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Senate and Board of Governors notes: September-October 2020

Concordia President presents good news amid ongoing challenges
November 19, 2020
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By Howard Bokser

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SEPTEMBER 2020

Graham Carr updates Senate on an active summer and fall

The university held its first Senate meeting for the 2020-21 academic year on September 18, via video conferencing.

Concordia President Graham Carr welcomed Senate members, including new deans Annie Gérin of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Pascale Sicotte of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Carr reported on recent news to Senate:

  • Applied Science Hub on Loyola Campus opened
  • Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate launch on September 10
  • Virtual, week-long Shuffle 31, the annual walkathon to raise funds for student scholarships and bursaries, kicked off
  • Canadian Research Continuity Emergency Fund announced $1.6 million to support research personnel affected during the first 12 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic’s closures
  • Mandate and action plan of the university’s Task Force on Black Lives Matter being developed
  • Charles (Chuck) Bertrand, who had served the university in a number of roles including interim president, 1994-1995, passed away
  • Government of Quebec to create the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur (MES) as a separate ministry
  • Summer term: enrolment up 15 per cent from last year; lowest drop-out rate
  • Institute of Co-operative Education’s placed 721 summer stages — compared to 504 last year — overwhelming majority for online work-study
  • Fall term enrolment roughly on par with fall 2019; however, drop for professional master’s degrees, which will affect tuition revenue
  • University-wide effort to help faculty and staff prepare for fall term remote delivery
  • Some activities returning to campus, including re-opening of 200 research labs, faculty offices and libraries on a restricted basis; fall varsity sports season is cancelled

Carr expressed his deep appreciation to Roger Côté, vice-president of services, who retired September 30 after 39 years at Concordia. He announced that Michael Di Grappa (BA 84), former vice-president of services and interim president, would return as vice-president of services and sustainability on October 1.

Carr reiterated that the health of the university and greater urban community drives all Concordia’s decisions. They will decide about the winter term classes in the coming weeks, in concert with other Montreal universities.

Reports from the Ombuds Office, Office of Rights and Responsibilities and academic hearing panel

Ombudsperson Amy Fish and Lisa White, director and senior advisor of the Office of Rights and Responsibilities, presented their offices’ annual reports, which included some key statistics and examples. Melodie Sullivan, senior legal counsel, explained the academic hearing panel process and presented its report’s highlights. The full reports are available in the Senate meeting notes.

Board of Governors learns of record June convocation

Concordia’s Board of Governors met for its first session of the 2020-21 academic year on September 16 in a closed session via video conferencing. Graham Carr presented his report on important university news over the summer, including:

  • Carr delivered virtual keynote address to the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain on August 27
  • June convocation saw more than 6,200 students graduate, most ever for a term; convocation held virtually through CU Celebrate
  • Teaching, research and funding news included Concordia receiving 17 SSHRC Insight Development Grants totalling $1,120,734
  • Ongoing university activities: 4TH SPACE presented 49 virtual events; Concordia Library welcomed new Sofia Discovery web interface; Human Resources offered virtual training; and IITS focused on cybersecurity

Carr also reported good news from University Advancement, including:

  • $1 million gift from Giuseppe Borsellino to support the Elina and Giuseppe Borsellino Family Bursary Endowment at John Molson School of Business
  • CU at Home virtual learning platform
  • CU Cares, which helps connect Concordia volunteers with community organizations in need of additional support following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Carr updated Board members on other recent university news, and Amy Fish and Lisa White presented their offices’ annual reports.

OCTOBER 2020

Senate learns of fall term updates

Graham Carr kicked off the October 16 Senate meeting by welcoming Michael Di Grappa, the new vice-president of services and sustainability.

Other recent university highlights:

  • Launch of Concordia Centraide Campaign, which runs October 19 to November 20
  • Shuffle 31, held virtually in September, raised $135,000 and counting
  • University Advancement’s annual giving total now $6 million-plus
  • Concordia signed University Global Compact and joined Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada, part of its commitment to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Concordia endorsed the Mental Health Commission of Canada National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students
  • Winter 2020 term will be delivered remotely
  • President’s executive group and Human Resources identifying measures to reduce some stress due to the virtual environment
  • Government of Canada announced plans to open borders to international students with valid visas dated after March 18 who can demonstrate need to be in Canada and furnish acceptable plan for quarantine and provisioning on arrival
  • Overall registration up and DNE rate down from 2019; more part-time students and students from Quebec and rest of Canada; fewer international students
  • 2020-2021 budget to be presented to the Board of Governors next week

Academic update

Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic, added to her report:

  • John Molson School of Business and Ivey Publishing signed agreement to have co-branded case studies and teaching notes
  • Canadian Department of Heritage’s Anti-Racism Action Program awarded Concordia researchers two grants
  • New Equity Office and Black Perspectives Office to open
  • Undergraduate Philippe Boucher awarded Personnalité 1er Cycle at 2020 Forces AVENIR Gala
  • New Health and Wellness Hub site launched

Report on internship study

Nadia Bhuiyan, vice-provost of partnerships and experiential learning, co-chaired the Academic Planning and Priorities Committee Ad Hoc subcommittee on reviewing internships. Its top-ranked recommendations for internships:

  • Provide financial support
  • Allow wider range of students to participate
  • Increase number and student awareness of available opportunities
  • Provide better support/guidance for finding, landing and/or maintaining internships


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