Council MinutesMinutes of University Council
December 15, 2005
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 Emeritus Peter Walmsley, who was a Professor of Industrial Relations and Organizational Behaviour from 1959 to 1990. Professor Walmsley passed away on November 22, 2005. The tribute was delivered by Dr. Kurt Wetzel, Professor of Industrial Relations and Organizational Behaviour, College of Commerce.
Condolences were also expressed on behalf of Council to colleagues and family of Samuel Laimon, Professor Emeritus of Accounting, 1953 – 1990 and a former Dean of the College. Professor Laimon passed away on December 5, 2005. The tribute was delivered by Dean Lynne Pearson of the College of Commerce.
2. Adoption of the Agenda
The agenda was adopted as circulated.
3. Minutes of the meeting of November 17, 2005
ZIOLA/BECK: That the minutes of the meeting of November 17, 2005 be approved.
5. Report of the President
The President made reference to the implications of the call for a federal election on the statements made by the Finance Minister in his pre-budget statement November 14. That statement included many initiatives related to post-secondary education, including promises of financial assistance for students and particularly for graduate students, international educational opportunities, funding for the indirect costs of research program and increases to support for the granting agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. All of these initiatives are in abeyance until after the election, and some may be in jeopardy if there is a change in government.
The President also drew Council’s attention to the announcement this week that the Province is committing $100 million to the Academic Health Sciences Centre. The announcement renews and identifies funding for a commitment made in late 2003, and comes in the middle of what has been a very good process to define the project according to the needs of the community and to identify opportunities for cooperation among the partners. Inflation is a critical factor in this as in other large projects; the U of S is now working on projections for cost escalation into every one of its large construction projects. Both the government and the university recognize that the original costing of this project will not be sufficient to cover the eventual costs in the context of these price increases.
The President then invited questions from the floor. A member asked about how the increased funding for indirect costs of research will be passed along to individual researchers. The President indicated that investments made thus far with funding for indirect costs of research—investments such as the establishment of support to researchers through the VP Research Office--have been very much in the interest of individual researchers. He also indicated that an advisory committee will hear the representations from all concerned and make appropriate decisions as to the disposition of these monies. Vice President Franklin outlined the process and membership of the advisory committee and the consultation which takes place with the Planning and Research Scholarly and Artistic Work Committees of Council.
6. Report of the Provost
In addition to his written report, the Provost indicated that the Task Force on Changing Structures has been meeting to talk about the Schools document, an early draft of which many Council members have seen. These items will make their way to Planning Committee and then to Council.
The Foundational Document on Teaching and Learning is also in preparation, and Council members can expect to see significant discussion of and progress on that document in the second term.
The Provost invited questions from the floor. A visitor asked when and whether there would be a review of the administrative units as well as Systematic Program Review, and asked about the state of any administrative reviews that have been done to date. The Provost pointed out that ‘administration’ goes on within Colleges as much as within administrative units, and also indicated that there is no wholesale assessment of administrative entities. There is, however, a need to ensure that the administrative units are working effectively and efficiently, and several reviews have been undertaken in recent years including a major review of Student Affairs and the Registrar’s Office which resulted in a significant restructuring of the units responsible for those functions and the creation of the Student and Enrolment Services Division. In addition, administrative units participated effectively in the integrated planning process, making presentations on their unit plans and on how they can contribute to the planning and strategic process at town hall meetings. A white paper on assessment, which provides for review of both academic and administrative units, has been shared with the leadership of Council in a draft form and will come back next spring for further review. Vice President Florizone is currently conducting a review of the units that report to him.
Associate Dean Tom Steele commented that the CIC Aboriginal Student Achievement Model funding announced in the Provost’s report will be supporting the Arts and Science academic transition program for Aboriginal students and the summer transition program. He indicated that this announcement represents a tremendous opportunity for the University. The Provost cited the initiative as a very good example of administrative and academic units coming together to support students in their academic work.
7. Student Society Reports (USSU, GSA)
There was no reports from the USSU or the GSA.
8. Nominations Committee Report
8.1 Appointment to the Instructional Development Committee
PAIN/ZELLO: That Council approve the appointment of Don Drinkwater, College of Kinesiology, to the Instructional Development Committee of Council, effective immediately until June 30, 2007.
8.2 Appointment to the University Review Committee
PAIN/ZELLO: That Council approve the appointment of Len Gusthart, College of Kinesiology, to the University Review Committee effective immediately until June 30, 2008.
8.3 Appointment to Search & Review Committee for Senior Administrators
PAIN/ZELLO: That Council approve the appointment of Graham Scoles, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture to the Review Committee for the Dean of Engineering.
PAIN/ZELLO: That Council approve the appointment of Jeremy Bailey, Associate Dean, Veterinary Medicine to the Review Committee for the Dean of Medicine.
PAIN/ZELLO: That Council approve the appointment of Linda Suveges, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, to the Review Committee for the Associate Vice-President Student and Enrolment Services.
9. Foundational Document on Outreach and Engagement
President MacKinnon introduced the report, and referenced the University’s commitment to its sense of place in stressing the significance and appropriateness of this document’s coming before Council. He noted the extensive consultation process that has taken place in order to produce the draft that is before Council, and observed that the present draft addresses a number of shortcomings that had been identified in earlier drafts, including the need for better definitions of Outreach and Engagement, better delineation of principles and of strategies, more discussion of implementation measures, and the addition of a draft inventory of existing Outreach and Engagement activities and of a bibliography and resource guide. He then asked for guidance from Council about the acceptability of the document before them.
