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The Senate meeting of 28 March 2014 started off slowly, but became increasing entertaining. It was nice to see so many colleagues engaged. Credit should also go to the clerk and university president for encouraging more engagement.

On-line courses and DFW rates

The assistant vice-president for institutional research and planning (OIRP) led a data-rich discussion of DFW rates (the percentage of students who get a D, F, or W [withdrawal] from a course), comparing on-line courses with comparative traditional courses. This arose from a question I asked in February based on the general milieu of high withdrawal rates from MOOCs. Senate learned that Carleton’s on-line DFW rates were not radically higher than that of our traditional courses, which is amazing. However, we also learned that many of our on-line courses are blended, with an on-line lecture component and an in-person lab component. The president and provost rightly mentioned that some form of interaction with an instructor makes a huge difference with on-line courses. Having in-person labs and/or tutorial with on-line courses may make a huge difference, which is probably why our DFW rates look so good.

This is also a chance to follow the latest expert opinion regarding on-line university courses given by Janet Napolitano (see the YouTube video here), who is the president of the University of California system, which includes ten huge universities, some of which are world renowned, such as UCLA, Berkeley, and UC Davis. Napolitano was formerly the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and, before that, governor of Arizona (her signature therefore is on my PhD degree). She basically said that to conduct on-line courses properly, including genuine interactive components, on-line courses would be at least as expensive to offer as traditional courses. Napolitano basically described on-line courses as a dubious business model. Also see Michael Hiltzik’s write-up in the Los Angeles Times (here) regarding the interview with Janet Napolitano.

There is undoubtedly provincial pressure to offer more on-line courses. Our vice president finance is probably also salivating over their income-generating ability. But then there is also financial pressure to hire more sessional (contract/adjunct) instructors. To me, on-line courses are just another way to water down higher education and save on labour costs, especially if the teaching is not done effectively.

Strategic Mandate Agreement

We had been hearing lots about strategic mandate agreements for several years now, and I won’t rehash details. But we did hear and learn some new things today.

Our provost said that when the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) talks about sustainability that they are almost exclusively concerned with financial sustainability. That is classic green-washing, but I truly appreciated the provost’s candour.

The provost provided some new details about Carleton’s draft of a strategic mandate agreement at the open session of Senate. This is the same information he presented at the open session of the Board of Governors the previous day, which the general public attended, including a reporter from the Charlatan. The difference at Senate, though, was that the provost asked all members of Senate to keep this matter confidential. This is outrageous because the request was made at an open session of Senate – the university president and provost have the power to take Senate into closed session – and the provost let the proverbial cat out of the bag the day before at a public venue, without asking anybody to remain silent.

One of Carleton’s proposed boutique (“institutional”) metrics will be the average score from student course evaluations [This is information that was verbally highlighted by the provost at the public session of the Board of Governors, covered by journalists, so cannot legitimately deemed confidential]. In my Board of Governor’s blog, I already critiqued this seemingly ridiculous metric, so simply want to add a few additional criticisms here, without repeating my previous arguments. Carleton wants to report this metric because our course evaluation scores are high. This prompted some of my colleagues to wonder whether the person who proposed this metric was high. Teaching evaluation scores are as arbitrary as the questions that are on the form. Given that the questions can change, as they recently have, why wouldn’t the province think we could change them again? Why not propose questions for the course evaluation forms like, “How often does your instructor wear shoes?” (we would score close to 5 on that) or “Does your instructor wear clothing to class?” (I hope we would score 5 on that). There are also easy ways to game the system, even if we do not change the questions. For instance, grade inflation will result in increased average course evaluation scores. We could also quietly replace arithmetic means with geometric means or some other form of average that skews the results in the direction we want. For these reasons and the ones in my 27 March 2014 Board of Governor’s blog, the proposed boutique metric of average course evaluation scores makes Carleton look foolish.

