Senate report

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McGill Reporter
November 11, 2004 - Volume 37 Number 05
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Senate report

At the October 27 meeting of Senate, Professor Sam Noumoff reminded his fellow senators that the ongoing drive to attract new young faculty members, many of whom are in their child-rearing age, means that daycare availability has become an important issue. Noumoff pointed out that the University of Toronto offers much more for families than McGill and the University of British Columbia provides daycare subsidies for its staff. He then asked what McGill is doing to improve our own situation.

Provost Luc Vinet replied that childcare facilities such as the McGill Daycare Centre and the Macdonald Campus Daycare are run by independent organizations using space leased from the university. Spaces are split roughly equally among students, staff and faculty members. The Student Society daycare is expected to take some of the pressure off the downtown service and the university has identified six other centres in or near central Montreal. Altogether there are approximately 40 subsidized spaces available. Most incoming faculty have been accommodated, he noted.

Noumoff then asked for assurance that the administration is not pressuring the daycares to bump people on the waiting lists to make place for the children of attractive new faculty members. Vinet was quick to respond that he had no knowledge of such a practice and would not support such action.

Senate approved the PhD program for the Faculty of Education, to be based in the department of Integrated Studies in Education. The faculty has had a thriving ad hoc doctoral program from which 80 students have graduated since 1992.

Turnitin.com and its ilk turned up at Senate again when student senator Alex Kenjeev moved that the University adopt an interim policy on plagiarism detection software, until the adoption of a permanent set of guidelines. At present there is a gap, he claimed, since McGill has no express policy on plagiarism detection. When concerns about Turnitin.com were raised last year, Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Student Affairs, which has not yet returned its recommendations. The chair of that committee, Dean of Students Bruce Shore, stated that the committee has made excellent progress and should report back this November. There is no gap and so no need for an interim measure while we wait for Senate to arrive at a conclusion. "In the meantime," he said, "we follow the no-policy policy where student-faculty contracts determine use of Turnitin.com." After some discussion of the two points of view, Shore's supplementary proposal to refer Kanjeev's motion to the Committee on Student Affairs was carried.

Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations) Nancy Wells presented an update on fundraising activities. In addition to setting and working on ambitious targets for ongoing fundraising activities, her group has started gearing up for the next capital campaign. The campaign feasibility study should be completed by Fall 2005. Following this, she expects the quiet phase to last until late 2006 or early 2007, at which point the campaign would be publicly launched. The plan will be based on the priorities that emerge from the strategic planning process.

McGill's new (since February) Associate Vice-Principal (Com-munications) was invited to inform Senate about plans and activities in her area. During her overview, Jennifer Robinson reminded the audience that communication about McGill's mission and its contribution to society plays a vital role, both within and outside of the university, in helping the university achieve its goals. We need to do a better job of building on the already strong image that McGill evokes around the world. New initiatives, including a branding campaign, are being undertaken. "The purpose is not to impose or police," she said. "My aim is to create a situation that people want to buy into."

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