Highlights from the February 2, 2015, Board of Governors meeting

Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Monday, February 2, 2015, for their third meeting of 2014-15. Here are the important discussions, decisions and developments from that meeting.

I am very pleased to report that the Board approved the reappointment of Colleen Cook as the Trenholme Dean of Libraries. Dean Cook’s new five-year term begins September 1, 2015.

The Board also approved the recommendations of the Statutory Selection Committee to promote nine associate professors to the rank of full professor. To reach this significant milestone, candidates must have an outstanding teaching track-record, be internationally recognized for the excellence of their research and scholarly activities, and have a history of contribution to the University and other academic communities. Congratulations to our nine new full professors.

The Chair of the Board, Kip Cobbett, reported that, prior to the meeting, he and the Secretary-General accepted a petition from members of Divest McGill, which asks that the University divest from corporations involved in fossil fuel extraction. The Chair advised that the petition will be referred to the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility for consideration.

My remarks in the open session addressed the following topics:

  • Quebec government relations: On January 21, rectors from other Quebec universities and I met with Deputy Minister Lise Verreault, to discuss the recently released report of the Chantier sur la formule de financement and next steps to develop and implement a new funding formula for Quebec universities.
  • Federal government relations: McGill is developing its proposal for the first competition of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). I am chairing two federal working groups: the AUCC Digital Infrastructure working group and the U15 Private Sector Engagement working group.
  • External relations: In December, I had the pleasure of meeting with alumni and the parents of many current students in Paris, France. In January, I participated in an international jury for Les initiatives d’excellence (IDEX), which will make recommendations to the French government on the allocation of 3.1 billion Euros to its universities. This is the second round of competitions. In the first one, the government allocated 6.3 billion Euros to eight universities.

I closed my remarks by applauding some particularly outstanding achievements by members of our community:

  • Three of the 10 Discoveries of the Year in Québec Science magazine are led by McGill-affiliated researchers.
  • Prof. Hans Beck (Department of History and Classical Studies) is the recipient of the Anneliese Maier Research Award from Germany’s Humboldt Foundation.
  • Second-year medical student Saman Ahmad received the 2014 Medical Student Leadership Award for founding the Health and Hygiene for the Homeless Club.
  • The Order of Canada named 16 new McGillians to its ranks, including our Chancellor, the Hon. Michael A. Meighen.
  • The McGill Centraide campaign surpassed its highest-ever fundraising goal. Thank you to everyone who contributed, and to the teams of campaign co-chairs Courtney Ayukawa, President of the Students’ Society of McGill University, Dr. Rose Goldstein, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) and Daniel Jutras, Dean of the Faculty of Law.
  • The Research Institute of the MUHC, located in the new “Glen site” hospital, opened on February 2. Congratulations to the Centre’s director, Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos, and his team on this impressive, state-of-the-art facility.

Sarah Stroud, Associate Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations), outlined actions to be taken following the November 4, 2014, Joint Board-Senate Meeting, which focused on how McGill can become a more open and active partner in its community.

The Chair briefed the Board on the plans for the February 26, 2015, retreat, which will be on the theme of “Enrollment Planning, Student Recruitment and Admissions.”

The Board received reports from four of its standing committees:

  • The Building and Property Committee presented a proposed financial plan to address McGill’s deferred maintenance, information technology and space needs.
  • The Investment Committee updated the Board on a number of investment operational matters, including an overview of returns and performance for components of the McGill Investment Plan.
  • Human Resources presented the annual safety report and annual staffing report.
  • The Audit Committee presented the external audit plan for fiscal year 2015, as prepared by McGill’s external auditors, and a quarterly financial report for the period ending October 31, 2014.

Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), and AVP Stroud presented a new grant agreement, with the Québec Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations, which will provide infrastructure support for the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Green Chemistry. The Board approved the agreement, as well as the related financing mechanism required by the Quebec government.

The Board approved new contracts of affiliation with four health-care bodies: the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital, the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre and the Maimonides Geriatric Centre. The contracts, with terms similar to those already in place with the McGill University Health Centre, address how McGill will coordinate teaching and research activities with each organization.

The following units presented 2013-2014 annual reports:

  • Research, as well as a progress report on the Quartier de l’innovation.
  • Student Life and Learning
  • University Advancement

These reports will be posted on the Secretariat website shortly.

I presented a report dealing with information and approval items from the December 3, 2014, and January 21, 2015, Senate meetings. Among these items, the Board approved changing the name of the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance to the McGill International Tuberculosis Centre.

Professor Nico Trocmé, Director of the School of Social Work and holder of the Philip Fisher Chair in Social Work, closed the meeting with an informative and stimulating presentation on his current work to build research capacity with First Nations and mainstream youth-protection services in Quebec.

I will share key actions and discussions from the Board’s next meeting, which will be held on April 28, 2015. (The Board’s 2014-2015 schedule is here.) The full minutes from the previous meeting, held on December 2, plus a summary of items dealt with during that meeting’s closed session, are now available; the minutes from this week’s meeting will be available following approval by the Board in April.

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

Sincerely,

Suzanne Fortier
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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