Faculty Council Meeting 2016 | 02

Minutes of the meeting held at 09:00 April 18, 2016, in room CBY A707


Officers of the Faculty
C. Laguë (Dean), M. Dubé (Vice-Dean, Research), I. Nistor (Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies), M. Turcotte (Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Studies), J. Zhang (Vice-Dean, International Affairs), T. Lethbridge (Vice-Dean, Governance), C. Rennie (Chair, CVG), D. Taylor (Chair, CHG), N. Baddour (Chair, MCG), C. D’Amours (Director, EECS), H. Viktor (Associate Director, CSI), K. Bournes (Alumni Relations Officer, non-voting), S. Gandolfini (Chief Administrative Officer, non-voting).

C. Lan, K. Kirkwood, B. Kruczek, M. Mohareb, J. Infante Sedano, S. Vanapalli, J. Yao, A. Zouaq, J. Lang, K. Dolgaleva, P. Galko, E. Petriu, H. Al-Osman, J. De Carufel, B. Dhillon, I. Catelas, E. Lanteigne.

G. Singh, C. Atallah, A. Griffin, A. Pawliszko, K. Chernega, R., Kanjani, F. Singerman, F. Gohier, V. Carpani.


S. Omelon, A.Tremblay, H. Aoude, M. Saatcioglu, S. Shirmohammadi.

Students E. Zhou, N. Rastogi, Z Lin, C. Fliesser.


W. Gueaieb, F. Robitaille, M. Doumit.

Students S
Lau-Chapdelaine, K. Chu.

16.02.01 Approval of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. The Dean welcomed the students who were recently elected. The Dean congratulated Dr. Lethbridge for being awarded the 2016 Distinguished Education Award by the Technical Council on Software Engineering of the IEEE Computer Society.

16.02.02 Minutes of the last meeting (Mar 1, 2016)

A new version of the minutes had been distributed electronically with changes by Dr. C. Mavriplis. The revised minutes were approved.

16.02.03 Matters arising from the minutes

’30 by 30’ initiative: Dr. C. Mavriplis has suggested a series of tangible actions following up from the presentations and brainstorming session at the last meeting. These actions include:

  • To develop marketing products and tools in the area of Women in Engineering through our website, our brochure and the Ontario Universities Fair.
  • Investigating how we can adapt our first-year courses to increase the presence of women, and to increase the presence of women professors in these courses.
  • Finding design topics that are attractive for women in the design courses.
  • Inviting more women to speak in our professional practices courses.

16.02.04 Report of the Dean

This is the Dean’s final meeting as Chair of Faculty Council. In his report he highlighted several areas that the Faculty needs to focus on:

Women in Science And Engineering: The Dean emphasized the issue of women in engineering and computer science. This is a key issue for the Canadian engineering profession. It is also a demographic concern since the university-age population is decreasing, so attracting women to the field is one way to ensure we continue to graduate the needed number of new engineers and computer scientists. The University of Ottawa Faculty of Engineering has several strengths in this regard, including that we have one of the highest proportions of women professors in Canada, and we have been hosting the NSERC/Pratt and Whitney Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering since 2011.

Aboriginal Students: The Dean attended the NCDEAS meeting. An important agenda item was increasing the proportion of aboriginal students in our field. This needs to be on the Faculty radar in the coming years.

Engineering, design, and innovation: This has been excellent for engaging alumni and donors. We have a dedicated advisory committee and a Faculty Coordinator in this area. We have established the (CEED)2 initiative. The fact that we used philanthropic money to help secure an NSERC chair was eye opening at the NCDEAS meting. We have created a position of Engineer/Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence (E3iR) and established two engineers in residence, and we hope to expand this in the future. We have created and filled two faculty positions in the areas of engineering design and technological entrepreneurship and also created new courses related to this area of strength.

Student pre-professional programs: We have a growing number of student participants and they participate in a growing number of activities. It is excellent for the students’ education, and it is also a great branding opportunity. We have a student-funded endowment fund that has increased resources for such activities. We are now able to tap into the interest in the fund. The Brunsfield Centre on the Lees campus is a major part of our work in this area. But the Lees campus has a finite lifespan, so in the long run we may have to find space elsewhere. We have had students who have done well in contests such as the Ontario Engineering Competition and the Valeo Innovation Challenge international student competition.

Communication, outreach, marketing and recruitment: Efforts in these areas have been increasing. Our communication and marketing service is now very effective. However the messages have to be developed by everybody in the Faculty, not just the marketing team. We now have a much more integrated approach to our outreach efforts, and have a new position of Manager of Outreach. The Richard L’Abbé Makerspace has been hosting a number of signature events. We have alumni week events, our design day, our poster competition and other activities to reach out to the community.

Funding challenges: Several challenges lie ahead. The issue of funding to Canadian universities is one of the biggest. The Federal government sees universities as engines of economic growth; the Federal budget has confirmed this through contributions in its budget that have helped fund research and graduate students. However, at the provincial level the provinces are not very positively inclined towards universities. Ontario will be funding students directly, bypassing universities. This might be because provincial governments are not satisfied, perhaps because the cost structure and the rate of inflation in the university sector is much higher than in other sectors of the economy. The Dean indicated that universities need to be proactive at keeping their costs under control; if this does not occur, we can expect other measures from the provincial government to force us to ‘get our house in order’. In Newfoundland and Labrador there will be a reduction of 8% in its provincial government grant to Memorial University, while the University is not allowed to increase its tuition fees.

