Queen’s Bowdlerized Plan: An Open Letter to the Principal and the Provost (11 March 2012)

As emailed to Principal Daniel Woolf and Provost Alan Harrison, and copied to all Senators, by Petra Fachinger, Mark Jones, and Jordan Morelli on 11 March 2012.  See also Principal Woolf’s response (12 March) and a further response to Principal Woolf (13 March). On 20 March, the Principal responded again to say that the Secretariat website would replace the two separate documents with one file comprising the full Plan, and that the brochures would be “withdrawn from further circulation.” The links on the Secretariat’s website were changed accordingly on 27 March (see Queen’s University Academic Plan 2011) and the links to the bogus Plan were disabled on 2 April.

Dear Principal Woolf and Provost Harrison:

We write you concerning a 16-page glossy brochure we have just seen, entitled “Queen’s University Academic Plan 2012.”  Although it has not yet been released as a brochure, it has already been posted as a pdf at http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/index/QU-2011-AcademicPlan-overview.pdf [link disabled as of 2 April 2012].

Our concern is owing to the fact that, despite its title, this brochure does not reproduce the “Queen’s University Academic Plan” as it was approved by Queen’s Senate in November.  The Plan as approved by Senate is a document of approximately 27,400  words.  The document now posted and apparently in preparation for distribution in brochure form as “Queen’s University Academic Plan” has approximately 5,100 words.  It consists in fact of only pages 2-13 (omitting pp. 14-53) of the document approved by Senate.

This error cannot be attributed to misunderstanding, for Senate unanimously approved the Academic Plan on an amended motion, and one of the two express purposes of the amendment, which two of us moved, was to revise the language of the APTF’s motion from:

(a) that the Senate approve the Queen’s University Academic Plan 2011 and its supporting Four Pillars

to:

(a) that the Senate approve the Queen’s University Academic Plan 2011, which consists of a 13-page Academic Plan summary and four Pillars . . .

(Senate Minutes, 22 Nov. 2011, pp. 5-6, emphasis added).  This alteration was expressly designed to address the objection made in Senate by M. Jones “That its [i.e., the APTF’s] designation of the Academic Plan was ambiguous; did its plan consist of pages 2-13 or of the whole text?”  (Minutes, p. 6).  Given that the APTF motion was approved by Senate as amended, there can be no doubt that the “Queen’s University Academic Plan” unanimously approved by Senate is the entire text of 54 pages–not its 12-page introductory summary.  (It should also be noted that the Academic Plan approved by Senate is “Queen’s University Academic Plan 2011,” not 2012.)

The records could not make this matter clearer.  To reduce the Academic Plan now to its 12-page summary, and thus to exclude the substance, would not only mislead Queen’s community; it would also betray the clearly expressed will of Senate.  It would betray the labour of those on the Senate Task Force who toiled earnestly for months to create the whole Academic Plan.  And it would betray the hundreds who responded so generously to the Principal’s calls for consultation—from the department heads and deans who wrote and submitted hundreds of pages of finely detailed “unit responses” under severe time pressures in spring 2010, to the faculty and students who attended Town Halls and other consultative meetings in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings of 2011.

We therefore ask that Queen’s Administration keep its faith with Senate and the whole Queen’s community by withdrawing this misleading publication and that it produce and distribute the Queen’s University Academic Plan 2011 as a whole, as it was directed to do by Senate.

Sincerely yours,

Petra Fachinger, Queen’s Senator and APTF member
Mark Jones, Queen’s Senator and APTF member, January-July 2011
Jordan Morelli, Queen’s Senator

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