e-COMMUNICATOR September 27, 2005

Staff Collective Agreement

Negotiations for the first Staff Collective Agreement have begun. The University is represented by its Negotiation Team of Sylvia Teasdale, Mark Mc Laughlin and Guy Bertrand. This Negotiation Team is supported by a group of senior administrators who will provide information and observations about conditions specific to their areas of activity. Furthermore, the Negotiation Team receives its mandate from the Human Resources Committee of Corporation.

The University looks forward to a negotiation process that builds upon the positive initiatives of the Staff Joint Transitional Committee. We are interested in serious, comprehensive and productive discussions that will enable the Bishop’s community to achieve its many institutional goals. Bishop’s remains committed to maintaining fair and judicious working conditions (including salaries and benefits).

We are dedicated to making this first-time negotiation a respectful experience.
You can view the Corporation Staff Negotiation Structure on the Human Resources section of the Bishop’s University website.

Search Committee for ITS Director

The Search Committee is comprised of Prof. Eva Bures, Prof. Stefan Bruda, Mr. Mark McLaughlin, Dean Sylvie Béquet, Ms. Lyne Grégoire, Ms. Sylvia Teasdale, Mr. Vince Marmion, Mr. Guy Bertrand and Ms. Sylvie Coté. The Committee will review the applications submitted and short-list a number of applicants for interview.

Once these interviews have been conducted, the Committee will recommend that the top two or three candidates be professionally assessed by a consultant specializing in human resources.

With the results of the interviews and the report of the consultant in hand, I will establish a small committee made up of some members from the Search Committee and of key stakeholders at the University to review the information. Following this level of discussion, I hope to be able to appoint the successful candidate to the position of Director of ITS.

Robert Poupart
Principal

Orientation Week in Review

Orientation Week at Bishop’s is intended to facilitate the smooth and friendly transition for new students into their new educational home and environment. Its success or failure, in many ways, sets the tone for the rest of the year. Our goals for new students include learning the norms of the campus culture, developing a focus toward academics, finding a niche and putting down roots at Bishop’s, building relationships, learning to ask for help, and finally, accepting responsibility for their own success while resisting negative peer pressure.

The success of Orientation Week 2005 (during which 687 “frosh” were introduced to life at Bishop’s) is attributable to the many hours of planning leading up to the event and to the solid commitment of the student leaders responsible for this mammoth event. Orientation Coordinators Meiko Boyer, Sam Paterson, and Mark Gravely, under the keen supervision of Louis Ialenti, President of the SRC, and Eric Desrosiers, SRC Director of Finance, oversaw the training of 65 orientation coordinators, and 20 judges, who helped the first-year students with their transition to university life through a week of social activity. Jocelyn Molyneux provided the leadership for the academic orientation and, for the first time ever, a commencement ceremony was conducted at Centennial Theatre prior to academic advising. The week was action packed with registration, a play performed by Bishop’s students, a motivational speaker, a hypnotist, a sex columnist, the Trews (an up and coming Canadian rock band), a football game, EWP exams, a movie and, of course, field day and closing ceremonies.

It is no secret that the Bishop’s student’s reputation related to “La Rentrée” (as our local media so appropriately describe the students’ return to Lennoxville) has been marred in past years by arrests, municipal violations, and vandalism. This, however, was not the case in 2005. In fact, as a result of the dedicated effort of the SRC and the Orientation leaders, this year’s version brought praise to the Bishop’s community for the manner in which returning students re-integrated into Lennoxville and in which first-year students began their transition to life at Bishop’s and Lennoxville. A spirit of cooperation, communication, and good will was never more evident among student services, town officials, the Sherbooke Police, Bishop’s Security, Student Safety, Resident Assistants, the SRC and Orientation leaders. We can all take pride in Orientation Week 2005 with respect to creating a culture where appropriate student behavior is the norm, but we must also remember this can best be described as a good start.

