Terms of Reference

Queen's University Rector Terms of Reference

1. The Role of the Office of the Rector

Queen’s University Rector is a student, elected by all students, as one of the three highest officers of the university, along with Queen’s Chancellor and Queen’s Principal.

The central role of the Rector is to act as a liaison between students and the university’s senior administration as a facilitator of dialogue regarding students’ needs, opinions, and views.  The Office of the Rector is an important resource for the Queen’s student community in helping them understand the university’s administrative structure and how to obtain student-specific resources and services. 

While the Office is a confidential space in which all Queen’s students may share their concerns and experiences, it is not the sole source of support for students, nor should it be relied upon by students for individual representation or advocacy.  Rather, the Office facilitates connections between students and university resources appropriate to their needs, while also providing information to senior leaders on trends across the student body with respect to these needs.

2. Election and Eligible Candidates

The by-laws of University Council delegate the process of the election of a Rector to the Alma Mater Society and the Society of Professional and Graduate Students.  The Rector’s election typically takes place in the winter term, every two years, and all registered Queen’s students are eligible to vote.

The election process consists of a nomination period, candidate validation, campaigning, and voting. Candidates must abide by the University Rector Elections Policy and Procedures, as maintained by the Alma Mater Society.  Students who are either a member of the Alma Mater Society or the Society of Graduate and Professional Students are eligible to run for the position of Rector.

All candidates must be in good academic standing per the academic regulations of their home Faculty/School and enrolled in the equivalent of at least one full-year course, or two half-year courses, or the equivalent for graduate students.

The role of University Rector is ideally suited for an upper-year student (third year or higher) based on the demands of the role as well as the development of understanding of the governance and decision-making structures of the University that would be necessary to fulfill all duties.  The nature of the role may result in the need to take a reduced course load; however, the Rector is a student first.  The expectation is that the Rector will prioritize their academic career over and above the duties of Rector. A record of academic proficiency at Queen’s is strongly recommended to balance competing demands.

The Rector’s term typically runs from May 1 to April 30.  Although University Council’s by-laws outline a three-year term for rectors, recent practice has been the completion of a two-year term.

3. Functions of the Rector

While the role of Rector provides scope for its incumbent to focus on issues that are of a particular priority to themselves, the following are the traditional functions of the role.

  • Serves as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees (and associated committees of the Board) and as an official observer of the university’s Senate.
  • Presides over all of the university’s official Convocation ceremonies in concert with the Chancellor and Principal.
  • Serves as Chair of the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award Selection Committee and has responsibility for all processes related to the Award, including the nomination and selection process, the organization of the annual Tricolour Society Reception, and the presentation of the Tricolour Award to recipients at Convocation.
  • Sits on numerous student government bodies, including AMS AssemblySGPS Council, and Presidents’ Caucus.
  • Considers invitations to participate in university-wide task forces, advisory committees, working groups, and events.
  • Administers the Office of the University Rector, including its budget, its website and social media accounts, its administrative records, and the Rector Bursary, with the support of staff in the University Secretariat.

4. Advisory Committee and Reporting

The Rector shall participate in meetings of the University Rector Advisory Committee, which meets at least once per academic term (fall, winter,).  The Committee provides guidance, advice, and support to the Rector without becoming involved in the substance of individual matters being dealt with by the Rector.

5. Support

Support for the Rector shall be provided by the University Secretariat.  Such support typically includes that related to office administration (keys and security, equipment and supplies, IT); budget administration (budget preparation, reconciling of expenses, reviewing budget statements, tuition and meal plan reimbursement); and the Tricolour Award (nominations, selection committee coordination, reception logistics); as well as other administrative assistance as requested.