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Senate and Board of Governors notes: December 2020

Board learns about how Concordia is dealing with the pivot to online teaching and learning
December 23, 2020
By Howard Bokser

Senate approves new university skills courses

At the December 4 Senate meeting via video conferencing, Concordia President Graham Carr welcomed members and added a few points not covered in his report:

  • 1,831 graduates convocated November 19, part of CU Celebrate
  • Concordia’s Centraide Campaign raised a record $204,000 and counting, surpassing its $170,000 goal
  • The Applied Science Hub on Loyola Campus officially opened December 1 via a virtual opening ceremony
  • The Next-Generation Cities Institute launched November 26
  • PhD student Vanessa Mardirossian placed third at the 2020 Ma thèse en 180 secondes competition, the French version of the Three Minute Thesis competition, for her presentation “Des couleurs saines pour un corps sain”
  • John Molson School of Business signed a partnership agreement with Ivey Publishing for business cases written by the John Molson community
  • Newest Order of Canada inductees included Howard Alper (BSc 63, LLD 07), distinguished University of Ottawa chemistry and biomolecular sciences professor, promoted to the rank of Companion; and Françoise Bertrand, member of the Board of Governors, appointed to a Commander

Sandra Gabriele, vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning, introduced an undergraduate curriculum proposal for new university skills courses. Concordia’s FutureReady program of the Student Success Centre and the Future Skills Innovation Network developed the courses to address gaps in workplace-ready skills education.

Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic, added that the initiative ties into the university’s aim to provide every graduating student an experiential learning opportunity by 2025.

Senate unanimously approved the proposal.

Board of Governors hears about the future of teaching and e-learning

Concordia President Graham Carr welcomed the Board of Governors to its December 9 meeting via video conferencing.

He congratulated Board members Ted Stathopoulos, professor of building, civil and environmental engineering, for receiving an Honoris Genius from the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec; and Françoise Bertrand for her appointed as a Commander of the Order of Canada.

Carr added that other Concordian Order of Canada inductees included Howard Alper (BSc 63, LLD 07), Ella Amir, PhD 12, and Elizabeth Langley, founder of Concordia’s Department of Modern (now Contemporary) Dance.

Carr addressed several other items not in the president’s report:

  • 1,800-plus graduates convocated November 19
  • Carr and Anne Whitelaw recently have visited over 1,500 Concordia faculty and staff through a series of virtual town halls
  • Concordia extended its holiday break until January 11 for faculty and staff, January 13 for classes
  • Concordia’s Centraide Campaign raised a record $204,000-plus
  • The university joined the Decade of Action with its commitment to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Concordia launched the Black Perspectives Office and Task Force on Anti-Black Racism
  • Oceane Jasor, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, was named a Queen Elizabeth Scholar by the Rideau Hall Foundation
  • John Molson School of Business has partnered with Ivey Publishing for business cases
  • The Next-Generation Cities Institute kicked off November 26 and the Applied Science Hub on Loyola Campus officially opened December 1
  • The Concordia Pension Plan won the Investment Governance award from the Canadian Investment Review’s Pension Leadership Awards 

Sandra Gabriele and Robert Cassidy, director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), delivered a presentation on the lessons learned for teaching and e-learning since the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown in March, and what it means for the future. “Every process for teaching was upended this year,” Gabriele said.

CTL followed four guiding principles:

  • Use evidence-based approaches
  • Focus on accessibility and flexibility
  • Support faculty to adapt quickly
  • Keep in mind that teaching and learning is a shared responsibility

Due to the dramatic increase in demand:

  • CTL went from having from two teaching-support staff to 12
  • Use of the Moodle learning management system jumped almost fourfold
  • Data stored on Moodle went from 668 GB to 2.8 TB

CTL provided extra support to faculty, including:

  • Workshops
  • One-on-one support
  • Web resources
  • Department consultations
  • Office hours drop-in Q&A
  • Zoom invigilation
  • Teaching tools

Student grades rose slightly, against expectations.

Looking ahead, Gabriele reported that Concordia has created a permanent Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning. Short- and long-term plans include enhancing Moodle to support student success and help faculty, and preparing for a mixed return to campus in 2021.

The full report is available in the Board of Governors meeting notes.


Find out more about Concordia’s Senate and Board of Governors.



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