posted on Dec. 18: Board of Governors Dec. 13 meeting highlights


The Board of Governors met Dec. 13 and considered the following items:

President's Report

President Peter George expressed his delight with the federal government's budget announcement that, for the first time, it will dedicate $200 million towards the indirect costs of research. This is “tremendously important news” for McMaster, President George said, noting the money will be allocated to Canadian universities by the end of March 2002. He told the Board there has been no action from Ottawa on the deferred maintenance costs issue or on funding for students to get financial assistance to study abroad.

Options for a mural painted in 1981 on the walls of the Togo Salmon Hall cafeteria are being explored, President George reported. The mural, created on a permanent wall, was slated to be covered up as part of the construction of the McMaster University Student Centre project. Karen Belaire, vice-president administration, told Senate on Dec. 12 that she has enlisted assistance from McMaster Museum of Art staff to explore options for the mural. “There are some practical issues, whether it can be moved and the costs associated, for example the costs of redesigning the facility,” she said. As well, she will contact the Mexican artist who created the mural. President George said the proposed action regarding the mural will be presented to the Board for approval.

President George said he has received several letters from Westdale residents concerning proposals for the Mayfair Oval as outlined in the draft campus plan. The draft campus plan, presented to the Board for information at the Dec. 13 meeting, calls for parking and expanded athletic fields on the oval.

Asbestos Encasement Work at Health Sciences Centre

The Board approved an asbestos encasement project at the Health Sciences Centre that will cost $3.2 million. Hamilton Health Sciences will pay $4.6 million of the project's total cost of $7.8 million. Don Green, chair of the Board's planning and building committee, said fire regulations in place when the building was built several years ago deemed that asbestos had to be used to coat the steel beams found in crawl space areas. “We have a very serious problem at the Health Sciences Centre,” he said, noting the encasement of the asbestos will improve workers' health and safety in the building. Green said the University's share of the project will be funded by selling University-owned homes in Westdale. The Board's approval for the project also had the following conditions:

  • University experts report on the effectiveness of the proposed encasement project
  • The Ministry of Labour had to support the process
  • That warranties provided by the suppliers satisfy ministry requirements.

Creation of Assistant Dean Position

The Board approved the inclusion of an assistant dean position in each Faculty's organizational structure pending advice from the specific Faculty. The Board heard that the Faculty of Health Sciences has had assistant dean positions but this would be a new initiative for other Faculties. The assistant dean position could be filled by a faculty member or a senior professional staff member. Deans would be able to appoint suitable candidates to the position. Proposals from the Faculty of Humanities to create the position of assistant dean of humanities (academic) and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business to create an assistant dean of business (external) were deferred at the Dec. 12 Senate meeting.

Chair in Early Childhood Development

The terms of reference have been established for the Government of Ontario/Children's Secretariat Chair in Early Child Development. The Ontario government and its Children's Secretariat have contributed $1 million to the establishment of the chair. The University has committed to provide funds through annual allocations to match the income from the gift to a maximum of $50,000 per year. The appointee to the chair will hold a faculty position in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences and will be affiliated with the Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk. The appointment is for a five-year renewable term.

McMaster E-Business Research Centre

The Board approved a name change proposed by the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business for its electronic business research centre. The centre was formerly known as the McMaster E-Commerce Research Centre, but will now be called the McMaster E-Business Research Centre. The change was made because electronic commerce refers to a broader range of topics of interest to centre researchers, including e-commerce as a subset. The School of Business defines e-business as any process that a business organization conducts over a computer-mediated network, including production, customer, internal or management-focused business processes.

Information Technology Building Expansion

The Board approved a $7.5 million expansion to the newly-renovated Information Technology Building (ITB). The expansion will be funded by a combination of SuperBuild ($3.7 million), appropriated funds ($3.65 million) and Canada Foundation for Innovation funds ($150,000). The proposed addition will consolidate the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in the ITB and its proposed annex.

Tandem Accelerator Building Renovation

The Board approved a $1.9 million renovation project for the Tandem Accelerator Building. The renovation involves a two-storey addition to the building, with construction to be completed by May 2002. Funding for the work is coming from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Office of the Vice-President Research, the Office of the Dean of Science, the Faculty of Engineering, the Ontario Research Development Challenge Fund and the University.

University Library Review

An ad hoc committee to review the University Library and its relationship with the University's academic mission has been established. Committee members are Virginia Aksan, Department of History (chair), Gary Purdy, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, P. K. Rangachari, Department of Medicine and Arif Manji, Level IV student, arts & science program. Committee consultants are University librarian Graham Hill and Liz Bayley of the Health Sciences library. The committee report is expected to be presented to the University Planning Committee no later than Feb. 15.