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January 29, 2008


Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Minutes of the Departmental Meeting on January 29, 2008

Present: R. Abhari, T. Arbel, J. Bajcsy, B. Boulet, C. Brown, L. Chen, J. Clark, D. Davies, K. Fraser, W. Gross, A. Hamoui, K. Johnson, G. Joos, P. Kabal, R. Khazaka, A. Kirk, N. Kolment, F. Labeau, H. Leib, L. Mason, H. Mayer, L. McKenna, Z. Mi, S. Musallam, D. Plant, M. Rabbat, M. Rochette, C. Serban, I. Shih, T. Szkopek, J. Webb, A. Wojciechowska, S. Wong.

Guests: E. Ogunleye, Area Personnel Officer, Faculty of Engineering
Enza De Martinis, Financial Officer, Faculty of Engineering

Regrets: F. Galiana, D. Giannacopoulos, M. Levine, E. Lotayef, D. Lowther, S. Mannor, F. Nabki, Z. Zilic.

The meeting was called to order at 3:06 pm.

1. Approval of the Agenda: D. Plant asked if there were any additions to the agenda – none. A. Hamoui, B. Boulet seconded. Carried.

2. Approval of the Minutes (December 18, 2007): K. Fraser, seconded by M. Rabbat. Carried.

3. Remarks from the Chair:

D. Plant wished everyone a Happy New Year. He introduced Heidi Barron saying that she holds an Administrative Office Technology Certificate and comes to us from the McGill Centre for Bioinformatics. Heidi has worked both for the Development Alumni and University Relations Department in Gift Records and the Douglas Hospital. She is also an Active Member of the Black Watch of Canada Women's Division.

D. Plant informed us that the Department started interviewing candidates today. When professors leave the room at 3:30 pm today, don’t be alarmed. He also stated that we have four slots to fill this winter/spring. In each case, they are connected to an NSERC Industrial Research Chair – two with Bell Canada and two with Hydro-Quebec. In order to fill these slots, we have formed five search committees in the following areas: communications, optical networks, renewable energy, wind energy, and general areas of interest. Many of you are sitting on these committees and I thank you. We will be interviewing during January, February and March in order to fill these slots. If anyone wants to meet a candidate and they are not on the agenda please contact Debbie and she will set something up.

4. Recognizing Professional Staff:

E. Ogunleye, Area Personnel Officer of the Faculty of Engineering, congratulated C. Serban for being a finalist in the Principal’s Prize Award. It was an intense competition that from a short list one winner is determined per year. E. Ogunleye presented to Carrie, for making the short list, an engraved pen.

D. Plant stated that Helene Mayer has been working jointly with the Dean's Office and ECE since the fall. Helene will now become a permanent member of Dean's Office as of January 1, 2008. Helene started working at McGill in 1981 and joined ECE in December 1994. Her office is located in the Macdonald Engineering Building, Room 383 and her local telephone number will not change from 1662. D. Plant congratulated H. Mayer on her dedicated service over the years and presented her with a silver pen.

B. Boulet announced that in addition to Carrie Serban of the SYTACom Center, another finalist was chosen from the Principal's Awards nominations. Marlene Gray, Manager of CIM, received acknowledgments for being a finalist in the Management category in 2006/07. Marlene also won the Faculty of Engineering Award of Excellence in 2003/04. Due to CIM's deep involvement with ECE in the graduate student and research domains over the past 22 years (CIM was founded in 1985 by ECE professors George Zames, Peter Caines, Steve Zucker, Pierre Belanger and Martin Levine) and the invaluable and extraordinary role that Marlene has played in the mentoring of so many of the CIM students from ECE, I would like to acknowledge her contribution and award by noting this in the minutes of this meeting. Applause ensued.

5. Presentation on Finances:

E. De Martinis, Faculty Financial Officer, gave a presentation on how finances should be handled for the Faculty/University. She explained that there are Internal Audits to check for non-compliance of policies and procedures. J. Clark added that in the Spring, the Faculty as a whole will be audited.

Expense Reports:
It usually takes two business days for the expense report to go to the travel desk – if there are no errors. Travel Desk returns erroneous expense reports to E. De Martinis. A. Hamoui inquired how they get from the departmental office to the faculty finance desk. E. De Martinis reported that A. Wojciechowska brings down financial documents on a daily basis. F. Labeau asked how could someone get a reimbursement for equipment purchases when the company does not accept a purchase order and the amount is over $2, 500. E. De Martinis stated that there can be exceptions but a memo signed by the Chairman is needed and pre-approval would be preferred. L. Chen asked if there was any ruling on E Bay purchases. E. De Martinis replied that there is no policy yet. The University is not keen on E-Bay purchases but they do occur. L. Mason asked if there was a time limit on reporting expenses. E. De Martinis reported that the best scenario would be in 30 days, but as long as it is done in the same fiscal year. In one instance, she told us that the Dean had to write a letter because someone was trying to get a reimbursed after the fiscal year was well over.

P-Card:
E. De Martinis requested that all P-Card receipts be handed into D. Davies or A. Wojciechowska for retention in the Department office. E. De Martinis asked that purchases must not be split to circumvent procurement; P-Card privileges could be revoked and that when purchasing gift cards, there is a HR implication. Payroll must be notified with the recipients name and the dollar value of the gift card for income tax purposes.

Petty Cash:
E. De Martinis asked that everyone remember to sign the back of receipts and write a detailed description of the goods purchased on the back of the receipt. She also asked that if the professors want to pay for a casual they must use pops and not their petty cash.

