Faculty Council Meeting 2020.03

The minutes of the meetings will be bilingual in the sense that the interventions and proposals will be made in the language in which they were made.

Faculty of Engineering - Faculty Council meeting 2020.03 1 p.m., May 6, 2020, online on Microsoft Teams


Officers of the Faculty

J. Beauvais, M. Dube, L. Peyton, M. Labrosse, J. Zhang, T. Lethbridge, C. D’Amours, N. Baddour, C. Adams. B. Kruczek, C. Rennie


A. Sowinski, JP St-Pierre, E. Baranova, B. Lessard, X. Cao, H. Aoude, B. Martin-Perez, J. Infante Sedano, E. Dragomirescu, M. Noël, H. Schriemer, H. Al Osman, K. Hinzer, D. Inkpen, E. Petriu, M. Bouchard, K. Dolgaleva, G.-V. Jourdan, R. St-Gelais, I. Catelas, T. Uchida, M. Majeed, M. Hasan


Z. Al-Faesly, V. Gabriel, P. Patel, H. Raissadat, S. Singh, A. Al-Zaidi, I. Brine, S. Aman, C. Choueifat, K. Nizam, A. Almero, R. Zeid, H. Egla

Others including guests and non-members

S. Gandolfini, V. Samson, F. Bouchard, R. Narbaitz


Officers of the Faculty

D. Taylor,


B. Dhillon, A. Weck



J. Yao, J. L. De Carufel,


S. Knysh, V. Jidkov

20.03.01 Approval of the Agenda

The Dean thanked everybody for the immense amount of work during the COVID-19 crisis.

The agenda was approved.

20.03.02 Approval of the Minutes of the March 23 Meeting

The minutes were approved.

20.03.03 Report of the Dean


The Faculty Executive has been meeting at least 3 times a week during the crisis. Numerous issues have been discussed including online courses, exam proctoring, courses this summer, TAs, access to the facilities, research restarting, and the Fall semester (particularly labs). The Dean has reported on his meetings with Engineering Deans Canada; we are sharing best practices with other Faculties of Engineering. We do not know what the situation will be like in September regarding public health, but we have to plan for partial online teaching or even complete online offerings in September. We are behaving as though September is tomorrow morning.

The most recent discussion was whether there would be S/NS in the current semester. The Executive discussed this yesterday and decided that there would be alphanumeric marks. The university is working on obtaining proper proctoring software for summer session exams.

There are some extraordinary stories of researchers working on matters directly related to the COVID-19 crisis. We will be telling these stories. One of them is that we have created over 7000 face shields in the Makerspace with potential for 300 per day; these have received Health Canada approval (details https://covid.makerepo.com). We had expected this to only be needed for a few weeks, but we are still producing them since demand continues to grow and supply elsewhere has not filled the gap.

Engineering and computer science are essential not only to fight COVID-19 but also for economic recovery.

Last Friday we had the town-hall with the President and the CA. Over 150 people were online at one point.

We are hoping that the crisis helps the CEAB to move to adopt practices more suitable to the 21st century since new teaching techniques are rapidly being deployed.

At the Research Forum this morning there was discussion about relaunching research. We are working under the restrictions of Public Health and are highly dependent on them, but are developing plans beyond what Public Health will require.

Health and Safety

All of our concerns have Centered on COVID-19 issues, and developing protocols and practices for the crisis. We have mostly not been in the labs in recent weeks.


Since we are all online, use of tools has led to many cybersecurity issues being made public. If confidential matters are to be discussed, Zoom should not be used in meetings due to security concerns.

Last Friday there was a major cyberattack at York University.

We still have a long way to go for the mandatory Cybersecurity training. IT will be launching a simulated phishing campaign to emulate a real attack, so we can learn how well-equipped we are.


We have been identifying strategic actions on an ongoing basis using IdeaScale. There are a variety of campaigns online, managed by the Vice-Dean Governance.

We have also been starting to use Microsoft Teams extensively. The Vice-Dean QATI has been holding video sessions to help people to learn about Teams, and also managing a wiki for best practices.

There was a question regarding when we will know if there is a deadline for knowing whether there would be any required in-person classes in the Fall. He pointed out that students have to know whether to renew leases. The Dean indicated that courses this fall will be offered online, but that some students will be able to come to class. This means that physical attendance decisions will have to be made by individual students.

There was a question about cleaning in case there are COVID-19 cases. We know there is the possibility of such cases although none have been reported so far. We are going to be applying public health guidelines for this both to research labs and to classrooms.

20.03.04 Report of the Vice-Dean Graduate Studies

The Vice-Dean put a written report in the Teams documents tab.

