The McGill Senate held their monthly meeting on Jan. 20, presenting two motions that were passed as well as an update on the ongoing Fiat Lux project.
McGill Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi began the meeting by presenting a motion to create a Joint B.Eng. program in Global Engineering with CentraleSupélec France. Students who elect to take the four-year program will spend the first two years in France and finish the final two years at McGill. The program will begin in the Fall 2023 semester at the earliest and aims to accept approximately 70 students, with each student afforded the opportunity to specialize in one of nine streams.
“The aim of this new Bachelor of Engineering [program] is to train engineers who will be able to work in collaborative and interdisciplinary teams, in global settings,” Manfredi said.
Although the Senate approved the motion, the program still needs to be approved by the Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire (BCI), a private organization that acts as a coordination forum for all Quebec universities.
Manfredi brought forward another motion to rename the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics to the Department of Civil Engineering. He explained that the new name would more accurately represent the scope of teaching and research done in many Civil Engineering sub-disciplines, such as Environmental or Structural Engineering. Manfredi hopes that the change will alleviate confusion, as it will better align with the actual title of the undergraduate degree—B.Eng. in Civil Engineering. The motion was approved and will soon be considered by the McGill Board of Governors.
Associate Provost (Teaching and Academic Programs) Chris Buddle presented an update on behalf of the Committee on Libraries concerning library usage during the pandemic and the progression of the Fiat Lux project. The Fiat Lux project will redesign and rebuild the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex and is proceeding as planned, with the storage building that will house Rare Books and Special Collections scheduled to finish by Fall 2022. The phased renovation program is scheduled to start in the winter of 2023.
Buddle discussed the Committee on Libraries Annual Report and how library usage during the pandemic has remained the same and been an important resource for students during the remote semesters.
“This report doesn’t capture […] the very important role that the libraries have played during the pandemic,” Buddle said. “Both in terms of the availability of resources for researchers and students […] and the way the libraries have been used as study hubs and [are] ongoing in that way.”
The Fiat Lux project will place emphasis on creating more space for students and unique study spaces.
“Minister of higher education Madame [Danielle] McCann is hopeful that the [COVID-19] situation will improve, particularly if we can accelerate the vaccinations of the vulnerable part of our [Quebec] populations. [The government is] looking for at least some light at the end of the tunnel. Apart from […] ensuring the health of the population and ensuring that we are all able to stay healthy, the government is very worried about the mental health of the population and particularly of students [….] For these reasons, we are very strongly encouraged by the minister and the premier to increase the opportunities for our students to be present in-person on our university campuses.”
-Suzanne Fortier, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University
Moment of the meeting
At the beginning of the meeting, Senator David Eidelman and Senator Jim Engle-Warnick presented touching memorials for Dr. Clifford Kirk Osterland, from the Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Barbara Nichols, from the Faculty of Social Work, respectively. Both Osterland and Nichols who passed away in 2020 were notable McGill professors who paved the way for future generations through their research and teaching.