Report of the Operations/Agenda Committee

Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT I - March 20, 1998


  1. Senate Membership: Graduate Studies: Medicine & Dentistry, Science and Health Sciences Constituency

    Recommended: That Rob Lipson, elected representative for the Faculty of Graduate Studies: Medicine & Dentistry, Science and Health Sciences constituency, be granted a leave of absence (term from March 1 to August 31, 1998), and that Jim Moorhead be elected to serve as his alternate.

  2. Composition of the Subcommittee on Capital Allocations (SUCA)

    Recommended: That the composition of SUCA be amended to include the Planning Analyst, Institutional Planning and Budgeting, as a resource person (non-voting).


    When SUCA was established as a subcommittee of SCUP, supplanting the previous Senate Committee on University Development (SCUD), its composition reflected the role of the Department of Facilities and Capital Planning. The responsibilities of that Department have since been assumed by the Office of Institutional Planning and Budgeting, and the Planning Analyst has been assigned primary responsibility in the areas of space and facilities planning.


  1. Review of the Restructured Procedures for Admissions, Academic Programs, and Scholarships (S.96-55)

    In March 1996, Senate approved a new set of procedures for admissions, academic programs and scholarships which resulted in disbanding two standing committees and four subcommittees of Senate, establishing SCAPA (Senate Committee on Academic Policy & Admissions), and delegating to the Deans final approval authority in certain matters. Senate asked that the Operations/Agenda Committee and SCAPA review the restructured system within two years of implementation.

    SCAPA conducted a review, focusing particularly on the functioning and effectiveness of the "virtual committee" of deans which operates an interactive electronic mail facility with a restricted mailing list. The purpose of the Committee (now known as "DAP" - Deans: Academic Programs) is to review proposals from Faculties with respect to revisions to programs, and the introduction, revision and withdrawal of courses. Where there are no objections raised, the proposals are approved; when an objection is raised, the issue is referred to SCAPA for resolution.

    SCAPA consulted users of DAP over several months and through this process identified a number of minor details that required fine-tuning. Overall, the restructured system that Senate approved in 1996 is working very well. The amount of time spent in committees has been reduced dramatically since SCAAPP, the Scholarship Committee, and four subcommittees were replaced by a system that delegates more authority to the Faculties (with their Deans acting as spokespersons through DAP) and focuses the work of SCAPA at the policy level.

  2. Consideration of a Policy of Universal Salary Disclosure [S.98-003, S.98-023c]

    There has been discussion at the past two Senate meetings (the January 23 inquiry from Professor Seligman and the February 20 response from Dr. Mercer) about considering the adoption of a policy of universal salary disclosure at Western. At the February meeting, this matter was referred to the Operations/Agenda Committee.

    The Committee, at its meeting of March 12, discussed at length how a policy of universal salary disclosure might be examined, and found that the question is more complex than expected. Although it was acknowledged that Senate may wish to develop a policy of salary disclosure, Operations/Agenda has concluded that there are both practical and jurisdictional obstacles to doing so.

    Historically, salaries at Western have been treated as "personal information", and therefore have not been disclosed, except as required by the Ontario Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act which requires public reporting of salaries of $100,000 or more annually. Disclosure of one's salary might arguably affect one's working conditions. If that view prevailed, then the release of individual salaries might be considered significant in collective bargaining. In any case, the issue is bound to be controversial and would undoubtedly attract a great deal of discussion. This would mean that any ad hoc committee charged with investigating the prospect of salary disclosure would expect to be engaged in a lengthy and time-consuming process.

    The value of engaging an ad hoc committee to invest a good deal of time examining the question of salary disclosure also calls into question Senate's role vis-à-vis salary policy. Senate's responsibilities, according to the University of Western Ontario Act, relate to the academic policy of the University. As well, Senate may "pass resolutions and make recommendations to the Board with respect to any matter connected with the administration of the University and the promotion of its affairs but this clause shall not be construed to subtract from the powers and duties conferred on the Board elsewhere in this Act".

    Salary matters more clearly fall under the purview of the Board of Governors which has the power to "fix and provide for the remuneration" of employees. The Act also gives the Board residual authority, such that powers not expressly given to the Senate are to be exercised by the Board.

    As a result of consideration of all of these issues, the Operations/Agenda Committee concluded that Senate's authority could extend only to recommending to the Board that the full disclosure of faculty salaries be pursued. Senate could not unilaterally establish a policy of salary disclosure, or direct the Board to do so.