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Executive Powers: a high-profile new program is “not an academic program” and was not approved at Senate

February 11, 2011

Below is an update on my Senate work following the February 7, 2011 meeting of the Senate.  This concerns the university’s February 7, 2011 announcement of a new exchange program between the University of Ottawa and the University of Haifa, in Israel (University press release here).

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Date: February 11, 2011
Subject: Senate designation of exchange program approval powers to Executive Committee

Dear Members of Senate,

I wish to inform you about my request to the administration (below) regarding clarification of Senate power and the delegation of Senate power regarding approving academic programs (with detailed requirements to register, perform specific academic tasks, and that are advertised as “New Joint Masters in Laws Programs”) that are “not academic programs”.

I am worried that the authority of the Senate has been subverted if the Executive Committee is approving such new academic undertakings and redefinitions of academic programs.  Such changes would properly fall under the ambit of the Senate.  I can imagine disturbing consequences to our educational mission and our duty of service to the world should changes to the university’s academic offerings be made in less democratic ways, such as by delegation to the Executive Committee.

Please contact me if you share this concern.

Sincerely,

Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to Senate, Sciences section

Cc: student media, university community

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Date: February 11, 2011
Subject: Senate designation of exchange program approval powers to Executive Committee

Dear Ms. Davidson,

I have been informed by Dean of the FGPS, Gary Slater, that the new joints masters in laws program between the University of Ottawa and the University of Haifa, in Israel, is “not an academic program,” but “an exchange program,” and that the Executive Committee of the Senate approved this “exchange program” on May 12, 2008 (see Dean Slater’s e-mail of February 10, 2011, below.

Please provide me, or have your office provide me, with the relevant information (minutes from meetings, Senate resolutions, etc.) regarding the designation by the Senate to the Executive Committee of the power to approve or disapprove exchange programs and reciprocity agreements.  Please also provide me with an electronic copy of the request 2008‑GAO‑28, which was approved at the May 12, 2008 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Senate.

Please provide me with this information by Thursday, February 17, 2011.  I have a meeting on this topic on Friday, February 18, 2011 with a concerned group of student constituents at which this information will be necessary.  This meeting is an essential step in my preparation for the March 7, 2011 meeting of the Senate, and therefore it is essential that I receive the information requested by February 17.

Thank you,

Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to Senate, Sciences section.

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Date: February 11, 2011
Subject: RE: Request re: Senate approval of Joint Masters in Laws Program

Dear Mr. Hickey

As I explained at the Senate, this is not an Academic Program. It is an Exchange Program.

We have signed a number of “Accord de réciprocité” with foreign universities that allow our students (and theirs) to take courses at the other institution. In my opinion, the details are well explained on the web site of the Faculty of Law.

You will indeed notice that these student exchange agreements are not listed under “programs” on the FGPS web site since they are not academic programs. As a matter of fact, they do not have a separate program code in the student information system either.

This international exchange agreement has been approved at the May 12, 2008 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Senate. As you know, the Senate receives the Minutes of its Executive Committee. The relevant minutes of the Executive can be found at:

http://web5.uottawa.ca/admingov/comite-proces-verbal.html?id=28&mid=206

You will notice that these minutes also mentioned the agreements with 2 French universities and the American U. These Minutes were part of the agenda for the Sept 8, 2008 meeting of the Senate.

Thank you for your interest in our International Exchange Programs and Reciprocity Agreements.

Sincerely

Gary Slater
Doyen | Dean
Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales | Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

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