Higher Education Summit in Ottawa

The Council of the Federation brought Canadian Premiers together in Ottawa last Friday for a unique meeting. Will it prove to be historic as well?

A unique meeting as it represents the first time in Canadian history that the Premiers thought post-secondary education important enough to warrant a one-item agenda meeting. This is no small feat!

Unique because it clearly signaled the need to balance the priority given to healthcare with the importance of post-secondary education. If we want to build a future for our children we need to be more than a caring country; we must also be a smart country. Canadians are not just patients in need of care. We are individuals making contributions to the future of our country, and we want to be valued for the differences we are making.

A strong belief in post-secondary education as a requirement to contribute in today’s world also clearly emerges from the discussions. Canadians want jobs that reflect not only their talents but also their ambitions. As they move into the 21st century, they know that yesterday’s best tools are not sharp enough to carve their future and that many long-held beliefs do not correspond to today’s or tomorrow’s challenges.

A unique meeting because of the passion surging from the workshops. No one is asking for favours. Canadians want the opportunity to give this country the best of their passions and talents. They know it is not enough to ask for more. They want to give more. They want to be emotionally, intellectually, collectively, and financially committed to the future.

Canadians want vision. Quoting from Saint-Exupery, Ontario Premier McGuinty expressed it best: “The way to get people to build a boat is to make them long for the open sea.” Not to throw them a life-jacket, I might add. Canadians want leaders. Not just politicians. Not just technocrats. Together, the Premiers developed a vision in Ottawa last Friday. Canada is a caring country, but we will also be a smart country. We will be smart intellectually, emotionally, socially, and economically. It is a vision that is concise, clear, and challenging. A smart country.

If the Federal Government is ready, the Council of the Federation meeting will prove to have been historic. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives now have the right and the duty to act.

Robert Poupart, D.Ps.
Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Bishop’s University
February 27, 2006


I encourage you to take the time to review the second draft for a new model for governance prepared by the Ad-hoc Committee on Governance. The Committee made every attempt to incorporate the views, concerns and concepts that were brought forward in Bandeen Hall on December 7th, as well as numerous written submissions that we received.

The Committee believes the new version of the document will clarify the changes that are being proposed, as well as the reasons for those changes. The three column approach seemed the best method to achieve this goal.

This second draft is by no means a final draft; the review process continues to be a work in progress. I encourage you to send your comments and questions in writing to the Committee. You may also feel free to speak with any of the Committee members: Chancellor Scott Griffin; Corporation President Philip Matthews; Registrar and Secretary-General Yves Jodoin; former Registrar and Secretary-General Ann Montgomery; or me.

It is also my hope that both academic and non-academic Divisions and Departments are meeting on their own to discuss this important topic. I am always happy to attend a meeting of any of these groups, or others, to hear your thoughts about this document and the future of governance at Bishop’s University.

Strategic Planning Process

The University is in the midst of a strategic planning process that is being driven by a number of factors: an increasingly competitive market for students and new faculty; a need to clarify and agree upon the future direction and priorities of the institution; planning for a next Capital Campaign; and lastly, and perhaps of most concern to our community, an uncertain financial future of the University.

The “Gaiter Jaw” we are facing is a reality. The upper jaw, our expenses, will continue to rise. The lower jaw, our revenues, have flat-lined, and it is realistic to project they could drop, opening the “Jaw” even more. This fact has made strategic planning even more necessary for our institutional well-being.

There is little we can do about the upper jaw. The lower jaw is the area upon which we must spend our time – and everyone on campus can play a role. Late last month the Working Group asked Deans and non-academic managers to discuss a number of issues with their Divisions and Departments. First – how do you contribute to the mission of Bishop’s? This is an important exercise to ensure we all know our mission and the effects we have on the Bishop’s experience for students, faculty and staff.

Next, the Working Group suggested a number of “Big” ideas to consider as ways to generate revenue. You were also encouraged to come up with some of your own ideas as to how we might go about closing the “Gaiter Jaw”.

Questioning ourselves is not always comfortable. I want to take this opportunity to stress a few important points:
• This is a wonderful opportunity to evaluate every aspect of the University and to examine different ways in which we might deliver a Bishop’s education.
• This is not simply a financial exercise. Cost cutting is not the appropriate way to address a structural deficit – we need to look at our operations.
• It is true the structural deficit is brought about by under-funding to higher education; this simply magnifies the fact that we must examine how we manage our operations – increased funding may not be a reality.
• Both academic and non-academic departments can play major roles in this process.
• The goal of this process, in brief, is to decide how to maximize our operations to increase revenues, while also advancing our mission.