Senate was consulted on the strategic mandate agreement in the same way that Aboriginal nations were consulted about forming treaties. This was an utterly paternalistic exercise on the part of the administration, with a few (power-hungry?) rank-and-file faculty members brought into the process as a public relations ploy. At least that is why I assume the recently appointed czar of our health science program was mentioned at Senate today for their help with drafting the strategic mandate agreement. Senate was never meaningfully consulted in the strategic mandate process. Senate was only advised of drafts immediately before their submissions, when it was claimed there was insufficient time to change things. This bizarre dance continued for at least two full years. Senate is supposed to be the highest decision-making body on academic matters for the university; the strategic mandate agreement is the most important academic document that the university has; yet Senate was completely shut-out of the process. Because of that, we are left with foolishness like average student course evaluations scores as institutional metrics and lack of adequate copy-editing, e.g. sometimes the so-called ‘Strategic Integrated Plan’ was called the ‘Integrated Strategic Plan’ by one of the few (dyslexic) people privileged enough to draft the document. Carleton’s reputation would have definitely been bettered by meaningful consultation with Senate, which could have occurred in closed special sessions.

At the end of this strategic mandate ‘discussion’ at Senate on 28 March 2014, Carleton’s president surprised most members of Senate by springing a motion upon us asking for a vote to acknowledge receipt of the draft strategic mandate agreement. There was no need for such a motion. The president could simply have included this information in the minutes. The draft strategic mandate agreement was already memorialized in the “Senate Binder”. Plus, Senate only saw a non-final draft of the strategic mandate agreement. This motion, without adequate notice (Senate Rule of Order section 6 states, “The normal Notice of Motion period is ten days”), seemed like a devious ploy to show that Senate had been meaningfully consulted with regards to the strategic mandate agreement, which has clearly not been the case. Fortunately, Senators saw through this ridiculous smokescreen. While a majority of members of Senate voted to approve this motion acknowledging receipt, a large number of Senators dissented. The president’s subterfuge really fired up several rank-and-file members of Senate, which perversely was a great thing (please try this again).

Involuntary Closure of Integrated Science

Today we mourn the demise of Carleton’s Integrated Science program. In shepherding this involuntary closure through Senate, we got to see some impressive hypocrisy. At Senate and at the previous day’s Board of Governors open session, the provost claimed that Science Faculty Board knowingly made the decision to involuntarily close the program because science faculty thought the program was no longer needed. Both my memory of the events and the supporting documentation in the “Senate Binder” indicates that this is not true. Instead, this matter was very much imposed on the Science Faculty Board in that the administration had already made Integrated Science a “zombie program” by suspending admissions without Senate approval and without Science Faculty Board approval. What can a rank-and-file faculty member do with a program that administrators had already decided would not be allowed to admit students? Science Faculty Board showed angst in the debate and in voting to involuntarily close the Integrated Science program, with 17 votes in favour of closure, 6 opposed, and 6 abstaining. The vote at Senate for closure was even closer, with roughly half the Senators in favour of closure, one-quarter opposed, and one-quarter abstaining. Senate documents (today’s Senate Binder) at least were truthful, stating that Integrated Science was being closed because its director did not complete some quality assurance self-study paperwork, the dean did not take the lead to find somebody else to do this essential task, and the administration unilaterally cancelled all admissions to the program.

There are at least four problems with this involuntary closure. First, we should all be concerned by how easy it was to involuntarily close a viable program. Second, there is talk (empty talk?) about offering a new interdisciplinary program (other than existing the Bachelor of Humanities program?) that bridges science and the arts & social sciences (Faculty of Science and FASS). Yet none of the individuals that I know who are cross-appointed in these two faculties have ever been consulted about such a proposed new program. Third, Integrated Science was a money-maker: almost no costs, while bringing in substantial revenues. While Integrated Science may not have been a great recruiting program, they were remarkable at retention insofar as many students in other science majors could use Integrated Science as a fallback option after not passing certain required courses for other science majors. I cannot discern whether this fallback option to transfer to Integrated Science will be available to current science students during the transition period when the university fully closes down the program. Fourth, Carleton is strongly touting our interdisciplinary programs, and Integrated Science was as interdisciplinary as we get in science. Usually I am extremely proud to be a member of the Carleton community, but not today. Such blatant hypocrisy is too embarrassing.

Question Period: Carleton’s Teaching & Learning Framework

A series of questions were asked about Carleton’s new teaching and learning framework. If I may paraphrase the questions: (1) What guarantees exist that the framework will not become prescriptive? (2) Does reading constitute active learning? and (3) Who gets to decide what constitutes high-impact practices? Because the associate vice president academic for teaching and learning was not present at Senate, the provost stood in and did not answer the questions!

