News Releases

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REF NO.: 232

SUBJECT: Memorial’s Board of Regents confirms support for one university for the province; creation of second university by government requires additional work and analysis

DATE: July 24,2007

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 (http://www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/grenfell_governance.php).

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Attached below
1.         Motion of the Board of Regents, July 19, 2007
2.         May 2006 statement of the Board of Regents.
3.         Media: To arrange follow-up interviews, please contact Dave Sorensen, editor, Memorial University News Service, 737-2143, sorensen@mun.ca
 
Background
 
1. Motion approved by the Regents (July 19, 2007):
 
WHEREAS the Board of Regents is responsible for the governance of Memorial University of Newfoundland for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians throughout the Province;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents regards governance and its autonomy to be of critical importance to the success of the University;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents has devoted considerable effort and time over the past two years to governance and other issues specifically related to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents reaffirms the consensus as conveyed to Government in May 2006 that one university, with principal campuses in St. John’s and Corner Brook, with increased autonomy to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (see Board of Regents Statement on Governance of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, May 2006, below) was the appropriate form of governance to ensure success of the University and its students;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents has expressed its dissatisfaction to the Minister of Education regarding the Government’s failure to consult with the Board of Regents before the public release of the Davies-Kelly report;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents has concluded that Option 1 (a) as presented in the Davies-Kelly report is not workable;
 
AND WHEREAS the Board of Regents is of the view that if a second university is created in the Province the impact on students (especially their ability to transfer credits between universities), the cost, the required legislative changes and the duplication of services must be assessed;
 
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Regents convey to Government that:
 
1.         Option 1(a) of the Davies-Kelly Report is not workable;
 
2.         While the Regents strongly support one university in the Province, if it is Government’s position to create a second university, there must be a determination of the impact on students (especially their ability to transfer credits between universities), the cost, the required legislative changes; the duplication of services;
 
3.         The aforementioned determination of impacts be completed by the end of 2007.
 
 
2. Board of Regents Statement on Governance of SirWilfredGrenfellCollege (May 2006):
 
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is best served by a system that:
 
1.         Has one university: Memorial University of Newfoundland;
 
It was confirmed in the Government’s recent White Paper on Post-Secondary Education that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are best served by a single university system. Having a single university system ensures the most effective use of resources and provides extensive benefits to citizens, government, community groups, industry, faculty, staff, and, most importantly, students. Having a single university system in the Province also makes Memorial University more competitive with universities in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere in respect to marketing and the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students.
 
Today, Memorial University has a good national reputation and is attracting increasing international recognition. This helps to project Newfoundland and Labrador as a progressive, innovative province.
 
 
2.         Is governed by one Board of Regents;
 
Accountability is a key tenet of university governance and the ultimate authority for ensuring this accountability rests with the Board of Regents. One Board, comprised of representatives with diverse backgrounds from different parts of the Province, facilitates communication and transparency with Government and the public-at large, ensures a consistency in approach and standards, and facilitates the development of an integrated strategic plan for university education in the Province.
 
3.         Is presided over by one President;
 
A single chief executive officer who has responsibility for the entire university is preferable to a situation where two or more presidents exist. The responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the university is delegated by the Board to the President as is the development of the strategic plan of the institution. Alternative models could lead to considerable difficulties that would have to be arbitrated by the Board. This would radically change the role and responsibilities of the Board and its Chair, and require that significant support mechanisms be created for the Board.
 
4.         Consists of three principal entities, with clearly defined mandates and working collaboratively: the St. John’s Campus, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus and the Marine Institute;
 
Each campus should develop its own mandate as part of a broader strategic plan approved by the Board of Regents. Although directions and mandates may differ in whole or in part, these complement each other by addressing different facets of the needs of the Province.
 
5.         In academic matters, is governed by a single Senate, with significant authorities conferred by the Regents and the Senate to the Academic Council of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus;
 
Senate and the Board of Regents should delegate significant authorities to the Academic Council of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus. These would include the authority to modify and approve courses, major, minor and degree programs and the authority to approve degree candidates. This would provide the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus with increased academic flexibility over its courses and programs, while ensuring the maintenance of university-wide common standards for admission, continuance in programs, graduation from programs and transferability of courses.
 
6.         Vests the administrative responsibilities for the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus in the position of Vice-President (Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus), with a broadened academic mandate, rather than the position of Principal (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College);
 
The broadened mandate could include areas such as graduate studies and research. Vesting such responsibilities in a Vice President for the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus would, along with the delegations proposed above, ensure that the campus has the autonomy and flexibility to determine its own mandate and directions in the context of the overall strategic plan of the University.
 
7.         Have the Vice-President (Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus) reporting to the President of the University on broad issues of policy, becoming a member of the Senior Executive Committee, and working collaboratively with the Vice-President (Academic), Vice-President (Administration and Finance), Vice-President (Research), Dean of Student Affairs and Services, Executive Director of the Marine Institute and Director of Marketing and Communications;
 
The proposed reporting lines reinforce campus autonomy, while ensuring collaboration in the context of a single university system. Collaboration will ensure both the maintenance of common standards and the most effective use of resources. 
 
8.         Receives one comprehensive budget allocation from the Provincial Government through the Department of Education, with the Board of Regents authorizing annual budget allocations to the St. John’s Campus, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus and the Marine Institute, and being accountable for the expenditure of all University funds.
 
The allocation of a single comprehensive budget, which includes the provincial operating grant, capital funding, infrastructure funds and provincial funds in support of research, would ensure the most effective use of resources. It would enable the Board of Regents to fulfill its responsibilities under the Memorial University Act and the Transparency and Accountability Act while maintaining the university as an autonomous institution. Only with a comprehensive budget allocation, which is consistent with the mandate approved for each entity, can the Board of Regents pursue and meet the stated goals of an integrated strategic plan.
 
 

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