Summary of process

This page includes a summary of the recruitment process for McGill's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the academic head and chief executive officer of the university.

Step 1: Formation of advisory committee:

The selection process formally began in April 2012, when a 14-member Advisory Committee comprised of academic and non-academic staff, student leaders, Board members and alumni was formed by McGill’s Board of Governors. The committee’s mandate was to identify and consider qualified individuals for the position of Principal, and to recommend the best qualified candidate to the Board.

In order to explore the broadest possible field of qualified candidates, and to ensure that McGill selected the very best person for the job, Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm with expertise in university searches, was retained, following the formal tendering process as required by Québec law. Their input and expertise was invaluable to the Committee, and allowed them to reach far more potential applicants than would otherwise have been possible.

Step 2: Creation of a candidate prospectus (job description):

  • The Committee’s first step was to consult with a wide range of people and groups throughout the McGill community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators. Through face-to-face meetings and written submissions, the Committee gathered input that helped them define the necessary qualifications for the Principal-Designate.
  • In July 2012, the committee then published a Candidate Prospectus (essentially a job description) that outlined the official qualifications, characteristics and experience that would be required of McGill's next Principal-Designate. Notably it was decided that this person would be:
    • A respected scholar committed to academic excellence, integrity and the pursuit of knowledge.
    • An inspiring and collaborative leader who is able to represent a diverse community and ensure that McGill continues to enhance its reputation as one of the world’s finest universities.
    • An innovative administrator with a commitment to delivering an outstanding experience for faculty, staff and students.
    • An ambassador who will advocate for McGill and build successful relationships with government, industry, other educational institutions, and funding bodies.
    • An individual who will help lead the charge in McGill’s fundraising and advancement efforts.
  • The selection criteria also required that the Principal-Designate be able to communicate in both French and English, and to appreciate McGill’s important place in Quebec
  • Key priorities for the Principal-Designate would include:
    • Attracting and retaining the very best faculty and students, and enhancing the quality of the university experience both inside and outside of the classroom.
    • Continuing to grow McGill’s presence and profile on a global scale, and continuing to ensure that the university assumes a leadership role in research and education in Quebec and around the world.
    • Increasing and diversifying the sources of funding for the University.

Step 3: Recruitment and announcement:

The position was advertised both internally at McGill and in a variety of outlets in Quebec, Canada and internationally. An initial list of 85 prospects was narrowed down to a “long list” of the 20 most qualified candidates, and after the Advisory Committee thoroughly assessed these candidates, seven were invited for face-to-face interviews in November 2012.

The final candidate was identified shortly thereafter, and the selection was unanimously approved by McGill’s Board of Governors. The Principal-Designate was formally announced on March 5, 2013.