Board approves university provost
As of May 1, Queen’s Vice-Principal (Academic) will also be the university provost.
The Board of Trustees approved moving to a provost model at its weekend meeting. Principal Daniel Woolf proposed the adjustment to the vice-principal structure and told trustees there are many reasons why the provost model makes sense.
“We really need to do our planning in a much more comprehensive and non-siloed way than we have been doing it,” he said.
All vice-principals will continue reporting to the principal, with the understanding that the provost leads the direction of cross-portfolio issues.
Dr. Woolf said budget decisions will rest with the provost, which reflects the need to ensure academic planning drives financial decisions.
He also said having a provost acting as the university’s chief operating officer will allow the principal to spend more time engaging in external relations, government relations, fundraising, internationalization, strategic thinking and participating in daily campus life.
Most other universities in Canada have a provost.
V-P (Academic) Patrick Deane and Alistair Maclean, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, speaking for all deans, told the board the move is long overdue.
Bob Silverman, former dean of Arts and Science, who succeeds Dr. Deane as interim provost and V-P (Academic) on May 1 is also strongly supportive.
“I’m comfortable with the notion that my position will make the transition, although it’s largely there already,” he told the board.
Over the course of a broad 45-minute discussion, trustees asked how to ensure that a bottleneck in decision-making doesn’t develop in the provost’s office. The principal said he is “very much alive” to this and will take the time to ensure the office is appropriately supported and resourced, adding that Queen’s administration isn’t as heavy as some people believe.
Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) president Victoria Bae said due diligence regarding timely decision-making will be needed, but told trustees that Queen’s graduate students are “hugely in favour. A few members were surprised this was not already in place. It will bring Queen’s up to speed.”