Dear members of the McGill community:
It is once again our pleasure to provide you with an update on the recent activities of McGill’s Board of Governors. You can learn more about the Board’s mandate and membership on its website.
McGill’s Board held its fourth meeting of the 2021-2022 governance year on April 21, 2022. The meeting was held remotely.
The full minutes of the meeting’s open session, as well as a summary of the closed session minutes, will be available following approval at the Board’s next meeting, on May 19, 2022. In the meantime, we would like to share with you the meeting’s important discussions, decisions and developments.
Thank you for your interest in the work of the Board of Governors. If you have any questions, ideas or comments, please write suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca.
Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Ram Panda, Chair, McGill Board of Governors
During the meeting’s closed session, the Board approved the appointment of three Associate Professors with tenure and the promotion of six Associate Professors to the rank of Full Professor. The McGill Reporter will publish the corresponding names once the candidates have been notified.
In light of her exemplary service to the University, the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee, approved the appointment of Governor Cynthia Price Verreault to the rank of Governor Emerita, commencing July 1, 2022. This rank is awarded by the Board to a governor who has served the University with exceptional distinction for a period of not less than ten years. It recognizes the governor’s exemplary support and long-standing dedication to the institution.
Also on the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance, and Ethics Committee, the Board approved the reappointment of Ms. Samira Sakhia as a member-at-large of the Board of Governors of McGill University for a four-year term commencing July 1, 2023 and as a member of the Finance Committee for a three-year term commencing July 1, 2023.
The Board also received two notices of motion for upcoming recommendations to member-at-large positions on the Board of Governors.
The Board, on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, approved the appointment of Professor Lisa Shapiro as Dean of the Faculty of Arts for a five-year term commencing October 1, 2022.
Professor Shapiro brings extensive academic and administrative experiences to the position of Dean. Since 2002, she has been in the Faculty of Arts of Simon Fraser University, where she is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Philosophy. Professor Shapiro specializes in early modern philosophy, focusing on the intersection of conceptions of human nature with accounts of human understanding, and on recovering and rehabilitating the philosophical work of women.
During her career at Simon Fraser University, Professor Shapiro has served as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research/Research and International) in the Faculty, and Chair of the Department of Philosophy.
Please join us in congratulating Professor Shapiro on her new appointment and welcoming her to McGill this fall. In addition, we would like to thank Professor Mary Hunter for serving as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts since July 2021.
The Board received the Report of the Executive Committee, for information. This report is an account of the approvals granted by the Committee on behalf of the Board.
The Board also received a brief report capturing the topics and discussions of the last Board of Governors’ retreat that took place on February 24, 2022. The theme of the 2022 retreat was “McGill as a Global University.”
The Board, on the recommendation of the Building and Property Committee (BPC), approved a number of renovation and construction projects, including renovations in the Burnside Building and the Strathcona Music Building.
Lastly, the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the Building and Property Committee and the Finance Committee, approved the submission of the Dossier d’affaires for the New Vic Project to the Quebec government, an important next phase of the project supporting the development of the New Vic site.
During open session, the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of Senate, approved the creation of the McGill Institute of Genomic Medicine. The Institute will harness the University’s diverse scientific expertise, research infrastructures and medical resources to achieve rapid advances in large-scale biology and “big data” science.
The Board, on the recommendation of Senate, also approved the proposed creation of the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics. The Centre, named after Mr. David Laidley (BCom 1967), Chair Emeritus of Deloitte LLP, will be the University’s central hub for the support of teaching, academic research and community engagement for ethical behaviour in business.
The Board was also provided with the Report of the Committee on Sustainability that outlined the continued monitoring and implementation of the objectives of McGill’s Climate and Sustainability Strategy (2020-2025), presented an overview of the results of a peer benchmarking exercise of the McGill Office of Sustainability (MOOS) Communication Platforms, a summary presentation on the Research and Education category of the Climate & Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025 and an update on sustainability Rankings and Awards.
A report on the Joint Senate Steering and Board Executive Committees meeting was also presented to the Board, for information. The Executive Committee and the Senate Steering Committee met and agreed to focus the general topic of the Joint Board-Senate meeting in the Fall on the theme of “Experiential Learning Opportunities at Local, National, and International Levels.”
A progress report on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) was submitted to the Board for information. KPIs are a set of 26 metrics developed by the University to chart its progress towards realizing its strategic priorities.
