Senate Meeting Synopsis for February 1, 2021

Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2021

The fourth Senate meeting of the 2020-21 session was held on February 1, 2021 and was chaired by President Charlotte Yates. 

University Secretary Gen Gauthier-Chalifour commenced the meeting with a territorial land acknowledgment.

Leadership Updates

The President began by offering oral remarks, directing attention to the Fall 2020 Kudos Report and expressing appreciation to students, faculty and staff as we continue operating under the challenges of the stay-at-home order.   

President Yates then provided an update on the COVID-19 outbreak on campus, relating that Public Health is managing the outbreak working closely with the University, and outlined the University’s responses to the activity that caused the outbreak. The President offered an particular thanks and acknowledge the incredible work of staff teams in residence, student health, hospitality, communications, campus police, and physical resources who have been working around the clock to make sure that our residences are safe and to contain the outbreak.  The President also noted evolving plans and communication relative to the upcoming reading week.

President Yates apprised Senators of the University’s continued advancement on several items with regard to equity, diversity and inclusion, commenting about the release of the comprehensive McLaren Report, recommendations of the Sexual Violence Task Force, and the importance of creating a culture of transparency and openness around the topic of sexual and gendered violence.  President Yates also shared that the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-racism, c recently held its first meeting and will be acting quickly on identified priorities.  

The President highlighted the recent call for nominations for the Strategic Refresh Advisory Committee and the importance of this activity, particularly in light of leadership changes within the University, and changes in the internal and external environments in which the University operates. 

The President concluded by congratulating the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics on launching their new Institute for Sustainable Business which will support and enhance business sustainability and corporate social responsibility, especially as it relates to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. The Institute will support student projects, community-based research and foster collaboration with practitioners engaged in business sustainability.

Finally, the President announced that as one way of connecting regularly with the University community, regular opportunities for virtual “Coffee with the President” would be announced in the near future.

Update from the Provost

Interim Provost & Vice-President (Academic), Dr. Gwen Chapman, announced that a call for expressions of interest to participate on the Sexual Violence Steering Committee will be sent to students, faculty and staff in the coming weeks. Dr. Chapman provided an update on Winter 2021 enrolment, Fall 2021 undergraduate application numbers and presented on preliminary planning for the Fall 2021 academic term. The Provost concluded with an update on the Provost’s Task Force on Pedagogical Innovation, and on measures to ensure financial sustainability. 

Update from the VP Research 

The Vice-President (Research), Dr. Malcolm Campbell, began by providing some background on research activities in 2020 including to set context for the activities that will take place in 2021 including, the reporting of research results, research management plans for summer 2021, a refresh of the Strategic Research Plan and looking at funding support and strategies.

Update on Indigenous Initiatives 

Dr. Cara Wehkamp, Special Advisor to the Provost on Indigenous Initiatives, presented an overview and update on the Indigenous Initiatives Strategy including the timeline for release, as well as the relationship between Indigenization and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University.   

Key Business Items and Approvals

Other key items of business at the meeting included:

  • Approval of Senate meeting dates for 2023-24 
  • Approval of changes to the following Graduate Calendar regulations:
    • Leave of Absence for Provisional Students
    • Program Duration
    • Criteria for Transfer from the DVSc to the PhD
  • Approval of the addition of a Master’s to Master’s Study Transfer Option to Graduate Calendar regulations
  • Deletion of the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Studies (Type 3) program
  • Items presented for information included an update from the COU Academic Colleague, Committee on Admissions and Progress Annual Report for 2019-20, graduate curriculum changes and faculty appointments.

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.

Upcoming Senate Meeting

The next regular meeting of Senate is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 5, 2021.

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

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