The meeting was held at 3:30 p.m. in Room 330, Stevenson-Lawson Building
PRESENT: Mr. W.W. Peel, Chair, Ms. J.K. Van Fleet, Secretary
Mr. R. Bateman, Dr. W.A. Bridger, Dr. J.V. Collins, Dr. P. Davenport, S. Desmond, Mr. J. Etherington, Mr. T. Garrard, Mr. W. Gibson, Mayor D. Haskett, Mr. C. Keith, Prof. M. Lennon, Dean R.M. Mathur, Dr. P.P. Mercer, Dr. G. Moran, Mr. R. Parks, Ms. J.M. Potter, Prof. J. Starkey, Dean J.L. Stokes, Mr. H.W. Taylor, Ms. C. Weldon.
BG.97-181 Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The minutes of the meeting of June 26,1997, were approved as circulated.
BG.97-182 Report of the President
BG.97-182a Annual Report to the Board
Each fall the President reports to the Senate and Board of Governors to outline goals and anticipated activities which reflect the President's priorities that were approved by the Board in June. Dr. Davenport referred to his memorandum of September 12, 1997, in Appendix I which summarizes his plans for the year ahead. He emphasized three priority areas:
Dr. Davenport advised the Board that his foremost hope and expectation for the year ahead is that Western's community will continue to work together toward common goals in fulfilment of the University's mission.
With respect to the entering averages of first year students, Mr. Bateman observed that the University appears to have returned to the 1990-91 level. He asked if the University understands what forces were at work to pull down the entering averages in the intervening years, so that this situation can be avoided in the future. Dr. Davenport responded that there were undoubtedly a number of factors at work, but perhaps the most obvious is that the University set enrolment targets rather than targets based on academic achievement levels. The result was that if one year the enrolment numbers were not met, the next year the minimum academic requirements were lowered. In a university setting, that can create a vicious circle: better students aspiring to be with those of higher standing, becoming less interested as academic standards go down. The turnaround this year must be credited to a large degree to the efforts of members of faculty and staff who worked very hard to contact prospective students and tell them why Western is the place for them to be. Also, summer programs that bring prospective students and their families on campus have been very successful. Personal contact makes a very big difference.
Dean Mathur emphasized that because the University was approaching the lower level of the BIU corridor, there could have been a real temptation for the University to lower academic standards in order to avoid slipping below the corridor. He supported the administration's resolve to maintain the admission standard at 75% and the addition of other attractive features, such as guaranteed space in residence for first year students.
Asked if the University has an enrolment goal for international students, the President advised the Board that there is no articulated goal. In his view, the current level of 3% is too small, but he didn't have a suggestion for the optimum level. The strategic plan makes it clear that international students are important to the University's mission, and the University will continue to recruit students from other countries.
BG.97-182b Meeting with the Premier
On September 23, a delegation from the Council of Ontario Universities met with Premier Mike Harris. As Chair of COU's Government and Community Relations Committee, Dr. Davenport was a member of the delegation. He reported that the delegation stressed four issues: student loans, research, tuition, and overall university funding, particularly the grant.
The university presidents expressed frustration that in this knowledge-based economy, where the university system has such an enormous contribution to make to the welfare of Ontarians, Ontario ranks tenth of 10 in terms of provincial funding per capita. They set out for the Premier the opportunities that they would pursue to improve both the quality of university education universities provide and accessibility. These included introducing an income-contingent loan repayment program (ICLR) with appropriate assistance to students after graduation, putting more money into basic research, and providing better funding to university budgets so that universities can hire more faculty. They discussed the need for some flexibility in setting tuition fees and the need to follow up on recommendations in the Smith Commission Report with regard to funding.
The COU delegation was very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with the Premier and is hopeful that the Ontario government will act in each of the issues addressed during their meeting.
BG.97-182c "Productivity Paradox" and Article on Student Debt
Attached to Appendix I of the agenda is the text of an address Dr. Davenport gave on "The Productivity Paradox and Management of Information Technology" at a conference of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards in April 1997. Also attached is an article on student debt written by the President which was published in the Globe & Mail on September 19, 1997. Dr. Davenport reported that he has received very supportive feedback from students and student groups in respect of the latter article.
