February 20, 2003

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Diploma removed
Senate approved and recommended to the board of governors the removal of a post-baccalaureate diploma (PBD) in environmental toxicology and a minor in quaternary studies from SFU's offerings. The action was taken in response to a report prepared by the senate committee on undergraduate studies. It stated that in the last four years the environmental toxicology PBD program has graduated only one or two students a year and that there is considerable overlap between the PBD program and the newly established masters in environmental toxicology.

The creation of a quaternary geology program in the new earth sciences department has made the minor in quaternary studies program obsolete.

Economics centre approved
Senate has approved the creation of a centre of research on adaptive behaviour in economics (CRABE). It will reside within the department of economics and work collaboratively with several other SFU research clusters, including the behavioural ecology research group, the centre for public policy research and the evolutionary psychology research group.

The new centre will initiate and promote research that employs survey techniques, computational methods and experiments with human subjects to study how people learn, adapt and evolve in different economic environments. The centre will be the second of its kind in Canada. The other is at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Senate agrees with reviews
Senate concurred with recommendations in external review reports on the operation and performance of the departments of history and women's studies. External reviewers made several recommendations to foster more open and regular communication among faculty and staff in the department of history. Senate encouraged the department to “establish faculty hiring priorities, systemize student recruitment practices, improve its ability to provide flexible and coordinated responses to changing needs and provide better focus for students and the academic programs.”

External reviewers had high praise for SFU's women's studies department, ranking it “among the best in terms of quality of its programs, research output, the governance structure, and collegiality among faculty members.” However, they were doubtful about the department's ability to maintain its complement of undergraduate courses and meet master's students' demand for stand-alone graduate courses given its declining faculty numbers. Senate recommended that the department give top priority to meeting two of the reviewers' recommendations. One called for the creation of a rotating one-year lectureship to enable sessional instructors “to plan and to provide a more stable curriculum” during a time of faculty renewal and absence. The other called on the administration to fund the hiring of additional staff to administer programs related to the Ruth Wynn Woodward chair.

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