A few useful items, however, were later mentioned by the university president. First, she encouraged further questions at question period. Second, she mentioned how helpful and useful the Educational Development Centre (EDC) staff were, especially about teaching us about new pedagogical techniques. I completely agree with her on both points. But what is still an utter mystery to me is why we need to codify such matters in a document that is explicitly called a “framework”. Cynics pointed out that this is so that these supposedly non-prescriptive notions could later be foisted upon us in prescriptive ways. Only time will tell. But simply changing the title of that document might go along way to allaying fears.

Recording Votes

The Senate Academic Governance Committee proposed a motion for changing how we record votes. We currently record the following three options: unanimous, passed on division, and defeated. The motion was to change the three options to unanimous, passed, and defeated, but in special circumstances to add the words “on division” to one or more of these three choices. Quickly, there was a tangle of amendments and the matter was referred back to committee. There were odd discussions, such as about votes that are “unanimous on division” and “defeated on division”, the latter of which is truly absurd insofar as the person making the motion should automatically be ethically obliged to vote in favour. But the basic idea here for the proposed change seems great, even if the implementation may require some more work.

Senate Emergency Response Committee

Just prior to the two CUPE 4600 strike deadlines in early March 2014, the Senate Emergency Response Committee was activated. Once the strikes were averted, the committee was deactivated. I do not agree that a strike constitutes an emergency. In fact, a strike could be something unilaterally and consciously decided upon months or years in advance by either side. H1N1 pandemics may be an emergency. Earthquakes may be an emergency. But labour disagreements should never be considered emergencies. I find this misnomer akin to calling it a ‘traffic accident’ when someone intentionally rams you with their car. There is nothing accidental about that, just like there is nothing emergency-like about a strike. Would someone like to propose a motion to revise the terms of reference of this Senate committee?

Graduate Courses in Bomb-Making and Explosives

Carleton will soon by offering a pair of new cross-listed engineering courses in bomb-making and explosives (CIVE 5705 and IPIS 5520). I am too much of a pacifist to let this go without a highlight. But I did not object to the course offering because we should have academic freedom to offer courses that will offend others. For example, I am sure that some people find aspects of my evolution of sex class offensive. I will, however, note the irony of bringing a bomb-making course to Senate while Carleton’s Department of Security (OPSEU) is on strike.

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Today’s blog posting will not be about Carleton University’s Senate per se, but rather more general remarks about the role of universities and the politics of university funding. This posting arose from an e-mail correspondence with Neil Buchanan of George Washington University, who has already written about this matter in the “Dorf on Law” blog (here), in which I appear as the un-named biologist. Neil Buchanan discussed how academia has become much less nuanced and more polarized, at least in the eyes of government, the media, and the public at-large. This is extremely pertinent in my own field (evolutionary biology) and that of my current doctoral students (climate change). Lack of nuance plays out in important ways when it comes to the politics of academic governance and government funding of universities.

As anybody who has attended one of Carleton’s Senate meetings will know, the flame-throwers amongst the faculty are almost all in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (I am truly using the term ‘flame-thrower’ as a compliment here). My understanding is that these colleagues were educated in very liberal traditions. By contrast, engineers at Senate are utterly boring and conservative. They only speak when called upon to do so. This is not necessarily a horrible thing; it simply reflects our cultural upbringings. In a previous life, working at John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, I mostly worked with engineers, a huge percentage of whom were fundamentalist christians, indicating that there is politics in academia.

Government funding of universities is political. Right-leaning politicians generally do not like to fund much basic research, especially in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, but also frown upon funding much basic natural science research. Old-timers from the U.S. will recall Senator Jesse Helms’s attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Closer to home, recall the remarkable Death of Evidence rally that our University of Ottawa colleague Scott Findlay helped organize to highlight (lowlight?) conservative government censoring of science. But even government funding is nuanced, as can be seen by both right-leaning and left-leaning politicians generously funding the military-industrial complex, as well as university engineering programs that train these people. With the Harper government, much funding for basic research has also been diverted to industrial partnerships, fueling the corporatization of academia. Don’t you find it perverse that NSERC and SSHRC fall under purview of the Minister of Industry, even though people who traditionally have been awarded NSERC and SSHRC grants often do not have nor want to have anything to do with industry?

Graham Smart sent me a fascinating new paper in the journal BioScience titled “Politicizing science: What is the role of biologists in a hyperpartisan world?” This article not only discussed funding of military applications, but also more recent funding or lack thereof for the environment, presaging my next paragraph. This paper also noted that science seems to be “shifting from being innovative to being regulatory” (Baker 2014: 172). I wonder whether all of academia is shifting from innovative to regulatory. Certainly university governance has become less innovative and more regulatory, e.g. the new impetus for so-called quality assurance and Carleton’s even newer unit standards for tenure.

