University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Joint Board/Senate Committee to Review the Principalship

News and Updates

Queen's Gazette, September 13, 2017: Principal Daniel Woolf to seek reappointment

September 13, 2017

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf’s current term is scheduled to conclude on June 30, 2019. As per the provisions of his appointment, Principal Woolf has now advised the Chair of the Board of Trustees that he wishes to be considered for a third and final term.

Accordingly, a Joint Board/Senate Committee to Review the Principalship has been established to solicit and review submissions, in confidence, on the present state and future development of the university and on the principalship, with a view to bringing a recommendation to the Board of Trustees respecting whether the Principal should be reappointed following completion of his current term. 

The Joint Committee will be made up of nine members of the Board of Trustees and nine members of the Senate, in addition to Chancellor Jim Leech, who will chair the committee.

The Joint Committee will be charged with formulating a recommendation for the Board of Trustees no later than its meeting on December 15.

Membership

Membership of the Joint Board/Senate Committee to Review the Principalship will be determined as per the Terms of Reference. A process is now underway to request expressions of interest from Board and Senate members.

An update will be posted once the Joint Committee’s membership is confirmed in early October.

Consultation process

As part of its consultation process, the committee will be interviewing stakeholders and inviting all members of the Queen’s community to submit their input on the principalship. The committee will hold all submissions in complete confidence. 

More information on submitting your feedback will be announced once it is available.

Terms of Reference

1. Authority

Pursuant to the Queen’s charter, the Board of Trustees is vested with the authority to appoint the Principal.

The establishment of the Joint Board/Senate Committee to Review the Principalship is based on the statement of the Queen’s Joint Committee on University Government (1969), which provides that the selection of the Principal should henceforth be shared by the Board with the Senate through a Joint Committee, charged with making a “virtually unanimous recommendation” to the Board. 

2. Mandate

Principal Woolf began his term as Queen’s University’s 20th Principal on September 1, 2009 and was renewed for a second term beginning on July 1, 2014. This term is scheduled to conclude on June 30, 2019. The provisions of the appointment of the Principal provide that, should Principal Woolf wish to be considered for a third term, he is to so advise the Chair of the Board of this desire not later than eighteen months prior to the end of the current term.  Principal Woolf has provided such advice to the Chair.  Accordingly, pursuant to the provision of the terms of the appointment, and in accordance with past practice, a Committee to Review the Principalship has been established. 

The Joint Committee is an advisory body to the Board of Trustees and is established to solicit and review submissions, in confidence, on the present state and future development of the University and on the principalship, with a view to bringing a virtually unanimous recommendation to the Board of Trustees respecting whether the Principal should be reappointed following completion of his current term on June 30, 2019. 

3. Composition

In keeping with the recommendations of the Queen’s Joint committee on University Government (1969) and the current Purpose and Functions of Senate document, the Joint Board/Senate Committee to Review the Principalship is composed equally of members of the Senate and the Board, in addition to the Chancellor, who shall Chair the Joint Committee. 

The Chancellor, as Chair, shall have a vote only in the case of a tie.

Board of Trustees Appointments

In addition to the Chancellor, who is an ex officio member of the Joint Committee and its Chair, the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board of Trustees shall nominate nine members of the board of Trustees to sit on the Joint Committee. This slate of appointees shall be placed before the Board of Trustees for consideration and Board of Trustees shall have the final authority to appoint these members to the Joint Committee. 

By convention, two of the nine members appointed by the Board have been the Chair of the Board and the Rector. Additional considerations used by the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board to guide the selection of recommended Trustee appointments to the Joint Committee are constituency, gender balance, length of service and availability.  The Board has traditionally appointed a Trustee elected by the staff of Queen’s. 

Senate Appointments

The Nominating Committee of the Senate shall nominate nine members of the Senate to sit on the Joint Committee. This slate of appointees shall be placed before the Senate for consideration and the Senate shall have the final authority to appoint these members to the Joint Committee. 

By convention, the nine members of the Senate have been selected as follows:

  • Five faculty Senators, including one Dean
  • Three student senators including the President of the Alma Mater Society (AMS), the President of the Society for Graduate and professional Students (SGPS) and one student at-large Senator
  • One staff Senator

Additional considerations used by the Senate Nominating Committee to guide the selection of recommended appointments of Senators to the Joint Committee have been the desire to achieve a balance with respect to gender and diversity as well as the importance of selecting Senators who would make a positive contribution to the Joint Committee.

The Vice-Principal (University Relations) and the Director of Human Rights and Equity shall serve as non-voting advisors to the Joint Committee.

The Secretary of the University shall act as Secretary to the Joint Committee and may appoint a member of the Secretariat staff who will act in a confidential support role.

4. Process

4.1  In order to respect the dignity of the Office of the Principal, and that of its incumbent, and to preserve the honour of the University, all members of the Joint Committee shall scrupulously and conscientiously observe the rules of confidentiality requisite for the task with which the Committee is charged.  To evidence such a commitment, all members of the Joint Committee are required to sign the Undertaking appended to these Terms of Reference as Appendix “A”.

