February 6, 2006      
Governance Review Process

The Ad-Hoc Committee on Governance was pleased with the turnout and the comments of faculty and staff at the December 7th meeting on Governance held in Bandeen Hall. It was clear, however, that many do not understand the reasons for a review of governance. Perhaps the most revealing comment I have heard is “why is the Corporation involved in reviewing governance?” This is precisely why this review is taking place – there is a lack of understanding in how Bishop’s is governed. The Corporation, as the highest governing body of the University (as per our Royal Charter), is in fact legally responsible and liable for Bishop’s University. To quote from the ROR’s “The Corporation possesses jurisdiction and final authority in all the affairs of the University, be they academic, economic, social or otherwise.”

The Ad-Hoc Committee has spent most of the month of January preparing a 2nd draft document to be circulated on campus in the coming weeks. The Committee is working hard to incorporate many of the comments from the December 7th meeting, as well as observations received through meetings, e-mails and general discussion about this issue. The document will consist of a three column chart indicating the current governance situation; the proposed governance situation; and the reason for the change. I hope that this presentation will provide clarity for individuals as they go through the document.

I continue to encourage individuals or groups to devise their own proposals or models; the governance review process is based on the agreement that any member of the Bishop’s community can put forth a proposal. It is quite possible this review process will not be completed in time for the May meeting of Corporation, which is fine – timing is not crucial to the success of the process. The goal is to settle on the best possible governance model so that the decision making processes of the University are transparent and to ensure clear policies are in place to enable us to make the tough decisions that lie ahead.
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