September Senate Notes (26 September 2012)

The following notes are not comprehensive and are not meant to usurp the place of official minutes, only to inform members of significant developments pending the appearance of the official draft minutes next month.

Senate met on 25 September (see agenda).  Most of its business was routine, but several matters of interest arose in the Principal’s and Provost’s reports and in their answers to questions.

Principal Woolf reported that he has spoken with the Ministry concerning widespread discontent with the new provincial policy on the reporting of research travel expenses (see May Senate notes) but found the Ministry unsympathetic.  There may, however, be provisions for per diem reporting of expenses in cases of research travel in areas where receipts are not given.

He reported that Justice Iacobucci may be expected to advise Senate sometime this fall, and that he hopes to report to Senate on this in October or November.

In response to a question about “strategic mandate agreements” being due to the Ministry by September 30, Principal Woolf emphasized that what he is presently preparing is, rather, a “proposed mandate statement.”  The Principal and Provost noted that the Ministry has promised $30M to reward the winning statements (as CAUT has recently explained, the Minister will deduct those funds “out of base-budget funding for all institutions” and re-allocate them “as a prize to three institutions that ‘…demonstrate the greatest ability to serve as lead institutions’”).  The Principal emphasized that having just completed its Academic and Strategic Research Plans will give Queen’s an edge in this competition.  A slide was shown indicating three priorities for Queen’s:  “Expanded undergraduate credentials,” “Development of twenty-first-century skills through experiential and entrepreneurial learning,” and “Expanded graduate credentials.” The Principal saw little room for speaking back to the Ministry about its vision for post-secondary education.  He said that, as he has explained before, he does not agree with every part of this agenda (e.g., the promotion of three-year bachelors degrees) but accepts the Ministry’s financial picture and sees much that is positive in its proposals.

In response to questions concerning his promised “investigation” of the allegations of research misconduct at Queen’s and HEQCO (see OCUFA and May Senate Notes), the Provost said that Ms. Massey had been advised about the implications of moral rights waivers by the Office of Research Services; that she had signed the waiver as well as a contract that obliged her to advise any co-researchers of the waiver; and that HEQCO reserved the rights both to alter the research report until it was “final,” and to determine the point at which it became “final.”  He said that the waiver of moral rights was strictly between Ms. Massey and HEQCO (not Queen’s), but admitted that the report had been altered by staff at Queen’s at the behest of HEQCO.  The Provost concluded by saying that his investigation was not interested in and had not dealt with the question of academic integrity, since there was no call to investigate this absent a complaint about it, adding that in his view there had been no breach of academic integrity.  The Provost was then asked if he did not consider the passage in OCUFA’s statement that “Massey and Field describe [HEQCO’s publishing of their report in altered form] as a ‘serious breach of academic and intellectual integrity,’” to be a complaint.  He responded that it was not a formal complaint, and asked Susan Marlin, VP-Research, to confirm this, which she did.  Toward the end of question period, Senator Morelli returned to this issue and asked if the Provost would provide a written report on his investigation.  The Provost shook his head and said something inaudible to Sen. Oosthuizen, who was acting Chair by this point.

The agenda included another question for the Provost concerning “the procedure by which a student . . . may . . . file an allegation of a departure from academic integrity by  . . . a faculty member, or by Administrators.”  He responded that he had asked Academic Integrity Advisor Jim Lee to speak with Teri Shearer, chair of the Senate Academic Procedures Committee, about this problem and about providing a solution.

A further question for the Provost concerned the recent appearance of big commercial advertisements “in Mac-Corry, and perhaps in other campus buildings.”  The Provost responded that the area in question in Mac-Corry is not classified as academic space and is under the control of the AMS.  He therefore referred the question to Senator Johnson, AMS President.  Sen. Johnson explained that the AMS used the ads to generate revenue for student activities.  He said, however, that the commercial ads that appear in the Athletics and Recreation Centre are not in the control of the AMS.  By this point the Provost was absent, but Sen. Oosthuizen promised that he would refer the question about these commercial advertisements back to the Provost, to be answered in October’s Senate.

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