Updates to music and media programs made at Senate

Honorary degree sees special statement being issued

Image by: Herbert Wang
Senate met for the last time for the 2022-23 academic year.

Senate closed the school year discussing changes upcoming changes to academic programming, Duncan Campbell Scott’s honorary degree, and capital governance.

Updates to Queen’s music program expanded the program’s focus on modern mediums. For students in media studies, a Certificate in Animation will launch in September. A special statement will now be featured on all webpages regarding honorary degree recipient Duncan Campbell Scott due to his involvement in building the Canadian residential school system.

Updates on Queen’s physical accessibility and building projects were provided at the April 18 Senate in Robert Sutherland Hall.

The first major point of discussion at the meeting was around approving a Policy on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which will take effect in Sept. 2024.

Senate decided in January to cancel classes on Oct. 2 to promote remembrance and education of truth and reconciliation since Sept. 30 falls on a Saturday. Administrators are concerned students will treat the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as any other national holiday.

“The provost’s offices are working with faculties and schools to ensure there are sort of academic education reform activities on those days,” John Pierce, vice-provost (teaching and learning) said.

The policy will come into effect in September 2024. It will not apply to academic activities scheduled with external organizations such as students in clinical placements.

New to Queen’s is the Certificate in Animation Theory and Practice, which Senate approved to offered by the Department of Film and Media. According to Department Head Scott MacKenzie the certificate is in high demand.

Among 76 undergraduate film and media students, 60 students indicated enrolling in the certificate would be a high priority in a survey conducted by the Department of Film and Media. Some students indicated they would extend their degree to take part in the certificate program, according to the survey.

“[There will be] a field trip to the International Animation Festival,” MacKenzie said at senate. “Our students get to meet with filmmakers, curators, and artists.”

The certificate consists of existing animation courses and will allow 40 undergraduate students to receive an official animation designation along with their degree. The proposal to Senate claims the certificate can be applied retroactively for students who have taken the certificate courses if they have not applied to graduate.

Senate expanded the scope of the Bachelor of Music program to include digital music and sonic arts as an area of focus for students. Courses covering music technology and arts professionalism—which are currently optional—will become core courses under the major modification.

Special Statement Regarding Honorary Degree for Duncan Campbell Scott

Senate voted to issue a special statement concerning the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree awarded to Duncan Campbell Scott by Queen’s University in 1939.

Scott oversaw the Canadian Residential School System in his role as the deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913-32. The re-consideration process was initiated after a petition was launched by a Queen’s student.

READ MORE: Student starts petition to rescind Duncan Campbell Scott’s honorary degree

“I think there may be some people who read [the special statement] and say to themselves, why didn’t they just take the degree away?” Senator Catherine Donnelly said.

Rescinding Scott’s degree was not discussed by the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee as it was not within the scope of Queen’s policy, according to committee chairperson Nathan Brinklow.

“In every one of these cases, we’ll be considering the individual case on its own merits,” Principal Patrick Deane said. “It will be the business of every committee to assess the record of the individual against principles the university wishes to see.”

Principal’s Report

Principal Deane expressed disappoint in the federal government’s lack of financial support for graduate students in the 2023 Federal Budget.

“I think it has to be said that the federal budget to support students and researchers [is] very disappointing,” Deane said.

“Although one recognizes that there are many demands faced by the federal government, in this budget, no investment growth in graduate students essentially allows such enterprises to sit behind developments in other jurisdictions.”

Deane announced an external review of Queen’s academic accommodations and related procedures in his written report.

Concerns were raised at senate regarding policy draft documents related to accommodations which focused on audio recordings in the classroom, which Senator Jordan Morelli called “a lazy approach to student accommodations.”

“We’re working around balancing legal obligations—which are very strict and very fixed—and the ethical dilemmas instructors always face when recording in the classroom,” John Pierce, vice-provost (teaching and learning) said in response.

The external review is set to release a report in spring 2024. Any drafted documents regarding student accommodations are “living” documents, according to Pierce.

Capital Planning and Governance

Donna Janiec, vice-principal (finance and administration) updated senate on the physical accessibility of Queen’s campus.

Two buildings on Queen’s campus—Jackson Hall and Fleming Hall—do not have accessible entrances, and 58 per cent have an inaccessible main entrance.

“Many buildings, 92 per cent, have elevators, but only four meet current building codes, the rest are all grandfathered. They’re too small for the size required for wheelchairs of today’s standard,” Janiec said.

Updating elevators is an expense under the University’s deferred maintenance budget of $400,000 annually. The budgetdoes not go very far according to Janiec.

There are five major capital projects currently in progress, including the Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI) revitalization. KCVI, located at 235 Frontenac Street, is set to become classrooms and student spaces.

“For KCVI, we’re moving forward with a feasibility stud, to see what can be done there. We are still using the building for gyms, for storage so we’re heating and cooling [the building],” Janiec said.

A presentation to Senate on Queen’s 2023-24 operating budget closed the meeting. Senators were informed of a 4.5 per cent decrease in operating revenue due to decreased enrollment by international students and to the Smith School of Business’ masters programs.

Senate will reconvene in September to open the new school year and to welcome fresh faces into Queen’s governance.


Accessibility, Budget, Honourary degree, Senate

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