BG.97-182d Activities of the President
The President's activities for August and September are detailed in Appendix I. Dr. Davenport commented on the official opening of Essex Hall on September 30th, and congratulated all who worked on the project, in particular, Susan Grindrod and the staff in Housing & Food Services and Dave Riddell and the Physical Plant & Capital Planning Department.
BG.97-182e Budget Planning for 1998-99
The Provost reported that the administration has been working intensively over the last weeks to prepare budget planning guidelines that will serve the University well in a very uncertain fiscal context. Because there is no long-term context for budget planning, it is a challenge to plan from year to year, particularly when the University does not have control of a large portion of the budget. Planning is particularly difficult in the Faculties and Departments where they know they must continue to offer high quality education to their students, but do not know what funding there will be to support that activity.
Planning guidelines have been distributed to Deans and will be sent to the administrative units in a few days. Meetings with Deans and Budget Unit Heads begin in early November and continue until the Christmas break. Deans and Budget Unit Heads prepare extensive written submissions and engage in 2-3 hour planning meetings with the President, Provost, and Vice-President (Administration). Through the fall and winter, reports on the planning process will be made to the Senate Committee on University Planning and the Property & Finance Committee of the Board. A tentative recommendation regarding Faculty allocations will be made in early January, as has been the case in the past. This is important to the Faculties so that they can get on with their planning for the next academic year.
Little is known about government grant or tuition revenue for 1998-99. The administration is planning, but with no certainty, for no increase in the grant and only modest increases in tuition revenue. On the expense side, increased costs are expected, there will be deferred maintenance expenses to address pressing needs, and there is a continuing need to invest in student support and in resource-intensive research. Another anticipated expense is an increase in salaries; all employee groups except the GTAs will be entering into negotiations for new agreements. One certain factor in those negotiations will be recent settlements at other universities.
Dr. Moran reflected on a number of planning priorities. Recruitment of students, whether internationally or locally, will requite an allocation of funds. Recruitment of faculty members was very successful this year, and will continue if possible. The administration will be looking for a consolidation of budgets in all Faculties, particularly in non-salary areas. A major theme of the budgeting process will be selectivity on the basis of quality and contribution to the University mission. There will be emphasis on performance indicators which will be supplemented by qualitative information that Deans bring to the planning sessions. Across-the-board allocations will not be made. Units are being asked to model a 3% cut in budget, but a 3% cut should not be interpreted as a prediction because there are too many unknown factors at this time.
Mr. Bateman asked what the University can realistically expect in terms of provincial grants and flexibility in setting tuition fees. Dr. Davenport stated that the most likely outcome in grants is no increase. Given that Ontario is tenth in the country in revenues per capita, there will likely have to be some accommodation on the tuition side -- some authority to raise fees. The increase in fees will likely be modest; even in a fully deregulated system, there are some programs that cannot absorb large increases. Western has kept fee increases in non-professional graduate programs below the average because those programs cannot absorb high increases.
Dr. Mercer described the planning process for administrative units and support units as being roughly parallel to that of the academic units. He emphasized that he, the Provost, and the President participate in planning meetings with academic and administrative unit heads. A tangible example of the benefit of coordinated planning of a number of units is the success of recruitment of first year students. This involved teamwork among the Housing & Food Services Department, the Physical Plant Department, the Registrar's Office, and the President's Office. Administrative units understand, and fully support, that they, too, must plan in furtherance of the academic mission of the University. Using deferred maintenance of facilities as a metaphor, Dr. Mercer advised the Board that the academic and administrative staff are suffering from a deferred maintenance problem: they have gone for a long time without salary increases that are proportionate, while also absorbing cuts. It is not possible to offer ready relief for those difficulties, but to some degree they will have to be addressed. As for the student-fee-funded units, Dr. Mercer explained that annual planning involves advisory committees to the units that meet with the budget heads to discuss their budgetary needs. Ultimately, the deliberations are funnelled through the Student Services Committee. Dr. Mercer observed that a number of issues were solved last year and therefore will not be on the table again. Large increases in fees for the student-fee-funded units are not anticipated.
