posted on Feb. 20: Senate approves new programs, software quality research laboratory


The following items are highlights from the Feb. 14 Senate meeting:

  • The Senate Executive Committee is considering a request for a task force to establish an environmental policy. Fourth-year students Michael Law and Kate Parizeau presented a proposal requesting a steering committee be set up to develop a policy. They asked that any proposed policy also be linked to curriculum focused on environmental studies. Karen Belaire, vice-president administration, said the University's master campus plan is in the process of being revised in consultation with various campus stakeholders. She said environmental issues are part of the discussions and recommendations would be part of a plan to be presented to the Board in the fall. After lengthy discussion, the Senate referred the students' request to the Executive Committee with an understanding that the committee would report back with direction on how to proceed.
  • The classroom hotline has received 60 complaints to date, provost and vice-president academic Harvey Weingarten reported. There are 10 complaints that remain unresolved and they involve problems with clocks showing the incorrect time or rooms that are reported to be too cold, he said.
    The room temperature complaints are difficult to resolve because when tested by physical plant staff the temperature recorded is 68 F, the university standard, Weingarten said.
    “Somehow this will have to be resolved,” he said. The classroom hotline number is available at ext. 23073 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instructors are encouraged to leave a message if calling after hours. Problems can also be reported via e-mail to
  • Senate approved a proposal to establish a Communication Studies program in the Faculty of Humanities. The program will be offered in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences, noted Harvey Weingarten, provost and vice-president academic. The program will offer four streams: language and discourse, cultural studies, performance studies and mass communications. “This program takes a step towards creating the intellectual and pedagogical expertise needed on campus around communication,” said Daniel Woolf, humanities dean, in a report to Senate. “It will provide introductory courses open to all students on the topic of human communication and a rigorous program for those students who wish to pursue the subject.”
  • The Department of Computing & Software Engineering will be home to a new McMaster Software Quality Research Laboratory (SQRL). The lab will be housed in the renovated T16 building and has been allocated $50,000 from the Faculty of Engineering for start up costs. A team of researchers, software professionals and graduate students based in the lab will conduct research about software quality, give undergraduate and graduate students experience working on software quality assurance problems, provide courses for developers to inspect and test software and carry out software quality assessments for industry on a contract basis.
  • The Senate Committee on academic dishonesty presented its annual report. The report showed that the Senate committee handled two cases of academic dishonesty in the 1999-2000 period. One student was found guilty of submitting other students' work as his own, potentially harming other students by removing their projects before grading and submitting stolen assignments in a way to cast academic dishonesty suspicions on innocents students. The student was expelled. In the second case, the student was found guilty of submitting falsified medical records and was suspended for three years. The Faculties dealt with 126 academic dishonesty reports, 17 less than the previous year. The breakdown is:

    Social Sciences – 14

    Business – 2

    Engineering – 54

    Humanities – 7

    Science – 45

    Arts & Science Program – 3

    Health Sciences – 0

    Graduate Studies – 1

    Geography professor John Drake, committee chair, said although the statistics suggest that cheating may be more prevalent in engineering than in other Faculties “since it's easier to detect in engineering, the actual incidents may not be different.”

  • Senate approved the establishment of the following chairs:

    L.R. Wilson/BCE Chair in Data Communications

    Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics

    Jack C. Laidlaw Chair in Patient-Centred Health

    St. Peter's Chair in Aging

  • Eight programs offered through the Centre for Continuing Education or the Faculty of Health Sciences were approved as certificate and diploma programs. The programs are: Diploma in Child Life Studies, Diploma in Human Resources Management, Diploma in Police Studies, Diploma in Addiction Care worker and Certificate in Addiction Studies, Certificate in Writing, Certificate in Metallurgy of Iron and Steel, Certificate in Case Management and a Certificae in Geographical Information Systems.