We encourage you to continue to debate some of the “Big” issues that were suggested by the Working Group. For instance:
Growth: Can we examine a tri-semester system as an opportunity to increase the number of students at Bishop's, without increasing the number of students on campus at any given time? Is growth with our current infrastructure possible? How can we grow given our mission? Can we be selective in our growth? Are there areas where we need more students or where we might be able to accommodate more students?

Technology: Can we use technology to grow? This does not mean that everyone has to dive into distance learning, but there might be some disciplines where on-line education might work.

Community: Are there opportunities for growth in our relationships with the wider community? Certainly there are international partnerships/linkages that can be explored, but we must also look closer to home. All levels of government devote millions of dollars to regional/rural development. How can we capitalize on this funding? How can we contribute to the crucial debates of our society?

Value-added experience: Our growth is linked to the value-added experience students are looking for. Our current experience attracts 2100 students. Can we improve on our value-added experiences to make us more attractive to prospective students?

Demographics: Perhaps we need to look at ways of tailoring our offerings to a wider demographic range? The 17-22 year old market is shrinking, while the 30 – 50 year old market is the one that will need universities for both professional and personal development. Are we poised for this trend?

Everyone, both academic and non-academic, needs to ask “How can I create a better Bishop’s Experience?” Collectively, acting on our answers, Bishop’s will become stronger.

Research Week

The Research Office has organized the first Research Week at Bishop’s to highlight the scholarly achievements of faculty and students. Through student poster displays, lunchtime discussions of faculty’s recent work, invited lecturers, award-winning films, and other activities, Research Week provides a window on our community’s many scholarly and creative activities and demonstrates how Bishop’s contributes to the dissemination of the latest scholarly findings. For a detailed program of activities, please visit the Research Week website

Research Week will be a special opportunity to promote research in all fields of study to the Bishop’s community, to enrich the students’ learning experience, to encourage the pursuit of advanced study and academic careers, and to encourage and recognize student-professor collaborations.

Come celebrate our professors’ and students’ research success!

Jonathan Rittenhouse

Recognizing Achievements

The Canadian Cancer Society gained over $10,000 through Operation Fresh Start. Thank you to the nine individuals who bravely parted with their hair, those who supported the project with donations, and a tremendous congratulations to Jenn Kang who spearheaded the project and “sacrificed ” the most hair…18 inches! It was a wonderful project.

Congratulations to the student team from the Williams School of Business who won the 2006 NIBS (Network of International Business Schools) Case Competition in Oslo, Norway. The Bishop’s team consisted of Erik Desrosiers, Rachel Kelly, Charlene Marion and Samuel Saintonge and was coached by Profs. Bill Robson, Lissa McRae and Robert Palmer. This is the third time Bishop’s has taken first place in this prestigious international competition.

Dr. Trygve Ugland (Political Studies) was part of the Norwegian delegation to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The SPS Committee is the forum where WTO members exchange information on all aspects related to food safety and animal and plant health. The SPS Committee discussed, among other topics, the latest situation on avian influenza, mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease, and a number of other trade concerns. The issue of “regionalization” was also central to the agenda.

Professor George Rideout of the Drama Department won the 2005-06 Education Award as Lennoxville honoured active and selfless residents at the 15th annual Outstanding Achievement Ceremony.

At the same ceremony Anouk Boulanger of the women’s basketball team won the Sports Award. A stand-out Gaiter, Anouk also represented Canada at the World University Games last summer.

In late February Anouk was also named to the Quebec University Basketball League first team all-star team (and Defensive Player of the Year), along with teammates Laure Pitfield and Emily Crofton. Emily was named MVP of the league and first-team All Canadian. On the men’s side Jeff Szita was named to the first team all-star team, while point guard (and one of the smallest players in the league!) Kevin Watson was named a second-team all-star.


Research Week

March 20 - 24, 2006


Official Re-opening of Centennial Theatre

Friday, March 31 @ 11:00

The project is on budget and on schedule! Join us in re-opening our beautiful theatre.

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