Responding to a question about deferred maintenance, Dr. Mercer stated that the fact that the strategic plan calls for a scheduled increase of $750,000 per year to the capital reserves over a ten year period can be illusory. It is not as if there is a deferred maintenance invoice to be paid: in fact, there is no way of knowing what the cost of deferred maintenance will actually be. Dr. Davenport pointed out that it is not now possible for the Physical Plant staff to keep up with repairs that need to be made and the problems are accumulating.
The Chair of the Board reminded Board members that in the information session prior to the Board meeting on November 27, there will be an opportunity for members to have input into the budget planning process for 1998-99, as was the case last year.
BG.97-182f Residence Admission Process for 1998-99
Tabled at the meeting was an addendum to the President's Report entitled "Residence Admission Process for 1998/99". Dr. Davenport explained that one important component of Western's recruitment success this year was the guarantee of a place in residence to every first year student. Because of the high acceptance rate, the University found that the residence space was oversubscribed by 500 students who had to be placed in alternate housing. The problem was exacerbated because a large number of places had been assigned to upper year students in the spring. This has demonstrated that first year students must be given first priority in the residences, and that only after that demand has been met should upper year students be assigned places.
Dr. Mercer referred to the University's Residence Admissions Policies that describes Western's commitment to providing accommodation to first year students: "To reflect the University's commitment to providing accommodation for first year students, an appropriate amount of the total residence accommodation available will be set aside for first year students as demand dictates." In 1998-99, first year students will again be guaranteed a place in residence. Undoubtedly this will result in proportionately fewer upper year students in residence next year. The residence staff (Dons and Residents Advisors) and the core Residents' Council executive members (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) will be accommodated as in past years. Those who hold volunteer positions cannot be assured a place in residence next year.
Mr. Parks referred to a recent announcement that the Orientation program at the University of Toronto has been cut back to a single day. He asked about the future of Orientation at Western, in light of the fact that there will be no sophs in the residences next year, and about the future role of the Orientation Governance Board. Dr. Moran stated that the administration has not linked the changes in the residences to Orientation. In fact, the administration was very pleased with the format of Orientation this year. Admittedly, as noted in the handout, activities such as Orientation Week will have to be planned through the close cooperation of staff and councils to provide a welcome to new students. The Vice-Provost & Registrar and the Senior Director of Housing and Food Services are confident that, by working with the sophs, a way can be found to ensure that the students are able to engage in the Orientation process in an effective manner. He confirmed that as far as he is concerned, it is anticipated that Orientation in 1998 will be the same as in 1997, except that the sophs will not be living in the residences.
Mr. Keith said he was pleased that the Fall 1998 Orientation model has found favor with the administration, because there has been apprehension among students that the administration was striving to eliminate O-Week or to reduce it to a single day. He asked whether the 1998-99 residence admission process is just for the year ahead, or whether it will become standard practice. Dr. Mercer noted that later in the meeting, the Board will consider launching a feasibility study for a new residence. If a new building is constructed, that would relieve the pressure. Although the situation must be evaluated year by year, for now the process described is intended as a one-year plan.
Mr. Keith asked if, as part of this plan, any consideration has been given to the increased workload on the Dons and Residents Advisors. He noted that in the past, other sophs in the residence have helped the residence staff on a volunteer basis. Dr. Mercer replied that the increased workload is a concern and circumstances will likely warrant additional staffing, but he could not speculate at this time whether additional staff would live in the residences.
In response to questions from Mr. Etherington, Dr. Mercer reported that currently 70% of students in residences are first year students. In 1998-99, this figure will move toward 85-90% which, in the view of the Housing Department, will meet most of the need.
