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Vol 38  No 7
December 15, 2005


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Board outlines process for change

Memorial University’s Board of Regents held a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005, to consider the matter of the governance structure at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, the university’s campus in Corner Brook.

The province’s White Paper on Public Post-Secondary Education, released last summer, recommended a review of the governance of Memorial’s west coast campus. The issue was subsequently reviewed by a university-appointed commission and by senior administrators at Memorial, including Grenfell’s principal. In addition, the matter was discussed in October at a meeting of the Grenfell community, which included administrators from the west coast and the St. John’s campuses. The governance matters that arose at the meeting as a priority to the community included: creation of a seat for SWGC on the university’s Senior Executive Committee; financial certainty assured by formula funding or a direct allocation from government to Grenfell; the authority to approve academic programs at Grenfell; and integration of the Western Regional School of Nursing into Grenfell.

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Board of Regents endorsed a decision from Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president, that the principal of Grenfell College be added to the university’s Senior Executive Committee, with a reporting line to the president. The principal and the executive director of the Marine Institute have since joined the Senior Executive Committee of the university.

The board has also developed the following process to address the other issues expressed by the Grenfell College community regarding governance:

• Direct the executive compensation committee of the Board to oversee the development of documents for creating a vice-president position as a replacement for the current position of principal at Grenfell. Such documents to include a position description, reporting relationships, and the identification of associated changes, such as the recasting of the positions of vice-principal and associate vice-principal (research).

• Direct the finance committee of the Board to provide an assessment of options for presenting financial information, budget requests and allocations regarding Grenfell College, with associated recommendations.

• Direct the executive committee of the Board to prepare, in consultation with the university administration (both at the St. John’s campus and Grenfell College), an analysis of governance options regarding the approval of academic programs for Grenfell, and associated recommendations.

• Defer considerations of the integration of the Western Regional School of Nursing into Grenfell College until the Department of Education’s Committee for a Consolidated Model for the Administration of Nursing Education, has reported. This committee was struck by the Department of Education, pursuant to a recommendation in the White Paper on Post-Secondary Education.

• The committees will consult and receive advice from the Academic Council of Grenfell College, other members of the university community, and government and others as deemed appropriate and feasible.

• If other issues arise from the report of the Academic Council of Grenfell College from its meeting on Dec. 12, 2005, or elsewhere, once received, they will be considered by the executive committee for review and delegation to the appropriate board committee.

“I have already added the principal of the college to the Senior Executive Committee. I have likewise included the executive director of the Marine Institute in the Senior Executive Committee and I look forward to their contributions. The Board is moving ahead positively on all the other matters. I remain confident that the solution to governance issues within Memorial University and Grenfell College will be found through the collaborative efforts of the entire university community,” said Dr. Meisen.

“My overarching objective is to ensure that the college has a governance structure that ensures a first-rate education for our students and an excellent working environment for our faculty and staff.”

"We are pleased that the Board of Regents has agreed to defer action on this process for change until it has considered a resolution outlining our expectations from the Grenfell College Academic Council," said Dr. John Ashton, principal of Grenfell College. "The Academic Council passed a motion on Monday which firmly outlines our minimum expectations for changes to administrative and reporting relationships between the College and Memorial University of Newfoundland."

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