Council MinutesMinutes of University Council
May 18, 2006
Neatby-Timlin Theatre (241 Arts Building)
Attendance: See Appendix A.
Chair Joe Angel called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m. and declared that a quorum of members was present.
1. Opening Remarks
Condolences were expressed on behalf of Council to colleagues and family of Professor Cecil Cameron Ewing, Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of Ophthalmology from 1963 – 1993. The tribute was delivered by Dr. Schneider from the Department of Ophthalmology. Professor Ewing passed away on March 24, 2006.
Following a moment of silence, the business of Council resumed.
The Chair observed that today was the last Council meeting for Glen Beck as Vice Chair of Council, and that his participation on Council will be sorely missed.
He also reminded Council members that nominations are open for Council Chair for 2006-08.
2. Adoption of the Agenda
BECK/POST: That the agenda be adopted with the addition of item 9.1 Supplement to the Nominations Committee Report.
3. Minutes of the meeting of April 20, 2006
BECK/RICHARDSON: That the minutes of the meeting of April 20, 2006 be adopted as circulated.
5. Report of the President
The President echoed his thanks to Professor Beck for his significant contributions to the deliberations of Council over the years.
The President also drew Council’s attention to the fact that today is the University’s 2nd Annual Diversity Day and recognized the Human Resources Division and others involved in organizing this important initiative.
The Huskie Athletics Review report has been released and has drawn the attention of the media. The President stated that questions regarding the appropriate relationship between university sports and the University are natural as a result of a review of this type. Although the condition of Rutherford Rink is criticized within the report, the President noted some of the issues addressed are borne of our success and visibility in intercollegiate and intramural sports. A working group will be struck to consider these recommendations and identify areas where the University will implement change.
The President then invited questions from the floor.
A member inquired of the process followed for the Huskie Athletics Review and stated his expectation that personal contributions should not become a matter of public debate. An individual’s contribution has been bandied about in the media, and this aspect is particularly unfortunate and should be avoided in the future. The President expressed strong agreement with this sentiment and commented that, in part, media portrayal emanates from the visibility and extent of interest and investment by the community in the University’s athletic programs.
6. Report of the Provost
The Provost also joined his voice to the President and Chair in recognizing Professor Beck’s contributions to Council and its Committees and his lively participation.
The Provost reported the University has joined the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as an institution. Work is proceeding with respect to the Teaching and Learning Foundational document, and Council can expect to receive a first version of the document this fall. The goal is to finalize the document by January 2007 in conjunction with the opening of the University Learning Centre. The Provost also noted he is scheduled to deliver a report to Council in September on the University Learning Centre.
The Provost then invited questions from the floor.
A member asked the Provost to elaborate on the Division of Media and Technology and the SCN contract, which has not been renewed resulting in a downsizing of the Division. The Provost stated the decision not to renew the SCN contract was prompted by the decision of the provincial government to move its production facility for SCN from the U of S to Regina. Those employees affected will have the opportunity to apply on a privileged basis for the new positions that will open as a result in Regina. The Provost stated much capacity and talent continues to reside within the Division, and the restructuring provides an opportunity to refocus the Division’s mandate upon academic support.
A member asked about the relationship of the previously announced New Media Centre with the University Learning Centre and whether opportunities might exist for the Division within the New Media Centre. The Provost stated funding from the Academic Priorities Fund has been committed to the Media Centre, and this initiative is supported by the University. However, the New Media Centre will remain within the College of Arts and Science and although it may work in partnership with DMT, its establishment will not impact directly upon the Division.
7. Report of the Vice-President (Finance and Resources)
Vice-President Florizone thanked Council for the opportunity to bring forward a presentation which originated from his 90-day assessment of his first few months in the position of VP Finance and Resources. Dr. Florizone outlined the background for the presentation which originated in the analysis of inputs, including planning documents, self-assessments, position descriptions, board decisions, wide-spread consultation with committees, and project overviews. He then provided an overview of the Finance and Resources portfolio, the headcounts within each area, comparisons with other universities and overall growth of the University over the past five years and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the University. Three priority themes were identified: improve the quality of service, build a high performance culture, and enhance the stewardship of our physical and financial resources.
Vice-President Florizone invited comments and questions. A member inquired whether the approach of benchmarking performance against other institutions might be extended into academic areas. The Provost reminded Council the SPR process was partly founded on testing how our programs are performing against national and international standards, and benchmarks exist related to Tri-Council funding and enrolment. He indicated over the next few months, the Integrated Planning Office will be looking further at assessment and invited comments and suggestions regarding those measures and benchmarks which are important.
Another faculty member was gratified to see health and wellness addressed in the presentation and noted the University’s Human Resources website includes a section on health and wellness. He expressed the hope that the University will balance the needs of the individual with those of the employer, and wondered what plans Vice-President Florizone might have in this regard. Dr. Florizone replied that he has received the report of the external review of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and the report will inform his consideration as he refines a strategy in this regard and considers funding sources.
8. Student Society Reports
8.1 Report of the USSU
Mr. Brad Flavell, new USSU Vice President Academic, delivered the report to Council. The newly elected Executive of the USSU continues its orientation to new positions and identifying projects and initiatives for the coming year. The USSU is considering options for the Canadian Federation of Students’ referendum and re-evaluating the USSU health and dental plan, as well as initiatives related to student advocacy and students with disabilities.
