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Board of Trustees in brief

Highlights from the March 1-2 meeting of the Board of Trustees

The Board opened its meeting with a moment of silence for second-year student Kevin Cournoyer, who passed away in February.

Chair Barb Palk congratulated Trustee Dean McKeown on his new position as associate director of master’s programs in Queen’s School of Business, and Trustee Lauren Long on being selected for the Next 36, a national program designed to develop the next generation of high-impact entrepreneurs.

Chair Palk announced the results of the recent Board of Trustees election. Steve Tanner (Engineering and Applied Science) was elected as the staff trustee and Lewis Tomalty (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) as the faculty/librarian/archivist trustee.

Principal’s strategic update

Principal Daniel Woolf gave a progress report to Board on his 2012-13 goals. Several key measures within the goals are complete, with the other measures on track for completion by the end of the year. Some of the highlights from the report include:

  • The principal and the executive have been working to increase their contact with the Queen’s community through several task forces and advisory committees.
  • He has held small group meetings with Queen’s senators. The meetings have helped make progress on issues and gave senators an opportunity to connect with each other.
  • Administration and student leaders have had discussions about creating a framework for student group discipline. Principal Woolf is confident issues around the framework will be resolved over the next several months.
  • Board reform is on track and Senate is considering a full plate of reform measures. The University Council reform and restructuring is nearing completion with a vote on the changes expected in April.
  • The development of a plan and strategy for the safe reintroduction of homecoming is on track for completion by May 2013.
  • A draft of an international implementation plan for Queen’s is complete. Principal Woolf presented the plan to trustees on Board Saturday, March 2.

Principal Woolf updated Board on the proposed mandate statement. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) continues to review the submissions and is expected to file a report within the next several weeks. The next steps are unclear as a result of recent instability within the provincial government. Regardless, Principal Woolf believes Queen’s should continue to push forward with developing its own strategic framework centred on the idea of the balanced academy.

Principal Woolf stated his interest in making the September 2012 Board-Senate retreat, the first since 2005, an annual activity. He also noted the Queen’s University Planning Committee, a joint committee of Senate and Board, is up for review. He said the committee has made some good contributions but that more can be done to increase its functionality.

Provost’s report

Provost Alan Harrison updated Board on the searches, reviews and recent leadership announcements.

  • The search for a new dean for the Faculty of Arts and Science is expected to wrap up next month.
  • The renewal process for the deans in Law and Queen’s School of Business continues.
  • A preferred candidate for the directorship of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts has been identified. A public announcement is expected at the end of March.
  • John Metcalfe recently took over as the new university registrar.
  • Reviews of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the School of Policy Studies are ongoing, with external reviewers on campus this spring.

Provost Harrison also highlighted the new Co-Curricular Opportunities Directory (CCOD). The CCOD helps students find ways to get involved in extracurricular opportunities and provides them with the tools to describe the skills they developed during the activity.

Campaign progress report

The university has surpassed the $60-million fundraising target for the fiscal year (May 1, 2012-April 30, 2013). Tom Harris, Vice-Principal (Advancement), said 12,000 benefactors have contributed $61.1 million this fiscal year. $52 million of that total has come from 60 people. The Office of Advancement is concentrating on cultivating the university’s base of support and expanding its pool of benefactors to ensure the success of the Initiative Campaign and beyond.

Senate report

Senator Lynda Colgan provided the update, focusing on Senate Operations Review Committee (SORC) and the work it is doing to reform Senate. SORC is currently considering changes related to attendance at Senate meetings, the rules of procedure, and Senate operations.

University Council reform

The Reform Planning Group (RPG) is close to finalizing a plan that all current councillors would vote on in April 2013. Some of the major changes include:

  • Reduction in size of council from 200 members to 40 elected councillors and four ex-officio members (principal, chancellor, appointed senator, and appointed Queen’s University Alumni Association member).
  • Four-year terms renewable three times instead of the current six-year terms renewable twice.
  • Mandatory attendance introduced with 25 per cent of attendance excused.
  • The creation of a formal arrangement for striking ad-hoc committees.

The RPG has proposed a five-year transition period to reduce the size of council in order to ensure a University Council election would still occur every year.

QUAA and QSAA reports

The Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) is progressing well on its priorities of engaging current alumni, connecting with alumni where they live and work, and promoting alumni giving. QUAA President Jess Joss said the group needs to put more focus on engaging future alumni.

Queen’s Student Alumni Association (QSAA) President Rico Garcia said his group has been trying to connect current students with their future as alumni. QSAA has been doing that through a number of activities and professional development events.

AMS report

Doug Johnson, in his final report to Board as Alma Mater Society (AMS) president, reflected on the importance and value of student engagement for the Queen’s experience. He expressed concerns about the decision-making process at the university, and said that serious issues could have been remedied with more consultation with students.

Rector report

Rector Nick Francis expressed his concern about the different international exchange policies across the faculties. He also asked trustees for feedback and input on the review of faculty boards that he is conducting along with AMS President-elect Eril Berkok.

SGPS report

Matthew Scribner reflected on his time as School of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) president. He said the students he represents are concerned about the high cost of education. He expressed his hope that students should be involved and have input on the budgetary decisions of the university.

Audit and Risk committee

The Board approved:

  • The wind-down and discontinuation of the Queen’s University Foundation and the transfer of the foundation’s assets to Queen’s University. The foundation was created in 1992 so individuals could get a better tax credit for their donations. However, those advantages no longer exist.
  • An amendment to the Policy on Insurance and Indemnification Coverage for Board Members expressly stating that insurance indemnification coverage extends to members of Board committees who are not trustees, which accurately reflects the existing situation.

Finance committee

The Board received for information the Standard and Poor’s credit rating report that gave Queen’s an AA+/Stable rating.

The Board approved:

  • A protocol for introducing or changing student activity fees
  • A project to renovate the west campus kitchen areas. The improvements will help meet the increased demand created when mandatory meal plans for first-year students living on west campus were introduced in September 2013. The total project cost of $2.2 million will be financed through the existing food-service reserves.
  • A project to renovate the former Sidewalk Café in the Ericsson wing of the John Deutsch University Centre to provide additional and innovative food services spaces. The $1.5-million project will be funded from the Housing and Hospitality Services budget.

The Board ratified:

Other business

Board approved naming dedications and received for information the research report, as well as the quarterly advancement, financial, investment and pension reports.

The Board reconvened open session on Saturday, March 2 to discuss:

  • The campus master plan
  • Strategic enrolment management
  • The draft 2013-14 budget overview

The agenda is posted on the University Secretariat website.