The Vice-Dean thanked everybody. We are hoping that students will be able to return to the labs for the fall.

The M.Eng. in entrepreneurial engineering has been approved by the university and is waiting for provincial funding.

There is a line-item in his report regarding the possibilities of micro-credentials that we would recognize.

We are being gentle and flexible with everybody, especially regarding leaves of absence. But we will be flagging students in PhD programs who are running late, such as being in the program more than two years without doing a comprehensive exam, or more than 4 years without presenting their thesis proposal. In the fall we will be more rigorously adhering to these deadlines.

As has been the case in recent years, our numbers applications are growing. We have grown 7-10% in terms of numbers of applications this year. People are now accepting at a higher rate, which would mean a 15% growth if everybody showed up. But due to the situation, people are also requesting deferrals for a semester or a year.

There as a question regarding how we should handle winter admissions since there will be many deferrals from the fall. Currently, when they ask for deferrals we are asking them to wait as it is procedurally awkward to handle deferrals from Fall to Winter. All programs are still accepting applications for the Winter semester. We don’t know yet how we are going to handle deferrals, but we are going to be open, flexible and nimble.

Online EMP Masters Program

On a motion duly moved and seconded, Faculty Council approved 2020-GRAD-GENIE-EMP-02. 

This motion will create a completely online, cost-recovery version of the existing on-campus degree and diploma programs: Master of Engineering in Engineering Management, Graduate Diploma in Engineering Management. Both the existing on-campus and the new online version of the program are interdisciplinary between the School of Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering. The new online, cost-recovery version will be called: Master of Engineering Management (MEM). It will achieve the exact same learning outcomes as the existing campus program, but the program content is repackaged for online delivery.

This is a pilot program. We are trying to leap ahead in terms of online programs.

20.03.05 Report of the Vice-Dean Undergraduate Studies

The Vice-Dean put a written report in the Teams documents tab.

We are planning for enabling all courses in the Fall to be taken online. We are anticipating that profs would live stream lectures and record themselves, so students can also access the material in an asynchronous fashion. All components of the course would be available online, including DGDs. Profs do not need to use all 3 hours in a synchronous fashion.

There was a question of how to get textbooks to students. There was also a question about IP and copyright. These will be discussed in the Executive.

It was asked whether we are going to ask TAs to run 3h labs online. It was suggested that postings need to be modified to reflect online teaching, and interviews and work breakdowns need to make this clear too. There was discussions of whether TAs can come to the labs this summer to present labs. At the present time, TAs will need travel forms that they can show to Protection and bylaw officers if requested.

There was a question around capstone courses. Professors may need to change the deliverables; it would be each professor’s responsibility to determine what is feasible.

In September, we will have a design challenge for all incoming students, led by Hanan Anis.

One of our challenges is international students who will not be able to travel back to Canada, at least at the start of the semester.

20.03.06 Report of the Vice-Dean Research

The Vice-Dean put a written report in the Teams documents tab.

Dr. Olga Golovachova is the newest member of the team.

NSERC Discovery Grant results were really outstanding for our Faculty.

The Vice-Dean posted a Research Dashboard, put together by the Office of the Vice President Research. There has been a big jump in terms of dollars and dollars per professor. There was a jump in just about every category. The average grant awarded this Spring was almost $10K above our past average.

The Vice-Dean has prepared a draft document for relaunching research. Chairs will be discussing this in their academic units. Relaunching will be a phased-in process. We will target late-May or early June for 33%, then 67% in August-September and onward from there to 100% by 2021. There may be setbacks such as a second wave. There may be different ways of prioritizing who has access to labs. Anyone who is able to continue doing research from home will be asked to continue to do so.

There will need for everybody to do training regarding how to behave on campus. This will include the use of PPE. In the buildings, some stairwells will be for going up and some for down. The number of people in elevators will be limited.

20.03.06 Other Business

The Vice-Dean International put a written report in the Teams documents tab.

Recruitment: We are spending a lot of time on this. This includes talking to prospective students. There is a Stickability committee leading this. We have agents in various countries looking into students’ ability to come. There are a lot of surveys coming in.

We are doing very well overall on admissions, particularly with Francophone students.

There is a likely drop in revenues for the University if students don’t attend in September, so ensuring that students come is key.

This is Marc Dubé’s last Faculty Council meeting as Vice-Dean Research. The Dean thanked him, as did other members.

The Vice-Dean Governance and the Executive surveys of professors and students once the final grades of the semester are posted. Topics include what worked and what didn’t work; and what we should do in the future.

The meeting ended at 14:33.

Timothy C. Lethbridge, Vice-Dean (Governance)

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