Acadia University Senate


A meeting of the Senate of Acadia University occurred on Wednesday, 10 May 2006, beginning at 10:08 a.m. with Chair Ian Wilks presiding and 40 members present.
1)   Minutes of the Meeting of
13 March 2006


It was moved by R. Perrins and seconded by L. McDonald that the minutes of Monday, 13 March 2006 be approved.


2) Announcements and
   a) From the Chair
      -re Regrets
      -re Visitors
      -re Agenda
      -re Membership


Regrets were received from G. Callon, G. Daborn, R. Giles, A. Irving, M. Masters, D. Piper, J. Roscoe, A. Smith, G. Vaughan, and J. White.

 Guests in attendance at this meeting were:  S. Donovan of the VP (Academic) Office, L. Davidson of the Registrar's Office, and A. Biro to speak on the proposed Interdisciplinary MA in Social & Political Thought.

 The Chair noted that there were handouts to the agenda:  Ten additional Annual Reports from various Senate Committees as well as the List of Graduates for Spring Convocation.

 I. Wilks encouraged those responsible to fill vacancies, on Senate and Senate Committees, to do so.  He expressed appreciation to the following Senators whose term ends 30 June 2006:  B. Matthews, J. Tillotson, J. McClelland, J. Gould, P. Vanelli, S. Franceschet, A. Franceschet, A. Quéma, S. Enman, S. MacDougall, G. MacKinnon, S. Markham-Starr, J. MacLeod, J. Roscoe, P. Cabilio, and D. Brodeur.

      -re Retiring Faculty

I. Wilks made presentations to faculty who are retiring from Acadia University and who have served on the Senate.  He said that Faculty participation on the Senate is an honourable and worthy part of a normal career profile.  He reminded Senators that Acadia has two governing bodies: the Board of Governors, which acts as the guarantor of the fiscal integrity of this institution, and Senate, which acts as the guarantor of its educational integrity.  Senate performs a vital custodial duty in upholding the academic standards of this institution, and those who have served on Senate can regard themselves as having made an important contribution.  It would indeed be a good thing if every faculty member of Acadia could spend time on Senate as these individuals have done.  As a token of appreciation, he presented parting gifts to Walter Isenor, Bruce Matthews, and Peter Townley.

      - re New Senators The Chair welcomed new student Senators: Z. Dayler, C. Rivers, and K. Robinson.
       - re Curriculum, Teaching
        & Learning Committee
I. Wilks explained that the Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Committee is a steering committee established in respect to the Learning Commons.  Further to a suggestion at the March meeting, D. Benoit of the Senate Faculty Development Committee, will serve as a Senate liaison on the CTLC.

  b) From the President

G. Dinter-Gottlieb thanked the Senate for all its work this year and for the positive impact it has had on the academic life at this institution.  The approval of the Strategic Plan was a milestone and will go to the BOG this week.  The Academic portion of this plan has given a direction for, and a distinction to, the University that will serve well in the future.  She expressed special thanks to those Senators who participated in the re-write of this plan.

   c) From the Vice-President

R. Nilson expressed his appreciation to the Senate for the work it has done this year.  He noted that two program reviews have been completed and the reports are expected shortly.  The review process went well and will be reviewed for improvements.  A new search for Dean of Research & Graduate Studies has begun and feedback from the University community is desired.

 d) From S. Markham-Starr
    - re ad hoc Committee on
      Students with Learning
      Disabilities (056-61-SLD)


S. Markham-Starr outlined the mandate of this committee that evolved from the June 2005 meeting of the Senate and resulted in the formation of the ad hoc Committee on Students with Learning Disabilities in February 2006.  She presented an interim report (APPENDIX A).  Input has been received from faculty and staff members, from Student Services, and from the Equity Officer.  A final report will be available within a month and she requested that consideration be given to a June meeting.

  e) From W. Bedingfield
      -re 2011 Canada Winter

W. Bedingfield spoke as Chair, Interim Bid Committee, Valley Canada Winter Games 2011 that has taken forth a bid to hold the 2011 Canada Winter Games.  She requested that the Senate support this bid by adjusting the University Calendar for the 14-day period in February/March of that year to enable
Acadia University to be the "Athletic Village".  To date, seven municipalities between Windsor and Berwick have partnered and have committed a combined two million dollars toward putting on this event.  Other bids for this event centre around Antigonish (St. Francis Xavier), Truro (Nova Scotia Agricultural College), and HRM.  She felt that Acadia University would benefit from revenue from rent paid by the Games Host Society as well as the availability of capital improvement funds from the Federal and Provincial Governments.  It would also be an exciting opportunity for Acadia.  W. Bedingfield noted that this area is a long way from receiving the bid to host these games, but the timing requires this be put in place now.  She requested a meeting in June to consider this issue in principle so the bidding process may continue with this approval in place.  She noted that international students who may not be travelling away during the study break, might be billeted outside the village for the two-week period.  More details would be available at the June meeting if scheduled.


