Acadia University Senate

SENATE MEETING OF 10 January 2005

A meeting of the Senate of Acadia University occurred on Monday, 10 January 2005, beginning at
4:07 p.m. with Chair Ian Wilks presiding and  members present.
1)   Minutes of the Meeting of
       13 December 2004

It was moved by L. Oliver and seconded by D. Kruisselbrink that the minutes of
Monday, 13 December 2004 be approved. 
The phrase "In the opinion of one Senator," was added to first and seventh sentences of second paragraph of "Un-offered Courses" on page 2. 
The seventh sentence of second paragraph of "Un-offered Courses" of item 4)e) on page 2 was removed.
The phrase "for the Divinity College" was added to the motion in item 4)a) on page 3.
The final sentence of the eighth paragraph of item 4)b) on page 4 was removed.
A brief discussion was held on the amount of content in Senate minutes.  No change was made to current procedure.

2) Announcements and
   a) From the Chair
      -re Regrets
      -re Membership     
      - re Guests
      -re Agenda
      -re Senate Meeting Space
Regrets were received from P. Corkum, R. Gossage, A. Irving, L. McDonald, S. Phillips, and N. Van Wagoner.
I. Wilks  noted that S. Markham-Starr has returned as Senator after a six-month sabbatical, she had been replaced by J. Wentzell.  P. Lauzon was replacing G. Callon who has begun a six-month sabbatical.  The Chair also indicated that S. Phillips has returned for second three-year term as BOG representative on Senate.  He congratulated J. Masterson on her appointment as Chief Financial Officer.
I. Wilks welcomed the following guests:  Danny Silver and Shane Donovan.
The Chair indicated an addition to today's agenda under Item 3) Business Arising from the Minutes - Defining "Liberal Education".  There was no objection.
He noted that Item 4)b) "Voting on the nominations for Honorary Degrees" was a new procedure for the Senate, and would be done by secret ballot.
I. Wilks  advised there was a Curriculum Committee Report to consider under Item 5) Other Business.
I. Wilks reported that other areas on campus had been considered as a Senate meeting space, further to a request at the last meeting of the Senate.   It was agreed to move to the Wheelock Lounge provided the fans in that room can be turned off during the meeting.  Otherwise, this meeting space (BAC 132) would be used.

  b) From the President G. Dinter-Gottlieb expressed New Year greetings to Senators.
She was pleased that Senators are discussing liberal education.  This discussion puts Senate at the forefront of the Strategic Planning process and means Senate will provide leadership in very significant curriculum issues.  She encouraged Senators to take the opportunity to provide feedback during the Strategic Planning process.

    c) From the Vice-President
      -re Strategic Planning
      -re Internationalization
      -re Learning Commons
      -re Registrar's Office
R. Nilson thanked those who have provided input to the Strategic Planning through the various venues across campus.  The Acadia Conversations have taken place in a variety of groups.  Reports are beginning to come in from the Strategic Planning Academic Advisory Groups as well as the various Departmental Discussion Groups.  All this information is coming into a central core by January 31 and that information will go out as reports which Senate may look at and debate.  The response rate to questionnaires was as follows:  staff - 74%, faculty - 57%, and students - 20%.
The issue of internationalization is ongoing.  A number if interesting issues for Senate to consider and debate will be brought forward as a report at a later date.
The Learning Commons will be housed in McConnell Hall and is progressing.  The Writing Centre is opening in the Mitchner Lounge of the Student Union Building in January.  R. Nilson felt there should be further discussion on a number of pieces of the Learning Commons.  Currently, there are four different ideas which have been embraced within the Learning Commons concept and these would require more work to develop to the fullest.
R. Nilson noted he has been working closely with the Registrar's Office in an attempt to better understand the numbers across campus, the history of registration changes, and the opportunities provided to students through this office.  The most recent issue of particular interest concerned the grade stats.  These showed more than 280 students ending the term with a GPA below 1.5; which is typical for the last five years.  These are students who are having some challenges choosing courses the second term, as our schedule does not accommodate them.  This is besides the 25% of students who change majors and attempt to fit courses into their schedule.  He suggested that a semester system (two registrations) would help.  This issue needs to be looked at in our planning. 

  d) From Dean, Research &
      Graduate Studies
      -re Course Name Change


T. Ellis announced that the Senate Committee on R&GS approved a change of name for a graduate program in Education.  The Master of Education (Organizational Leadership) was changed to Master of Education (Leadership).

