A global leadership role

A global leadership role

Principal Deane takes on a lead role with the Magna Charta Observatory of universities committed to academic freedom, and human and societal good.

By Dave Rideout

December 9, 2020


Principal Patrick Deane signs the Magna Charta Universitatum during an event hosted at McMaster University on Oct. 17, 2019. (Supplied photo)

Principal Patrick Deane has been named the next President of the Governing Council for the Magna Charta Observatory, a global association of over 900 post-secondary signatories committed to promoting and defending institutional autonomy and academic freedom in universities. The group’s fundamental values and principles are set out in the Magna Charta Universitatum—a document created in 1988 that celebrates university traditions, like the integration of teaching and research and social responsibility. Last year, Queen’s University became the tenth Canadian school to become a signatory.

“I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to serve the Magna Charta Observatory as President of its Governing Council,” says Principal Deane. “It has never been more important to strengthen and celebrate university values, as well as the diversity of the global academy, and I look forward to working with colleagues at the Observatory and around the world to do that over the next four years.”

As president, Principal Deane will oversee the Governing Council, which is comprised of 11 to 15 members chosen for their leading roles in the defense of fundamental university values and rights. He will assume the role in June 2021 for a four-year term.

In March 2020, the organization prepared and adopted an updated version of the Magna Charta Universitatum to reflect the increasingly global nature of what universities do and the wider range of local responsibilities they bear.

“While the Magna Charta Universitatum of 1988 beautifully articulated the fundamental values of universities,” says Principal Deane, “the Observatory has this year published an update to that document—one that recognizes the changed and continually changing circumstances within which universities around the world do their critically important work.”

The update commits members to the original declaration, as well as to strengthening the role of universities in the preservation of the planet and promoting health, prosperity, and enlightenment around the world.

To learn more about the association, its mandate, and its work, visit the Magna Charta Observatory website.