A troubling thing
A troubling thing happened at last week’s Senate meeting. The Senate Undergraduate Program Committee (UPC) brought forward a motion for approval of calendar changes for courses offered by the Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach (CAECO). The motion was to restrict enrolment in these courses only to majors. Thus, undergraduate students from other programs would not be allowed to register in these popular electives. The proposed restrictions would seriously undermine the Centre’s new minor program in Adult Education, which had only just been approved by Senate at its February 2016 meeting. The single reason given to UPC was that these changes were “due to budgetary restrictions on the teaching of these courses”. The most troubling aspect of this situation is that the proposal to restrict enrolment in CAECO courses was brought to UPC by the Administration, as we have been told, without full discussion and consultation with the CAECO Program Committee. Further, in discussion of the motion, Senate learned that the Administration also had submitted a request to terminate the newly approved minor in Adult Education. Again, according to our reports, this request for program termination was brought to UPC without prior consultation with the affected unit. It is also important to note that the restrictions on enrolment in these courses were put into place for spring/summer registrations before the proposed changes were even brought to Senate for its consideration.
The motion to restrict enrolment in the CAECO courses was defeated by Senators. The primary reason for the negative vote appeared to be the lack of consultation with CAECO but a failure to provide any pedagogical rationale and a lack of consideration of academic implications were also noted. We hope that the results of the vote send a strong message to the Administration that it cannot circumvent appropriate consultation with relevant academic units in bringing its own proposed program changes to Senate, which has responsibility for academic matters at Brock. This development at Senate also suggests that Departments and Centres need to be alert to other possible instances of senior administration bringing changes to Department/Centre programs directly to Senate without consultation with the relevant academic units. Both the Faculty Handbook and our Collective Agreement mandate such consultation. Indeed, BUFA has filed a grievance on the lack of consultation with CAECO, as described above. The grievance is partially based on violation of Article 16A.03(f), which gives the Centre’s Program Committee responsibility for academic planning.
Responsible Conduct of Research – New Proposed Policy
Also of note is the draft policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research that is attached to the Senate’s Research and Scholarship Committee report (see the the Senate March 16 agenda for a link to the policy). The proposed policy, among other things, sets out definitions for research misconduct and internal procedures for dealing with it. The Committee has requested feedback from Senate about the policy but also would likely find comments from the general Brock community to be useful.
And don’t forget to submit your ballot in the Senate election. Voting is open until Wednesday March 30. (See email from [email protected] for your link)
Linda Rose-Krasnor, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
President, Brock University Faculty Association
Phone: 905-688-5550, ext. 3870