President Alan Shepard informed Senate that the search for a new provost is going well and is on track. He also said he has asked the university's Board of Governors to consider a motion to temporarily waive the existing rule in the university's Rules and Procedures for Senior Administrative Appointments (Policy BD-5) that stipulates candidates for the positions of president, provost and dean must take part in public meetings and field questions from members of the university community. This waiver is being requested for the current provost search only.
Explaining his rationale for the motion, Shepard explained that it requires candidates to take part in public meetings, which may discourage good ones from applying and that this practice is no longer favoured at most universities.
The Board of Governors will discuss the motion at a future meeting.
The president also reported that the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) has issued a public statement protesting the announced cuts to higher education funding in the province. Read more.
“The government has made it clear they intend to repeat these cuts for 2013-14," Shepard said. "There are real consequences to having these cuts in our sector now. We already have less money than we need to be the great universities we want to be today, and these cuts simply make that gap deeper." The current estimate of the cuts for Concordia is more than $26 million.
Shepard said he and the province's other rectors will continue to lobby the government at all levels in the run-up to the Summit on Higher Education on February 25 and 26.
Update on the Academic Plan
Concordia's Interim Provost Lisa Ostiguy provided an update to Senate on the university's Academic Plan. She explained that the plan’s three initial priorities are to develop innovative and dynamic undergraduate offerings, recruit top graduate students and invest in the university's libraries.
Ostiguy explained that all of the plan's initial objectives can be thought of as contributing to one main priority, which is to build strong programs. "This encompasses the work in the areas of enrolment, recruitment, writing and communication skills, e-learning, and various engagement opportunities for our students, including research, international and community.
"Out intent around strong programs is to develop resource teams (working groups), tool kits and funding envelopes to support each of the areas that I've mentioned," she said.
Amendments to Senate section of the by-laws
Senate approved amendments to the university's by-laws aimed at reinforcing confidentiality provisions.
The revisions are in line with those being adopted by Concordia's Board of Governors , stemming from the External Process Review, which included a statement on the control of information, confidentiality and communication.
Since Senate adopted its own Code of Ethics, it was deemed appropriate to make similar revisions to Article 58 of the by-laws respecting Senate. The revision outlines which matters and meetings are confidential and it links them to the Code of Ethics.
Ostiguy gave a presentation on the state of e-learning, or technology-based learning, at Concordia. She began by pointing out that Concordia's new Academic Plan recognizes the growing importance of e-learning, and that the university is committed to supporting departments in incorporating various forms of e-learning into their academic programs.
The interim provost invited Concordia's senators to begin thinking about the true academic value of e-learning. “How can e-learning really move us forward?” Ostiguy asked. "At Senate we have a responsibility to think about how this might really help us.”
Concordia recently appointed its first E-Learning Fellow, Professor Saul Carliner of the Department of Education, who will give a presentation to Senate at its March meeting detailing his experiences and knowledge of e-learning.
Concordia is organizing a spring conference at the beginning of April on e-learning, called e.SCAPE: Knowledge, Teaching, Technology. Ostiguy said the conference will provide an opportunity for the university community to discover what e-learning opportunities are available — from developing new online courses to integrating aspects of e-learning into traditional classroom-based courses.
In conclusion, the interim provost stated that Concordia needs to develop a strong framework for how e-learning can be used to strengthen its programs, and that the university community needs to foster strong and sustained discussions around the place of e-learning.
• Concordia Senate
• Academic Plan
• Board of Governors
• Read the E-learning PowerPoint presentation
Interim provost encourages new vision for e-learning