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Tune in: Principal’s Q&A Webcast at 4:00 today

Le français suit l’anglais.

“Ask the Principal” Webcast today

Principal Heather Munroe-Blum will answer questions from the McGill community on a wide range of topics in a live webcast from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. today.  To watch, click here during the webcast. A recording will also be posted on the site by tomorrow morning.

Questions have been posted in advance here. To address as many questions as possible, the moderator, Professor Wendy Thomson, will ask individual questions that are representative of general themes expressed by many people.

During the webcast, the Principal will also take some phone-in questions.  The phone number will be posted on the webcast site. Please note that calls will not be accepted before 3:50 p.m.

After the webcast, the website will become a blog where unanswered questions will be answered as quickly as possible.

We look forward to your participation.




Webdiffusion « La principale vous répond » aujourd’hui

La principale Heather Munroe-Blum répondra aux questions de la communauté mcgilloise sur une multitude de sujets, aujourd’hui, de 16 h à 17 h, à l’occasion d’une webdiffusion en direct. Pour voir l’échange, veuillez cliquer ici durant la webdiffusion. Un enregistrement sera également disponible sur le site demain.

Des questions ont été posées à l’avance sur cette page. Afin de répondre au plus grand nombre de questions possible, l’animatrice, la professeure Wendy Thomson, posera des questions portant sur les thèmes les plus largement soumis.

Durant la webdiffusion, la principale répondra également à des questions soumises par téléphone. Le numéro à composer apparaîtra sur le site. Veuillez noter qu’aucun appel ne sera pris avant 15 h 50.

Une fois la webdiffusion terminée, le site fera place à un blogue, où l’on répondra dès que possible aux questions n’ayant pu être couvertes pendant la webdiffusion.

Nous espérons que vous serez des nôtres.

Questions for the Principal

Le français suit l’anglais.

What this site is for:

At 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum will answer questions from the McGill community on a wide range of topics in a live webcast.

We’ve set up this site as a way for you to post those questions, to make sure that all students, staff and faculty can take part.  If you choose, you can include your name in your question — but you don’t have to.

To keep this site a safe space for everyone, we’ll be deleting any questions that are abusive, obscene or otherwise offensive — but all other questions will remain published here until the webcast is complete. The Principal will answer as many of them as she can on April 19.

Questions and answers from the Principal’s Nov. 2011 webcast are also available on this website.

How to post a question:

To submit a question, post it in the ”Leave a reply“ section on this blog post’s page.


Raison d’être de ce site :

La principale, Mme Heather Munroe-Blum, répondra aux questions de la collectivité de McGill à propos d’un vaste éventail de sujets durant une webdiffusion en direct, le jeudi 19 avril à 16h00.

Nous avons créé ce site Web pour vous permettre de soumettre vos questions. Nous voulons que tous les étudiants, professeurs et employés de l’Université participent. Notez que vous pouvez vous identifier si vous posez une question, mais que ce n’est pas obligatoire.

Par respect pour chacun, nous supprimerons toutes les questions injurieuses, obscènes ou blessantes éventuellement soumises. Toutes les autres questions resteront affichées ici jusqu’à la fin de la webdiffusion. La principale répondra au plus grand nombre possible de ces questions le 19 avril.

Les questions et les réponses du webdiffusion du 29 novembre 2011 sont aussi disponible sur ce site.

Pour soumettre une question :

Pour soumettre une question, insérez-la à la section « Leave a reply » sur cette blogue.

Questions on WebCT and other IT-related topics

The questions:

  1. WebCT should remove all it’s restrictions on content access. Why shouldn’t I have access to materials from classes that I haven’t registered for. In most cases, especially when the lecture recording system has been used, all the content’s there for me to receive a complete package. Even though it won’t be recognized on a transcript, I would still like the opportunity to learn from other fields. There have been enough cases to prove that providing open access to information fosters creativity and innovation in ways that are not possible when content is locked up. I really hope McGill starts joining this trend on openness seen in MIT’s and Harvard’s .
  2. I would like to know why a prestigious university uses sub-par virtual course software. WebCT is an extremely buggy and unstable system which (I’m sure) is a heavy burden on the technical staff, the university’s wallet and the students.
  3. Not all students use Windows computers with Internet Explorer. Blackboard (WebCT) provides no support for the more stable and available browsers (Mozilla Firefox (latest versions), Google Chrome, Safari) and non-Windows operating systems (OSX, Linux). There are much better open source software systems which will be much easier for the university and the student to use.
  4. If you answer this question, please provide more than a “All technical issues can and will be answered by our knowledgeable IT staff” type of question. The IT personnel on campus are unhelpful and most of the time simply say that the student is at fault for whatever issue we are having.
  5. I would appreciate a concrete answer as to why McGill insists on using sub-par software and why the on-campus IT staff has to be so ignorant of the world around them.
  6. I really hope McGill starts joining this trend on openness seen in MIT’s opencourseware and Harvard’s Open-source Cancer Research.

Read the response here.

Question on customer service for a pregnant student

The question:

While I was a grad student, I was blessed with the greatest blessing of all – getting pregnant. The women at the Grad Student Office on the downtown campus, as well as a woman in student services were absolutely appallingly rude, disrespectful and extremely unhelpful in regards to my situation. Out right dishonesty of how many semesters I can take for maternity leave before I have to ‘drop-out’ and completely re-apply, not returning my calls, rude quips about how the system is not geared for students to get pregnant, never mind any congratulation (or well wishes) or any show of support. McGill prides themselves on being open, diverse, an equal opportunity etc university when it does not feel this way to students. I would like to take this opportunity to mention that the staff at the Macdonald Campus have been amazingly supportive and encouraging and actually treated me with dignity and respect, they have shown excellent customer service and student assistance. Is the downtown staff too busy to treat students properly? Has McGill forgotten who its clients/customers are? Why is there such a strong lack of quality in student/admin service?

Read the response here.

Question on customer service

The question:

When I have had to deal with a common administrative problem with either of the two graduate degrees I have undertaken at McGill, I have had to visit several offices before someone would help me, and I was often sent back to the office where I began my inquiry. Staff are often completely disinterested if not blatantly rude, and their poor service has been so severe as to impede my ability to continuing studying. Recently, because of staff incompetence, my student loans were delayed for three months. If I had not had a credit card I would have not been able to buy food. These problems began long before the MUNACA strike. What will McGill do to ensure that its staff are properly trained to address important student inquiries, and to ensure that they are held accountable when they fail to provide basic customer service, especially when their choices adversely affect students’ lives in concrete ways? In short—what will the university do to change its workplace culture to one where administrative and support staff are dedicated to helping students rather than acting as though we are annoying them by requesting their services?

Read the response here.

Question on graduate student funding

The question:

Why did McGill decide to discontinue the usage of MIDA in order to attract international doctoral students to its research programs? Why was the decision made to allow the faculties control of this money, and not GPSO?

Read the response here.

Question on online courses

The question:

Will you ever consider developing on-line learning like other Universities?

Read the response here.

Question on grading

The question:

How is it fair that McGill operates without any grading rubrics? Is it not anti-educational to say “you only have one shot” rather than help students improve their work?

It is widely known that McGill tries to maintain a B to B- average in its Arts undergraduate courses. We as students keep hearing that other universities for grad school “look kindly” upon the McGill name and normally boost our GPA up a bit.

What is the point to this? Why not institute a fair grading policy rather than relying on something that may or may not happen?

Read the response here.

Question on former dean Richard Levin

The question:

With the recent stepping down of the former Vice-Principal and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Richard I. Levin, I would like to know the steps that you personally took to try to retain this extraordinary individual, whose leadership and vision were admired by so many? Secondly, what does his departure say about your inability to retain the best and brightest at McGill University?

Read the response here.

Two questions on the principal’s role

The questions:

  1. You spend an incredibly large amount of time traveling and attending various meetings due to your involvement on many boards for various companies and even other universities. Do you feel that, given all your commitments, you spend enough time thinking about McGill and taking actions to make McGill a better place? Since you are away so often, do you feel that you, personally, have a good feel for what is happening on campus?
  2. Do you seen an increase in contact hours with your student body as being viable and having a positive impact in the relationship between the administration and the rest of the McGill Community?

Read the response here.

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