Mr. Parks pointed out that orientation of first year students is an ongoing process throughout the year, and if sophs are living outside the residences, their participation in orientation is superficial. He questioned, as well, whether upper year students will be given access to the residences. He recounted an incident during Orientation Week where he and another USC officer had great difficulty convincing the residence manager that they should be allowed access to the residence to speak to students in residence.
Dean Mathur stressed the importance of guaranteed residence in attracting first year students, and urged that the University consider increasing residence accommodation. The Mayor suggested that the Board consider constructing a residence in downtown London, such as a residence for graduate students. She urged that the University work with the City to look at the possibility of acquiring land without cost.
Mr. Parks asked whether, under the 1998-99 plan, there will be provision for accommodation for upper year out-of-province and international students. Dr. Mercer responded that Housing has always tried to give some priority to these students, and will continue to do so.
BG.97-183 Annual Report on Faculty Appointments by Gender [Appendix II-A]
Dr. Moran referred to the summary on page 6 of Appendix II-A. Western is making new appointments of women at the probationary Assistant Professor level at a rate that is only slightly lower than the average of other Canadian universities. Significantly, it exceeds the percentage of women graduating with PhDs during the same period and the percentage of women in the applicant pool. It is important that Western continue to seek out qualified women for new appointments.
Professor Lennon acknowledged the progress that has been made and urged that efforts to recruit qualified women faculty continue. She noted that the few women academics on campus are overtaxed with requests for their participation on committees where women's voices should be heard.
BG.97-184 Statistical Reports on Employment Actions for Regular Full-Time Faculty [Appendixes II-B and II-C]
The Board received for information the statistical reports on employment actions for regular full-time faculty in 1995-96 (Appendix II-B) and 1996-97 (Appendix II-C).
REPORT OF THE PROPERTY & FINANCE COMMITTEE [Appendix II]
BG.97-185 School of Dentistry - Dental Kit Fees
On behalf of the Property & Finance Committee, it was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by
That the Board of Governors approve the following Dental Kit fees for 1997-98.
Year 1 $5818.00
Year 2 $6,362.00
Year 3 $3,188.00
Year 4 $ 550.00
Qualifying Program - Year 1 - n/a
1997-98 Recommended with % Increase (Decrease)
Year 1 $6,046.00 3.9%
Year 2 $5,878.00 (7.6%)
Year 3 $3,250.00 2.0%
Year 4 $ 472.00 (14.1%)
Qualifying Program - Year I - $3,638.00
BG.97-186 Physical Therapy Remedial Clinical Placement Fee
It was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by J. Starkey,
That the Board of Governors approve a $250 fee for students in Physical Therapy who are required to repeat a clinical placement effective September 1, 1997.
BG.97-187 Gift Acceptance Policy and Guidelines for the Planned Giving Program
It was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by W. Gibson,
That the Board of Governors approve the following:
(a) Replacement of Policy 2.1 - Acceptance of Gifts, Grants, Bequests, Etc. with Policy 2.1 - Gift Acceptance [Appendix II, Annex 1] incorporating the following amendments:
2.00 (b) Legal and Other Professional Counsel
Professional staff and members of the Boards, where appropriate, shall in all cases encourage the donor to discuss the proposed gift with an independent financial planner, legal adviser and/or tax adviser of the donor's choice and at the donor's expense, to ensure that the donor receives a full and accurate explanation of all
aspects of the proposed charitable gift. In some cases, Western may decline a gift if the donor has not obtained independent advice.
(b) Establishment of Gift Acceptance Guidelines and Guidelines for Declining a Gift [Annex 2] incorporating the following amendments:
[Page 2, under 3. GIFT ANNUITY]
4. A commercial insurance company shall be selected, and the terms of the annuity contract negotiated, by the Planned Giving Office. Only "A" rated companies shall be selected to reinsure any annuity obligation. Up to three quotes may will be required, unless directed differently by the donor.
Guidelines for Declining a Gift
Western would decline a gift if one or the following conditions were known:
1. There are conditions to a gift and its designation which are not consistent with the aims,
priorities, academic standards or admission policies of Western.
