Board speaks on Grenfell
The Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland has reiterated its support for one university for the province, with principal campuses in St. John's and Corner Brook. The board also supports increased autonomy for Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
In 2006, the provincial government commissioned two European consultants (Prof. J. L. Davies and Prof. J. Kelly) to review the governance of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The report, released on April 27, 2007, identified several options, expressing a preference for an option (called Option 1(a)) that would result in the creation of two universities within a single provincial university system, with separate presidents, budgets and academic governing Senates. The universities would be governed by one Board of Regents. The provincial government indicated at the time that it favoured that particular option.
The Board of Regents, which is the governing body for Memorial University, is made up of volunteers from across the province with members from the student body, the alumni, senior university officials, and with the majority appointed by the provincial government. The board has concluded that a volunteer board governing two separate universities is unworkable.
The Board of Regents acknowledges that the choice of there being one or more universities in the province is a choice for government and not the board. Should government choose to create a second university in Corner Brook, it is the board's considered opinion that additional work and analysis needs to be undertaken to address the impact on students (especially their ability to transfer credits between universities), the costs involved, the required legislated changes and shared services. The board is asking that this additional work be concluded by the end of 2007.
“Decisions that are made now will impact higher education in the province for many years to come,” said Gil Dalton, chair of the Board of Regents. “The choice of there being more than one university clearly rests with government. Such a decision would impact current operations of Memorial University. All stakeholders, government and Memorial included, must ensure that all actions are taken in light of full information and analysis and in the best interests of our students.”
Mr. Dalton added: “The Board of Regents has been involved in the Sir Wilfred Grenfell governance matter for quite some time, and we hope that government's action on this matter will be addressed with expedience so that we can focus entirely on the university's primary objectives of education, research and service to the community."
The university has developed an additional website that includes most of the reports written over the years and other university coverage relating to the governance of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (see www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/grenfell_governance.php).