Highlights from the April 26, 2018, Board of Governors meeting

Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Thursday, April 26, 2018, for its fourth meeting of 2017-18. Here are the important discussions, decisions, and developments from that meeting.

During the closed session, the Board approved the reappointment of Professor Jim Nicell as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Under Dean Nicell’s leadership, the Faculty of Engineering has maintained its commitment to a student-centered learning environment, to leading-edge research, and to promoting partnership and engagement within McGill and beyond. His second five-year term begins on July 1, 2018. Please join me in congratulating Professor Nicell on his reappointment.

I am pleased to report that the Board also approved several recommendations of the Statutory Selection Committee:

  • The promotion of eight associate professors to the rank of full professor. The candidates have outstanding teaching track records, are internationally recognized for the excellence of their research and scholarly activities, and have significantly contributed to the global academic community. Congratulations to these professors on reaching this significant career milestone.
  • The appointment of one new Associate Professor with Tenure.
  • The appointment of two Full Professors with Tenure.

The Building and Property Committee presented an update on the RVH project. We are awaiting the Quebec government’s decision before being able to move to the next phase, which consists of preparing the dossier d’affaires.

I began my remarks in the open session by reporting on two recent meetings of national university organizations:

  • The annual U15 membership meeting (April 20) focused on research funding policy in light of the 2018 federal budget, including discussions about student support, support for the full-cost of research, and digital research infrastructure.
  • The Universities Canada Board retreat (April 24-25) provided an opportunity to discuss the social, political, and economic trends facing Canadian universities.

On April 10 and 11, I joined rectors and senior finance administrators from 18 Quebec universities to discuss a new funding model with senior members of the Higher Education Ministry.

I continued my remarks by discussing recent community events and developments:

  • On April 3, the McGill Office of Sustainability hosted its eighth annual Catalyst Awards Gala, honoring individuals and teams who have made lasting contributions to the sustainability of our campuses.
  • Mr. Ram Panda, Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors, and I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy & Design, which McGill hosted on April 4 and 5.
  • Force Jeunesse presented its 13th annual “Rencontres maîtres chez vous” on April 7 at HEC Montréal. I joined Ms. Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, on a panel about the automatization of professional services.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Pierre Gfeller (MDCM’80) on his appointment as the President and Executive Director of the McGill University Health Centre. The University looks forward to continued close collaboration with the MUHC in support of our shared mission to serve our communities and society.

I congratulated some members of the McGill community for their recent outstanding achievements:

  • Dr. Balfour Mount, Eric M. Flanders Emeritus Professor of Palliative Care, has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
  • The Faculty of Law placed 23rd in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
  • McGill has been named one of “Canada’s Greenest Employers” in recognition of our climate and sustainability action plan, our many academic programs related to sustainability, and employee-led initiatives like the Sustainable Workplace Certification program.
  • Michael Goldbloom (LLB’78, BCL’79) has been named Chair of the Board of the CBC/Radio-Canada. He is McGill’s former Vice-Principal (Inter-Institutional Relations) and a past Senior Fellow in the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
  • Board member-at-large Stephen Halperin (BCL’75, LLB’78) has received the Faculty of Law’s F.R. Scott Award for Distinguished Service.

At the previous Board meeting, I committed to providing the Board with data about the percentage of female deans at U15 universities. Currently, 50 per cent of McGill’s deans are female. As of July 1, when two new appointments take effect, that number will increase to 58 per cent. The U15 current average is 32 per cent.

I closed my remarks by addressing sexual misconduct, which is an issue that has received considerable attention in our community. McGill’s senior administration has met with the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT). We are all committed to a respectful, safe, and inclusive learning environment, as well as procedural fairness, and we are working toward constructive progress. I have asked Provost Christopher Manfredi to draft terms of reference for a Senate ad hoc committee to review the University’s current approach and policy in dealing with cases of intimate relationships between members of the teaching staff and students. The committee will submit its report within six months.

