Senate Meeting Synopsis for February 10, 2020

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The third Senate meeting of the 2019-20 session was held on February 10, 2020 and was chaired by President Franco Vaccarino.

Catherine Carstairs, Professor and COU Academic Colleague, commenced the meeting with a land acknowledgment.

Leadership Updates

The President opened the meeting with a solemn acknowledgment of the tragic loss of two of the University’s PhD students in the Ukraine International Airlines flight crash. Senators were asked to join in a moment of silence in memory of Ghanimat Azhdari and Milad Ghasemi Ariani. The President added that at COU’s recommendation, the province has announced the creation of a scholarship fund in honour of the students lost on that flight.

The President’s oral remarks were focused on the recent Globe and Mail article published February 8, 2020, which reported details of unacceptable behaviour from former track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas. He expressed his upset and dismay at details previously unknown to the University, revealed in the article. The President extended a personal apology to any current and former student athletes impacted by the behaviour and applauded the strength and courage of those who came forward. He further outlined the steps the University is taking to enhance and expand improvements made in recent years including a coaching code of conduct, increased wellness and student counselling,  and new athletic roles that reflect an improved and changing culture. Senators were encouraged to ask questions.

The Provost provided an oral update on the progress of the Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA3), indicating that the ministry has reviewed and provided feedback on the document. Due to be completed within the week, the Provost underlined that the document emphasizes the narrative of the University of Guelph being a strong research-intensive, comprehensive university with anchor colleges, the Ontario Veterinary College and the Ontario Agricultural College. The Provost also shared that several leadership searches are underway across campus including the search for a new Dean of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics.

Key Business Items and Approvals

Other key items of business at the meeting included:

  • Approval of Senate Meeting Dates 2022-23.
  • Approval of the COU Academic Colleague Alternate.
  • Approval of the Integrated Pathway Proposal.
  • Approval of Reading Weeks and Study Break Days regulations.
  • Approval of a Major Modification to the MSc in Food Safety and Quality Assurance.
  • Presentation of the Committee on Admissions and Progress Annual Report 2018-19.
  • Presentation of the One-Year Follow-up reports for the PhD in Management, the Department of Population Medicine, the Master of Business Administration, and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
  • Items presented for information, including: update from the COU Academic Colleague, update on Senate and Board of Governors elections, graduate curriculum changes, graduate faculty appointments, undergraduate curriculum changes, the annual call for Honorary Degree nominations, and updates to the Walter Vaughan Medal Guidelines.

The President concluded the open session with an announcement of the creation of the Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), which will promote cutting edge interdisciplinary research on India and the Indian diaspora in Canada.

More Information

The complete meeting agenda package is available on the University Secretariat’s Governance Portal and includes detailed information on the items listed above.  The official record of the meeting is the meeting minutes, which will be available following their approval at the next regularly scheduled Senate meeting.

2019-20 Senate Meetings

The remaining meeting dates for the 2019-20 Senate Session are as follows:

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Monday, June 1, 2020

Meetings are open to the public and visitors who wish to attend should contact the University Secretariat at

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