Provost’s report to the 702nd meeting of Senate

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 – September 14, 2022

Dear colleagues,

As we begin another academic year, let me welcome some new colleagues to the leadership team.

  • First, I welcome Professor Rajiv Jhangiani, who joins Brock from British Columbia as the University’s new Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning, with responsibility for experiential education and faculty resourcing through the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, among other items. Appointed to the Faculty of Education, Rajiv’s practice and scholarship focus on open educational practices, student-centred pedagogies and ethical approaches to educational technology.
  • Second, allow me to introduce Brad Clarke in his new role as Associate Vice-President, Students, which he began in June following Professor Anna Lathrop’s term as Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Students. Brad is a Brock alumnus and long-time staff member in the Students portfolio.
  • Finally, join me in welcoming Professor Barry Wright at the Interim Dean of the Goodman School of Business. Barry has been a faculty member in Goodman since 2003, previously serving as Interim Dean from December 2015 to June 2017, as well as Interim Associate Dean. Since May 2020, Barry has been on secondment as CEO of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. With the Games over – and, I might add, a rousing success – we welcome Barry back to Brock and to GSB.

I trust you’ll join me in welcoming Rajiv, Brad and Barry to their new roles.


Update on senior academic searches

As many of you will recall from last year, a number of key academic administrative searches are still underway.

  • The Advisory Committee on the Dean, Faculty of Math & Science interviewed three shortlisted candidates in July:
    • Professor Peter Berg on July 12
    • Professor Travis Fridgen on July 14
    • Professor Cheryl McCormick on July 18
    • Senate was consulted concerning the Advisory Committee’s recommendation at the end of July. An announcement about the successful candidate is expected in the coming days.
  • The search for a permanent Dean of the Goodman School of Business continues, with the advisory committee meeting over the summer to identify a long list of candidates. First-round interviews will proceed early in the Fall.
  • The Advisory Committee on the Dean, Faculty of Education is in a similar position, with a long list of candidates identified for a first round on interviews.
  • The Advisory Committee on the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement has retained two candidates and will be moving directly to on-campus interviews, with an announcement concerning candidates’ public presentation dates to come.

Finally, two new processes will be launching in September to review the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Ingrid Makus, and Professor Brian Power, the Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Academic. The call for nominations to both committees are currently open, so I would encourage interested students, staff and faculty members to submit their names and engage in the process.


Update on the Academic Plan

Another project that carries over into this academic year is Brock’s work to create an Academic Plan that will guide our direction past the end of the current Institutional Strategic Plan in 2025.

The first round of consultation on the Academic Plan was launched in November of last year, with over 400 members of the Brock community contributing their ideas. These responses were used to create a draft plan, which was made available to the University community for further consultation last March and April.

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
    • Future-oriented

After discussion with the Chair of PPBAC over the summer, we agreed on a consultation pathway to move towards finalizing the Academic Plan early in the new year. Consultation with Senate committees will take place in October, before the document comes to Senate for consultation in November. Dr. Jhangiani will play a leading role in this final round of consultation. We look forward to further discussion.


Performance and Overview Indicators, 2022

I have attached the 2022 edition of the Institutional Performance and Reporting Indicators report for Senate’s information. The report collects a set of overview and performance indicators developed to measure Brock’s success in achieving the objectives set out in the Institutional Strategic Plan. The report template was developed collaboratively with the Board and Senate in Spring 2020, with the understanding that indicators would be made public annually and reported to both the Board and Senate for information.

The current version of the report builds on the report template to include available data from July 2021-June 2022. These data can be divided roughly into three categories:

  • Institutional data already available to the University (e.g., enrolment data and budget data);
  • Data collected as part of the University’s engagement with government regarding SMA3. Note that these data have been defined in conjunction with government but have not yet been reported, as SMA3 reporting has not yet begun. These data are clearly identified in the report tables as also being part of SMA3 reporting.
  • New metrics that the University has not yet begun reporting. The definition and collection of these metrics will continue this academic year.

As one would expect, the indicators for 2021-22 continue to show the impact of the pandemic on Brock’s objectives in some areas. However, Brock continues to make significant progress overall. Some highlights of the report include:

  • A section dedicated to Brock’s return to campus in September 2021, as well as ongoing measures to adapt to COVID;
  • Enrolment numbers rebounded despite the influence of the pandemic on the general economy;
  • Continued improvement in the Maclean’s rankings, both with respect to Brock’s overall ranking and to its student satisfaction performance;
  • A budget that remains balanced despite the significant effects of the pandemic;
  • Significant milestones with respect to advancement and giving, including the naming of both the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and the Yousef Haj-Ahmad Department of Engineering; and
  • Continued strength in research revenue, with a second year of revenue values well above Brock’s historical levels.

Work remains to be done in the next year to define a number of indicators related to the inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization priority.

  • For those indicators related to the diversity of the University community, work has begun on a demographic survey. An initial attempt to contract a firm with expertise in this area failed last Winter. Further research is being done to identify potential firms before a request for proposals is re-issued.
  • The Ontario University Application Centre will be implementing changes to the demographic questions it poses to all Ontario high school students applying to a university in the province. Many of these changes will yield new data related to under-representation. Most of these questions will also overlap with the categories identified as performance indicators, yielding an initial picture of Brock’s incoming student body.


Scarborough Charter planning

At its August retreat, Senior Administrative Council members participated in a dialogue, led by our colleagues Professor Dolana Mogadime and Trecia McLennon, around the implementation of the Charter at Brock. Deans and other leaders will be engaging with Senators and other members of the academic community in the months to come about ways in which we can bring the Charter’s principles and vision to life on our campus.


Framing the SEM conversation

The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect on and reframe the longstanding discussion at Brock around our optimal enrolment levels. For example, as we approach the midterm point of the Institutional Strategic Plan, we should begin to ask ourselves whether the stated enrolment target of 21,000 students by 2025 is still realistic in a post-COVID world. It is clear that a lot remains unknown and that post-pandemic student behaviour remains unpredictable. However, it is equally clear based on our application and confirmation trends that Brock is operating in an increasingly competitive provincial, national, and international landscape.

As a result, one of the tasks I would like to undertake this year with the help of all faculty colleagues is to reconsider our strategic enrolment plans and update our enrolment targets for the next five years. We need to discuss whether Brock should keep growing, whether Brock can keep growing and – should the response to either of these questions be in the negative – whether we are willing to live with the financial consequences of those decisions.

A discussion about strategic enrolment management will necessarily involve consideration of Brock’s program mix, as it becomes increasingly clear year after year that in some areas we do not offer the academic programs that students are looking for or that are aligned with labour market needs. We need to think about how we can slowly turn this heavy ship in a world where resources are not infinite and closing down existing programs is both difficult and often impractical.


I look forward to further discussions this year.



Lynn Wells

Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President, Academic

Categories: September 2022