Highlights from the May 21, 2015, Board of Governors meeting

Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Thursday, May 21, 2015, for their fifth and final meeting of 2014-15. Here are the important discussions, decisions and developments from that meeting.

During the closed session, the Board approved the appointments of two new Deans. Bruce Lennox, Tomlinson Professor of Chemistry, has been named the next Dean of the Faculty of Science. Josephine Nalbantoglu, currently the Director of McGill’s Integrated Program in Neuroscience, is the next Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Both five-year appointments begin on July 1, 2015. Congratulations to Professors Lennox and Nalbantoglu.

Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), updated the Board about the Deferred Maintenance Plan. A financial plan is currently awaiting approval from the provincial government.

I am pleased to report that the Board approved the recommendations of the University Tenure Committee to grant tenure to six professors, and promote 43 other people to the rank of Associate Professor, or Associate Librarian, with Tenure. The Board also approved the committee’s recommendation for the appointment of two new Associate Professors and an Associate Librarian, all with tenure.

My remarks in the open session addressed the following topics:

  • Government relations
    • Provincial ministers: I met recently with Carlos Leitão, Minister of Finance, to discuss the important role strong universities play in driving Quebec’s prosperity. Olivier Marcil, Vice-Principal (Communications and External Relations), recently joined other senior executives from Quebec universities for a first sit-down with François Blais, Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research. Minister Blais confirmed previously announced cuts of $73 million for 2015-16.
    • McGill-CIHR reception on Parliament Hill: On May 14, Rona Ambrose, the federal Minister of Health, hosted a breakfast reception in honour of the important achievements of several McGill health researchers. Other attendees included Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and several members of Parliament.
  • Principal’s Priorities: Updates are now available regarding projects and actions focused on creating a more open, connected and purposeful McGill.

I closed my remarks by offering kudos to some members of our community for recent outstanding achievements, including:

  • Six McGill students received Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Awards for volunteer activity and inspiring attitude.
  • Chancellor Michael Meighen received the Top Salmon Conservation Award for his work to conserve, restore and protect wild Atlantic salmon populations.
  • The sixth annual McGill Dobson Cup Start-Up Competition announced its winners. The Dobson Cup gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their ideas. The winning teams receive seed funding and mentorship.

Professor Victoria Kaspi, the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics and the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics, gave a fascinating presentation about her study of rapidly spinning compact neutron stars, known as pulsars, one of her main areas of research.

The Board received reports from the following standing committees:

  • The Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee appointed student representatives to five Board committees.
  • The Audit Committee highlighted the University’s Enterprise Risk Management program, as well as a number of regular reports on compliance to various provincial legislation.
  • The Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility is continuing its consideration of Divest McGill’s submission. At its last meeting of CAMSR, committee members met again with representatives of Divest McGill to respond to questions arising from previous meetings.

VP Di Grappa reported on McGill’s compliance with the Quebec Treasury Board’s Loi 65, with regard to the procurement of goods and services.

The Board approved a proposal to name a new initiative of the Faculties of Arts and Engineering: The Yan P. Lin Centre for the Study of Freedom and Global Orders in the Ancient and Modern Worlds. The Lin Centre will support collaborative research about politics and society and is the result of the generosity of McGill alumnus Dr. Yanping Lin. The Board also approved changing the name of the Arnold and Blema Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre to the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning (SCSIL).

Thank you for your comments and questions during the past year. I always welcome your input: suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca. I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to again sharing the Board’s activities with you after they convene for 2015-2016 in the fall.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Fortier
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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