It was agreed to hold a meeting of the Senate on Monday, 12 June 2006 at 10:00 a.m.

 3) Approval of List of
   Graduates for the Convocation
   of May 2006 (056-60-CON)

It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by L. McDonald that Senate approve the List of Graduates for the Convocation of May 2006. 

Senate considered this list by faculty.  Faculty of Theology degrees were in order.

It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by B. Matthews that this motion be tabled as the list presented was incomplete.


  4) Business Arising From the
     a) By-Laws Committee -
        Report on Proposed
        Restructuring of Research
        & Graduate Studies
        Committee (056-56-LAW)
It was moved by P. Corkum and seconded by A. Quéma that the By-Laws Committee report on the proposed restructuring of the Research & Graduate Studies Committee as attached to today's agenda be approved. 
P. Corkum spoke to this motion and noted that the main issue for the By-Laws Committee to consider in bringing this forward to the Senate was "How the Faculty of Theology would fit into these three committees?".  The main problem was the lack of policy for the allocation of University funds to graduate students in the Faculty of Theology.  She reminded Senators that this committee is not speaking of the appropriateness of these committees or their mandate.  This committee was asked to work with the Acadia Divinity College and R&GS in respect to that issue and make it consistent with other aspects of the By-Laws.  The actual content of the proposal was not the mandate of the By-Laws Committee.  P. Corkum noted changes as follows:
VIII (f) ii
g. To consider any other matters of policy relating to research, and 

   any other matters referred to it by Faculty, Vice-President   
   (Academic), Senate, or Board of Governors.
VIII (t) i
The Committee would invite the President, VP Academic, the VP Academic of the ASU, and/or the Registrar to special meetings.
VIII (t) ii
i  To recommend to Faculty and Senate the granting of graduate
   degrees, diplomas and certificates to students who have
   satisfactorily completed program requirements.
j  To Consider any other matters of policy relating to graduate studies,
   and any other matters referred to it by Faculty, Vice-President
   (Academic), Senate, or Board of Governors.
VIII (i) ii
h.  To make recommendations to Senate for modification of the
   regulations respecting Honours programs.
i.  To consider such other matters as Senate may from time to time
   entrust to the Committee.
j.  To identify needs and provide for educational opportunities for
   honours students beyond specific degree programs.
H. Hopkins asked that the first line of the second para on p 1 be changed to read "Upon consultation with the Acadia Divinity College Senate". 
S. Lochhead noted that the following was removed from the original list of duties for the Graduate Studies Committee and asked that it be included at the end of this section, as a friendly amendment:
VIII (t) ii b.
Such submissions must also include the required changes in Library support.
J. Eustace was concerned that the Graduate Studies Committee members were not elected as other Senate committee members are and because the representatives are from each graduate program, faculties are not equally represented.  W. Bedingfield replied that a trial of this structure was held this year and worked well and was well received by the graduate coordinators, who were appointed by each program.  This restructuring proposal was initiated by faculty members. 
It was moved by P. Corkum and seconded by H. Wyile that this motion be tabled to deal with the graduation list.
3) Approval of List of
   Graduates for the Convocation
   of May 2006 (056-60-CON)




It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by J. Gould that the motion to approve the List of Graduates for the Convocation of May 2006 (APPENDIX B) be taken off the table.


Senate continued through an updated list, considering degrees in the Faculties of Arts, Science, and Professional Studies.  Minor typing errors were noted.


 It was moved by R. Nilson and seconded by J. MacLeod that any candidate for an Acadia degree, diploma or certificate who should receive a grade or otherwise qualify or be disqualified between this Senate meeting and the forthcoming Convocation, shall be considered by the Chair of the Admissions and Academic Standing Committee, the appropriate Dean and the Registrar, acting as an ad hoc committee of the Senate, they having the power to make consequential amendments to the graduation list.

4) Business Arising From the
     a) By-Laws Committee -
        Report on Proposed
        Restructuring of Research
        & Graduate Studies
        Committee (056-56-LAW)




It was moved by P. Corkum and seconded by A. Mitchell that the motion to approve the By-Laws Report on the Proposed Restructuring of the Research & Graduate Studies Committee be taken off the table.