Bruce Stevenson
Dean of Student Affairs

Planning Days

On September 1st and 2nd, various senior administrators, Deans, the Director of the School of Education and several managers attended one or two full-day planning sessions. These meetings gave individuals an opportunity to share information about their areas of responsibility and to plan not just for the coming year, but also for the next few years as an early step in the University's strategic planning process.

A number of presentations were given and topics discussed and debated included (underlined titles - presentations are availble on the Bishop's website under Principal's Office):

  • The School of Education
  • Library/Learning Commons
  • Research Office
  • Bishop's University Foundation
  • International Student Office
  • Continuing Education: Ms. Meesen discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing the Continuing Education Department. Most agreed there is a fair amount of duplication of academic administrative work, and the University needs to revisit the role Continuing Education plays at Bishop's.
  • Orientation Week and Town/Gown relations: Mr. Stevenson gave an overview of the activities for the week and the extensive measures taken to ensure a successful Orientation Week.
  • Campus Master Plan: Mr. Skelton informed the group that the survey from last spring is with a consultant, and further discussions with the campus community should begin in October.
  • Financial Budgets for 2004-05 and 2005-06: Mr. McLaughlin reported that the University had a slight surplus budget for the 2004-05 fiscal year bringing our accumulated deficit to $400,000. The projection for 2005-06 is a deficit of $1.6 million – due in large part to the University's commitment to paying the pension deficit.
  • Health & Safety Committee: First meeting of the committee was scheduled for September 12. The committee will soon form four sub-committees: Workplace Safety; Accident Prevention; Campus Safety; and Wellness.
  • Staff Union Negotiations: see earlier article of this e-newsletter.
  • Property purchases off-campus; Mr. McLaughlin discussed the strategic purchases of the old Co-op building, in addition to 16 & 18 College Street.
  • Renovations on-campus: Mr. McLaughlin reported that renovations of Centennial Theatre may begin as early as January 2006, thanks in part to a grant of $559,000 from the Federal Government. The renovation of Divinity House may qualify for a new provincial funding program of $400,000 per year (for a maximum of three years, to be matched by the University) designated to capital improvements. The target start date for the one-year renovation project is June 2006.

    Professor Bequet, Dean of the Williams School, presented research and observations about the current state of post secondary education in Canada. You can view Prof. Bequet's presentation online on the Principal's Office section of our website.

    Attendees were also encouraged to read "The Future City of Intellect", a 26 page document published by Stanford University Press. A few copies are available in the Library for those who wish to read this enlightening paper.

    These meetings will be held two or three times per year. They provide an excellent forum for Deans and managers to meet, listen and discuss concerns or plans which affect the Bishop's community, ensuring that actions and developments for the year will be cohesive and reflect the strategic plans being formulated.

    From the Registrar's Office

    Student numbers for September 2005

    The add/drop deadline was September 20th, so one can consider these figures as firm. There will, as always, be some minor fluctuations in the weeks to come. There is good news and bad news. First the good news. Full-time undergraduate students are at about the same level as last year: 2192 students compared to 2220 students in September 2004. The first year class this year has 697 students, compared to 738 last year.

    Now, the bad news. All other indicators are showing a downward trend: an example is part-time student numbers are down 13%. All divisions, except Social Sciences, are down in first year, full-time students. This means that next year, unless it’s a banner year in new students registering, there will be a significant reduction in the number of students registered at Bishop’s.

    First-year student registration

    As usual, registration for new students was held during Orientation Week on Tuesday afternoon following Academic Orientation which took place in the morning.

    This was my first registration at Bishop’s – an eye-opener to say the least. Faculty, staff and students will certainly attest to the fact that it was a labor-intensive afternoon. Long line-ups formed outside the gymnasium, extending right outside of the Sports Centre. By mid-afternoon, it was taking two to three hours for some students to go through the process.

    It is my intention to work with the Academic Deans, as well as our Admissions and Records Offices, to see how we might improve this process. For instance – how can we structure registration so that students or programs that need less advising are not penalized by those who need it? Or how do we isolate the important act of academic advising from the almost mechanical act of registering? These are challenges I hope we can meet before next September.

    Yves Jodoin
    Registrar

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