The UVic Senate wrapped up 2016 with a concise meeting on Dec. 2, covering a host of topics with rela- tively few major decisions but several important updates.
UVIC FALLING IN UNIVERSITY RANKINGS
Tony Eder, executive director of academic resource planning, gave a presentation on UVic’s standing in university rankings, specifically the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and the Times Higher Education University Rankings.
Eder cautioned that rankings are not a definitive measure of university performance. He conceded, however, that due to their widespread use in prospective students’ post-secondary decision-making process, monitoring UVic’s ranking is necessary. Eder went on to outline how UVic’s ranking has unfortunately been on a downward trajectory, especially in terms of reputation.
“We’re seeing a pretty big disconnect between the quality [measures of citations and impact] that we know to be true and how we’re being referenced in surveys,” said Eder. “[There’s] a 303-place difference between our reputation and what our quality is telling us.”
Eder cited the UVic Edge campaign, communication with co-op employers and employees, and ongoing outreach with high school counsellors as some of the efforts undertaken to improve UVic’s current rankings.
SCHOLARSHIPS APPROVED, MINUS ONE
Several new and revised scholar- ships were approved at the meeting, with one (the Freedom 55 Financial Fitness and Community Wellness Award) being withdrawn due to its specification that it be awarded to “one man and one woman.” Dr. John Walsh, chair of the Senate Committee on Awards, explained that the original wording had only specified “two students,” and that the language was changed to be more gender-inclusive. The com- mittee would try to reconcile the addendum and investigate whether the change was necessary for the next Senate meeting in January.
To close out the meeting, the Senate Committee on Planning proposed and passed a name change for the “Non-Bachelor of Social Work Entry Master of Social Work Program,” to the “Master of Social Work Foundation Program” to make it clearer what the program is and how it compares to others in Canada.
The Senate also proposed and passed a new Graduate Certificate in Health Terminology Standards.
INTERIM REPORT ON SEXUALIZED VIOLENCE PROGRAMS AND POLICY
UVic’s Working Group on Sexualized Violence Programs and Policy Development also presented an executive summary of its interim report and preliminary recommen- dations ahead of its full report next year. According to the summary, the working group found that “while education and prevention initiatives exist at UVic, the programs lack coordination and consistency of message.” To address this, the group recommended a three-phased approach: developing pre-arrival exercises and information; continuing and enhancing on-campus orientation programs; and continuing and enhancing ongoing education.
The working group’s final report on sexualized violence policy is expected in January. The full-length interim report can be found at uvic.ca/info/sexualizedviolencepolicy/report/index.php.
The next UVic Senate meeting will take place on Jan. 6, 2017. Meetings and agendas are available at uvic.ca/universitysecretary/senate/.