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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

  • Four faculties' rules get senate OK
  • Optometry takes SARS precautions
  • Wanted: a new associate VP
  • The Daily Bulletin's bulletin board
Chris Redmond

[Globe] Today is Earth Day

Four faculties' rules get senate OK

Members of UW's senate made it clear last night that they want it to be a committee, not the dean, that has the right to overrule a faculty member and raise or lower marks for a whole class.

Taking the line urged by UW's faculty association, they voted to approve procedures from four of the six faculties. One was turned down outright, and the sixth was sent back for some reworking.

The issue has been around for more than two years now, ever since a grievance case over an incident in which the dean of math raised the final marks for students in an advanced calculus class. The faculty association, which was an active party in the grievance, called for a university-wide policy that would give a committee in each faculty the final authority to change grades -- or not change them -- if a dean or chair thought there was a problem.

Instead, the faculties were asked to come up with individual policies, and those documents came to last night's meeting of the UW senate.

The four that were approved all use the committee approach, although they vary in detail. Engineering assigns the role to its undergraduate studies committee, while arts offers an elaborate system for setting up a special "undergraduate grades review committee".

That's the sort of the thing the faculty association wanted, said Ed Vrscay of applied math, speaking on behalf of association president Catherine Schryer, who wasn't at the meeting. She had sent a memo to association leaders across campus urging them to take an interest in the senate debate, and about a dozen faculty members did come to watch the meeting.

Senate turned down the procedure submitted by environmental studies, which said a committee would make "a recommendation" about disputed grades, but one that was "non-binding on the dean". "There was the belief in the faculty council," said ES dean Geoff McBoyle, "that they had faith in the dean's office." But senate thought otherwise, and turned the ES policy down by a 26-22 vote.

The proposal from mathematics was approved after dean Alan George -- whose involvement in those calculus grades got the whole thing started two years ago -- said he accepted that the dean would be bound by the "recommendation" of the committee that's assigned the job there.

The new procedure in the science faculty also assigns the decision to a committee. The same is true of the sixth faculty, applied health sciences, but that procedure was sent back for rewriting after some senators said it wasn't specific enough about how the committee would be set up.

Optometry takes SARS precautions

Doors have been unlocked at UW's Optometry building, as the clinic there has found a less awkward way of screening patients to prevent the possible spread of SARS -- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

[Red brick, curved corner] For the past several days, only the main clinic entrance (left) has been kept open, and everyone coming in was briefly questioned, says Debbie Jones, assistant director of the clinic. "As we are a health care provider, we have been advised to follow the same protocol for screening patients as other health care settings," she explained. "There has been no incident in the Optometry school to prompt this action. We are following the guidelines recommended for all health care facilities."

SARS advice from health services

Rules for co-op students

Jones added: "The challenge we face is that we have a clinic within an academic building, and for that reason we have many potential entrances." She said staff, students and faculty who work in the building were not subject to the same screening, and those who had keys could come in by any of the doors. "We are asking staff, faculty and students to be vigilant and consider their own risk factors and make a decision regarding their presence in the building."

As of yesterday, the procedure changed and the doors are open again, she said. "All people entering our clinic areas will be subject to the screening questions . . . at the reception area of each clinic rather than globally when entering the building. This will make life much easier for everyone concerned."

Wanted: a new associate VP

UW's provost is calling for "applications and nominations" for the position of associate vice-president (academic), which will become vacant July 1. The current associate VP, Bruce Mitchell, will be moving up to be associate provost (academic and student affairs) on that date.

Says a memo from the provost:

The Associate Vice-President Academic reports to the Vice-President Academic and Provost (VPA&P), and is a tenured faculty member on secondment with 90% of time allocated to this position. The normal term of office is five years, renewable by mutual agreement.

The Associate Vice-President Academic assists the VPA&P in general academic administrative matters, with special focus on academic department and undergraduate program reviews, interdisciplinary programs, and coordination of international activities.

The Associate Vice-President Academic chairs the Senate Undergraduate Council, the Distinguished Teacher Award Committee, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program Board. In addition, interdisciplinary academic programs report to the Associate Vice-President Academic.

As a member of Deans' Council, the Associate Vice-President Academic works with the Deans of the Faculties and other senior academic leaders in advancing the academic mission of the university. She/he coordinates, with the Associate Provost, Academic and Student Affairs, initiatives to support mentoring of new faculty and forum offerings for chairs and directors, to help them increase their effectiveness.

Candidates should be tenured full professors with several years of academic leadership experience relevant to the portfolio.

The memo adds that applications and nominations should be sent to the provost no later than May 2.

The Daily Bulletin's bulletin board

This last day of winter term exams is also the last day for food service in the residences, as the remaining cafeteria there, Mudie's in Village I, will close after lunch, not to reopen until the spring term starts in early May. Elsewhere on campus, a number of food services outlets are closed this week and next; some will reopen in May and some not until September. And where can you still get a meal, a snack or a coffee during the April interregnum? Outlets are open in Needles Hall, the Co-op and Career Services building, the Student Life Centre (Brubakers), the Dana Porter Library, South Campus Hall (only Bookends café), and the Davis Centre (the Jolly Chef for lunch, Tim Horton's all day).

Also on reduced hours is the Computing Help and Information Place (CHIP) in Math and Computer, which has started closing at 4:30 p.m. -- meaning it's open from 8:00 to 4:30, Monday to Friday. These hours will remain in effect until the fall term. (And tomorrow, Wednesday, the CHIP will be closed between noon and 1 p.m.)

Senate undergraduate council will meet today at 12 noon in Needles Hall room 3004. . . . The elevator in the Earth Sciences and Chemistry building will be shut down for a week, starting tomorrow morning. . . . The staff elevator in the Dana Porter Library will also be shut down from tomorrow morning until April 30. . . . The Quest and Winq student inquiry systems will be shut down tomorrow from 1 a.m. to noon for a system upgrade. . . .

The senate long-range planning committee will meet tomorrow at 1:30 (Needles Hall room 3004) for a discussion of matters that range from UW's "innovation strategy document" to the proposed relationship with the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences -- and, perhaps, development of a "sixth decade plan" to succeed the current Fifth Decade document.

The Institute for Computer Research presents a talk tomorrow on "Wireless Medium Access Control Protocols", by Michael Fang of the University of Florida (10:30, Davis Centre room 1304). . . . The retail services department is giving advance warning that the bookstore, the computer store and its other outlets will be closed for inventory this Friday and Saturday. . . . The annual Canadian Federation of University Women book sale is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and anyone with books to donate can call 740-5249. . . .

And finally, I think it's now safe for me to give the right identification for the lady who's going to sing the blues next Tuesday. The star of the "Lady Sings the Blues" event for the UW staff association will be Elaine Brown, of the UW residence office. John Anderson and Bev Hubbard are the winners of the association's contest, which involved identifying the singer. The music will be a free noon-hour event a week from today in the Student Life Centre.


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