Queen's University

Queen's Board of Trustees to get smaller

 
2010-08-03

Queen’s will seek Parliament’s approval to amend its Charter to reduce the size of its Board of Trustees from 44 to about 25.

It’s currently one of the largest university boards in Canada.

“We established a governance working group that included a faculty trustee, the past Rector and trustees elected by the board and the benefactors to survey our members and take a look at other University boards,” says Board Chair Bill Young (Sci’77). “We’re a little cumbersome right now. Getting smaller would increase effectiveness and efficiency.”

Mr. Young says shrinking the board reflects a general trend among modern charitable, not-for-profit and corporate boards.

“Most of our peers have fewer than 30 people on their boards, and several have half that number,” he says. “We’ve consulted with some of these institutions, including McGill and Dalhousie, who report far greater effectiveness after reducing the size of their boards.”

The number of faculty, staff, student and University Council representatives on the Board would stay the same. The graduate, benefactor and School of Religion representatives would be phased out as terms expire, and the Board itself would elect fewer members.

“This plan has the unanimous support of the Board which reflects trustees’ desire for a more engaged decision-making body,” says Katie Macmillan, (ArtSci’78), chair of the Board’s governance working group, who just completed a term as a trustee elected by the Benefactors.
“The proposed structure provides a good balance between faculty, staff, students and alumni to ensure the skills, qualifications and perspectives necessary for effective board oversight.”

University Council would also be given the ability to determine its size and membership without having to seek further changes to Queen’s Charter. Council will be asked to approve this step in the fall.

The roles and responsibilities of both bodies will stay the same.

Parliament must approve the amendments to Queen’s Charter that are required to implement these changes. The process starts with the University filing a petition with the Senate of Canada and could take several months.

Please address questions to Georgina Moore, University Secretary.

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