Senate notes: Concordia gets set to offer 4 new graduate programs in chemical engineering
In his remarks at the January 19 Senate meeting, Concordia’s president Alan Shepard thanked people for joining him at the informal gatherings he hosted at the beginning of the winter term. About 2,000 community members participated in the events.
He acknowledged the passing of Concordia graduate Father Emmett Johns, saying the founder of Le Bon Dieu dans la rue was a great man who had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of young people.
The president also noted several recent university accomplishments, including news that two District 3 Innovation Centre startups finished in the top 10 during the first round of the global IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence (AI) XPRIZE. The total prize purse is $5 million.
He congratulated Adrian Tsang, professor of biology and director of Concordia’s Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics, who was awarded $6 million over three years by the Genomic Applications Partnership Program. The funding, from Genome Canada, Génome Québec and Elanco Animal Health, will support Tsang’s work to develop an alternative to antibiotics in animal feed.
The new Navigator Program is helping students connect with services and support available on campus. The program matches students with volunteer faculty and staff members who can answer questions, recommend resources and share information about important events taking place at the university.
The president encouraged senators to visit the Undergraduate Student Exhibition at the Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) Gallery until February 23. This year’s exhibition title, Matter of Place, reflects the artists’ engagement with current, personal themes and the artistic materials and processes that bring their artworks into being.
In his academic update to Senate, Graham Carr, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, noted that a delegation of 90 John Molson School of Business (JMSB) students won gold at the Jeux du commerce.
Concordia hosted the event, which drew 1,300 business students. This marks the sixth time in the 30-year history of the Jeux du commerce that the Concordia delegation won gold, and the second time in three years.
Carr announced that Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf has joined Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning in the new position of Indigenous curriculum and pedagogical advisor.
She was hired by the university as a part-time faculty member in 2016. Her previous experience includes serving as the associate director for the Office of First Nations and Inuit Teacher Training Program at McGill and as a faculty instructor at various universities across the United States and Canada.
Four new graduate programs in Chemical Engineering approved
The newly established Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering presented a suite of four new graduate programs, which were approved by Senate.
The interdisciplinary programs will involve faculty members working in physical sciences and engineering. Because the programs are modular in structure, they will offer flexibility to students, allowing for several entry and exit points.
The Graduate Certificate Program in Chemical Engineering will be offered this fall. Its purpose will be to train engineers for a broad range of industrial sectors in Quebec and around the world. They will drive economic growth by manufacturing the materials needed for the economy of the future.
The Graduate Diploma Program, also to be offered this fall, will be of interest to current students with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering or Chemistry who wish to deepen their knowledge and acquire the chemical engineering skills needed for industry, or to pursue more advanced studies at the Master’s level.
With Senate’s approval, the new Master of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering will now be sent to the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire for approval.
Concordia’s equity, diversity and inclusion action plan for Canada Research Chairs approved
Senate approved the university’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs Program. The plan was a shared undertaking between the Office of the Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs.
The plan reflects the university’s recognition of the essential role diversity plays in fostering excellence by improving learning, advancing research, inspiring creativity, driving productivity, and enhancing the experience and morale of the entire institution.
While the plan outlines key actions and targets to sustain and address equity, diversity and inclusion in recruiting and retaining the Canada Research Chairs, the key actions will be seen in the broader context of diversity that includes all members of the Concordia community.
Retiring librarians to be awarded emeritus status
Senate approved a proposal to award Concordia librarians the designation of Librarian Emeritus/Emeritae, upon retiring in good standing.
Update on the Public Scholars Program
Paula Wood-Adams, dean of Graduate Studies, provided Senate with an update on the Public Scholars Program, an initiative developed in partnership with the Montreal Gazette.
The program provides opportunities for 10 highly qualified doctoral candidates, from across the university’s four faculties, to connect with the public through social media, blogs, websites, electronic publications, presentations, and opinion pieces.
Each scholar receives a $10,000 award and participates in training, including media relations and government relations, to support them in their outreach activities.
By actively engaging with the public, the scholars share the significance of their emerging research and increase awareness of the value of a PhD in general.
Lucas Hof and Nadia Naffi, two scholars from the first cohort, gave short presentations on their experiences. Both said they were provided with many opportunities for networking and raising awareness about their research.
On March 20, Wood-Adams invited senators to attend Truth & Consequences, an event where the second cohort of 10 public scholars will deliver short talks about their research.
Addressing allegations of sexual misconduct
Senate’s agenda was amended to include an item about the recent allegations of sexual misconduct, which provided an opportunity for senators to voice their concerns and suggestions.
The president opened the discussion by providing a brief update on the university’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct in the Creative Writing Program.
Senators were reminded of the ongoing efforts the university has taken to strengthen the safety of the learning and working environment.
These include the review of policies and processes by the Sexual Assault Policy Review Working Group, which resulted in the adoption of a new stand-alone policy on sexual violence in 2016 and improvements to the process for survivors to report sexual assault.
He spoke about new legislation, Bill 151, passed by the Government of Quebec on December 8, 2017, aimed at preventing and combatting sexual violence at universities and colleges in the province.
The law requires post-secondary institutions to develop codes of conduct for instructors to follow if they are involved in a consensual intimate relationship with a student.
The president announced Concordia had finalized guidelines for instructor-student relationships that had been scheduled to be released at the end of January. However, in light of recent events, the guidelines were released the week of January 22.
Finally, he outlined the three actions the university is taking to address the allegations: an investigation into the allegations, to be carried out by an external investigator; a climate review of the Department of English, also to be carried out by an external third-party; and a university-wide task force.
The task force will review policies and processes, all aimed at ensuring that members of the Concordia community learn, teach, work and conduct research in a respectful and safe environment.