 A. Mitchell noted that although the Senate By-Laws do not require graduate programs to go to the Senate Curriculum Committee in one article, in another it does.  W. Bedingfield felt there was no need to have graduate programs go through the Senate Curriculum Committee.

 A. Quéma felt that the fact that curriculum submissions for graduate studies, will not go through Faculty Councils or the Senate Curriculum Committee was a problem.  There is no opportunity for faculty as a whole to comment on any graduate proposal. 

 A. Quéma asked for clarification of the University Research Fund (Article 25.55) as mentioned in VIII (f) ii b. of this proposal.  W. Bedingfield replied that this is an internal fund.  A. Quéma asked if there was a process to apply for this extra money?  W. Bedingfield was interested in hearing of un-funded faculty projects so they could be addressed.

 J. Eustace felt that the structure went well this year, but that it would be more equitable for each faculty to have one vote.

 G. Ness also felt one vote per faculty was more practical.

 W. Bedingfield stated this proposal is better than a one-vote system because 1) with a representative from each program, issues can be dealt with together and at one time and 2) it is more responsive to the individual needs of each program. 

 The Chair clarified that the motion to approve the broad outline of this proposal was voted on and passed at a previous meeting.  Today, we are voting on how the Senate Constitution and By-Laws are going to be changed in order to enact that broad outline.  This is the final step of the process.

 P. Abela felt it was a mistake to structure in a way that depended on collegiality amongst members of the proposed Senate Graduate Committee.  Membership with equal representation from faculties would be more equitable.


 I. Wilks stated this approval accepted those changes to the Senate Constitution and By-Laws and thereby made the changes to the structure of the committees part of the current committee structure of the Acadia University Senate.

H. Hopkins expressed gratitude for the further integration of the Faculty of Theology.  He also noted that the Associated Alumni of Acadia University has given the Award for Excellence in Research to Dr. Craig Evans of the Divinity College.
5) New Business
   a) Nominating Committee
      - Nomination Report for 
        2006-2007 Senate
        Vacancies (056-57-NOM)


It was moved by D. Brodeur and seconded by A. Quéma that the By-Laws nominating report as circulated with today's agenda be approved. 

The Chair called for further motions from the floor three times and hearing none, declared those named were elected by acclamation.


It was agreed to move to item 5)c).

 c) Research & Graduate
      Studies Committee -
      Proposed Interdisciplinary
      MA in Social and Political
      Thought (056-59-RGS)



W. Bedingfield introduced this proposal.  She said that it had been considered by the Senate Committee on Research and Graduate Studies and there was much enthusiasm for such an interdisciplinary program.  This committee has forwarded it to Senate for its approval.

 A. Biro, initial program coordinator, commented on this proposed program as attached to today's agenda.  He noted that there is no similar program in Atlantic Canada and felt such a program would strengthen graduate studies at Acadia University.  It would involve students in Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, and other appropriate disciplinary or interdisciplinary programs.  This proposal has not gone to any faculty council.  A. Biro believed this program would bring more resources to the University, rather than causing programs to compete.  The maximum number of students projected in this report is high.  He agreed that women should be more involved in this program, particularly in the gender area.

 B. Matthews supported this proposal as Dean of Arts and felt this program would also benefit undergraduate students.  He noted that the financial budget would determine the support given to such a program.

A lengthy discussion followed with the following points brought forth:

۰ A. Quéma supported this interdisciplinary initiative, but felt it is unfortunate that discussion was not held at the faculty level in regards to funds, as she believed that funding for existing programs would suffer with resources given to any new programs.  She hoped that more women would be involved in developing this program. 

۰ S. Lochhead confirmed that the library already has suitable resources on hand and encouraged instructors involved in this proposal to stay in touch with the Vaughan Library, as more resources would be accessible.

۰ G. Iwama clarified that any new Science program was taken to Science Heads & Directors; but not to the full Science Faculty Council for discussion.

۰ C. Rivers commented that this proposed program tied in very well with the initiative put forward by the University and was a strong and interesting one. 

۰ W. Bedingfield felt the proposed model for a graduate council would be beneficial to such interdisciplinary programs. 

۰ R. Nilson said this program was a positive move for Acadia.  There is a structural problem in that graduate programs being proposed have not been discussed at faculty councils, where resources are being impacted.  The list of new courses in this proposal is extensive and wondered what the effect would be on existing courses to accommodate these new ones. He was concerned about resource implications.  These issues must be investigated further. 

