Board of Governors and Senate notes: May-June 2021

The Board of Governors and Senate give the go ahead to several key measures for the future of Concordia
June 30, 2021
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By Howard Bokser

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May 19: Board of Governors approves the 2021-22 budget

Concordia President Graham Carr welcomed the Board of Governors to the May 19 meeting via Zoom, and reported on news not included in his written report:

  • Concordia had an overall 4.2 per cent increase in FTE’s in the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms, registrations for the summer are stable and fall application numbers and acceptances are ahead of last year
  • More than 6,300 students will graduate in the spring, the highest number ever
  • Since January, 21 cases of COVID-19 cases have been reported on campus
  • Varsity athletics teams have been training outdoors for some time
  • In the fall, some residences will open but not at full capacity
  • The recent government announcement regarding the reopening will have implications for higher education

In the closed session, the Board approved the 2021-22 operating budget, with an anticipated $17 million deficit, mostly due directly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Mourad Debbabi was appointed dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

May 21: Senate recommends approval of the School of Health

At its last meeting of the academic year, held May 21 on Zoom, Carr thanked the Senators for their service throughout the year. He noted it was the last Senate meeting for Danielle Tessier, associate secretary-general, who’ll be retiring at the end of June after 20 years at Concordia.

In addition to what Carr reported to the Board, he added:

  • The goal is to rotate Senate meetings between Loyola Campus and Sir George Williams Campus in future
  • Several Concordia community members were appointed to the National Order of Quebec, including Suzanne Sauvage, member of the Board, and Andrew Molson, co-chair of the Campaign for Concordia and member of the Concordia University Foundation board of directors

Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic, and Paula Wood-Adams, interim vice-president of research and graduate studies, presented a proposal to establish a School of Health at Concordia. They outlined several key features of the proposed school, including the following:

  • This is the first proposal for a new unit of this scale at the university in decades and comes after a wide and comprehensive consultative process
  • The proposed structure would consist of three transversal hubs, reflecting existing research strengths across the university: Community Health Hub, Clinical Research and Prevention Hub, and Biomedical Science and Engineering Research Hub
  • The school’s structure would involve the university-recognized research units from health or health-related fields
  • The school would be headed by a dean and three research hubs led by scientific directors

Senate recommended to the Board of Governors that it approve the establishment of the School of Health.

June 16: Board of Governors approves the School of Health

At its June 16 meeting, via Zoom, Chair Helen Antoniou welcomed the Board of Governors to its final gathering of the academic year. She congratulated Board members Suzanne Sauvage for her appointment the National Order of Quebec; George Paulez for his Benoît Pelland Distinguished Service Award from the Concordia University Alumni Association and Isaiah Joyner for winning the alumni association’s Concordia Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal.

Graham Carr thanked Board members for their work and reiterated how proud he is of the Concordia community for their efforts during this extraordinary year.

He also reported:

  • Following the announcement by the Government of Quebec on May 31, Anne Whitelaw is leading a team that’s planning for fall 2021, and the class schedule will be available in July; their goal is to make in-person classes as meaningful and rewarding as possible
  • In the fall, Concordia will welcome two cohorts of students who’ve had a difficult, socially isolated university experience; and it will be the first time back for communities who have been the object of social injustice, so the university will raise awareness around respectful behaviour
  • Concordia has prioritized its communication to students and others about the importance of being vaccinated
  • The status of international students remains challenging and unclear, with at least five federal government ministries plus the provincial government involved; the goal is to avoid having international students further defer their studies
  • Concordia has seen a dramatic recent increase in the number of people on campus; three weeks ago, 1,500-1,700 people per week were coming to campus, but it’s now about 3,500 per week
  • The university is planning for a gradual return-to-campus campus this summer; Whitelaw and Michael Di Grappa, vice-president of services and sustainability, are also developing a long-term plan for work on campus

Proposal to establish a School of Health

Whitelaw and Paula Wood-Adams presented a proposal to establish a School of Health at Concordia. They outlined several reasons for creating the school, including the following:

  • The School of Health will help fill the gap of wider interdisciplinary collaborations and approaches not found in traditional medical schools
  • The school will offer a new approach to health research and education through Concordia’s transdisciplinary strengths and rich, cross-sector partnerships
  • It will support Concordia’s commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and its efforts to deliver well-being and social justice
  • It will attract new talent for research and graduate programs
  • It will facilitate the interactions between research, teaching, community and entrepreneurship that characterize Concordia as a next-generation university
  • The school will tap into Concordia’s existing high-impact research from nine research units and 27 research chairs

They added that creating the school would require an investment of $4.7 million over seven years.

The board unanimously approved the creation of the School of Health.

A club recently approved by the Concordia Student Union made the request to use the name Concordia University Sport Shooting Association, under the university’s Policy SG-4. After a lengthy discussion, Board members rejected a motion for the club’s use of the Concordia name.

Antoniou expressed her appreciation for the service of departing Board members Jeff Bicher, Antoinette Bozac, Isaiah Joyner, Chelsea Okankwu and Prasanth Shunmugan. She also gave special thanks and introduced a video tribute for retiring associate secretary-general Danielle Tessier.

In the closed session, the Board confirmed the appointment of Anne Whitelaw as provost and vice-president, academic.


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