UVic Senate passes program changes and talks enrolment at Nov. 1 meeting

Campus News Uncategorized
File photo by Belle White

Driven out of the Senate Chambers by convocation regalia and without President and Senate Chair Jamie Cassels, the UVic Senate met in a lecture room in the David Strong Building on Nov. 1.

With Cassels stepping down as the UVic’s President in June 2020, the university needs to find his replacement. From the Senate, one representative was elected to the selection committee.

The Senate viewed a presentation on United Way by Michele Parkin, who co-chairs the UVic United Way Campaign. According to Parkin, UVic’s 2018 campaign was able to donate over $230 000. Since 1994, UVic campaigns have raised over $4.7 million.

Despite being overseas, Cassels still made an appearance. As the honorary chair of UVic’s United Way campaign, he was featured in a video shown during the presentation, encouraging faculty to participate.

With announcements and presentations out of the way, the Senate moved on to proposals and reports from Senate committees. 

The first motion brought forward was not the first motion listed on the version of the agenda available online, and  proposed rescinding a policy regarding procedures for appointing departmental chairs. A memo included in the agenda stated that UVic and the University of Victoria Faculty Association agreed to incorporate relevant contents from the old policy into a new collective agreement which was ratified by the Board of Governors in June 2019, making the remainder of the old policy redundant.

With the motion passed, the Senate returned to the published schedule.

Next up was the 2018/19 Annual Report from the Senate Committee on Academic Standards from Dr. Neil Burford, committee chair. The report was not discussed in detail by the Senate, as a memo had been circulated with the agenda. This memo noted that the committee approved convocation lists and a posthumous degree, made recommendations to Senate regarding posthumous degree guidelines and various program requirements, initiated and continued a number of projects, and received proposals from other committees and constituencies.

The next motion brought forward concerned the Senate Committee on Agenda and Governance. 

The list of awards in the agenda included nine new awards and five revisions. Following the passing of the motion, Senate member and Gender Studies professor Annalee Lepp spoke on the annual report from the Senate Committee on Awards. She clarified that the report only encompassed awards overseen by the Senate committee, therefore not all awards available from the university. Another report regarding all the awards goes to the Board of Governors.

UVic’s Faculty of Education has been offering both a four-year Bachelor’s degree and a 16-month post-degree diploma program. The Senate Committee on Planning, chaired by Dr. Susan Lewis, proposed changing that.

With all motions passed, and no proposals or reports from faculties, the Senate moved on to proposals and reports from Valerie Kuehne, Vice-President Academic and Provost.

“Our commitments include … recruiting the very best undergraduate students, diversifying our international undergraduate student population, increasing numbers of Indigenous students, increasing the overall proportion of graduate students, especially research programs,” said the Senate member.

Some programs will be expanded to offer additional spots, including computer science, engineering, Indigenous law, and nursing.

According to Tony Eder, UVic’s Vice President Academic and Provost, enrolment levels are healthy. Overall applications are up 2.6 per cent, with three to four applications for every available spot. Graduate enrolment has decreased by 2.6 per cent, but this is still above UVic’s funded targets.

UVic has an approximate total of 22 100 undergraduate students. Domestically, UVic enrols 16 871 full-time equivalents (the number of students who would be attending if total credits enrolled), exceeding a 16 105 FTE target. International undergraduate enrolment is 2 400 FTE, for a total of 19 344 FTEs.

Indigenous enrolment has been increasing, but a goal to double it has been set for the upcoming decade. A Board of Governors-approved international tuition exemption for Indigenous students whose traditional territories cross the Canada-U.S. border is hoped to boost enrolment.

To close out the public portion of the meeting, Lewis returned with Eder and Director of Financial Planning and Operations Kristi Simpson to refresh the Senate on the update of UVic’s Enhanced Planning Tools, or EPTs.

And with that, it came time for the Martlet to depart.