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Board of Governors and Senate notes: September 2021

Graham Carr delivers return-to-campus news to Board and Senate
September 28, 2021
By Howard Bokser

Graham Carr lauds Nadia Chaudhry

Chair Helen Antoniou welcomed the Board of Governors to the first meeting of the 2021-22 academic year, held virtually on September 16. She acknowledged new members Kim Fuller (BFA 96), immediate past president of the Concordia University Alumni Association; alumnus Gary N. Chateram (BSc 00, BComm 02, MSc 05); and Concordia Student Union undergraduate reps Eduardo Malorni and Lauren Perozek.

With thousands of students and many staff onsite for the first time in 18 months, Concordia President Graham Carr told the Board, “I’m overjoyed to see people returning to campus.” He passed along other news not included in his report to the Board:

  • Campus now has many health procedures in place; access to vaccination sites is available; and vaccine passports are required for non-academic activities
  • About 85 per cent of students are or will soon be fully vaccinated
  • Residences are limited to 50 per cent capacity and have enhanced heating and ventilation
  • The gyms and the tunnel between the GM and LB buildings remain closed
  • Non-academic events have been limited.

Carr provided a general overview of the academic situation:

  • Planning was based on three considerations: what was learned over the past 18 months, maintaining flexibility for academic units and prioritizing a safe return
  • Over the summer, Anne Whitelaw, provost and vice-president, academic, consulted with deans and department heads to design a schedule; they also looked at ways to best serve international students
  • Concordia did not set an arbitrary target for the percentage of in-person courses
  • Of 2,205 course sections, 48 per cent are in-person only, 7 per cent hybrid and 37 percent are remote or eConcordia courses; the balance are activities such as tutorials that do not require in-person activity
  • As of September 15, 77 per cent of students had at least one in-person course and 81 per cent had at least one online-only course

He addressed other topics:

  • The Webster Library is welcoming about 5,500 visitors and the Vanier Library 1,000 visitors per day, which is around pre-pandemic levels
  • Instructional and Information Technology Services and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) personnel have been on campus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; student service units started to return in August, while other units have differing return plans
  • The pandemic allowed Concordia to work on or renovate a number of sites, including the newly opened Applied Science Hub, the Hall Building 6th floor, the FB basement and the ER Building
  • Three Concordia faculty members joined the ranks of the Royal Society of Canada: Jason Edward Lewis, professor of design and computation arts; Kathleen Vaughan, professor of art education; and Thanh Dang-Vu, professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • The Stingers football team upset the Université de Montréal Carabins 31-28 on September 10
  • Emmy Award-winning Concordia grad Annie Murphy (BFA 10) spoke with journalist Jennifer Hollett (BA 97) in a pre-Homecoming webinar on September 17; and Shuffle 32 will be held on September 24
  • Nadia Chaudhry, professor of psychology, who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in 2020, established the Nadia Chaudhri Wingspan Award to fund an annual scholarship to support the training of neuroscientists from underrepresented backgrounds; she also organized a Shuffle team; her efforts have led to more than $550,000 raised.

Senate approves new policy on Distinguished Professor Emeriti and Distinguished Librarian Emeriti titles

At the Senate meeting held virtually on September 17, the first of the academic year, Graham Carr welcomed the 22 new Senators and welcomed back the returning ones. He especially thanked the EHS team for their work in keeping the campus safe and the committee that helped prepare multiple scenarios for the academic term.

As he did for the Board, Carr updated Senate on recent campus news.

Anne Whitelaw thanked faculty, students and staff for assuring a smooth return. She reported:

  • The recent Orientation and Fall Term Welcome were well attended
  • Sandra Gabriele, vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning, will head the Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning, which will look at teaching and learning in a post-pandemic world
  • With the Board of Governors approval of Concordia’s School of Health in June, they are now in the process of building a structure and will soon initiate an international search for the school’s dean
  • Melodie Sullivan, senior legal counsel for the University Secretariat, presented the annual academic hearing report, which is available in the Senate package.
  • Academic cheating was up significantly across all four faculties, a worrying trend that hopefully is only temporary
  • The tribunal policy is being updated; changes include adding more students to the panel, which will help expedite the hearings; priority is given to students looking to graduate.

Carr and Whitelaw presented for approval the New Policy on the Conferral of the Title of Distinguished Professor Emeriti or Distinguished Librarian Emeriti, and revisions to the Distinguished Professor Emeriti Committee’s membership and mandate. These titles recognize outstanding contribution to the university.

Senate approved the changes, which include harmonizing the process across the faculties, increasing confidentiality, adding the Distinguished Librarian Emeriti title and eliminating self-nominations.

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