The Board approved a report from Senate that included the following recommendations:

  • The appointments of Professors Gillian Bartlett-Esquilant (Department of Family Medicine) and Marilyn Scott (Department of Parasitology) to the University Appeals Committee.
  • The appointment of Mr. Daniel Boyer (Head Librarian of the Nahum Gelber Law Library), Professors Roe-Min Kok (Department of Music Research), John White (Department of Physiology), Sonia Laszlo (Department of Economics) and Inna Sharf (Department of Mechanical Engineering) to the Committee on Staff Grievances and Disciplinary Procedures.
  • The appointment of Professor Kevin Wade (Department of Animal Science) as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Staff Grievances and Disciplinary Procedures.

The Board received reports from its Human Resources and Executive Committees, and from the Joint Executive and Senate Steering Committee. The Executive-Senate Committee selected the topic for this fall’s joint meeting of the Board of Governors and Senate: “How could McGill transform itself for a world of lifelong learning?”

Professor Josephine Nalbantoglu, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, presented a detailed overview of GPS activities, initiatives, and developments.

Professor Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), presented amendments to the University’s Procurement Policy, including a provision that explains the Vice-Principal’s authority to establish procedures that support the implementation of the policy. The Board approved the amendments. The Procurement Policy came into effect on May 1, 2013, and undergoes review at least once every five years.

Professor Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), requested that the current Guidelines and Procedures for Disposal of Major Research Instruments, Equipment and Software be replaced by a new Research Asset Management Procedure governing the relocation, transfer, sale, or donation of the University’s research assets. The Board approved the request. The change is effective May 1, 2018.

On the recommendation of V-P Beauchamp, the Board approved a new five-year contract for waste management services on the downtown campus.

The Board approved the University’s budget for FY2018-2019. Provost Manfredi’s budget presentation is available online. The full budget book, once finalized, will be posted on the Provost’s website.

The Board approved the following committee recommendations:

  • Finance: The University’s maximum borrowing amount will remain at $300 million for the period June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019. The Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur requires the University to confirm this limit annually.
  • Building and Property: The second phases of the HVAC replacement in the University Centre, and the masonry repair to the Macdonald Engineering Building, have been approved. Construction will begin soon.
  • Nominating, Governance and Ethics (NGE): The following appointments were made to Board standing committees, and internal and external non-Board bodies:
    • The reappointment of Mr. Peter Coughlin as Chair of the Building and Property Committee
    • The appointment of Mr. Samuel Minzberg as a member of the Investment Committee
    • The appointments of Mr. Bob Babinski and Ms. Manon Vennat as members of the Nominating, Governance, and Ethics Committee
    • The extension of Ms. Tina Hobday’s term as the Board representative on Senate
    • The appointment of Mr. Myles Edwards as a member designated by the Board of Governors on the Pension Administration Committee

The NGE Committee recommended revisions to the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility’s (CAMSR) Terms of Reference. The Board deferred consideration of these revisions in December 2017, in order to provide the opportunity for additional input. CAMSR considered comments from Governors and community groups at meetings held on February 20 and March 21, 2018. The NGE Committee considered this input at its meeting of April 10, 2018. Based on these reviews, CAMSR and the NGE Committee recommended revisions that include:

  • Further standardizing the description of CAMSR’s composition and the terms of reference review cycle.
  • Providing for the option to recommend the appointment of a Vice-Chair of CAMSR.
  • Bringing further clarity to the definition and mandate sections concerning CAMSR’s consideration of expression of social injury, as well as to other sections relating to the Committee’s consideration of a submission of concern.

The Board approved these recommendations and the updated terms of reference are available on the Board of Governors Committees site.

I will share key actions and discussions from the Board’s final meeting of 2017-2018, to be held on May 24. The full minutes from the previous meeting, held on February 15, plus a summary of items dealt with during that meeting’s closed session, are now online; the minutes from last week’s meeting will be available following approval by the Board in May.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and questions. You can always contact me at suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca.


Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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