Senate report

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McGill Reporter
October 23, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 04
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Senate report

The Senate meeting of October 15 was a long one, and it covered everything from the MUHC to a report on the gender balance of McGill's student population.

The meeting started with a report from Dean of Medicine Abe Fuks on the status of the MUHC.

Fuks said the practice of medicine is changing in Canada. Patients are coming in with new infections, surgical techniques are changing and our ideas of what constitutes ideal access are different.

"Minimally invasive surgery means maximized operating rooms," said Fuks, adding that the current hospitals, which were located on their current sites when average patient stays were much longer, are less suited for a system that sees one million outpatient visits a year.

With the endorsement of the superhospital concept by the Liberal government this summer, the MUHC is forging ahead.

"The impact of the new hospital on the university is considerable," said Fuks, pointing out that it will be home to Canada's largest research institute.

The MUHC will be required to address a number of Quebec City's concerns about the Glen Yards site, and about what will happen to abandoned hospital sites like the Royal Victoria Hospital. That report is due December 15.

An October 9 Reporter article on the ongoing MUNACA negotiations prompted a question from Senator Sam Noumoff, who wanted assurance that the university is being respectful of their administrative staff.

"Those of us who work at the departmental level rely on the goodwill of the staff," he said.

Provost Luc Vinet responded by saying that the negotiations were being conducted in a spirit of "good faith and good will."

Acting president of the SSMU Vivian Choy wanted to know whether the planning process would look into the problem of courses listed in the calendar not being available from year to year. Vinet responded that it was one of many aspects that would be looked at. Senator Nicholas Acheson wondered if it would be possible for departments to create a list of what courses would be available from year to year ahead of time.

Senator Ruth Chen wanted the Principal to clarify her statements reported in the Daily on raising tuition rates. Principal Heather Munroe-Blum responded at length, explaining that tuition was one part of a complicated financial picture for the university that included many levels of government. She concluded by reiterating she was not actively lobbying to raise tuition, and would not support any de-regulation proposal that was not explicitly tied in with comprehensive student aid.

Choy presented a motion to Senate that the university observe a moment of silence on November 11 at 11 am with a ceremony in front of the Arts building. The motion was approved by a solid majority.

Munroe-Blum delivered her report on institutional strategies that will serve as a guideline for the next year. She lauded McGill's success in recruiting 121 new faculty over the last year, and the university's continued physical growth in the form of new research, classroom and residence spaces.

The integrated administrative planning process now underway will bear fruit in establishing academic direction, budgetary planning and performance measurement. Setting benchmarks to measure progress will be an important priority. One such target was to move the library system into the top quarter of university libraries in North America.

With promises of fiscal restraint coming from the new provincial government, the fiscal situation in the next few years will be difficult to predict. The coming capital campaign will be an important step in broadening the university's resource base.

Communication of McGill achievements to the public, and our needs and strengths to government, will be important to the institution's future as well.

Nicholas de Takacsy presented a report on gender balance in the student body at McGill. While numbers varied across faculties and departments, overall male enrollment has slipped as a percentage of the undergraduate population since 1980. Those with a Y chromosome retain majorities in disciplines like physics, but are minorities in the arts.

De Takacsy said the reasons for the change are largely outside the control of the university, and he did not recommend any change to our merit-based admissions policy. He did recommend "that we do what we do best: research." More information is needed both about our enrollment levels, and societal reasons for why fewer men are accepted and apply to McGill (the Reporter will do a follow-up article on this report in November).

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