Neil Buchanan highlighted the changing roles of modern universities. Professors are no longer purveyors of content. In fact, in many of our courses, content is irrelevant (it flummoxes most of my students that I do not test them on content). What matters is teaching students how to think for themselves and how to reach consensus in groups. Decisions can often be difficult, such as Neil Buchanan’s question about whether coal makes more sense than other energy sources, at least with existing technology (note that he raised this issue for the U.S.; the situation may vary with geographical context, e.g. Canada). By contrast, some decisions are much easier to rationally make, such as whether humans cause some global climate change. I say this is an easy decision despite having been an American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow working for the George W. Bush administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, in which I helped advise them on their (largely) non-existent environmental policy, cringing every time I heard Jim Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (thank goodness for his antithesis, Jim Jeffords, who has unfortunately retired from the U.S. Senate). We need to hear all sides, although not necessarily equal time for all, and understand their nuances. But then we also need to train our students to think critically enough to understand which arguments best reflect reality. I am proud to have a colleague at Carleton who most people would characterize as a climate change denier. While I do not agree with him about interpretation of findings, I think it is great that our students get to hear many sides and learn to articulate the arguments about which facets should steer policy. This is far better than the cardboard characterizations that often pervade our disciplines, perspectives that too often lack nuance. Universities also need to remind students, government, and the media that we don’t know everything. That is why we conduct research! Much of science and medicine is still myth and art, which makes historical sense given that modern European science arose from alchemy and the mysticism of Isaac Newton. It is okay to let our students, government, and the media know this. We should be humble.

After closely following nuanced arguments from disparate fields, I believe as fervently as anybody in the reality and significance of evolution and human-induced climate change. I am proud to say that my views have been shaped by not just biology, but also by economics, physics, mathematics, engineering, philosophy of science, science policy (which really has almost nothing to do with science), gender studies, and Indigenous studies, as well as by views of my colleagues in geography, criminology, neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, etc. For those clamouring for more nuance, I am an ardent evolutionary biologist who also happens to be a rabid anti-adaptationist (contact me or check out the publications on my website for details).

I ended my previous post with the following quote from Taiaiake Alfred (1999: xix), which also seems appropriate here: “In any culture deeply respectful of rationale thought, the only real political power consists of the ability to persuade.” The question that remains is: Are we respectful of rationale thought? I hope so. This will allow us, including our students, to think and listen broadly and then make tough nuanced intelligent decisions. Maybe that will help eliminate polarized political machinations and help us reach consensus. This should be a call to follow the old Chicago adage, namely vote and vote often. Vote your conscience and – much more importantly – respectfully and firmly speak your views at Senate, in your department, and with local, provincial, and federal governments.

Many thanks for advanced feedback from Peter Killeen, Graham Smart, Chris Burn, Jack Gorelick, and Neil Buchanan, none of whom may agree with me.

Nick Falvo (here) and John Osborne (here) have recently posted fascinating observations regarding university governance. Also see Nick’s accompanying powerpoint slides (here). Please pardon me while I use their excellent observations as a springboard, with identical postings to both my Senate and Board of Governors blogs.

Universities are communities, therefore governance matters. Yet as both Dean Osborne and Nick Falvo highlighted, there is often a disconnect between university leaders and the rest of the university community. Nick pointed out that board members usually only hear what senior administration tells them and that the rest of us have no way of communicating directly with board members. There is no feedback in the other direction either, from board members to the general university community. Official minutes of board meetings are so minimal that they often do little more than provide legal protection for board members. I have made a meager attempt to remedy this information deficit by blogging about the Board of Governors. I have also compiled a list of board members’ e-mail addresses, which were surprisingly easy to find from public sources, but have not yet had occasion to use these. Frankly, board members can live with occasionally being spammed, as the demise of the community garden showed.

