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Working together

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Published: 27 Jan 1997

Concordia and McGill universities have set up the Bilateral Working Group on Collaboration to explore different ways in which the universities may collaborate to improve services.

Recommendations of the Bilateral Working Group on Collaboration between Concordia and McGill Universities

McGill University and Concordia University announce an important step in their quest to consolidate and enhance certain programmes and services. Inter-university research, cooperation and joint programs are not new to Montreal’s four sister universities, however, this announcement marks a major milestone in the relationship between Concordia and McGill universities.

Over the past few months, the executive committees of the governing boards of both McGill and Concordia universities (the Bilateral Working Group on Collaboration) have been meeting to explore ways in which the two institutions might work more effectively together. And while fiscal pressures have provided the immediate motivation, greater harmony and a substantial improvement in services to their respective communities have made this step especially worthwhile. Most importantly, each university will be in a better position to sustain its individual mission and deliver its programmes at a level of quality necessary to the future of Quebec and Canada.

As a result of these discussions, there has been an agreement between the two executive committees that Concordia and McGill will cooperate in order to:

  • maintain or enhance the quality in their distinct academic missions, and
  • maintain appropriately high levels of service in support of their distinct academic missions during the current period of severe financial cutbacks.

The two institutions will begin by exploring four areas where cooperation can achieve their stated goals: administrative support services, academic administration, libraries, and academic programmes.

"We are agreed that we intend to proceed only on the understanding that future plans will be developed in consultation with those most immediately affected," said McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Bernard Shapiro. "All decisions will be subject to the established approval processes in each institution."

McGill and Concordia will attempt to offer joint administrative support services in areas which will not jeopardize the individual academic and research programmes which make them distinct. In the immediate future, the two universities will explore the possibility of joint services in purchasing and internal audit, and examine the potential of working together in the development and/or purchase of financial accounting systems.

For those academic programmes in which substantive, structured cooperation is implemented, the objective will be to replace the current inter-university transfer system, which both students and administrators find cumbersome, with a new system which is made as easy as possible for both.

"We want the movement of students between the two institutions to be very fluid with fewer bureaucratic obstacles," stated Concordia’s Rector Frederick Lowy.

With respect to libraries, the two universities will move to create a more integrated library system providing joint services to increase accessibility, improve service and, most importantly, to assure better the future development of the collections for both communities. McGill and Concordia will also explore with their sister universities the long-term goal of creating a unified library system to serve all four Montreal-area universities.

As well, Concordia and McGill will expedite discussions already underway at the department and faculty levels to implement substantive cooperation between their respective academic programmes in the study of religion and in the training of certified teachers. In addition, over the course of the next year, other academic areas for such cooperation may be identified by the Universities’ respective planning processes.

The McGill/Concordia bilateral working group believes that cooperation between the two universities will improve the ability of each to sustain its particular mission.

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