As emailed by Mark Jones to Faculty Senators, 23 November 2010:
Matters discussed at the first Senate Faculty Caucus Meeting this morning:
1. SFC meetings schedule. For the remainder of the year, SFC plans to meet in the same slot, 9 a.m. on the last Tuesday (or at the least two days) before Senate. Thus, our meeting dates will be: 9 a.m. on Tues., Jan. 18; Tues., Feb. 15; Tues., Mar. 22; Tues., Apr. 26; and Mon., May 24.
The rest of the meeting concerned items from the Senate Agenda for 25 November:
2. International Tuition Fees (Agenda I.5.b)
Agreed, that the recommendation “that tuition for Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Master of Science in Physical Therapy be increased, although the program targets Canadian students” (App. B, p. 9) should be queried. The Agenda indicates that this Report is for “action”; why does a report on “International Students’ Tuition Fees” include a recommendation for increasing tuition to Canadian students?
3. Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes (QUQAPs) (Agenda I.5.c)
Agreed, that SFC should express concern about the rushing of this issue, which first appeared on the Senate agenda in October and is now slated for “action” (the Province requires Queen’s to submit its Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) by December 31). SFC should also ask whether Queen’s IQAP has taken Equity concerns into consideration.
4. COU Meeting Report, and its attached draft “Discussion Paper: Online Education: Academic Considerations” (Agenda I.6.b)
Agreed, that SFC should be vigilant about COU’s cooperation with the province’s intent to establish “an online institute for the postsecondary sector” (Report, p. 2). The draft “Discussion Paper” attached here caricatures conventional education, e.g., in claiming that “the ‘sage on the stage’ transmits knowledge to a more or less passive audience” (sec. I, p. 63). It makes no mention anywhere of academic integrity problems associated with online education. And while it acknowledges that university graduates must “be able to communicate orally and in writing,” it pretends that “Since much of the communication online is done through writing, there is an opportunity to help students develop their writing skills” (sec. III.3, p. 66). (The fact is that online education is not better but far worse for teaching writing skills.) It was agreed that SFC should ask what the relevance of this Discussion Paper is to Queen’s.
5. Questions from Senator Christie to Principal Woolf on the HEQCO Report (Agenda II.1)
Agreed, that Principal Woolf should be pressed to indicate his willingness to open up cross-campus discussion concerning not just how but whether Queen’s should support HEQCO’s recommendations.
6. SCAD on “Development of the Academic Plan” (III.1.a)
SCAD recommends referring the drafting of the Academic Plan to a Task Force, including “outside consultants/writers” (“Report, p. 2; Appendix, p. 96; see also SCAD’s recommendation 4). Agreed, that the use of “outside consultants/writers” for this purpose should be opposed, given that a university should be able to write its own academic plan.
Two motions further down in the Agenda (V.1) concern this issue closely, and SFC is seeking to have them moved up.
7. SORC’s draft revision of the “Functions of Senate” document (Notice of Motion) (Agenda III.5.b).
Agreed, that this redrafting is potentially very serious, since it concerns the definition of Senate’s powers and responsibilities, and should be closely scrutinized by all Faculty Senators. SORC has merely produced side-by-side drafts without indicating what has been changed or why. A point-by-point comparison with comments is provided here, but should be further examined by someone with legal expertise:
8. Motions for Academic Planning process (Agenda V.1).
8a. SFC is seeking to have these Motions moved up to coincide with SCAD’s referral of the drafting to a Senate “Task Force” (Agenda III.1.a).
8b. SFC is open to a friendly amendment to the second motion, to the effect that the plan be completed by mid-April 2011, given that many officers of student government who are familiar with the issues will conclude their terms of office at the end of the academic year.