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Concordia's Senate approves a new minor and certificate in Immigration Studies

Also, in response to Bill 62, Senate passes a resolution affirming the university’s values
November 22, 2017
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By Karen McCarthy

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President’s remarks

In his opening remarks at the November 10 Senate meeting, Concordia’s president Alan Shepard spoke about the recent launch of The Campaign for Concordia.

The goal is to raise $250 million over the next several years. To date, half of this amount has been raised. The funds will support the nine strategic directions and position Concordia as a next-generation university.

Shepard congratulated Christophe Guy, the vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, on receiving the prestigious Prix du Québec. He also extended congratulations to Paula Wood-Adams on her reappointment as dean of Graduate Studies, and to D’Arcy Ryan  who has assumed the role of director of Recreation and Athletics

The president noted that Concordia ranked 251-300 out of 500 institutions worldwide in the recent Time Higher Education (THE) 2018 World University Rankings by Subject in the field of engineering and technology.

Interest in Concordia as a choice destination was evident in the October 28 Open House, which drew more than 6,000 prospective students and guests from Canada, the United States, France and Mexico. The president thanked faculty, staff and students who volunteered to make this year’s the most successful open house held to date.


Senate passes resolution reaffirming its values in light of Bill 62

In response to concerns expressed by members of the Concordia community regarding the implications of Bill 62 and its regulations, An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies, Senate adopted the following resolution:

Whereas Concordia University represents a broad range of nationalities, cultures and faiths which cohabitate peacefully;

Whereas this diversity is a great strength and contributes to the vitality of the University and Quebec society; and

Whereas members of the Concordia community have expressed concerns that Bill 62 (2017, chapter 19) and its regulations may limit access to higher education;

Be it resolved that Senate reaffirm the unifying values of Concordia University and its founding institutions as a secular university which is profoundly dedicated to freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and access to higher education; and

Be it further resolved that Senate object to Bill 62 (2017, chapter 19) and any actions that infringe upon those values.


New minor and certificate in Immigration Studies approved

Following Senate’s approval, the School of Community and Public Affairs will offer a new minor and certificate in Immigration Studies beginning in May 2018.

In its proposal, the school noted that, “As immigration is a major contemporary issue, these new programs will be of interest to many of our current students, future students and to practitioners working in the field of immigration, migration and diversity in Montreal and Quebec.”

Both the minor and certificate will build on existing areas of strength in the Faculty of Arts and Science and take full advantage of available research expertise and course offerings.

The programs will introduce students to key concepts, research and analysis in the politics, geography, history, sociology and anthropology of immigration.

As a result, students will better understand the nature of both internal and international immigration and its role as an instrinsic part of the broader processes of policy development, social change and globalization. They will also gain a more theoretical and comprehensive understanding of human mobility.


Curriculum changes approved

A number of undergraduate curriculum changes were also approved by Senate. These include:

  • Renaming the Minor in German to the Interdisciplinary Minor in German Studies in the Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics. The curriculum has been streamlined and now incorporates courses in other disciplines that relate to German Studies. These changes respond to student interest in the broader experience of German Studies.
  • Updating the Specialization and Major in Communication Studies and Major in Communication and Cultural Studies in the Department of Communication Studies. These changes are part of an ongoing curriculum review process designed to keep pace with changes in technology and in the field.
  • Offering two new honours programs in the Department of Exercise Science: a BSc Honours in Kinesiology and Clinical Exercise Physiology and a BSc Honours in Athletic Therapy. Students will now be able to complete both the professional requirements of their programs and gain the added value of research experience.

Graduate curriculum changes approved by Senate included the creation of a new four-credit graduate course, Cultures of Engineering Practice.

This course will provide graduate students with the necessary tools to become aware of cultural differences in professional contexts and now they can affect engineering practice.


Amendment to Senate membership approved

Senate approved a recommendation to add a part-time faculty member from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science as a non-voting member of Senate.

Concordia’s Board of Governors will be asked to approve the amendment, given that these affect Articles 61 to 63 in the By-Laws.


Office of Rights and Responsibilities presents its annual report

Lisa White, interim director of the Office of Rights and Responsibilities, presented highlights of the office’s 2016-17 annual report.

The office offers impartial, confidential, non-judgmental and independent services to Concordia students, faculty and staff. Among its services is the provision of support and redress to members of the university community who have complaints or concerns regarding behaviour and the management of complaint resolution processes.

It is also responsible for administering the Code of Rights and Responsibilities (BD-3), which sets standards of conduct for all members of the university community (students, faculty and staff).

In the 2016-17 academic year, the office received 286 requests for assistance. Overall, the number of requests, excluding those arising from expectional circumstances, have remained stable throughout the past three years.

Consultations accounted for the majority of all services provided (188 consultations) with 98 cases. Informal resolution was used significantly more often than a formal resolution in these cases.

The office saw decreases in all harassment categories (general harassment, sexual harassment and psychological harassment) and threatening and violence behaviour.

However, reported incidents of discrimination and communication of a discriminatory matter were higher in 2016-17.

The office also received an increase in new or ongoing requests involving students of concern and in relation to the Policy on Student Involuntary Leave of Absence (PRVPAA-15). There was a significant decrease in complaints related to the obstruction and disruption of university activity.


Ombuds Office presents its annual report

Amy Fish, Concordia’s ombudsperson, provided highlights of the 2016-17 Annual Report of the Ombuds Office Promoting Fairness at Concordia University.

The Ombuds Office is an independent office that reports directly to the Board of Governors. Its role is to assist in the informal resolution of concerns and complaints related to the application of university policies, rules and procedures.

In making the distinction between her office and the Office of Rights and Responsibilities, Fish said the latter deals with complaints related to behaviour, while the Ombuds Office deals exclusively with academic issues.

There was a slight decrease in files, from 514 in 2015-16 to 470 in 2016-17.  She said very few of these files became formal or serious complaints.

For the past five years, the number of cases has hovered around 500. Fish said this is an expected volume for a university of Concordia’s size, representing approximately one per cent of the student population.

The majority of concerns were brought forward by students (78 per cent), followed by faculty members or staff (11 per cent) and from other people, including alumni, parents, and citizens (11 per cent).

Similar to last year, grades and other course management issues represented the largest percentage of student academic concerns. This included any dispute regarding course requirements, unfair grading practices, applications for re-evaluation and/or grading policies in the classroom.

However, compared to last year, exams were third in terms of student concerns, followed by academic standing. Program degree requirements and registration were less of a concern in 2016-17.

This may be attributed to continuous improvement of the student information service and increased communication with students regarding graduation requirements.

 



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