Appointments & POPS payments:
D. Plant inquired about the $100 charge that Payroll wants to charge for late appointments. E. De Martinis stated that the Payroll Office wants to levy a $100 charge for every hand issued late cheque that their department has to issue. S. Musallam wanted to know if the granting agencies would allow this. E. De Martinis replied that it would be charged to a discretionary fund and it the professor could not pay then payment would default to the Department. D. Plant commented that this would create huge problems both for the professor and the department. E. De Martinis replied not if the appointments were done in a timely fashion. D. Plant inquired about the exceptions. E. Ogunleye stated that Payroll is still trying to figure this out and he is hoping that there will be a grace period. He also asked for everyone to send their comments and concerns to him. J. Bajcsy asked about International students who they recruit in September but don’t have their SIN and they appoint – will they be penalized. E. Ogunleye stated that it is ILLEGAL to hire someone with out their papers in order – SIN card, work permit. L. McKenna stated that she “forward dates” their appointment once all their documents are in order, this is for the professors to avoid any charges. W. Gross asked if they need a SIN for student visa or scholarship. L. McKenna responded that if it is a scholarship, no SIN is needed. R. Khazaka asked what is an acceptable time to appoint someone to avoid the fine. E. De Martinis asked that someone submit an appointment as soon as they know. S. Musallam asked who gets the money collected. E. De Martinis answered that Payroll keeps the money. D. Plant asked that everyone send comments, concerns to E. Ogunleye. L. McKenna reminded everyone that she will be on vacation so please send anything as soon as possible.

Capital Assets:
E. De Martinis asked that professors keep track of the equipment they purchase. K. Fraser asked if there were guidelines for disposal of equipment and if there was a form. E. De Martinis answered that the Faculty is looking into it and there will be a form. R. Khazaka asked how to dispose of equipment now. E. De Martinis replied that the serial number must be keep and where it is located. H. Mayer informed us that there is a green policy at McGill and that they will come to offices to dispose of property; the link is on the McGill web pages. K. Johnson asked if it will be retroactive. E. De Martinis answered that they will be going forward not back. A. Wojciechowska mentioned that if there is an Asset Audit, Accounting will request where the equipment is located and they could make an appointment to view the equipment.

Group Taxes:
E. De Martinis explained that if there is a Seminar/Conference in McGill – McGill professors can attend with a FOAPAL with no GST nor QST but if someone attends from Industry or another university then they are taxable.

6. Open House:

R. Abhari gave a brief report on the Open House that was held on January 27th, 2008 – 8 am to 4 pm. She wanted to thank all the people who participated in the Open House especially Nadine Kolment who donated so much of her time. She informed us that there were 8 undergraduates – 4 labs – 3 professors (J. Cooperstock, A. Hamoui, K. Fraser).

7. Report of the Curriculum Committee:

A. Course Revisions:

L. Chen requested the following revisions:

• ECSE 487 Computer Architecture Laboratory
Action: Drop ECSE 525 from the list of co-requisites.
Rationale: ECSE 525 was retired.
Motion to adopt revision, P. Kabal, seconded by W. Gross. Carried.

B. Discussion:

L. Chen requested a discussion on the following and to please send him feedback:

1. Engineering Math courses: is the content relevant/appropriate? is the sequence appropriate? what topics should be covered that are not? what topics should not be covered that are? etc.

2. New faculty/department courses to replace MIME 221:
The faculty is planning to split this course into two parts. One part will be a 1-credit FACC course, which will be given in U0 (but which will be required for CEGEP students as well) and common for al students/programs. This course will be an introduction to the Engineering profession and ethics. The second course will be a 1-credit course given in each program, and co-requisite with the capstone design course. It will cover legal aspects of Professional Engineering activity, as well as domain specific professional practices and engineering management.

Existing Topics for MIME 221: Introduction to the engineering profession (3 hours):

1. Rights and code of conduct for students (3 hours)
2. Regulation of the engineering profession (3 hours)
3. Law/liability (6 hours)
4. Principles of engineering ethics (4 hours)
5. Ethical problems of engineers in industry, management, and private practice (6 hours)
6. Engineer’s duty to society and the environment (5 hours)
7. Sustainable development (3 hours)
8. Occupational health and safety (6 hours)
9. Engineering case histories (13 hours in tutorials)

Proposed courses:

FACC 100 – Introduction to the engineering profession (1 credit)
Topics:

1. What is engineering?
2. Rights and code of conduct for students
3. Professional conduct and ethics
4. Engineer’s duty to society and the environment
5. Sustainable development
6. Occupational health and safety
7. Overview of engineering disciplines (1 lecture each, given by professors from the different programs)

ECSE 4YY – ECSE Engineering Professional Practice (1 credit)
Topics:

1. Regulation of the engineering profession
2. Law/liability
3. Ethical problems of engineers in industry, management, and private practice
4. Engineering project management
5. Engineering case histories

8. Other Business:

D. Plant asked for any items for other business. D. Davies reminded everyone that the door on Room 633 had become live with a card reader. Access to the main office after 5 pm or before 8 am is with an activated id card and that she can grant access. She also reported that the door leading into room 637 from room 603 should be used sparingly and for emergency purposes only after 5 pm as it will also become live when the t-rex is installed.

D. Plant asked for a motion to close the meeting.

Motion to adjourn: K. Fraser, seconded by W. Gross at 4:35 pm. Carried.

D. Davies, Secretary