The Board, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, approved the University’s budget for FY2022-2023. The proposed budget for FY2023 forecasts an anticipated unrestricted fund deficit of $9.4 million. The Board also approved, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, a maximum borrowing of up to $400 million for the period from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023 as required by the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur. The Board was also informed that, based on January 31, 2022 actuals and commitments, financial information collected from units and historical trends, the University’s updated expectations are that revenues will be higher, and expenses will be lower than originally budgeted. The University is anticipating to end FY2022 with a balanced budget. The full report from the Finance Committee can be accessed here.
The Chair of the Investment Committee presented the Report on Socially Responsible Investing to the Board for information. The full report is available on the Secretariat’s website.
Prior to her regular remarks, the Principal spoke about the important Open Discussion on the CAMSR Report Recommendations and Implementation Plan, including the Socially Responsible Investment Report, that took place at the April 19, 2022, Senate meeting. She thanked Ms. Sophie Leblanc, Chief Investment Officer & Treasurer and Mr. Joel Raby, Chair of the Investment Committee for delivering an informative presentation on this subject.
The Principal then provided updates since the last Board meeting in February.
The Principal expressed how great it was to see our campuses busy throughout the winter term with in-person activities.
She acknowledged the leadership of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) team for safely leading our community through the winter term. Our community continues to follow health guidelines, wearing masks in classrooms and practicing social distancing. We are learning how to live with the virus.
Final exams are currently underway, and once the semester is over, some students will be returning to campus for our Spring Convocation ceremonies that will take place in person, from May 26 to June 2, under the tent on the lower field, and on June 3 at Macdonald Campus. The honorary degree recipients will be announced in the coming days.
In addition to the traditional ceremonies, postponed celebrations for the Spring and Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 cohorts will take place between June 6 and June 13. These graduates will finally have the opportunity to celebrate their achievements with friends and family.
On May 25, John McCall MacBain, McGill’s 20th Chancellor, will be formally installed.
On April 7, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2022 federal budget.
Events around the world, in particular the ongoing war in Ukraine and rising inflation, had an impact on the budget, and investments in our sector were not as significant as we had hoped.
Among noteworthy new research investments, is a new fund of $160 million created thanks to the sustained advocacy of the U15 and Universities Canada, which supports the implementation of research cyber security guidelines in post-secondary institutions.
The Quebec Government recently tabled its budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.
The most noteworthy aspect of the budget for McGill was the allocation of $522.4 million in funding for the New Vic Project, which brings the total provincial government contribution for this project to $620 million. In addition, the budget includes an increase of 5.2 percent in direct funding to universities. This will help McGill keep a sound financial position.
Proposed Academic Freedom Legislation
On April 6, the Minister of Higher Education, Danielle McCann, tabled Bill 32, An Act Respecting Academic Freedom in the University Sector.
Academic freedom is central to our University’s mission. It is a principle that defines who we are and what we do as an institution. However, some aspects of the Bill raise significant concerns. We are in the process of carefully examining the Bill and its implications for McGill.
Our Bicentennial celebrations will be ending during Homecoming in October, but we still have exciting events to look forward to this spring and summer, including in the coming weeks:
- Space Week (May 2-6) will offer a broad programming that touches on all aspects of space and aerospace, featuring top space researchers and including a panel with McGill’s astronauts.
- Global Health Week (May 16-20), will celebrate McGill as a centre of excellence for global health research, advocacy and education.
The Principal concluded her remarks by congratulating members of our community who recently earned well-deserved recognitions:
- Professors Marco Amabili (Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Elena Bennett (Department of Natural Resource Sciences) each won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Prof. Amabili was awarded a Fellowship in Engineering and Prof Bennett received a Fellowship in Geography & Environmental Studies.
- McGill Redbird swimmer and management student, Clement Secchi, was named swimmer-of-the-year at the U SPORTS Swimming Championships at the end of March. He won four gold and two silver medals, while breaking three national records.
Many campus competitions and celebrations were held in person again this spring, and many winners are to be celebrated:
- The Principal had the pleasure of attending the Dobson Cup’s virtual award ceremony. Congratulations to the winning student teams.
- Lastly, McGill has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers by Mediacorp Canada, for a fifth consecutive year.
The Board received the following reports:
- Report from Senate
- Report of the Committee on Sustainability
- Report of the Joint Senate Steering and Board Executive Committees Meeting
- Report of the Human Resources Committee
- Report of the Finance Committee
- Report of the Investment Committee
The Board received the following annual reports:
- Annual Report on Research and Innovation 2021
- Annual Report of the Policy on Harassment and Discrimination 2020-21
- Annual Report on the Policy against Sexual Violence 2021
Professor Elham Emami, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences, presented an informative overview of the Faculty’s teaching, learning and research activities. The presentation is available here.