MacKINNON/BECK: That Council receive notice of a motion that, based on the discussion and comments that are received at today’s discussion, the Outreach and Engagement Foundational document be revised and submitted to Council for final approval early in the new year.
10. Committee on Outreach and Public Service
10.1 Updated Report and Recommendations on the Foundational Document on Outreach and Engagement
Professor Don Harris, chair of the Committee on Outreach and Public Service, reviewed the prior reports and recommendations of his committee and presented an updated report, which was distributed at the meeting. The report included a review of responses from both the internal and the external community and a summation of the extent to which its earlier recommendations had been addressed by the drafting committee, as well as presenting two new recommendations for consideration.
11. Planning Committee
11.1 Report on Discussion of Outreach and Engagement Foundational Document
Professor Beth Bilson, Chair of the Planning Committee, presented the response of the Planning Committee to the second draft of the document and commented on the various opportunities which the Planning Committee has had to discuss successive versions of this document. She also noted that the Planning Committee is expecting that it will have an opportunity very shortly to review the recommendations for implementation measures that will be taken vis-à-vis the future of the Extension Division, and expects that these will receive full discussion at a future meeting of Council before being implemented.
The Chair declared the document open for discussion.
Several members of Council commented on the thoroughness of the consultation process and the extent to which the drafting committee had listened to its constituencies in preparing the current draft of the document.
Discussion of the document included comment on the need for a period of adjustment for departments to implement the recommendations of the report, the extent to which departments might be penalized for failing to adopt the direction of the document, the need for recognition of the scholarship of outreach and engagement as a discipline in its own right, the particular challenges for small departments, the need to limit outreach and engagement activities to those that reinforce the teaching and research goals of the university, and the distinction that the document draws between ‘public service’ and ‘engagement’.
The President responded to the question about whether departments might be penalized for failing to adopt the direction of the document, by indicating that the document is not directive in nature and contemplates the possibility that some units will undertake Outreach and Engagement more rapidly and perhaps more comprehensively than others. Departments and Colleges will be asked through the planning process to indicate where their plans will help to fulfil the Outreach and Engagement mission of the University.
There was significant discussion of the extent to which participation in outreach and engagement activities complements or competes with faculty members’ teaching and research obligations. The possibility that some disciplines lend themselves more readily to such participation than others was raised, as was the suggestion that researchers with a theoretical or lab-based focus will find it more difficult to incorporate engagement into their scholarly activities than those with a clinical or community-based focus. Community-based researchers necessarily spend a lot of time on consensus-building and negotiating with stakeholders who may have different priorities; this reality was raised as a possible disincentive for young researchers. It was also pointed out that it is a very time-consuming task to link undergraduate students to community organizations in a way that is relevant for their academic program of study. This discussion emphasized the need for recognition of the resource implications of outreach and engagement, and for standards of promotion and tenure to reflect the priority that the institution puts on these activities. This need suggests that CRC’s, URC’s and departmental salary and promotion and tenure committees must be reminded of their responsibility to recognize and reward outreach and engagement activities.
The Provost responded by agreeing with the burden of these arguments and by making two additional observations: first, that whether we like it or not, in many disciplines the world of community collaboration is the world we are living in; and second, that we have among the very best standards for promotion and tenure in the country because they do provide some measure of flexibility for faculty as they seek to satisfy our collective expectations. He conceded that not all disciplines are the same, and each faces different challenges in doing research and getting published.
Some specific suggestions for the drafting committee included a request to ensure that Section V.2 of the document is more explicit about the need to learn from other organizations and institutions that serve as role models for outreach and engagement; a suggestion that attention be paid to the tone of the document to ensure that it frames continuing education in a way that suggests collaboration rather than competition; a suggestion that the Aboriginal Health Research Centre be cited on p. 17, rather than the Bridges and Foundations CURA, as an example of an existing community-research partnership; a request that the Penn State reference not be given such a prominent place in the Introduction; and a recommendation that it be made clear that the document is a planning document which assumes an environment of scarce resources.
Members of the drafting team drew Council’s attention to the fact that the inventory of existing Outreach and Engagement activities, which grew too long to be included as an appendix, is available on the website, though still incomplete.
11.2 Approval of Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture
A member spoke in favour of the proposal, commending the excellent work of Jim Dosman. Another member noted that while most Type B Centres report to the Vice President Research, the reporting structure for this one is to the Provost.
RIGBY/BECK: That Council approve the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture as a Type B Centre.
12. Other Business
Glen Beck asked about the status of the notice of motion made by the President, which he seconded. The President indicated that it was his intention to give notice that a motion would be put to Council early in the new year to seek Council’s approval, preferably but not necessarily at its January meeting. The Chair of Outreach and Public Service Committee indicated that provided that the document is available in early January, the Committee will be prepared to bring its recommendation forward.
13. Question Period
There was no further questions.
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
15. Next Meeting - 2:30 p.m., Thursday, January 26,2006 in Neatby-Timlin Theatre.