BoG Approves ConU Academic Plan

Unanimous Vote in Favour, Save Two Abstentions

David Graham’s proposed Academic Plan passed unanimously at the January 12 BoG meeting. Photo Erin Sparks.

Concordia Provost David Graham had many a reason to smile after the Jan. 12 Board of Governors meeting.

After years of work, the BoG unanimously passed Concordia’s new Academic Plan, which has been Dr. Graham’s pet project since its inception. This was the final stage of voting on the project after receiving consent to move forward from Concordia’s Senate, the highest academic body at the university.

“I’m thrilled that the board approved it unanimously. Having such strong support from the Board is really important for us knowing that they’re committed to seeing it succeed,” said Graham.

“I’m also pleased because now that it’s approved we can put the planning phase behind us and get on with the implementation, which will be great.”

Parts of the five-year plan have already been implemented, while other aspects will phase in over time.

“It’s hard to say when it will be fully in effect, obviously at the end of the five years we’ll be able to assess how much we’ve been able to accomplish, how many actions in the plan we’ve been able to complete, see what still needs to be done, recalibrate and then go from there,” he said.

The plan was passed with only two abstentions, despite strong criticism from the undergraduate and graduate representatives on the Board.

The Concordia Student Union voted against the plan in October, citing, for example, concerns that the plan did not do enough to protect current students, while at the same time increasing spending on bringing in new students.

“I’m glad that Board passed it without any problems, despite the fact that there was considerable student opposition to passing the academic plan in the senate months ago,” said Lex Gill, CSU president.

“The understanding was that, regardless of how [the student Governors] felt about the academic plan personally, this was the democratic will of Senate and the academic community at Concordia, and for that reason, the Board should have a really limited say in the academic mission,” said Gill.

One other concern that the student representatives had was that part of the funding for the plan comes from the impending tuition-fee hike by the the Charest government. This was one reason why Gill was against the plan from the beginning, although she admitted that the plan had a lot of merit, but needed to be discussed more and not rushed through.

“There’s always been a worry about implementation of the plan. If there aren’t certain types of funding like that which would come from a tuition-fee increase, where would they get the additional money, or if not [an increase in funds from other sources], what gets cut?,” asked Gill.

“What are the real priorities of the plan, and what is scrappable?”