Acadia University Senate

SENATE MEETING OF 8 November 2004

A meeting of the Senate of Acadia University occurred on Monday, 8 November 2004, beginning at
4:04 p.m. with Chair Ian Wilks presiding and  members present.
1)   Minutes of the Meeting of
      20 September 2004
It was moved by G. Bissix and seconded by P. Cabilio that the minutes of Monday, 20 September 2004 be approved.  There was no meeting of the Senate in October 2004.

2) Announcements and
   a) From the Chair

      -re Regrets
      -re Senate Membership


Regrets were received from R. Gossage, A. Irving, J. Kirk, L. McDonald, M. Murphy, N. Van Wagoner, and R. Wilson
The Chair welcomed new Senator Erika Nahm as graduate student representative.
 b) From the President
      -re Learning Commons
      -re Faculty Dining Room


G. Dinter-Gottlieb confirmed that a Director of the Writing Centre has been hired and is located in the Student Union Building.  McConnell Hall will be redesigned and this position moved there as part of the Learning Commons. 
She also complimented the students for housing the Saturday Wolfville Farm Market until December. 
The Faculty Dining Room in Wheelock Hall will be opened this month.  This will be an area available to faculty for meals, conversation, and meetings.

    c) From the Vice-President
      -re Senate's Role
R. Nilson spoke at length on the need for an active and committed Senate at Acadia University.  The Senate has been in a challenging position at this university and as a result, there has not been the level of activity, the level of commitment, and the recognition of the Senate's responsibility, as should be.  The Senate should become engaged by  providing opportunity to discuss and debate some of the critical questions facing this university.  This Senate is one of two governing bodies for Acadia University.  All levels must accept a certain amount of responsibility and take the steps to get engaged and become involved in the various Senate Committees.  He suggested that the December meeting include an in-service or forum to explain and discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Senate and its committees.  He noted that there has been discussion at Strategic Planning meetings about the importance of the Senate and how to ensure issues of academic nature are brought to Senate for debate.
Dr. Nilson reported there is much activity with the Strategic Planning Committee.  The advisory group has started to initiate 'Acadia conversations' with various groups.  The questionnaire being developed by Keeling & Associates is expected to be distributed the end of this month.  Terms of reference for research strategy are being developed.  As well, the committee on internationalization is moving forward.  He reported that the Acadia Homepage has a direct link to the Strategic Planning website where all activities involved in the process will be posted.  He closed by stating that questions and issues from students, staff, and faculty have been positive and have resulted in interesting discussions.
The Vice-President (Academic) answered questions from the floor which included: 
1) concern with Keeling's approach to pedagogical learning.  The VP(A) stated there is no intention to be placed in a straight jacket by this firm's recommendations.  Keeling is not here to re-form Acadia into his views - he has much respect for what is here and what Acadia is doing.  On the other hand, he has many experiences at taking a critical look at institutions for which we will benefit.  He is here to facilitate discussion and brings a positive and diversified view of what Acadia University may do to improve. 
2) a recommendation in regards to the new scheduling system.  A request to continue with the old scheduling system this year while the electronic system is brought on for the first time.  R. Cunningham brought the request forward, on behalf of the Faculty Association.  Dr. Nilson reported that this software has been reviewed twice in recent past with the intent to ensure that the best possible array of courses are available to our students and the faculty teaching environment is its best.  The goal is to have the scheduling done so students may register in March.  There will be parallel tracking; i.e., the former system will be used and data will be gathered to try out the new system at the same time.  The main principle for scheduling is to best address student needs, faculty needs, and administrative efficiency.  The Chair noted that Senate did convey the issue of final authority on scheduling matters in December 2001 and January 2002 when it did issue some decisions on that matter.  The minutes for these meetings may be consulted on the Senate Website. 
3)  a request for clarification on the time line for the Strategic Planning process.  It was noted that the website is still in planning stages; when an earlier report at Senate indicated we were to be all aware of the process now.  Does this mean the Strategic Planning process is behind schedule?  The VP(A) replied that the university community knows that a strategic planning process is going on, which is important.  Completion of the questionnaire is a bit behind original time line, though the new time lines are based on input and suggestions from faculty, students, and staff.
4)  clarification regarding the compilation of the questionnaire, without input from or active involvement of the Senate.  It was felt that the answer to questions are very much related to the questions that are asked.  Dr. Nilson noted that the decision of the advisory group to the VP on the questionnaire met in the summer and the advice was received that a broad section of the campus was represented.  There is clear recognition that Senate must be involved through debate and discussion. 
5)  whether input from interested parties off campus would be sought.  Are associate alumni and Baptist Convention being included?  The VP(A) advised the focus to date has been to ensure faculty, staff, and students are clear on the planning process and have their views listened to.  Other community focus groups throughout Nova Scotia, with a vested interest in Acadia, will be heard on dates as yet to be set.
6)  agreed with Dr. Brodeur that answers often reflect the questions asked.  What is the process for constructing the questionnaire?  Dr. Nilson explained that from the advisory group, small subgroups of faculty, staff, and students advised on content of the questionnaire.  A draft of this questionnaire is expected from Keeling.  The faculty subgroup will be given an opportunity to give feedback on this item before it is distributed. 
7)  confirmation that the website on the Strategic Planning process should be available to the general public.  The VP(A) replied that there is nothing to hide and felt it was beneficial to have it available on the Acadia homepage.
8)  clarification on the gathering of information during the initial stages of Strategic Planning.  What is the process to receive information on the progress of the Strategic Plan?  Dr. Nilson indicated that he would report regularly to meetings of the Acadia University Senate.  It is here, where the history is known and understood, that the issues will be debated and discussed.
The Chair thanked Dr. Nilson for this extensive discussion. 
It was agreed that the Chair would represent Senate and work with the VP(A) to organize the December In-Service of Senate.

