Senate: Planning McGill's future together

Senate: Planning McGill's future together McGill University

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McGill Reporter
March 29, 2007 - Volume 39 Number 14
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 39: 2006-2007 > March 29, 2007 > Senate: Planning McGill's future together


Planning McGill's future together

Though the spring semester is still weeks away from winding down, the University is already gearing up to finalize two key documents aimed at mapping out McGill's future in the fall.

Morton Mendelson, Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, presented the administration's preliminary response to the final report of the Principal's Task Force on Student Life and Learning, and James Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal, University Services, presented a report from the Task Force on Campus Planning when Senate met on March 28. The common thread linking the two presentations was the message that consultation from the entire McGill community will be key in deciding what the University looks like—and how it serves its students and other constituents—five, 10 and 20 years down the road.

Rather than providing details about specific initiatives, the administration's preliminary response to the report on student life and learning is meant to "shape the process by which the University community—students, faculty and staff—will be engaged in advancing the recommendations of the report," explained Prof. Mendelson.

"The idea is not that the central administration will be the one driving this," he said, echoing an earlier assertion from Provost Tony Masi that the University invites ongoing feedback from all quarters in its efforts to improve student life on campus. Responding to a question from student Senator Finn Upham, Masi noted the administration consulted with deans, directors and all four representative student groups before coming up with its preliminary response to the Principal's Task Force on Student Life and Learning.

"We don't plan to end our consultation there," he said, vowing to continue soliciting opinions and suggestions even after the final response to the report is tabled in the fall.

"This is going to be a living document that we can measure ourselves against regularly," he added.

Similarly, Prof. Nicell said a dedicated email address will be created, along with an exhibition of information "with a graffiti wall for comments," to encourage community input into the University's physical master plan, intended to set the course for McGill's physical expansion as it anticipates construction of McGill University Health Centre's super-hospital and future growth of the student population.

Details of both projects—along with opportunities to register feedback—are available online. The University Master Plan is at and the Principal's Task Force on Student Life and Learning can be found at

Bring on the books

The decision by the Student Society of McGill University to open a student-run store dealing in new and used books will ultimately improve the services and wares of the McGill Bookstore, Senate heard elsewhere in the meeting.

Prof. Nicell, responding to a question submitted by philosophy professor Sarah Stroud, said the McGill Bookstore is already conducting an in-depth review to ensure that it is meeting the needs of its clientele.

"The vitality of the Bookstore is not in question," said Nicell. "In fact, this will actually enhance our vitality."

Prof. Mendelson concurred, saying, "We look forward to the healthy competition and wish them all the best."

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