John Osborne lamented the boring (“sedate”) nature of Carleton’s Senate. This year Senate has become a showcase for mediocrity by featuring long presentations on things like purchasing furniture by the director of the so-called discovery centre and an amazing example of how not to teach by the head of the university’s teaching and learning unit (hint: the provost’s office looks inept when they try to show off). John Osborne’s ideas about changing the time of meetings and composition of senate membership are interesting. However, I would not want meetings that start at 7:30 pm because this puts undue hardship on women, who still do the majority of childcare in our society. There are other things we can do to make meetings more exciting and productive. We can liven things up by submitting questions for question period. See what happened by broaching DFW rates in question period? (scroll down to the DFW entry for 28 Feb 2014). Question period is a vehicle that lets all members of senate decide what is relevant. What about a discussion of revising the Carleton University Act, which specifies the roles of the board, senate, and president? If both the board and senate were to approve such changes, then probably so would the province, given that this is a private bill.

I believe that faculty boards could elect contract instructors or staff to Senate. Nothing procedurally seems to preclude this. At least the Carleton University Act, Academic Governance of the University, and the Constitution of the Carleton University Faculty of Science appear to allow this. One problem, though, is that only tenure-track faculty and instructors seem to be allowed to vote on nominees for Senate seats, but I do not know why this is.

Dean Osborne highlighted the bottom-up governance structure of Carleton’s Senate and how that means unwanted programs will not be foisted on the university from the top-down. I beg to differ with him on this. Health science had no champions from within units at Carleton, although neuroscience was willing to play along by creating a mental health program (and for that, they undoubtedly will be rewarded). But our new health science programs are not arising from any existing units, which is why their new faculty searches are being run from the provost’s office, not from any existing units. I suspect that health science rose to the top of our strategic mandate document mainly because Senate was not allowed to play an active role in its drafting.

I am not saying that there are easy answers regarding governance. But given how much passion there is at departmental meetings, we should be able to translate this into effective and engaged higher-level democratic governance. Yes, this will be difficult, but not impossible. Some faculty senates in Canada have been sufficiently active to overthrow their university presidents. I would love to see hints of such activism at Carleton, albeit not necessarily with those specific results. Quoting Taiaiake Alfred (1999):

Active and fractious disagreement is a sign of health in a traditional system: it means that people are engaging their leaders and challenging them to prove the righteousness of their position. It means they are making them accountable…. In any culture deeply respectful of rationale thought, the only real political power consists of the ability to persuade.

As always, I truly welcome your feedback.

Senate was fun on Friday 28 February 2014. There were lively discussions. There were no long dull monologues. Many of my colleagues seemed genuinely engaged. When there was little or nothing to report, people were brief. It was also fantastic catching up with my amazing colleagues from across the university, who I seldom see outside of this venue. It is a delight attending meetings like this.

Strategic Mandate

The province announced that it would use Strategic Mandate Agreements for allocation of new graduate students slots for the next three years. By ‘new’ the province means graduate programs that do not currently exist. Therefore Carleton will ask for monies, for example, for new MSc and PhD programs in biochemistry and health science, the former of which is at least ‘new’ in name. Carleton will be submitting their revised Strategic Mandate document in mid March 2014 to reflect these requests. It is hoped (but not expected?) that new faculty lines might also be funded if the province approves new graduate student slots.

The university president announced that the staff of Training, Colleges & Universities (TCU) does not want any new joint graduate programs, although really only singled out joint graduate programs between Carleton/uOttawa when making this remark. Apparently such joint programs would be a waste of money, being duplicative. First, I do not agree with that as provincial policy. Second, based on the TCU staff comments, I wonder why Carleton’s revised Strategic Mandate document will be including a new joint MSc in statistics with uOttawa. At least that was the only joint gradate program listed out of the 15-20 on the provost’s powerpoint slide. (Note: I think this means that biochemistry graduate students will no longer be required to have committee members from uOttawa, as they do now when they are getting MSc or PhD degrees via either biology or chemistry).

Teaching & Learning Framework

The Associate Vice President Academic for Teaching & Learning presented official notions on a new “Teaching and Learning Framework”. Not only is the term ‘framework’ ridiculously vague, so was her alternative term ‘guideline’, especially for a document that is not supposed to be prescriptive. A better and seemingly more accurate descriptor than ‘framework’ would be ‘laundry list of sometimes successful practices’.

The Associate Vice President Academic for Teaching & Learning told Senate that, inter alia, effective teaching should be:

  •     experiential, active, and interactive
  •     high impact
  •     discovery-based
  •     context-dependent
  •     high-diversity in substance and form.