  3) New Business
   a) 2003-2004 Annual Reports
      from Senate Committees 
      i) Honours
      ii) Timetable, Instruction
          Hours, & Examination
      iii) Curriculum
      iv)  Academic Integrity
      v) Admissions & Academic 
         Standing Committee         
      vi) Research & Graduate
      vii) Honorary Degrees
      viii) Academic Program
      ix) Admission & Academic
          Standing (Policy)
It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by R. Perrins that the annual reports of the Senate Committees, as attached to today's agenda be received.
No discussion was held.
D. Duke asked if discussion was held at this committee regarding the use of electronic examinations.  R. Jotcham advised this issue has been discussed extensively at the Academic Integrity Committee rather than the TIE Committee.  Much research has been done on this matter and an attempt is being made to create a policy.  The TIE Committee has only dealt with the possible location of such examinations.
P. Cabilio noted that this report indicates that the number of courses is decreasing.
H. Hopkins asked if Acadia has software to check for plagiarism.  The Registrar replied in the affirmative, and noted there is always a search for better products.
A. Thomson asked if there were any statistics to indicate how successful the academic support program is?  The registrar replied that 75% of those who participate in the program are successful.
With reference to Item 7) of this report R. Cunningham was pleased to see an increase in funding for graduate students and to Item 8) asked why university monies given to students who already have external monies?  T. Ellis replied this issue has had much discussion and it is felt this top up is necessary to attract worthy students.  In reply to a question from P. Cabilio, he confirmed that the VP(A) graduate student funding mentioned in 7) is in addition to the top-up in 8).  The 2005-06 funding is not yet set. 
With reference to Item 4), A. Quéma asked for an update on the submitting of theses electronically.  Dean of R&GS replied that electronic Honours Theses are still in the pilot stage; while Graduate Theses have the option of electronically submitting a final version to the Library or doing so manually.  Submission to the committee for review is still manual at this time.  A department interested in this procedure as a pilot is being sought.
T. Ellis confirmed that NSERC/SSHRC funding amounts have increased.
In reply to a question from D. Brodeur, the President clarified that there were two applications in the report period, for Professor Emeriti status; one of which was accepted and the other denied.  There are no written guidelines for this procedure; therefore, the decision is based on academic achievements. 
She added that the response to the ballot for Honorary Degrees, distributed to Senators, was less than one half.  Therefore, G. Dinter-Gottlieb recommended that anonymous, unpublished (unrecorded) voting take place at Senate where Senators would have the opportunity for input.  There are many to consider this next round.  It was agreed to work out a procedure for this process with the Chair of Senate.
R. Nilson encouraged this committee to become more active in the area of program review and is looking forward to working with this committee.
Original report as distributed with the agenda was revised through email to Senators.
S. Bondrup-Nielsen commented that the majority of these annual reports were meagre on information and wondered what was the purpose of these reports.  The Chair replied that the reports are meant to give a sense of issues on the committees during the year.  On Senate committees where the position of Chair is the same person, he encouraged members take on the report writing.  Basically, Senate is standing committees. 
P. Corkum reminded Senators that each Senate committee is responsible for sending committee material to the University Archives.  She encouraged Senators to contact individual committees, who might be working on an issue, with concerns prior to a meeting; rather than bringing them to Senate to change, after that committee has done what they felt was comprehensive research.

   b) Nominating Committee
      -re New Member for By-
          Laws Committee
It was moved by P. Corkum and seconded by R. Perrin that A. Quéma serve as Arts Senator representative on the Senate By-Laws Committee until 30 June 2005, replacing M. Grieve.
The Chair asked for further nominations three times and hearing none declared nominations closed.

  5) Other Business
   a) Vice-President (Academic)
      -re Notice of Motion on
          Reactivating Fall
          Convocation at Acadia
          University (045-05-VPA)

Following is notice of motion from the Vice-President (Academic):
That Fall Convocation at Acadia University be reactivated.
There was no objection to addressing this question as a main motion from the floor rather than sending it to an ad hoc committee.

6) Adjournment R. Cunningham moved this meeting be adjourned.  It was 5:35 p.m.


D. Murphy, Recording Secretary