STLHE Board Meeting – June 18, 2014 (Face-to-face)

Executive Summary

Approved: August 11, 2014

The STLHE Board met for its semi-annual face-to-face meeting at Royal Military College where Principal Dr. H.J. Kowal welcomed us and gave a brief history. A roundtable discussion of each board member’s aspirations for their portfolio over the coming the year and reflections on the conference that had just ended followed.

Society and its governance: The first item on the agenda concerned the Operations of the Society and its governance. It is important to remember that we operate as a not-for profit organization and while we have by-laws the Act sets out what we do and how. Members elect directors and the directors from the board. The board assigns certain directors as officers and these officers have the tasks associated with President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Two groups act on behalf of the members: The Board or the Executive Committee whose actions must be approved by the board. The Act that governs the Society has changed and we must rewrite our by-laws to become compliant. This will result in some changes in how we do things. Most important is our election of directors that must be held at the annual meeting not by online voting. Although the Act was passed a few years ago we must be compliant by October 17, 2014 and there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months.

Committee chair workloads:The second item on the agenda was a general discussion on the workloads of Standing Committee chairs. There have been a number of resignations and often the large workload has been identified in the resignations. In our discussions it became clear that many of the Chairs were not aware that they can form Committees to assist them with their tasks. This would have the benefit of introducing STLHE members, at a junior level, to the how the board works and who may later express an interest in one of the director positions. Dividing the workload with a co-chair was another possible solution and after discussion a motion passed to include co-chairs in the by-laws and that co-chairs share the vote on the STLHE Board. A third possibility would be to add members-at-large to the board to give a hand. The first two seem the easiest to implement, but there are inherent advantages and disadvantages to any of these remedies and the board will re-examine the issue in a year’s time.

Publications committee: The Publications Standing Committee faces the same workload issues, but is facing a perfect storm, in particular with regard to CELT (Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching – articles from the STLHE conference.) where the call for proposals is occurring in the absence of an editor, a host institution and as the Publication Chair finishes their term in office. Some of the discussions focused on whether there may be ways to rationalize the different publications and perhaps we should be rethinking the various publications we have. We will proceed immediately for a call for a managing editor for CELT and will identify a new Chair for the Standing Committee to consider these issues.

Administrative unit: There will be changes to the Administrative unit as Sylvia, after years of hard work and service (Great big thanks), has asked to only work two days a week. A tentative model where the responsibilities were distributed between McMaster, Queen’s and Mount Alison was introduced as a possible solution. Whatever the outcome the Society must face the reality that we may not have a single location from which it runs and it must address alternative models. We had a first look at the submissions for the 2016 STLHE Conference. All submissions were excellent but the presentations were such that it was difficult to make direct comparisons between each proposal. The Board will be putting together a request for additional information from the groups and has delayed the decision until August.

Graduate student award: The board received a request to develop an award for graduate student members of the Society equivalent to the awards that already exist for University and College professors and undergraduate students. Our discussions revolved around the difficulty of creating a monetary award and other non-monetary forms of recognition such as publication in the Society’s journals and how other awards we currently have are open to graduate students. Our final item on the Agenda was that status of bilingual initiatives and how they seem to have waned to some extent. We are a national society and clearly this should have some sort of priority and we need to be more attentive to the issue.