۰ J. Gould asked for clarification on how funding is distributed to various programs to which A. Biro replied that resources come into Acadia University through students and collaborative research.

۰ G. Dinter-Gottlieb was glad of this discussion, but shared the concern that finance and people resources must be available.  Proposals must go on more than good will.

۰ D. Brodeur expressed concern that the AGA will be threatened.  If no more money provided, it will affect undergraduates.

۰ A. Quéma said that the Academic Program Review process would be a way to assess the concerns expressed in this discussion and R. Nilson replied that the review would need to be done more often than every five years.

۰ A. Quéma asked if a program cannot be supported/offered properly because of lack of resources, should it be offered at all?

۰ In the past, it was expected that courses would be dropped to accommodate new offerings.  R. Jotcham confirmed that it is standard procedure for the undergraduate proposals.  The Curriculum Committee requires that courses be dropped to bring on new.

It was agreed to defer item 5)b) until the next meeting of the Senate.

6) Adjournment P. Cabilio moved this meeting be adjourned.  It was 12:15 p.m.

D. Murphy, Recording Secretary
SenateMinutes/10May06/Item 2)d)
To:       Members of Senate
From:    Susan Markham-Starr
Date:     May 10, 2006
Re:         ad hoc Committee on Students with Learning Disabilities – Interim Report
Based on discussions at Senate over the past year regarding services and accommodations for students with disabilities that affect learning, Senate created an ad hoc committee to address these issues. The committee’s mandate and membership are noted below.  
  • To examine current policies and practices regarding students with learning disabilities at Acadia with the view to making recommendations for improvement or modifications.  In examining these policies and practices, the committee should consult Senate's Timetable, Instruction, and Examination Committee, the coordinator of Academic Support Programs, and the Equity Officer.
  • To address Senate's concerns about issues of discrimination, learning accommodation, equity, and academic standards.
  • To consult broadly with members of the University to take account of the fact that different schools and departments have different policies to address the issue of learning disabilities.
  • Three Senators - one from each of
    • the Faculty of Arts – Tony Thomson
    • the Faculty of Professional Studies – Susan Markham-Starr
    • the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science – Svetlana Barkanova
  • Two student representatives who participated in the panel on learning disabilities organized on 28 September 2005
    •  Tara Loughnane
    •  Megan Pearson
  • One student Senator – Josh Gould
  • One representative from the School of Education whose field of research includes learning disabilities – Deborah Day
  • The Acadia University Dean of Students – Matt Calfin
Committee name
Senate has used the phrase “students with learning disabilities” in its discussions. The ad hoc committee is using the phrase “students with disabilities that affect learning.” We believe that this phrase better describes the situation.

SenateMinutes/10May06/Item 2)d)
To date, the Committee has received the following input
  • Background material from the Senate discussions
  • From the Faculty of Professional Studies – 4 written submissions
  • From the Faculty of Arts – 2 written submissions
  • From the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science – 3 written submissions
  • From Senators – 2 written submissions
  • From Senators who spoke at Senate about this issue – 2 written submissions
  • In addition to the written responses, several verbal submissions were made to the members fo the Committee
  • From Committee members, in response to various submissions – 6 responses
  • From Jill Davies, material regarding procedures at Acadia; statistics regarding accommodations at Acadia University; and policies at other institutions
  • From John Smith, material from the Learning Disabilities Association of Nova Scotia; the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada; the Association on Higher Education and Disability; the Atlantic Postsecondary Learning Disabilities Network; and the Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Postsecondary Education; as well as his thoughts re: learning disabilities accommodation and the equity policy at Acadia University
  The Committee Chair has a meeting scheduled with the TIE Committee on May 18th
The Committee has individually and collectively processed this input, and is working toward creating its report for Senate. The themes that have emerged from the input that we have received include:
  • The laws of the country regarding persons with disabilities
  • Current best practices in the academic environment regarding persons with disabilities
  • The assessment process, including confidence in the integrity of the process of assessing students with disabilities that affect learning
  • Education of faculty and students about the process of assessments and accommodations
  • Accountability regarding equity and fairness in assessment and accommodations
  Next steps – report to Senate
The ad hoc Committee on Students with Disabilities that Affect Learning is completing its work. There are two options open for presenting the Committee’s report:
1.      at a June meeting of Senate
2.      at the September meeting of Senate
Senate must decide how quickly it wants action on the Committee’s recommendations.