It is customary for the the Provost & Vice-President, Academic to provide a report to each meeting of Senate outlining plans, priorities, issues and other news. As these reports are already public through the University Secretariat Office, they will also be shared regularly through this memorandum page.
Note that appendices to the report can be found on the University Secretariat Office website.
Report to Senate of the Provost & Interim President – April 21, 2022
On March 23, the Government of Ontario announced that it would be extending the tuition freeze for domestic students through the 2022-23 academic year. You will recall that a two-year tuition freeze from 2020-2022 was first implemented in January 2019, following the announcement of a 10-percent reduction in tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year.
This extension is not surprising given the current political climate and the upcoming election, though there had been earlier suggestions that the government might be considering a modest tuition increase. The extension of the freeze will continue to put financial pressure on Ontario post-secondary institutions, including Brock, in a context where costs continue to rise and government funding for post-secondary education has not kept pace with basic institutional needs.
Update on senior academic searches
As you know, a number of key administrative searches are currently underway.
- The Advisory Committee on the Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning interviewed a long list of candidates in March and shortlisted three candidates, who visited campus and provided public presentations during the week of April 11. Candidates included:
- Rajiv Jhangiani
- David Hutchison
- Pavlina Radia
Candidate CVs and presentations were posted publicly to the University community as per policy, and comments are invited by email to firstname.lastname@example.org until 9 AM on Friday, April 29.
- The ad for the Dean, Goodman School of Business has now been posted and the Advisory Committee has agreed to take applications through the summer and save interviews for August and September. Professor Barry Wright was named Interim Dean on March 23 and will serve in that capacity starting July 1 until a new Dean takes office.
- The Advisory Committee on the Vice-President, Research continues to progress in the review process.
- The Advisory Committee on the Dean, Faculty of Math & Science released its job ad and is receiving applications.
- The Advisory Committee on the Dean, Faculty of Education has met with the search consultant and is working on a job ad.
- The Advisory Committee on the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement has retained a search consultant and will be moving forward in the coming weeks.
Extension of mask and vaccine requirements on campus
On March 31, we announced that Brock will extend its mask and vaccine requirements on campus beyond the end of the Winter term given the current increase in COVID-19 infections. This decision was made on the recommendation of Niagara Region Public Health.
These requirements will be re-evaluated regularly in the coming weeks and months, with an announcement about Fall 2022/Winter 2023 released before mid-May.
Learning Management System Procurement
On April 6, we announced that Brock had finalized a contract with D2L to make Brightspace our institution’s new learning management system (LMS). This decision follows a rigorous evaluation process that included opportunities for members of the Brock community to try out the various products under consideration and provide feedback. The process to identify a new LMS began in 2021 and culminated in Senate’s endorsement on October 27, 2021 of the plan to acquire a new system.
In the coming weeks, Brock instructors and staff will have opportunities to explore Brightspace firsthand. Interested instructors are also being asked to volunteer to participate in an early adopters program to help rapidly evolve Brock’s instance of Brightspace based on real instructor, student, and staff feedback. If you are teaching in the 2022 Spring/Summer semester and interested in being an early adopter, please email email@example.com.
In September 2022, all courses that are eligible may choose to use Brightspace. More information on migration and training will be coming soon, with further details available on the CPI website.
Consultation on the draft academic plan
On November 10, the University launched a process to create an academic plan for the period from 2022 to 2027. The plan is being developed in collaboration with the Planning, Priorities, and Budget Advisory Committee (PPBAC) of Senate.
Over 400 responses to the initial consultation process were received from Brock students, staff, faculty members and librarians. These responses were used to draft an academic plan, which is now available to the University community for further consultation. Comments on the draft plan are invited through the online consultation portal on the Provost’s Office website before May 2, 2022.
The draft plan:
- Revisits the key mission and values listed in the Institutional Strategic Plan;
- Outlines the purpose of the plan in our current late-pandemic context;
- Describes the method used to generate the draft plan;
- Lists actions under four thematic priority areas, including:
- High-quality and meaningful education experience
- Accessible, flexible and customizable
- Supportive and student-centred
- Equitable, diverse and inclusive
Comments will be used to revise the plan, which will then be brought to PPBAC and Senate for discussion. A finalized plan is expected this summer.
Program review – Correction
In February, I brought forward the annual list of programs slated to complete cyclical review in upcoming years. Please find included today an updated list, with two minor changes highlighted.
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President, Academic