Ironically, her presentation embodied none of these elements. Instead, it was merely a stunning example of how to completely misuse powerpoint with an old-fashioned lecture style. While her heart may very well be in the right place and her speaking was enthusiastic, this presentation was the antithesis of leadership by example. Not that administrators need to be good at what they are administering. I was reminded of a great swimming coach from my childhood, who we eventually realized could not swim.

Maybe I am too much of a dinosaur, but I still advocate for the 3 R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic. However, if we are to adhere to the new Teaching & Learning Framework, we will probably have to abandon the first of these R’s because reading (as well as quiet contemplation) are often considered passive.

Graduation Lists

A question was asked (don’t you love passive voice?) about due diligence by members of Senate in approving graduation lists. The answer seemed honest, but unsatisfying. Senate is supposed to mainly rely on staff members to get this right and then departments and faculty boards to provide a scintilla of oversight. But faculty boards seldom have any real information. I believe the university president said that any member of Senate has the right to review any student files regarding graduation. But her closing summary was more sobering: Individual members of Senate should simply ask themselves, “To the best of our knowledge, is the graduation list okay?” I guess that sort of constitutes due diligence, but hope that we never have to convince a judge that such a threshold suffices.

DFW rates

The university president and provost unequivocally stated that DFW rates never have been nor probably ever will be used for decisions about tenure, promotion, and confirmation. While many people will cheer this policy decision, I personally think it is misguided. If a faculty member fails three-quarters or more of the students in a first-year class, shouldn’t that be taken into account in decisions on tenure, confirmation, and promotion? The only place in which super high DFW rates could be considered an asset is our journalism program, which has (according to publically available senate documents), “an historic admissions practice that yields twice the number of students in first year who can be admitted to second year.” I really value DFW rates in courses where we cannot trust the official JCAA Course Evaluations because those evaluations are administered long before students receive their grades. For instance, there are some units and many courses on campus where it is required that at least half of the course grade be based on the final exam or final project. DFW rates can provide useful information about teaching performance, at least in extreme instances.

Senate heard that the provincial metrics associated with differentiation and Strategic Mandate will not include DFW rates. The province only seems to care about graduation rates. This seems reasonable, although, if three-quarters of the students in a first-year course fail, then many students will take an extra year to finish their degrees.

There was a lively discussion about DFW rates in traditional versus on-line courses. I applaud ORIP for providing some initial numbers and the university president for asking Senate how to better present these numbers. First the bad news, then the good news, regarding DFW rates.

The provost remarked that sample sizes were too small to be statistically significant. Yet, he presented traditional versus on-line course DFW rates with four significant digits (!), but did not report sample sizes, variance, or t-test statistics. He also did not know whether the averages he presented were over classes or over students, the choice of which can severely skew statistics. The first good news is that this subject will be revisited at a subsequent meeting of Senate, with the analysis done more properly. Given the short amount of time to prepare the statistics for the 28 February 2014 Senate meeting, that seems reasonable.

If you believe the statistics presented, the other good news is that DFW rates are not that much higher in our on-line course than in our traditional in-person courses. The numbers reported at this meeting of Senate were DFW rates of 10% in traditional courses and 14% in on-line courses. And the number that means even more to me was the withdrawal rate, which was supposedly 25% in traditional courses and 33% in on-line courses. If those turn out to be close to the real numbers, which remains to be seen, then Carleton is doing far better than almost any other set of on-line courses.

Administrative Matters

This blog only covers material from the open meeting of senate. I do not and will not report on matters from closed sessions. This blog is not meant as a proxy for the official minutes of the meeting, which have been extraordinary at capturing the essence of Senate meetings.

Less than 24-hours before this Senate meeting, a question was raised about which motions members of Senate that are appointed by the Board of Governors can vote upon. My reading of the university rules are that any elected member of Senate can vote on any motion. Furthermore, “Members of Senate do not represent the constituency from which they were elected, but rather the best interests of the University as a whole.” (Academic Governance of the University). I was elected to Senate by the Board of Governors on 8 October 2013. Quoting from the publically available minutes of that open meeting, “It was moved by Ms. Griffin-Hody and seconded by Ms. Porter that Prof. Gorelick be appointed as a member of Senate for 2013-2014. The motion carried.” If deans and the Board of Governors can whip votes of all faculty members of Senate that are elected, what is the point of Senate? However, given that final resolution of this matter about my voting was not resolved before this meeting of Senate, I respectfully refrained from voting on any motions for this one day, especially since none of the motions seemed to reflect obvious Board of Governors matters.