Senate easily passed a new policy on cyclical academic unit reviews yesterday. Reviews will be conducted at least twice a month over the course of seven years. Lydia White, a Faculty of Arts Senator, will manage the process.
Eric Caplan, senator for the Faculty of Education, was the only opposition to the motion, on the grounds that it “would be useful [to have] some kind of mechanism for the departments and the evaluating committee to have a conversation.”
When Provost Anthony Masi replied that such a process would be very costly, Caplan disagreed.
“As of right now, the reports that come out are a series of monologues – it would be more collegial to have more dialogue, and as five of the seven reviewers are McGill employees, they could easily be connected through Skype [or such technology],” he said in an interview with The Daily. “So I don’t see any budgetary problems, and nobody raised any procedural problems, so that was the only reason for my opposition.”
Board of Governors report
Amir Raz, Senate representative from the Board of Governors (BoG), reported to Senate that the BoG approved the purchase of ten “state-of-the-art” sequencers as per the Genomics Funding Proposal at its October 25, 2010 meeting.
In closed session, the BoG Executive Committee also approved “any purchase contracts and accessory documents of $4 million or more associated with the Genomics funding proposal approved by the Executive Committee on March 22, 2010,” according to the Board report.
At closed session on November 30, 2010, the BoG approved of a number of other items that were not presented at Senate, but were included in the report.
These include awarding a contract to Securitas Canada Inc. that will be effective from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2014, increasing premium rates for the McGill Health and Dental Plans, and authorizing a budget to convert 410 Sherbrooke O. into a residence.
As required by the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec (CSST), the BoG also approved giving “signing authority to the manager of staff benefits in Human Resources Department for claims from the University for 2011, 2012, and 2013.”
Exams, Academic Advising, and Mentorship
Morton Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), presented a motion yesterday to create a “comprehensive University policy regarding the assessment of students,” to be voted on at the next Senate meeting taking place February 16. VP University Affairs Joshua Abaki is the student representative to a working group on examination regulations.
Student Arts Senator Amara Possian spoke yesterday about the upcoming launch of a new cross-faculty mentorship program. Over the past two years the Dean of Students Jane Everrett and Faculty of Science Senator David Harpp have been developing a program to address “the lack of a sense of community at McGill and the lack of mentorship – especially outside of one’s faculty or development,” said Possian in an interview with The Daily. “There are opportunities for mentorship through CaPS [Career Planning Service] or through one’s program, but McGill doesn’t make an effort to create a sense of community across faculties or departments.” The new program aims to bridge this divide. Student sign-up begins on February 1.