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Queen's University
 

FAQ's - University Council Reform 

  1. Why does Queen’s University have a Royal Charter, what is it and why does Parliament have the authority to change it?
  2. How often has the Queen’s Charter been amended?
  3. Does Queen’s Charter make it different from other Ontario Universities?
  4. What is the most common governance structure for a University?
  5. What does the Queen’s University Board of Trustees do?
  6. What does the Senate do?
  7. What is the University Council?
  8. What does the University Council do?
  9. Who is the Chancellor and what does the Chancellor do?
  10. Who is the Rector and what does the Rector do?
  11. Why is the Queen’s Charter so specific about the membership of the Board?
  12. How will Board membership change and how long will it take?
  13. Why are the elected graduates being eliminated from the Board?
  14. What does the Charter say about the membership of the Senate?

  1. Why does Queen’s University have a Royal Charter, what is it and why does Parliament have the authority to change it?

    Queen’s University was created in 1841 by a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria. Because Queen’s is a pre-confederation corporation with powers extending beyond provincial boundaries, the only Canadian legislative body that can amend its Royal Charter is the Parliament of Canada.
    http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/index/RoyalCharter2011.pdf

  2. How often has the Queen’s Charter been amended?

    The Charter has been amended by acts of the Parliament of Canada (also referred to as statutes) in 1882, 1889, 1906, 1914, 1916, 1961, 1996 and 2011.

  3. Does Queen’s Charter make it different from other Ontario Universities?

    From a governing legislation standpoint, Yes.  Universities in Ontario are usually governed by a provincial act of Ontario.

    University acts normally contain provisions for the Board of Governors, the Senate, the President of the University, etc.   They will differ somewhat depending on when they were created.

  4. What is the most common governance structure for a University?

    A bi-cameral governance structure is the norm at most Canadian universities.  This means “two chambers” and comprises a Board of Governors or Trustees (financial responsibility) and a Senate (academic responsibility).

    http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/index/governchrt.pdf

    A major Ontario exception is the University of Toronto that has adopted a uni-cameral system and has one large governing body, the Governing Council.

  5. What does the Queen’s University Board of Trustees do?

    The Board of Trustees is the governing body that is responsible for the financial management of the University and the appointment of the Principal and the Vice-Principals.http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/trustees.html

  6. What does the Senate do?

    The Charter gives the Senate “academic superintendence” and it has ultimate responsibility for academic matters that affect the university as a whole. http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/senate.html

  7. What is the University Council?

    This is a unique Queen’s body that was created by statute (provincial statute in 1874 confirmed by federal statute in1882).  Its composition is described in the statute as “all the Trustees of the said College, for the time being, and their successors, and of all the members of the College Senate, for the time being, and their successors, and of as many graduates or alumni as shall be equal in number to the aforesaid members taken together.”

    Before the Charter amendment in 2011, the total membership of University Council was 228 (including 114 elected alumni).

  8. What does the University Council do?

    The University Council appoints the Chancellor and six Trustees; delegates the elections of the Rector to the students; frames By-Laws about these responsibilities and its own membership; and acts as general advisory body.

  9. Who is the Chancellor and what does the Chancellor do?

    The Chancellor is the highest officer and the ceremonial head of the University.  It is a volunteer position for a person who can be an ambassador for Queen’s nationally and internationally.  The Chancellor chairs the University Council.
    http://www.queensu.ca/encyclopedia/c/chancellor.html

  10. Who is the Rector and what does the Rector do?

    The Rector is a student, elected by all Queen’s students (undergraduate and graduate) who is a member of the Board of Trustees and who represents Queen’s and its students internally and externally on many occasions.
    http://www.queensu.ca/encyclopedia/r/rector.html

  11. What does the Queen’s Charter say about the membership of the Board?

    It is important to recognize that Queen’s is an institution that has grown and evolved over 171 years of history.

    The Charter dates from 1841, the middle of the nineteenth century.  Some changes were made to the Board membership via the statutes towards the end of the century and some more in the early twentieth century when Queen’s College separated from the Presbyterian Church and again when Queen’s amalgamated with the School of Mining and Agriculture.  Later in the twentieth century, staff, faculty and student members were added to what had previously been predominantly an external membership.

    As a result, the Board size grew to 44 members.  In 2010, the Board initiated a governance review that determined the Board would be more effective if it were smaller in size.

    In 2011, Parliament approved a Charter change that enables the Board to reduce from a large size of 44 members (specified over time in the statutes) to 25.  The reduction will be achieved as Trustees finish current terms and will be complete in 2014.

    In June of 2012 there will be 30 Trustees.

  12. How will Board membership change and how long will it take?

    Over 3 years the Board will be reduced from 44 to 25 members

  13. Elected/Appointed by

    Now

    (2012)

    Proposed

    (2014)

    Ex Officio (Principal, Rector, Chancellor) 3 3
    The Board 11 10
    The Graduates 2 0
    The University Council (Alumni) 6 6
    The Benefactors 2 0
    The Students 2 2
    The Faculty 2 2
    The Staff 2 2
    TOTAL: 30 25

  14. Why are the elected graduates being eliminated from the Board?

    This is not really the case.  Graduates will continue to be represented by University Council Trustees On the proposed smaller board, this group will have 6 of 25 positions.

  15. What does the charter say about the membership of the Senate?

  16. The Charter is silent on the details of Senate composition and membership.

    The Senate has determined its own composition to suit its functions.  A review of the Senate Functions was completed in April 2011.  A review of the committee structure required to execute the functions is in progress.  A review of the composition of the Senate will follow.

     

     

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000