Mark Jones, Restored Records for the 2011 Academic Planning Process (12 October 2011)

This posting restores information that has been fundamental to the drafting of the academic plan but that was, for no apparent reason, removed from the APTF’s website over the summer.  It is possible that few have missed this information, and even that few will use it, but it belongs to the community, and where a small committee has been appointed to draft the academic plan for a university, transparency is critical both for credibility and for more  practical purposes (e.g., so that anyone can check and rectify errors in fact or emphasis).

“bring them all back to light”–Feist

In the winter and spring of 2011, the Academic Planning Task Force (APTF) created an interactive website to make its consultation and drafting as open and transparent as possible.  The site included:

  • Unit Responses to Principal Woolf’s Where Next. Once we gained access to the unit responses, we listed them all and provided links to those that could be made public (some could not be, since they were originally framed in response to a request from the Principal that did not provide for general publicity).
  • On-campus consultations.  We had a webpage that listed all of the APTF’s consultations and provided links to “takeaways,” or write-ups, so that anyone could see what their drafting committee had heard.
  • “Four Pillars”–texts and responses.  Organizing the planning process around “Four Pillars”  (“Fundamental Academic Literacy,” “Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity,” “Global Citizenship,” and “Community and Student Wellness”), we wrote consulting propositions or questions for each, posted them, and invited everyone to post responses and comments.  This produced a large body of planning discussion and made it visible to everyone.
  • Early drafts and responses. When we began drafting, we posted our approved drafts in process, including appendices, and invited everyone to post comments on these as well.  We revised in response to comments and re-posted new drafts for further comments.

Unfortunately, the partial deactivation of the APTF’s website over the summer has not only buried most of its process but also made it impossible to verify the grounds of many of its recommendations.  How much consultation and study lie behind the recommendation, for instance, that Queen’s consider “basing a component of the student’s mark on group work”? (Draft Plan of September 2011, Recom. 17).  Without citations within the plan, and without the consultative data, it is impossible to tell whether such a recommendation is based on the reflection and advice of students, teachers, and education experts, or whether it is pure whimsy.  The APTF has been urged on several occasions (e.g., in Senate on 27 September 2011) to restore the transparent and interactive functions of its website, but most of its consultation results remain missing.

For purposes of transparency and reference, therefore, here are the materials to which it has been possible to restore access:

Unit Responses to Where Next?:  The individual and unit responses to which the APTF has had access are still listed in the September draft, “Appendix 4: Unit Responses.”  But since most of the links provided by this appendix are broken and the faculty/school responses formerly available via the Provost’s website appear to have been removed, the reports that were formerly made public are again accessible here:

  • See also  Johanne Bénard (Head of the Department of French Studies),
 Lynda Jessup (Director of the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies), Clarke Mackey (Head of the Department of Film and Media), and 
Clive Robertson (Acting Head of the Department of Art), “An Open Letter to Principal Woolf,” QUFA Forum, 15 March 2010.

On-campus consultation results.  The APTF webpage for these has disappeared.  For the record, then, the APTF’s consultations between January and April 2011 included the following:

  • Principal Woolf, January 19
  • Senate (preliminary oral report), January 20 (Senate Minutes, Jan. 2011, pp. 3-4)
  • Senate (informal session on Writing, Inquiry, and Interdisciplinarity), February 17
  • Town Hall (on Writing), March 7
  • AVP/Dean of Student Affairs John Pierce, with Roxy Denniston-Stewart and Arig Girgrah, March 9
  • AMS Assembly (on Undergraduate Academic Experience), March 10
  • Arts & Science Faculty Board (on the “Pillars” framework and the “balanced academy”), March 11
  • School of Business Faculty Board, (“Pillars” framework), March 15
  • Martha Whitehead, Jeff Moon, Sharon Murphy, and Nathalie Soini, for Queen’s Library, March 16
  • Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Board, March 16
  • Jeannette Parsons and Roger Healey, for the Queen’s University Staff Association, March 18
  • Law Faculty Board, March 18
  • Society of Graduate and Professional Students AGM, March 22
  • ASUS Academic Planning Discussions for
    • Natural and Physical Sciences, March 23
    • Social Sciences, March 24
    • Fine Arts and Languages, March 28
    • Humanities, March 29
  • Senate (informal session on “the balanced academy” and “doing fewer things, better”), March 24
  • Aboriginal Council and Community, March 25
  • Writing Centre Forum, March 25
  • Arts and Science Committee of Departments, March 25
  • Town Hall (on Pillar III, Global Citizenship), March 29
  • Doug Babington, Maureen Garvie, Donna Katinas, Susan Korba, and Lori Vos, for the Writing Centre, April 1:  Statement and Takeaway
  • Irène Bujara and Adnan Husain, for the Diversity and Equity Taskforce, April 1
  • Susan Cole, Deputy Provost, April 6
  • Denise Stockley, for the Centre for Teaching & Learning, April 8
  • Michael Adams and Ken Rose, for the Faculty of Health Sciences, April 8
  • Peter Harrison for Policy Studies, and David Gordon for Urban and Regional Planning, April 8
  • Town Hall (on Pillar II, Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity), April 11

Four Pillars Texts and Responses.  The “Four Pillars” consultation texts evolved over time; the following are the latest available texts as of mid-April 2011:

The extensive community comments on these consulative texts have disappeared  from the APTF website, but a copy was made on 27 April 2011; see  APTF Website Consultation Results (April 2011).

Early drafts and responses.  When the APTF began drafting in March and April, it posted drafts for substantially completed sections of the plan, including the following.  The responses to these are now missing, but these are (except as otherwise indicated) the latest available drafts as of late July.

See also: “On Virtualization, Blended Learning, On-line Learning, and the ‘Greater Differentiation’ of Ontario Universities” (submitted to APTF and Senate on 25 July 2011, but not yet approved) would fit as Section II of Pillar I.

Postscript, 18 October 2011: The APTF has just posted a new draft and erased the links on its website to the previous draft of September 2011; it can be found here.

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