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 & Vice-President, Academic – February 15, 2023
I would like to take the opportunity today to highlight some of the recent successes and accomplishments coming out of four of our Faculties, as well as the University Library. This report follows on my December report, in which I shared news from the three remaining Faculties.
Faculty of Education
The Faculty of Education is pleased to welcome Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek as the Director of the Indigenous Educational Studies Programs. Dr. Cote-Meek is a leader in Indigenous education and comes with an extensive background in advancing equity and inclusion in post-secondary institutions. She joins Brock from York University, where she served most recently as Vice-President, Equity, People and Culture, where she spent the past three years building a new division dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all members of the University community. She led a number of new initiatives, including York’s first Framework and Action Plan on Black Inclusion and the development of York’s first University-wide Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
Prior to joining York, Cote-Meek spent a decade serving as the Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University, where she oversaw support services for Indigenous students, advanced Indigenous academic initiatives, and led the development of the University’s Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre.
Cote-Meek is from northeastern Ontario and is a member of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai. She will begin her appointment on August 1.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
As part of its organizational redesign undertaken in 2021, the Faculty of Graduate Studies has worked to implement a new level of student support through its Student Engagement Team.
- The International Graduate Academic Advisor has put together several initiatives to support international students, such as the Graduate Students’ Social Hub, a weekly social meeting for international grad students to learn about life in Canada and meet new friends, and the Winter Clothing Drive, an event that provided more than 130 international students with free, gently used winter clothing.
- In late October, FGS’ new Graduate Academic Support Specialist began in her role with the intent of providing academic supports to graduate students in both course and research-based programs. Within her first three weeks, the role had already supported more than 20 students through one-on-one consultations, in addition to delivering workshops to larger groups of graduate students.
- FGS has been working closely with graduate students and adjudicators to increase its ability to support scholarship applications. As a result, for the first time Brock has two Vanier scholarship winners. Vanier scholarships are valued at $50,000 per year for three years to support doctoral studies.
Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities is spending a year celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Humanities Research Institute, which had been postponed during COVID. The HRI is a unique entity created to promote and support research and creative activity in the Humanities, and holds research funding competitions as well as hosting twice-yearly symposia for the presentation and discussion of Humanities research and creative activity.
In September, the Centre for Digital Humanities welcomed the inaugural class of the new MA programme in Game Studies. The programme has a special focus on games for education, health, and persuasion, and the uses of game design in non-gaming fields.
With the return to a full on-campus experience, public outcomes at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts have ramped up. In the fall, the Faculty had an exhibit of student and alumni photography in the Visual Arts Student Gallery, an original mainstage production entitled Anthroposcene (written and directed by Professor David Fancy), and several concerts by Brock music ensembles, as well as the very well-attended, RBC-sponsored, Tuesday Music at Noon concerts.
Faculty of Math & Science
Steady progress continues to be made in the development of Brock’s Engineering programming, under the oversight of Professor Shahryar Rahnamayan, who joined Brock in July as Chair of the Yousef Haj-Ahmad Department of Engineering. This follows on Professor Beatrice Ombuki-Berman’s very successful time as founding and interim Chair of the Department last academic year. The Department is nearing completion of its proposal for an undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering program in Integrated Engineering, which should come forward soon to the Academic Review Committee of Senate.
I also wish to congratulate Professor Liette Vasseur from the Department of Biological Sciences for the renewal of her UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability. Professor Vasseur has held the Chair since 2014 and is currently the only UNESCO Chair at Brock.
In February 2022, the Brock University Library/Archives finalized a $1.22 million donation with Metroland Media Group consisting of the vertical research files and photography from the St. Catharines Standard and Niagara Falls Review newspapers. This was one of the largest in-kind gifts to Brock this past year. Over 260 boxes of local history content were transferred to Brock for long-term preservation and access. This will be a boon to University researchers and the Niagara community. A formal announcement of this donation will be made in coordination with Metroland in the coming weeks.
I wish to congratulate University Librarian Mark Robertson for his appointment to the board of directors of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) for a three-year term starting November 1. CRKN is the national organization that negotiates large-scale licenses for content (journal packages, databases, etc.) on behalf of its members and provides digital infrastructure for the preservation and access to Canadian heritage material. CRKN members represent 81 institutions across Canada including academic libraries, research institutions, and two national libraries.
Provost and Vice-President, Academic