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Board of Governors and Senate notes: May 2022

Concordia President Graham Carr reports on the growing list of in-person events, including spring convocation
June 7, 2022

Board hears of Concordia’s impressive placement in THE Impact Rankings

Chair Helen Antoniou welcomed the Board of Governors to its hybrid in-person and virtual meeting on May 19. Concordia President Graham Carr remarked that the Board members’ nearly complete in-person attendance hopefully is a sign of things to come.

In addition to info in the president’s report, Carr added:

  • The university decided to continue the policy that masks must be worn in class for the balance of the summer term, which was already underway when the Government of Quebec changed its directive.
  • Summer registration numbers are up from a year ago.
  • Fall registration numbers so far are promising; there’s a noticeable increase in international student applications and commitments.
  • Eight in-person convocation ceremonies will be held at Place des Arts in June.
  • As of May 19, the winter graduating class count is 5,825, made up of about 4,750 undergrads and 1,075 graduate students, including 88 PhD students; that is comparable to a spring graduation prior to COVID; Concordia is coming off its two largest spring graduation years.
  • There is an exceptional lineup of honorary doctorate recipients, made up of local and international figures as well as some alumni.
  • Last week, the Canadian champion women’s Stingers hockey team visited the National Assembly of Quebec as guests of Premier François Legault. The team has also been invited to Montreal City Hall in June to sign the Book of Champions with the mayor. Concordia will host a special event for the team in the fall.
  • Concordia staff are increasingly returning to campus on a unit-by-unit basis.
  • While the 2022-23 budget will be presented in the closed Board session, Carr emphasized that there will be no hiring freeze at the university.
  • Assuming the budget is approved, CFO Denis Cossette and Anne Whitelaw, provost and vice-president, academic, will host a series of information sessions for the community, as they have done in the past.
  • Last week, the university submitted a brief for the Government of Quebec hearings regarding Bill 32/academic freedom; during the hearings’ first day, Minister of Higher Education Danielle McCann said she would respond accordingly to the significant opposition to certain parts of the bill.
  • Regarding the public conversation around the Government of Quebec’s Bill 96, Carr expressed disappointment at what he sees as the unfair targeting of anglophone institutions for the perceived decline in French in the province.
  • The government just announced that universities in the regions will be allowed to welcome deregulated international students at the same fees that Quebec students pay; that does not that does not apply to any Montreal university.
  • Carr reminded the Board of the government’s many positive interactions with the university, such as:
    • Support for the expansion of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
    • Funding designed to increase registration in engineering and computer science facilities
    • The just-released Stratégie québécoise de recherche et d’investissement en innovation, which emphasizes lab-to-market pathways and the role in talent development and commercialization in universities on green energy  (Concordia is well placed because of the university's investments to innovation, incubation and acceleration, and our strengths in social innovation.)
  • Carr highlighted Concordia’s recent placement in the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which measures how universities around the world perform in addressing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Concordia placed 48th in the world for our work on Reduced Inequalities, 20th for Climate Action and fifth for Sustainable Cities and Communities.
  • Concordia has recently held or will hold a number in-person events:
  • Alumna Samira Nasr (BA 93) is the first woman of colour to be Harper’s Bazaar magazine’s editor-in-chief; under her leadership, last month the fashion publication won its first ever National Magazine Award in General Excellence for Service and Lifestyle.
  • Concordia has participated in a number of important international activities over the previous month:
    • A successful Loyola Campus visit and tour by delegates generals from the Americas that showcased Loyola’s new facilities and some of the innovative research and potential for partnerships in areas like green technology, health, genomics and green engineering; it was the third meeting with this group in the past several months.
    • A fruitful academic and scientific dialogue with Moroccan researchers and government officials, including the Moroccan Ambassador to Canada; Carr was impressed by the kingdom’s high level of investments in research and the university sector, which offer great collaboration opportunities.
    • William Cheaib, Carr’s chief of staff, was in Ottawa representing the university; thanks to the university's growing ties with India and its work in applied AI and cybersecurity, Concordia was invited by Global Affairs Canada to present to the India Canada Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee.

Carr concluded by adding that it’s exciting to see to see the interest in Concordia from friends and colleagues outside the university.

The Board approved the Finance Committee recommendations regarding updated administrative and technology infrastructure fees.

At its closed session, the Board approved the 2022-23 budget.

Senate meets for its last meeting in 2021-22

Graham Carr welcomed members of the Senate to its May 20 virtual meeting, the last of the 2021-22 academic year. He congratulated and wished the best of success to all the graduating student Senators, and thanked all the other Senators whose terms are ending for their service to the academic life of the university.

Carr also welcomed three Concordia Student Union representatives who will join Senate in the fall: Elijah Olise, general coordinator; Aslee Issaq, academic and advocacy coordinator; and Ahmadou Sakho.

In addition to what he reported to the Board of Governors, above:

  • The upcoming convocation is focused on students graduating in spring 2022; Concordia is planning convocations later in the summer for students who graduated in the previous two years.
  • Concordia’s newly revised accessibility policy outlines the university’s commitment to remove barriers to services, events, facilities, employment and digital structures for persons with disabilities for all members of the community; Carr thanked Lisa Ostiguy, special advisor campus life and supports, Sandra Gabriele, vice-provost, innovation in teaching and learning, Lisa White, executive director of equity, and others who worked on this important file
  • Concordia’s high placement in the The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings is based not only on its research but on how the university stewards the 17 SDGs

Anne Whitelaw added to her written report:

  • That morning, four Future Concordia working groups presented their recommendations on work, workplace and workforce, student experience, university outreach and campus space; after the final two working groups report back, they will digest all the recommendations and develop a roadmap to move forward
  • As it did in 2021-22, Concordia will extend the DISC deadline to the last day of classes for 2022-23, to support students still struggling with the effects of COVID

Senate approved minor changes to the policy on Membership and Powers of the Faculty and School Councils and, as referred to at its last meeting, the abolition of the Senate Finance Committee.

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