posted on July 3: Highlights from the June 15 Board of Governors Meeting


Highlights from the June 15 Board of Governors meeting:

2001-02 operating budget approved

The Board of Governors approved an operating budget of nearly $200 million for 2001-02. The University anticipates income totalling $196,796 million for the operating year, an increase of about $13 million over the 2000-01 budget year. Expenses for 2001-02 are projected at $196,708 million, also higher than last year. An $88,000 surplus is projected for the year-end. (A more detailed budget story will be posted on the Daily News later this week).

Fundraising campaign update

McMaster's most ambitious fundraising campaign ended on a successful note at the end of June. To date $112,352,000 in gifts and pledges has been confirmed, reported executive director University Advancement Roger Trull. “Our original $100-million goal has been clearly surpassed,” said Trull, stating that he expects the final result at the conclusion of the campaign to be $115 million or more. “There are a number of gifts that we are continuing to work on.” More than 90 per cent of the funds raised during the campaign have come from the top one per cent of the University's donors. The University continues to face challenges in raising funds for specific priority areas such as student laboratories and the library.

Board approves title change

The Board approved a change of title for Roger Trull, from executive director to vice-president university advancement. The title was previously approved by the Senate Committee on Appointments and is effective July 1.

One board member, Lorraine Allan, professor of psychology, voted against the motion. Allan expressed concern that there was little prior discussion of the proposal and that “Senate had no more time than Board members” to consider the proposal. She felt a “fuller document” should have been developed, similar to what was done when the vice-president research position was created. She also noted that previous proposals for a v-p university advancement (under previous presidents) had not made it to Senate or Board. Allan later stated that “I think there should be a minimum of vice-presidents.”

University President Peter George, who spoke in favour of the title change, said that he has thought for several years that the position should be elevated to the vice-presidential level and that he considered the position holder (Trull) as the equivalent of a vice-president both in scope and scale of management responsibilities. George said it was important for him to have someone at the vice-president level to represent him in national and international venues and that such a position is important for opening doors. For more details about Trull's appointment, click here.

Campus construction boom continues

Three new campus constructions projects, worth $23.3 million, have been approved by the Board. The Advanced Materials Technology Research Facility ($10.9 million) will be built on the west side of the Arthur Bourns Building. A one-storey addition ($1.1 million) will be built on the west side of the Tandem Accelerator building to house a new laboratory, X-ray facility and administrative space for the Centre for Electrophotonic Materials and Devices, and a new state-of-the-art chemistry laboratory ($11.3) will be built in the north wing of the Arthur Bourns Building.

Funding for the three projects will come from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, SuperBuild and the University. For more details, click here.

Sutherland to serve as acting provost and vice-president academic

Dean of Science Peter Sutherland has been named acting provost and vice-president academic. The appointment was approved last month by Board and the Senate Committee on Appointments and was effective July 1. His appointment could be for a few months or up to one year depending on how soon a new provost is in place. Sutherland has informed the Board and Senate that he would not be a candidate for the position. A search is currently under way for a new provost to take up the post as soon as is practicable.

Odour in Museum remains a mystery

Ron Angus, director of risk management, provided an update on the status of the McMaster Museum of Art. The Museum has been closed for several weeks due to a mysterious odour. (See previous story.) A long list of tests have failed to uncover or explain the cause of the odour which has made a number of staff who worked in the building ill. Simple and sophisticated tests were conducted by campus staff and faculty and five external consultants conducted tests for such possible causes as mould and toxic fumes. Experts from the ministry of labour were also called in; Angus reported they had no recommendations to do anything that risk management hadn't done already. “The risk management aspect is concluded and there is no explanation of the health effects on employees From a scientific point of view the building is clean.” It was determined that the heating, ventilating and cooling system within the building could be improved and this work will be done, Angus said, but he indicated he didn't know whether this would solve the problem.

Board member Gillian Cooper, chair of the Museum's Administrative Board, read a strongly worded statement to members expressing her dismay over and dissatisfaction with the quality of the air in the Museum (She reported relative humidity levels of 86 and 88 per cent in the building.).

Cooper remarked that the mechanical system for the facility has never worked properly. She told members that people's health and the Museum's art collection, which includes the Herman Levy bequest, are in jeopardy.

Physical plant director Bob Carter acknowledged there have been humidity problems within the facility, including a spike in the relative humidity this spring. A separate chiller for the Museum has just been installed; the original design for the facility called for a separate chiller system for the Museum but it was never installed for budgetary reasons. The facility has been a part of the central utility system and, as a result, whatever happens at the central plant greatly affects the Museum.

Other items approved

The Board of Governors approved a number of other proposals and projects including:

  • a plan to restructure academic computing
  • a compulsory ancillary fees protocol
  • adjustments to the miscellaneous fee for the MBA program
  • a crisis plan for the University
  • a report on insurance
  • the 2001-2002 capital renewal program
  • the appointment of Mo Elbestawi as the new dean of engineering (See story.)
  • the appointment of Ed Minich as the new Board Chair (See story.)

More details about some of these items will be provided in future stories posted on the Daily News.