At the faculty level, the Dean’s greatest source of frustration is the lack of clarity regarding how revenues received in terms of grants and fees are distributed. This makes planning difficult and frustrating. The Faculty is in much better shape than it was 6-7 years ago. In 2008-09 when we were at our lowest level with less than 2500 students we generated less than $35M in revenues. This year we have more than 5200 students and generated more than $90M. However, our relative share of those revenues is going down. The result is that we are now where we were when the Dean arrived in 2006. The Faculty was then getting 50 cents of every revenue dollar; now we are getting 45 cents. The formulas to distribute revenues are outdated, unclear and not transparent. There are different formulas for every type of student. Science is getting close to 70 cents on the dollar. We are on the low end of the spectrum in this regard. When we were at our lowest level of enrollment we were getting 65 cents.

Space: The amount of space per student in our faculty is much lower than in most other Ontario and Canadian engineering schools. A space study has been completed; this has recommendations that need acting on.  There is a strategic investment fund for postsecondary education. We are working with the university on development of a STEM facility to partly accommodate Engineering, Science and Health Sciences. The university will be making a proposal by the May deadline worth tens of millions of dollars for this STEM facility. The previous government also had had a public infrastructure program; the university used this to fund the Social Science building. Unfortunately the STEM facility is still at the conceptual stage.

On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried, Faculty Council thanked the Dean for his hard work and contributions to the faculty.

16.02.05 Report of the Vice-Dean (Research)

The Office of Strategic Development Initiatives has a new permanent manager, Christian Beaulé.

TTBE is going to be changed to Innovation Support Services; TTBE offices are temporarily moved out of the SITE building while its offices are being transformed. There will be industry liaison offices for the various university strategic initiatives.

The Vice-Dean circulated a written report. He highlighted some items from this report; in particularly he highlighted recent success in NSERC Discovery grant applications. Our success rate is 76%, vs. 73% for the university as a whole. We were able to have several professors obtain a Discovery grant that were not successful last time.

The Dean indicated that at the national level the success rate has increased, particularly for first-time applicants. The average grant also continues to increase.

The RTI program had been slated for elimination, but the new NSERC president has committed to continuing it with a budget of about $20M.

N. Baddour was successful in receiving a CREATE grant.

16.02.06 Report of the Vice-Dean (Undergraduate Studies)

On a motion duly moved and seconded, Faculty Council approved changes to the Electrical Engineering program (2015-2016 ELG V26) were approved. This involves minor changes in prerequisites.

Civil Engineering has been able to offer more courses in French; we were able to add French versions of existing courses to the calendar.

There are 2% fewer students in the Ontario system. In the Faculty of Arts there are 16% fewer applicants this year, but in Engineering and Computer Science we have seen an increase of 8% from Ontario students, 11% overall. The computing programs have seen the largest increase, over 20%. There is a 16% increase in the number of women applications, and we have made over 15% more offers.

A total of 24% of the offers this year are to women. Our current percentage of women in the faculty is 20%. This is good progress, but we need to make further progress so we are making 30% of offers to women. Retention of women seems to be better than of men.

We have adjusted the admission averages of all programs.

50% of offers this year are to EECS programs, which have 50% of the professors.

Each year we are attracting more students with averages over 90%, who are offered scholarships.

16.02.07 Report of the Vice Dean (Graduate Studies)

The Vice-Dean circulated a written report.

We have received nine NSERC PGS scholarships, an increase from last year. NSERC scholarships for Masters students have started to be announced. OGS winners are also being informed.

Graduate Research Poster Competition was successful. This competition involved M.Eng students for the first time.

We have initiated the Professional Development Lecture series. There have been two successful lectures in February and March. Everybody is asked to inform the Vice-Dean regarding ideas for alumni who could give talks at future sessions.

The Graduate Engineering Professional Development Workshop plans are nearly final. This targets all graduate students in Science and Engineering, and will be held April 28th and 29th. The registration cost is $25 per student, but more students have applied than seats available in the past.

The graduate office is in a very busy time with ever-increasing numbers of applicants. FGPS has passed to us the responsibility for selecting examiners and chairs for PhD defences. Each professor is asked to help chair defences. FGPS is continuing to do some of the organizing. FGPS has not yet put in place the HR plan however to give us the resources we need. The Vice-Dean is working with the Dean of Graduate Studies to move this file forwards. There was discussion of the distribution of chairing duties for PhD defences.

We will continue to have significantly higher numbers of graduate applications: 2400 this year vs. 2200 at this point last year. Last year we made 511 offers by this point but have made only 436 this year; this number is lower because some programs have decreased their acceptances in order to manage the numbers of M.Eng students. A total of 239 students have accepted offers vs. 249 who had accepted by this point last year. We may expect a slightly lower number of graduate students entering in September, but the ones that do register will be of higher average quality.

There was discussion of assignment of TAs and correctors to graduate exams. It was suggested that graduate exams should by default be assigned a corrector. Just as for the case of the TAs, the allocation of exam proctors comes under the jurisdiction of each Department/School and is subject to Dean’s Office approval.

There was additional discussion of organization of PhD defences. In particular the point was made that a defence date should be set when the thesis is submitted. Also there was a suggestion that there should be broader publicity of pending defences. It was suggested that the list of defences be included in the weekly Faculty newsletter.

16.02.08 Report of the Vice-Dean (International Affairs)

The Vice-Dean has just returned from an international trip. The international professional training program last fall for Chinese professors was very successful. The China Scholarship Council has suggested that our efforts be considerably increased in this regard in coming years. There has also been discussion regarding a similar training program with a Russian university.

16.02.09 Other Business

The Dean reminded everybody of the upcoming alumni week events. The Dean encouraged all regular professors to regularly attend the annual Convocation (3 per year) and Iron Ring (2 per year) ceremonies.

The meeting concluded at 10:33.

Timothy C. Lethbridge Vice-Dean (Governance)

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