First Senate meeting of the year addresses enrollment, food insecurity & OSAP

University establishes food insecurity working group, will enhance student bursaries

University will enhance bursaries for students with the highest need.
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On Oct. 1, Queen’s Senate kicked off its first meeting of the school year with Principal Patrick Deane’s opening remarks.

Deane spoke about the importance of engaging in conversation with members of the Queen’s community. “My focuses have been about listening and learning for the past months,” he said. “I had a number of students come through the other night to talk about the climate change issue.”

Additionally, the University is still searching for a new provost. Deane said they have already begun their search and expect a new replacement by the end of November.

Provost’s Report

In his report, Tom Harris, interim provost and vice-principal (Academic), talked about the 2019-20 enrollment report.

“We had a very strong improvement mission in management,” Harris said.

The University’s target for the 2019-20 period undergraduate level was 4,644 students, and actual enrollment was reported as 4640 students, with 624 first-year international students.

“This represented 13.5 per cent of the incoming class, an increase of several per cent,” Harris said.

The University also reported 78 first-year students self-identifying as Indigenous for the 2019-20 period. Class of 2024 recruitment has also begun across Canada and internationally, Harris said.

Harris also spoke about the establishment of a Food Insecurity Working Group, which, according to him, has begun to collect data and a working group report is expected to be completed this fall.

The Senate also discussed the enrollment and recruitment of international students. Harris said the goal is still 15 per cent enrollment of international students in the future.

When Senate members brought up potential concerns domestic parents may have over the rising number of international students and what that may mean for Canadian students, Harris said the enrollment target remains the same.

OSAP

Teresa Alm, interim university registrar, gave a presentation about the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

Alm focused on the change in grants and loans given to students in need, as well as the differences in how much parents are expected to contribute to their child’s post-secondary education.

“Overall, you can see this huge impact that this has had in one year,” Alm said. “The total amount of OSAP that we have administered through our office to students has gone down by $17 million this year.”

Alm said there will be a focus on enhancing bursaries for students with the highest need. According to her, some of the money going towards this enhancement will come from a redirection of merit-based awards into needs-based assistance.

For the 2019-20 academic period, that redirection added at least $2.5 million to financial aid, according to the presentation.

Motions and Reports

The Senate also approved proposals to establish a Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE) in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and a BA general/BA minor in Employment Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Senate concluded with annual reports from a variety of commissions, including the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force, and the Division of Student Affairs.

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