The Board of Governors approved Concordia’s new academic plan by a unanimous vote at its monthly meeting last Thursday.
Spearheaded by Provost and VP of academic affairs David Graham, the plan will serve as a strategic guide for university growth. The objective of the plan is to have Concordia recognized as a top five comprehensive university by 2016 by improving research performance, teaching and academic programming.
“I feel great,” said Graham, who’s been developing the plan for over two years. “I’ve invested a lot of time and energy on it, so I am pleased to see the work that came into it is paying off.”
The presentation at the meeting broke down where the majority of the plan’s $25 million budget will go: $7.45 million for improving research at Concordia, $6.16 million to graduate students programming, $4.5 million towards new acquisitions for Concordia’s two libraries.
The academic plan passed with two abstentions from undergraduate governors Laura Beach and Cameron Monagle.
Graham had presented the plan to Concordia’s Student Union council in November but it was turned down by student councillors, their main objection being that it was formed without much student input.
“As part of senate, I voted against it two months ago, I felt that there was more time needed, more cost questions needed to be answered,” said CSU president Lex Gill. Gill ultimately decided to vote for the plan at Thursday’s meeting.
“Even though I personally opposed the plan, Senate decided to adopt this document, and out of respect for the senate, at the BoG meeting on Thursday, as a student governor I decided to vote in favour,” she said.
Monagle said the plan represents a step forward for Concordia in theory, but he was not entirely sold on some of the more “troubling components.”
“It wobbles between the vague and the bizarrely specific,” Monagle said. “Also, there is a flagrant disregard for undergraduate students, who despite being Concordia’s bread-and-butter, were hardly even mentioned in early drafts. Most importantly, I can’t support a plan funded by tuition hikes that simply cannot be implemented.”
Looking ahead with the academic plan in effect, Monagle said that the CSU will need to continue to work with the senate and faculty to make sure that the plan’s implementation is done in a way consistent with its broader goals.
“The CSU needs to keep a close eye on what’s happening, and pick a fight when necessary,” added Monagle.