2. The gift could financially jeopardize the donor and/or Western.
3. The gift or terms are illegal.
4. Western does not have the resources to honor the terms of the gift or to determine its value.
5. There are physical or environmental hazards.
6. Where false promises have been made.
7. The gift could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of Western.
8. The gift could improperly benefit any individual.
[DELETE} 9. The gift is intended to influence academic evaluation.
Mr. Garrard explained that the proposed Policy 2.1 is an updated version of a policy currently in existence. The new version acknowledges a number of new vehicles for gift giving that did not exist when the original policy was established. In addition, the Guidelines have been established to make clear the responsibilities of staff and Board members to donors who wish to make gifts to the University. The changes that appear in the motion above reflect amendments that were suggested by Foundation Western at a meeting held subsequent to the mailing of this Board agenda. The most significant change is in Guidelines for Declining a Gift. The intention was to take away any ambiguity about the extent to which a gift would influence any policy of the Board, admission policies, or academic standards of the University.
The question was called and CARRIED.
BG.97-188 Policy on Leases of University Facilities for Long-Term Use
It was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by J. Starkey,
That the Board of Governors approve Policy 1.25 General - Lease of University Facilities for Long-Term Use contained in Annex 3 to Appendix II.
Ms. Weldon explained that the purpose of this policy is to identify the situations where Board approval is required and where it is not. Mr. Etherington asked whether the objective of the policy is to make a profit. Dr. Mercer stated that profit is always a desirable benefit, but the University has leasehold arrangements that sometimes do not operate on a profit basis. As indicated by Ms. Weldon, the purpose is to ensure that the Board doesn't involve itself in what are effectively trivial details.
The question was called and CARRIED.
BG.97-189 Residence Feasibility Study
It was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by J. Starkey,
That the Board of Governors authorize a feasibility study, including preliminary design considerations, for additional University residence space.
Dr. Mercer referred to the Mayor's comment earlier in the meeting about siting a residence in the downtown area. He stated that the administration is eager to canvass a wide range of issues as part of the feasibility study, but timing is a critical issue. If it is decided by the Board that a new residence should be constructed, to have a new residence operational by September 1999, the planning lines will be very tight. Every attempt will be made to conduct the feasibility study and have it before the Board at its next meeting.
Ms. Desmond asked how Westminster College's plans to construct a new residence affect those of the University with respect to student housing. Dr. Mercer explained that the housing Westminster College is proposing is different from what the University would seek to build: it is a relatively small building where students will live throughout the year. The costs may be higher and the amenities different from what the University would chose to provide. This is one factor that the University will review as part of the feasibility study, but Westminster College understands that the University must make a decision based on the demand observed. In light of the University's commitment to provide to students a uniform experience in first year, the University is moving into the residences the technological capability for students to interact in ways they could not before and there are special academic programs provided in the residences. It is therefore not a simple matter that there may be additional beds nearby: the question is whether that accommodation is part of Western's residence system and whether it offers the full range of amenities that the University's residences offer.
The question was called and CARRIED.
BG.97-190 Convocation Hall Renovations
A description of renovations to be undertaken in Convocation Hall, University College, was provided in Appendix II (page 3).
BG.97-191 Report of the Investment Committee
The report of the Investment Committee was provided in Annex 4 to Appendix II.
BG.97-192 Annual Report of the University of Western Ontario Foundation
The Board received for information the annual report of the University of Western Ontario Foundation (Crown Foundation) contained in Annex 5 to Appendix II.
BG.97-193 Report on Environmental and/or Safety Incidents
The Board was informed of an incident in the Engineering Sciences Building involving the disruption of asbestos. The incident occurred in contravention of existing University policies and steps have been taken to ensure that contractors are advised of the presence of asbestos in University buildings.
BG.97-194 Report on Scholarship
The Board received for information a report on new and revised graduate and undergraduate scholarships, awards, and prizes as detailed in Annex 6 to Appendix II.