4.2  The Joint Committee will establish a consultation process and period during which it will solicit submissions from all interested individuals, in confidence, on the present state and future development of the University and the on the principalship. The Joint Committee may wish to make available appropriate extracts from the Position Specification developed and utilized during the search that resulted in the appointment of Principal Woolf to his first and/or second terms or annual goals developed for the Principal by the Board for the purpose of focusing submissions, although submissions should not be required to be limited in this context.

The Joint committee may also receive a submission of materials from Principal Woolf respecting accomplishments to date during the term of the Principal’s appointment as well as plans for a subsequent term.The Principal will, in any such submission, identify whether any portion of the submission is confidential to the Joint Committee, and that which may be used in the consultation process.

4.3  In addition to a broad call for submissions from interested parties, the Joint Committee will determine whether or not it will directly approach individuals to seek confidential and informed assessments of the principalship form September 2009 to the present.  Should the Joint Committee choose to approach individuals directly, it will seek to identify individuals who offer a balanced view of the principalship, possibly from a constituency or representing a viewpoint not likely to emerge through responses to a broad call for submissions (e.g. institutions and organizations outside of, but with a close relationship to, Queen’s). In this case, the Principal shall be provided with a list of individuals or organizations which the Committee intends to contact.  If individual interviews are to occur, the Chair of the Committee will review the list of interviewees with the Principal prior to the interviews taking place. 

4.4  The establishment of the Joint Committee, and its composition, is to be announced, at a minimum, in the Queen’s Gazette and Queen’s Journal, along with an invitation to provide confidential submissions from interested parties, in confidence, on the present state and future development of the University, and on the principalship. The Joint Committee will determine what additional measures and methods it will employ to effect broad consultation through the approval of a consultative process. 

4.5  The Joint Committee will meet with the Principal, at least once, during the process to allow the Principal to make submissions to the Committee. Further invitations may be extended to the Principal to meet with the Joint Committee to provide additional information, to clarify or provide reflection on or respond to anything arising during the process, or generally to assist the Joint Committee in completing its mandate.  The Committee will ensure that its activities do not undermine the ability of the Principal to function effectively as an institutional leader during the period of the review. 

4.6  The Joint Committee may form a subcommittee to review and compile a synopsis or categorization of submissions received for the Joint Committee to assist in its work. Such a compilation may identify, among other matters:

  • Broad themes
  • Areas of convergence around achievements
  • Areas of convergence around challenges
  • Considerations which may inform the development of any future goals of the Principal (to be developed by the HR Committee of the Board and approved by the Board of Trustees) for any potential renewal period
  • Gaps in information around key aspects of the role which may require further analysis or information
  • Comments regarding the process of consultation or review itself

4.7  When the Joint Committee has formulated a recommendation with respect to whether the Principal should be invited to serve a third term, before presenting the recommendation to the Board, the Chair of the Joint Committee will meet in confidence with the Principal to review the general findings of the Committee and the nature of the recommendation to the Board.  A brief may be presented which provides a summary of the views expressed through the consultation process, without attribution, if the Chair of the Committee believes that this would be helpful for the Principal in thinking about his goals for the future, in the event that reappointment is being recommended.

4.8  The Joint Committee will submit a written report to the Board of Trustees with its recommendation. The members of the Joint Committee may be requested to be present at the Board Meeting when its recommendation is placed before the Board of Trustees for consideration.

4.9  Following presentation of its recommendation to the Board of Trustees, the Joint Committee may meet one further time to debrief on the process used during the review in order to provide its advice to the Chair of the Board and the University Secretary in respect of future reviews of the prinicipalship.  Thereafter the Joint Committee shall be dissolved.

5. Timeline

In order to conduct its work thoroughly, and with due attention to all matters and circumstances which may come to its attention, the Joint Committee cannot be overly constrained in how it undertakes its work. However, the timely and orderly completion of the work of the Committee is a primary objective.The following timeline is proposed for the purpose of guiding the work of the Committee in 2017:

  • The Joint Committee with have an organizational meeting in mid to late September. At that time, the Joint Committee will:

    • Approve the Terms of Reference for undertaking the 2017 review;
    • Approve the consultative process to be utilized to gauge the views of the community during the review;
    • Set a schedule of meetings for the Committee, to include one or more meetings with the Principal;Receive a dossier of information from the Principal, should he choose to provide one; and
    • Determine what materials ought to be communicated to the Community through the website.
  • The website will go live in September and will remain open until the process has concluded.

  • Thereafter, the Joint Committee will meet as soon as possible to review and consider the information provided through the consultation process.

  • The Joint Committee may choose to meet to interview specific parties to actively obtain views to supplement those received through the passive mechanism of the call for submissions through the website to ensure a balanced and complete perspective is obtained.

  • The Joint Committee will meet with the Principal.

    • The Committee will then meet thereafter as necessary to formulate a recommendation for the Board of Trustees as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event to be presented to the Board of Trustees not later than its meeting on December 15, 2017.