow it to move forward. He added that the plan should provide guiding principles and creative solutions for Queen’s for the 21st century.
One senator remarked that the most recent draft of the plan document is a significant improvement from earlier versions and provides a good framework for planning.
There was a question about how certain practices – such as online learning – would be addressed if they were removed from the plan. APTF member Iain Reeve replied that the document is meant to provide overarching guidelines for the university, not specific, direct instructions. He noted that different strategies will work for different departments, and a decision about something like online learning will be left to individual departments and faculties.
Finally, APTF chair Peter Taylor noted that Queen’s strength is its community. He said the university is fortunate to have amazing scholars, and that the challenge is to work together. He said he hopes the plan will provide a framework and ideas to enable that to happen.
Provost Harrison delivered an oral report from the Queen’s University Planning Committee. He noted that the committee has reviewed the budget parameters for the 2012-13 year and is working on guidelines for the submission of unit budget plans for that year.
Motions regarding the reconsideration of the deputy provost’s membership on Senate and Senate composition were withdrawn following discussion.
A notice of motion pertaining to the Senate Academic Planning Task Force was submitted to Senate.