REPORT OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE [Appendix III]
BG.97-195 Audited Financial Statements: The University of Western Ontario
On behalf of the Audit Committee, it was moved by J. Collins, seconded by W. Gibson,
That the Board of Governors approve the audited financial statements for the University for the fiscal year ended April 30, 1997, as contained in Annex 1 to Appendix III.
The Mayor pointed out that the financial statements have not been signed by the auditors. Dr. Collins acknowledged that this was an oversight in preparing revised statements following the Audit Committee meeting.
The question was called and CARRIED.
BG.97-196 Off-Campus Student Placement Policy
It was moved by J. Collins, seconded by W. Gibson,
That the Board of Governors approve the policy on Agreements for off-campus student placements (Policy 1.8) shown in Annex 2 to Appendix III.
Asked for an example of an off-campus student placement, Dr. Mercer explained that these relate primarily to students in health science disciplines where, as part of program requirements, the student does practicum work at an off-campus facility.
The question was called and CARRIED.
BG.97-197 Supplementary Financial Statements: The University of Western Ontario
Dr. Collins advised Board members that they may request the supplementary financial statements for the year ended April 30, 1997, from the Financial Services Division.
BG.97-198 Audited Financial Statements: Related Companies and Other Organizations
Dr. Mercer advised that financial statements of all the entities listed on page 2 of Appendix II have now been approved by their respective Board, with the exception of The University of Western Ontario Foundation Inc. The Board of The UWO Foundation, Inc., a US-based organization, holds its annual meeting in March. In each case, the auditors have given their "clean" opinions on all of the statements.
BG.97-199 PeopleSoft Implementation Project: Status Report
A status report on the implementation of the PeopleSoft project was provided to the Board for information (pp. 3-4, Appendix III).
BG.97-200 Accounting For and Reporting the Costs of Employees' Future Benefits
The Board was informed about a proposed accounting change that will affect the University's financial statements in the future.
In June 1997, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) issued a new exposure draft on Employees' Future Benefits. The major objective of this proposed accounting change is to recognize the cost of employees' future benefits and the related liability in the reporting period in which the employees have provided service in exchange for the benefits. It is anticipated that new accounting recommendations will be in effect for the University's 1999/2000 fiscal year.
BG.97-201 Legal Responsibility of Board Members: Control Risks
Dr. Collins drew the Board's attention to the comments about Board members' legal responsibilities shown on pages 4-5 of Appendix III.
REPORT OF THE SENIOR OPERATIONS COMMITTEE [Appendix IV]
BG.97-202 Board Meeting Time - April 23, 1998
On behalf of the Senior Operations Committee, it was moved by C. Weldon, seconded by W. Gibson,
That the April 23, 1998, Board meeting previously scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., begin at
BG.97-203 Board Meeting - October 29, 1997
The Senior Operations Committee recalled that the Board agreed in June that the Board meeting scheduled for October 30th should be held at the London Convention Centre in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the University. Subsequent to the June meeting, a scheduling problem occurred which required changing the Annual Meeting and Board Meeting date to Wednesday, October 29th. The Annual Meeting will begin at 7:30 a.m., and will be followed by the Board meeting at 9:00 a.m.
BG.97-204 Appointments to Student Court
The Board was informed that the Senior Operations Committee has appointed a number of students to Student Court, as recommended by the University Students' Council. The list of Magistrates and Prosecutors appears in Appendix IV.
ITEMS REFERRED BY THE SENATE
BG.97-205 Annual Report on the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies Appraisals of Graduate Programs at UWO, July 1997
The annual OCGS report on graduate programs at Western, dated July 1997 (Annex 1 to Appendix V) was provided to the Board for information. The President explained that appraisals of graduate programs in Ontario is an ongoing process. It is involves a critical review process that is admired across Canada. In the report in Annex 1, 18 programs are covered. One is still under review (Psychology), and of the 17 others, 14 were given the highest rating, "Approved, Good Quality", and three were approved as "Good Quality with Report".
