A regular meeting of Senate held March 17, 2006
Curriculum: Vice-Provost Academic Programs Danielle Morin recommended changes in the calculations of the Cumulative and Graduate GPAs. She cited a lack of consistency on how to caluclate both grades for repeat courses in these GPAs, even within some faculties. The Academic Programs Committee recommended counting only the final grade attained in repeated courses in both these GPAs. There was much discussion on the impact of this decision on students who do not repeat courses and the purpose of the GPA before the motion passed almost unanimously.
The committee to establish minimum scores for iBTOEFL presented its recommendations. This newly developed internet-based test of English as a Foreign Language is used to determine entry for international students. Since the test has changed considerably since its previous iteration, the committee conducted a series of workshops and discussions. The committee recommended a minimum admission standard of 75 out of a possible 120, with a discretionary unpublished range of five points below and the possibility of individual faculties, departments and programs to establish higher minimums. The overall impact of this decision will be reviewed in about three years. This recommendation was accepted after some discussion.
Centre for Diversity: Based on discussions held at the Arts and Science, Fine Arts and John Molson School of Business Faculty Councils, Dr. Jack Lightstone proposed the establishment of a Concordia Institute for Cultural and Social Diversity by Jan. 2007. Acknowledging concerns expressed in Arts and Science Faculty Council, a steering committee will determine the initial direction and modalities of operation of the Centre, paying particular attention to its relationship with the planned Center for the Humanities. The establishment of the centre, in consultation with all concerned faculties, was approved.
School of General Studies: Academic Provost Martin Singer tabled a far-ranging document that describes a school intended to bring together all students with marginal status (because they are taking distance courses, continuing education courses, have no home faculty as mature, independent or visiting students or have conditional status). Singer pointed out that these students represent half of all registered students. Through the school, students could obtain academic advising and support services. It would also serve to standardize a variety of non-credit courses available through eConcordia or elsewhere by giving the faculties direct input in course design and standards. Stressing that the document was intended as a blueprint for discussion, and that neither the name of the school nor its staffing needs were carved in stone, Singer presented the proposal as a support tool for ‘at-risk’ students, a recruitment opportunity for new students and a way to rededicate Concordia to its long-standing tradition of providing access to education.
Those present voted to pursue the program through discussions in the various faculties and possibly other unions and associations as appropriate.
Search Committees: The President reported that the search for a VP Research and Graduate Studies is going well.
Provost Singer reported that the search for a new Dean of the JMSB was underway. An open meeting for any JMSB students, staff or faculty who would like to express their concerns or comments to the search committee will be held April 6 at 9:30 a.m. in the DeSève Cinema.
Engineering and Computer Science Dean Nabil Esmail announced that Behzad Akbarpour, under the supervision of Sofiène Tahar, had been awarded the NSERC doctoral prize for Electrical Engineering.
Registrar Linda Healey announced that the deadline for nominations for the university’s non-academic student medals is March 31.
The next meeting will take place on April 7, 2006.