Committee Structure

General Terms of Reference


A Committee has a defined membership, Terms of Reference (responsibilities to the department), meets as a group at least once annually, keeps minutes of formal meetings and provides an annual report to COW.

Subcommittees are formed as appropriate by committees, may include members other than those on the committees, and report to a committees of COW, rather than directly to COW (i.e., do not issue their own annual reports).One or two member committees or administrative positions are considered equivalent to committees and submit an annual report, but are not required to hold formal meetings.


In general, members serve on a committee for 3 years. However, this is not cast in stone as it is often useful for coordinators or certain chairs to serve for longer terms because it takes some time to become familiar with the process and procedures. When anyone wishes to resign from a committee, he or she should inform the department Chair who will search for a replacement. In general, faculty members should inform the Chair of the department at their annual interview to discuss teaching and administrative duties if they wish to resign from a committee or go on a new one.

Record-keeping: COW

All Terms of Reference, membership lists, annual reports to the COW AGM of aIl department committees should be kept by the Secretary of COW in hard and electronic forms. These documents will be posted on the Committees Website.

The Secretary of COW will email the draft minutes of COW meetings to the COW membership and post the final versions to the Committees website.
Agendas of COW meetings, Terms of Reference for the various committees, and membership on the committees will be public, but all other documents (e.g., minutes, annual reports should be password protected and available only to members of COW (via a password).

Record Keeping: Committees of COW

It is planned that each departmental committee will have a secure (password protected) website where committees can post agendas, minutes of meetings, etc., for viewing by their members only. This will hopefully ensure that historical records of committee business are kept safely in an electronic form when the chair of the committee changes. A standard protocol for posting documents that requires minimal technical skills is being developed. However, an individual committee may choose to maintain its own system.

Sensitive Documents

Documents of a highly sensitive nature should not be posted or not posted in full on committee websites. Reference could be made to the documents, but the full documents should be kept only in paper form.  Electronic forms could be maintained on appropriately
secure single computers, discs, etc.

News from Biology Committees

Chairs of departmental committees will at their discretion send important summary information of a non-confidential nature to the Secretary of COW for circulating by e-mail to all members of the department COW. For example the Undergraduate Honours and Awards Committee might announce their recent award winners, or Curriculum Committee any new classes that have just been approved. This information will also be posted on the department website under a heading such as "News from Biology Committees". This will keep department members reasonably updated on department goings on through the year between AGM's and still preserve the privacy of committee business and discussions.

Composition of Committees

Undergraduate Program

Biology Majors Committee

This committee includes Biology 20-credit Major and 15-credit Concentration programs.

  • Chair & Advisor
  • Six additional Advisors
  • Marine Biology Rep (normally one of the 20-credit advisors)

Curriculum Committee

  • Chair
  • One representative chosen by each of
    • Marine Biology Committee
    • Honours Committee
    • Biology Majors Committee
    • NSGEU
    • DAMS (Ex officio)
    • DABS (Ex officio)
  • Department Chair (Ex officio)
  • Three Members at Large from faculty

Honours and Undergraduate Student Awards (USA) Committee

  • Chair/Class coordinator 1/Program Advisor
  • Honours/USA Coordinator/Program Advisor
  • Class coordinator 2/Program Advisor
  • Additional Biology Program Advisors (2)
  • Marine Biology Program Advisor
  • Marine Biology Co-op Program Advisor

Marine Biology Committee

  • Chair & Marine Biology Coordinator
  • Marine Biology Program Advisor
  • Marine Biology Co-op Program Advisor
  • Marine Biology 20-credit major Advisors (2)

Coordinators/Single or 2-Person Committees

  • Transfer Credits (2)
  • Teaching Assistants (1)

Teaching Equipment Committee

  • Chair
  • Members at Large from faculty (2)
  • Member at large from technical staff (1)
  • Administrative Officer (ex-officio)

Graduate Program

Graduate Directorate

  • Graduate Coordinator
  • Executive Assistant
  • Chair of Graduate Admissions
  • Graduate Modules Coordinator
  • Stream Chairs (4)
    • Chair of Ecology/Evolution Stream
    • Chair of Organismal Stream
    • Chair of Cell/Molec.Biol/Genetics Stream
    • Chair of Agrobiology Stream
  • BOGS Reps (2)

Graduate Admissions and Scholarships

  • Chair
  • Members at Large from faculty (2)
  • BOGS Reps (2)

Lett Committee

  • Chair of Department
  • Administrative Officer
  • Graduate Student Reps (2)

Coordinators/Single or 2-Person Committees

  • Killam/NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Coordinator
  • Graduate Modules Coordinator

All Programs/Department-Wide Committees

Appointments, Re-Appointments (Tenure, Promotions), and Faculty Awards Committee

  • Chair
  • Members at Large (4)

Chair Advisory

  • Chair, Curriculum Committee
  • Graduate Coordinator
  • Chair, Space Committee
  • Administrative Officer
  • Member-at-Large (Assistant Professor)
  • Member-at-Large (Instructor)
  • Chair of Department (ex officio)

IT Advisory Group

  • Members at Large (3)
  • Administrative Officer
  • Chief Technologist
  • Webmaster

Overhead and Other Discretionary Funds Advisory Group

  • Chair: Administrative Officer
  • Members at Large (2)
  • Chair of Department (Ex officio)

Social Committee

  • Chair
  • Member at large from faculty (1)
  • Member at large from technical staff (1)

Space Committee

  • Chair:  Administrative Officer
  • Chief Technologist
  • Member at Large
  • Chair of Department (ex-officio)

Technical Services Committee

  • Co-Chairs: Administrative Officer & Faculty Member
  • Chair of Department
  • Members at Large from Technical Staff (2)
  • Members at Large from Faculty (1)

Coordinators/Single or 2-Person Committees

  • Library Liaison
  • Seminars
  • Secretary of COW
  • Teaching Equipment Funds Coordinator

Department Memberships On Faculty And University Level Committees

  • DFA
  • *Faculty Council (Chair of Biology)
  • *Faculty Curriculum Committee (Member of Department CC)
  • Faculty Tenure and Promotions
  • Senate (University)
  • Others (list)
 *Required of the Department
1Motion 922, May 2, 2005
2Motion 909 January 14, 2004
3Motion 926 June 11, 2007
4Motion 926 June 11, 2007