Mr. Keith asked if there is any similar program for reviewing undergraduate programs. Dr. Moran explained that the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies has been mandated by the Ontario government to conduct "active reviews" of graduate programs. OCGS appoints reviewers who visit the department concerned and conduct interviews. At the undergraduate level, the universities argued that an active review process would be unnecessary and impossible to administer. An Undergraduate Program Review Committee, under the direction of the Vice-Presidents Academic of the Council of Ontario Universities, is just now being implemented. The Vice-Presidents were charged with setting up guidelines and implementing an audit process. Relatively stringent guidelines have been established for the review process, and the criteria for the audit are derived from these. This past spring, the Senate and Board approved a new review process for Western which involves the Provost's Undergraduate Program Review Committee [see Board Minutes, June 26, 1997, BG.97-169]. At Western, there is a requirement that the reviews of undergraduate programs be reported to Senate and to the Board.
Dr. Collins noted that not more than one of the external reviewers may be from another Ontario university. She asked if the other reviewers are selected from within Canada or beyond. Dr. Moran stated that they come from universities across Canada and from outside Canada; a number are from US universities.
BG.97-206 Honorary Degrees to be Conferred - Autumn Convocation 1997
Dr. Davenport advised the Board that honorary degrees will be awarded to The Honourable Hilary Weston, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (October 23), Peter Gzowski (October 24, a.m.), and Rick Hansen (October 24, p.m.).
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS
BG.97-207 Homecoming and Exam Schedules
Mr. Parks stated that Homecoming Weekend is an important event for students, but if they have mid-term exams on Homecoming weekend, they cannot participate in float-building, the parade, and the football game. He asked why some Departments persistently book their term tests on Homecoming Weekend. The Provost stated that scheduling of examinations must be based on academic criteria and the decisions must be left to the judgment of instructors. He stated that he would not suggest to professors that they modify their examination schedules to accommodate Homecoming. Mr. Parks agreed, but noted that Homecoming is usually two weeks later than is the case this year, and yet Departments that used to schedule mid-terms later in the month (which then conflicted with Homecoming) set their mid-terms this year on Homecoming Weekend. The Provost rejected any suggestion that Departments would intentionally time exams to coincide with Homecoming.
Mr. Garrard reported that the date of Homecoming at Western is always the home game in October. That date is determined by the annual football schedule which is set by CIAU.
BG.97-208 Insurance for Collections on Display at the University
Professor Starkey referred to a letter from Professor Michael Locke to the Provost about insuring property. Professor Locke is an Emeritus Professor of Zoology, but one of his passions is gemstones. He has prepared a collection of stones that is now on display in the Department of Earth Sciences. The collection is valued at $15,000. The Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences inquired about insuring the collection against damage and theft, but was told that the University was not interested in acquiring the collection nor in insuring it. That leave the Department liable for any loss, and in these constrained times effectively means that the exhibit will not be continued.
Professor Starkey asked: (1) Should not the University be prepared to accept the responsibility for insuring such collections since they are directly aimed at enhancing the academic environment? and (2) If not, could the University not at least provide a self-insurance policy.
Dr. Mercer stated that the type of insurance required is a problem for anyone who mounts a display of any precious collection or art object. Such policies are expensive. Self-insurance -- covering the loss from corporate resources -- sounds attractive, except that there are numerous thefts of University property, despite the fact that equipment is bolted down and special security systems are in place. He stressed that investigations have shown that often the thieves are not members of the University community. The University does want to encourage the display of objects that are of interest to students, but because of the high cost, there is no easy answer to the insurance question. Dr. Mercer agreed to look into the issue, but could not give assurances that a solution can be found.
Dr. Moran stated that he had not seen the letter from Professor Locke to which Professor Starkey referred.
BG.97-209 Advanced Notice of Questions
Dr. Davenport invited Board members to give him, the Secretary of the Board or the relevant Vice-President advanced notice of questions they may ask at a Board meeting, particularly when some investigation will be necessary in order to respond. This system works well in Senate, and allows officers to provide more satisfactory answers at the meeting.
W.W. Peel, Chair
J.K. Van Fleet, Secretary