QSERAP email to Queen’s students and employees, sent 9 September 2010:
Over the summer, as you may know, there have been some developments in Queen’s “Academic Planning” exercise, including some advances in transparency.
1. In late June, Queen’s Students and Employees for Real Academic Planning (QSERAP) launched a Real Academic Planning Blog, which serves two functions:
- as a documentary chronicle of the process (it includes most of the relevant documents, administrative and otherwise, all in chronological order; it now also includes a written history of the whole process to date), and
- as a place for individual members of the Queen’s community to post planning suggestions, read each other’s suggestions, and conduct open discussion.
2. On June 30, partly at the request of QSERAP, Principal Woolf extended the “academic planning” timeline. The new timeline and process are not yet exactly clear, but Senate will now be involved in drafting the plan.
3. On Aug. 25, the Principal’s “Academic Writing Team” (AWT) posted its Report “Imagining the Future,” and the Principal created an Academic Plan Forum that includes the AWT’s Report and (at the request of QSERAP) accommodates open public commentary on it. (A critique of the Report is also posted on the RAP Blog.)
4. Also at the request of QSERAP, the Provost’s office recently posted links to eight Faculty/School Responses to Where Next? This supplements TransparentU. Between the two sites, there is now public access to 14 of the academic units’ responses to Principal Woolf. Most recommendations to the Principal from departments and other academic sub-units are, unfortunately, still private.
Despite these advances, there is cause for concern. The AWT’s Report “Imagining the Future” (25 August) simply repeats most of the substantive proposals made by the Faculty of Arts and Science Response (15 April), and most of these proposals–e.g., for expanding the size of first-year classes, virtualizing teaching, re-weighting course-credits, and reducing core requirements in the name of curriculum “simplification”–are palpably financial rather than academic in spirit. The repetition suggests (a) that no one was listening in the interim, and (b) that despite “academic” trappings, our Administration is still concerned primarily with financial cost-cutting.
It is clear that if Queen’s students and employees want real academic planning, as opposed to financial planning in disguise, they are going to have to stand up in numbers this fall and speak their wishes.
The Real Academic Planning Blog was created for that purpose. It is open for use by all Queen’s students, staff, and faculty of whatever viewpoint. Please use it to post your planning suggestions; we would especially appreciate more postings from staff and students.
Frank Burke, Mark Jones, Samantha King, Roberta Lamb, Susan Lord, and Lauren McNicol
for Queen’s Students and Employees for Real Academic Planning