8.2 Report of the Graduate Students' Association
Mr. Cameron Goodfellow introduced himself as the new GSA President and reported his first month as President has also been one of transition. The GSA has just renegotiated its health and dental plan and is involved in discussion related to an international student differential fee and the acquisition of a common space for graduate students.
9. Nominations Committee Report re Appointments to Council and Collective Agreement Committees
Supplemental report 9.1 was distributed at the meeting.
Vice Chair Gordon Zello presented the report on behalf of Chair Bev Pain, who was unable to attend.
Joe Angel sought the approval of Council for the motions from the Nominations Committee to be handled as a single omnibus motion. This approval was given.
Before presenting his report, Professor Zello expressed thanks on behalf of the Chair to all of the individuals who allowed their names to stand. He also thanked Norma McBain who supported the committee through this process. He outlined the process that was followed in identifying individuals to serve on committees and to Chair, and affirmed that in every case in seeking a chair the Committee looked first to Council members who had experience on the committee.
The Chair invited nominations from the floor. There being none, the motion was put to a vote.
ZELLO/POST: That the Nominations Committee recommends to Council the following appointments to Council and Collective Agreement Committees for the year 2006/2007 as outlined on pages 23 – 27 of the agenda and in the supplemental report 9.1
10. Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work Committee
10.1 Revisions to Policy for Postdoctoral Fellows
Rob Pywell presented the report as Chair. This item waas provided for information.
11. International Activities Committee Annual Report
Peter Bretscher presented the report as Chair. This item was provided for information.
12. Planning Committee
Beth Bilson presented the report as Chair.
12.1 Program Terminations: Commerce majors in Business Economics and in Development of Information Systems
RIGBY/ANSDELL: That Council approve the deletion of the Business Economics major in the College of Commerce.
RIGBY/ANSDELL: That Council approve the deletion of the Development of Information Systems major in the College of Commerce.
RIGBY/ANSDELL: That Council approve the Centre for Northern Agroforestry and Afforestation as a Type A Centre of the College of Agriculture.
12.2 Centres: Centre for Northern Agroforestry and Afforestation and Institute for Aboriginal and Indigenous Graduate Studies & Research
12.3 Notice of Motion regarding Schools
At the June meeting of Council, approval will be sought for the following motion:
That Council approve “Task Force on Changing Structures: Discussion Paper on Schools” (enclosed) as the policy framework for the establishment of Schools at the University of Saskatchewan.
Professor Bilson outlined the work of the Task Force and the discussion which led to the recommendations outlined in the discussion document. She acknowledged the complexity of the work of the Task Force in arriving at recommendations for administrative and financial arrangements. She also reported on the discussion that took place at the previous week’s Town Hall on the concept of Schools, and summarized some of the concerns that were raised at that meeting.
A member asked for an interpretation of the phrase on p. 103 of the report which refers to “overcoming most of the boundaries established by … the current appointment process” and the relationship of that statement to existing collegial processes and the provisions of the collective agreement. Professor Bilson indicated that any changes to existing collegial processes under the collective agreement would have to be negotiated. The Provost also responded, indicating that the school concept is intended to respond to a need expressed by members of the University to facilitate interdisciplinary programming and make possible appointments across disciplinary boundaries.
Professor Bilson also noted further discussion regarding platforms for interdisciplinary undergraduate programming will be forthcoming, as the schools structure focuses primarily on graduate education.
Professor Bilson conveyed the Planning Committee’s thanks to Evan Cole and Jonathan Anuik for their contributions as student representatives on the committee.
13. Scholarships and Awards Committee Report
Gordon Zello presented the report as Chair. He expressed thanks to employees of the Scholarships and Awards unit in the Student and Enrolment Services Division who have provided excellent support to the Committee this year.
13.1 Annual Report to Council: Undergraduate and Graduate Awards
This item was provided for information.
A member asked whether the Scholarships and Awards Committee could gather information about the awards made by Colleges to obtain a fuller picture of the total number of awards offered. Professor Zello noted that a new position within the Student Enrolment and Services Division has been assigned to work closely with development officers in colleges to obtain these figures.
The President noted that he has just returned from his annual provincial tour and stated that from his many conversations with students, guidance counselors and teachers, it is clear our competitive position on financial assistance remains vulnerable. The President also stated his intention to spend time with government officials discussing what can be done to remedy our relatively low ability to provide scholarships and financial assistance to students.
13.2 Approval of Two Award Policies
ZELLO/BECK: That Council approve the award policy “Credit Units Required for Payment of Awards.”
14. Instructional Development Committee Report
Bob Tyler presented the report for information as Chair. He alerted Council members to the fact that at the next Council meeting there will be a proposal for introduction of a tool for the evaluation of teaching. He also noted it is becoming increasingly clear the name of the committee does not reflect the work of the committee, and there will be a request for a new name and revised membership and terms of reference. He acknowledged the excellent support of Institutional Analysis and the Integrated Planning Office, and thanked Jonathan Anuik and Evan Cole for serving as student representatives on the committee.
15. Other Business
16. Question Period
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
17. Next meeting - 2:30 p.m., Thursday, June 15, in Room 140 St. Thomas More College