  3) Business Arising from
   Previous Minutes
   a) Defining "Liberal
It was agreed to add one half hour discussion on liberal education at Acadia University, to today's agenda.  A lengthy discussion ensued with following points/opinions brought forward by various Senators:
∙ Curriculum changes are made and approved at Senate, often with no background.
∙ There is continual growth in the number of required courses.
∙ What value is a liberal education versus any other type of education?
∙ What kind of education should Acadia University be offering?
∙ What methodology do we use to accomplish this?
∙ A liberal education definition should be a very broad and general one, which represents a freedom to pursue the good and truth in knowledge. 
∙ A liberal arts education is knowledge for knowledge sake.
∙ In US students may a choose liberal arts school over a research- intensive school (where research, not teaching is most important).
∙ Liberal education is very definable in arts, but not as obvious in professional studies.
∙ Liberal education is short term for liberal arts and sciences.
∙ Liberal education should indicate liberation - to free the mind, to be able to be curious to ask and answer questions.  Should mean less constraint in terms of requirements, to allow students to learn what they wish (within established boundaries).
∙ The more disciplinary requirement imposed on students, the more we are narrowing, rather than broadening, their minds/knowledge. 
∙ Should not be acquiring credits just to get a credential.
∙ A liberal education should not be a 'watering down'.
∙ Regarding changes to number of hours required, would they be campus wide or within faculties?
∙ These issues have been talked of for years, but not gone anywhere.
∙ Should majors require fewer hours?
∙ A half-day workshop (with others from outside Senate and experienced in this topic) would be beneficial/desired after the
Strategic Planning reports are available for consideration on this issue. 
∙ Few resources for educators in various units to offer what is thought to be important in their programs.
∙ Currently a protective stance around program credits/units, rather than a sharing of related resources amongst faculties.
∙ Development needed within each faculty to allow for critical thinking on the topic of liberal education at Acadia.
The Chair agreed to plan an information session on this issue with the VP(A) after the Strategic Planning reports are available.

     b) Registrar-Course

 I. Wilks noted that the registrar had a handout on course requirements for various programs, as requested at the last meeting.  It was agreed to defer this item until next meeting, when a discussion/open forum will be held on this topic.

4) New Business
   a) President-Ad hoc
      Committee on Acadia's
      Graduation Ceremonies
It was moved by G. Dinter-Gottlieb and seconded by R. Cunningham that
Whereas the graduation ceremony is an important and public part of the academic life of this university, involving faculty, students and the wider community;
Whereas it is important that the content of these ceremonies reflect current values and practices of all interested parties;
Whereas the Senate of Acadia University, in its role of providing academic governance, has primary responsibility for the content of these ceremonies;
Be it resolved that an ad hoc committee of Senate be struck to examine all aspects of the current ceremony, to ensure that they are indeed in accordance with the values and practices of all interested parties, and to recommend changes where they are not.  This committee will consist of a senator from each of the four faculties, two student senators, the University Marshall, and the Vice-President Student Affairs, who will chair the committee.  The Nominating committee will finalize the membership of this ad hoc committee, which will be called "the ad hoc committee to examine the graduation ceremony".  This ad hoc committee will consult widely, and bring a report to Senate by the March meeting.
G. Dinter-Gottlieb spoke to this motion.  Some aspects of this ceremony which are in question include:  receiving degree in pairs, kneeling in front of the Chancellor, repetition of Chancellor's blessing, handing of degree (most important part) off stage, and exclusion of Dean in congratulations.  Generally, needs a fresh look.
It was noted by one of the Senators that although Senate is the academic body of the University, the Board of Governors is the dominant presence on the stage;
A friendly amendment to include the University Marshall on this committee was agreed to.

  c) Honorary Degrees
      Committee-Establishment of
      Honorary Degree "Doctor
      of Humanities"
It was moved by G. Dinter-Gottlieb and seconded by B. Matthews that a new Honorary Degree entitled "Doctor of Humanities" be established at Acadia University.
G. Dinter-Gottlieb spoke to this motion stating that without such an honorary degree, it was difficult to place some candidates in a proper category using the existing choices.  Acceptance of this motion would be greatly appreciated by those on the Honorary Degrees Committee. 
Acadia University currently has honorary degrees in Science, Civil Laws, Business, Divinity, and Letters. 

  5) Other Business
   a) Hours of Summer Courses
Abela spoke on an item from the previous meeting of Senate concerning the coordination of hours of summer courses relative to when it is taught in the fall and winter terms.  The fall and winter terms have 36 hours per three-hour course credit and the summer session vary from 39 to 42 hours.  This represents a possible two weeks difference.  Students who contract for 36 hours of instruction and do not achieve as well as hoped, may possibly appeal on grounds that some material was given over the 36 hours.

This issue will go to the Senate Timetable, Instruction Hours, & Examination Committee. 

  b) Enrolment Figures In reply to a request from A. Franceschet, P. Cook agreed to provide an updated report to the Senate on enrolment figures, a breakdown similar to those presented in September, a comparison to other Universities in the region, and a target enrolment figure for September 2005, for the February meeting.

   c) Curriculum Committee-
      Course changes in Faculties
      of Arts, Science, and
      Professional Studies
      (045-23-CRE )
It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by B. Matthews that the curriculum changes, as distributed at today's meeting, for the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Professional Studies, and the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science be accepted. (APPENDIX A)
A. Quema spoke to the program modification of Women's Studies. 
H. Hemming spoke to the changes in the mathematics/education program and confirmed that the Maritime Higher Education Council must approve these programs.  No additional courses have been added to the program.

4)b) Honorary Degrees
      Committee-Nominations for
      Honorary Degrees
      Candidate List
Counting of secret ballot was completed at this point.
It was moved by R. Perrins and seconded by G. Bissix that the motion regarding honorary degree candidates be taken off the table.
The Chair, therefore, directed the President to offer degrees to the nine candidates approved in this vote.  Results will go to the Honorary Degrees Committee.

6) Adjournment

D. Brodeur moved this meeting be adjourned.  It was 6:07 p.m.


D. Murphy, Recording Secretary