Senate Report: September 14, 2020

A summary of the most recent Senate Meeting

Photo from Peak archives

Written by: Serena Bains, Staff Writer

President Johnson states her priorities for the term

President Joy Johnson spoke on the priorities for the Fall 2020 term: maintaining student engagement, the well-being of the SFU community, and equity, diversity, and inclusion work. Johnson stated that her ultimate goal is ensuring SFU “is a resilient and adaptive institution that can thrive despite some of the challenges” the community is facing.

First Nations programs renamed to Indigenous programs 

Both motions were moved by Vice-President, Academic and Provost pro tem Jonathan Driver, where the first motion recommended that the Board of Governors approve the “full proposal for a certificate in business administration in Indigenous business leadership.” The program would begin in Fall 2021. There was also a motion to pass a similar program at the graduate level. Both passed unanimously.

The second motion was the name changes of First Nations programs to Indigenous, to ensure inclusivity. This motion follows the name change of the department of First Nations studies to the department of Indigenous studies.

Spring 2020 report on grade inflation 

The Spring 2020 grades report showed a substantial inflation of grades for the term due to the implementation of pass/fail with the onset of the pandemic. Where some faculties experienced significant inflation, others remained similar to previous terms. According to Senator Zareen Naqvi, there is an ongoing project to have grade reports for each term instead of an annual report. This would allow for the comparison of the Spring 2020 term to Summer and Fall.

Senator Daniel Leznoff discussed the issue of the uneven grade increase across faculties in relation to scholarships. This question will be passed onto the Senate Policy Committee on Scholarships, Awards & Bursaries. Senator Colin Percival stated that the consensus amongst the committee is to avoid penalizing students for the inflation of their GPA and to ensure the students that deserve their scholarships receive them.

The passing of Dr. Ali Dastmalchian

Driver also spoke to the impact of the life of Dr. Ali Dastmalchian, the dean of the Beedie School of Business, who passed away August 13.

Senator Driver said, “He was well known for his ability to create positive transformational change brought about through [ . . . ] strong consultation processes [ . . . ] he was a humble man, who believed strongly that success came from strong teams rather than individual leaders.”

The next senate meeting is planned to occur on Monday October 5.