The work to update and redevelop the university‘s senior leadership team is now complete. The changes, initiated in the 2011/2012 academic year, are designed to make Memorial more responsive to increasingly diverse operational needs, to improve strategic alignment and coordination, and to further the evolution of Memorial as a multi-campus institution.
Reflecting the growth and increasing complexity of the institution, Memorial‘s senior leadership structures were revised last fall, leading to the creation of the Vice-Presidents Council, adoption of the provost structure, and delineation of several new roles, including new vice-president and associate vice-president roles at the Grenfell and Marine Institute campuses.
The final stage of this process, implemented this year, included recruiting candidates to fill the remaining roles, establishing key committees and adopting progressive policies. These changes ensure we have the right people in the right roles to push forward as a leading university.
Memorial University has a bicameral system of governance. The Senate oversees academic affairs, while the Board of Regents oversees all other matters. The role of the president and vice-chancellor, who serves ex officio on the board and chairs the Senate, is a vital link between the two. Other ex officio members of both bodies include the chancellor and the provost/vice-president (academic)/pro vice-chancellor.
This year the university realigned its internal audit function and created the new role of university auditor, which reports functionally to the audit and risk committee of the Board of Regents and, administratively, to the president. Recruitment for the position is currently underway through a national search and is expected to be filled in 2014. This realignment is designed to improve the autonomy of this function, to enhance the accountability of university operations and to observe best practices among Canadian universities. As well, an Internal Audit Activity Charter was adopted by the Board of Regents, which encompasses all university employees, units, operations, activities and services.
While the Senate of Memorial University has always had general charge of all matters of an academic character, this year it has become more actively involved in reviewing policies and procedures that impact both academic and non-academic aspects of student life. Senate is composed of a number of elected and appointed members representing the administration, faculty and students, and meets monthly during the academic year. Most recently, the Senate reviewed and endorsed the Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy and a revised Student Code of Conduct.
The structure and responsibilities of the vice-president (administration and finance) portfolio were reviewed this past year and the key findings adopted. First, risk-oriented functions were consolidated under a single leader by creating the new role of chief risk officer. Next, facilities planning and development capacity was increased by creating the new role of associate vice-president (facilities). A successful search was conducted, and the new incumbents began in those roles at the start of the 2013 academic year.
In addition to strengthening the independence of the internal audit function, further consultations were undertaken on information technology (IT) governance at Memorial. This consultation resulted in a recommendation to create a new role of chief information officer. Approved by the Board of Regents in July 2013, this new position will report to both the provost and the vice-president (administration and finance). Currently a national search for the most appropriate candidate is underway.
It is not enough just to create strategic new roles to strengthen the university‘s governance structure. The right people must be selected for those roles. Over the last academic year, measures were put in place to ensure candidates were selected based on their experience and capacity to energize Memorial University‘s leadership team within this new provost model. Currently, nearly every new position has been filled, including the roles of deputy provost (students) and associate vice-president (academic) undergraduate studies; associate vice-president (academic) planning, priorities and programs; associate vice-president (academic) faculty affairs; associate vice-president (facilities); associate vice-president (academic), Marine Institute; and chief risk officer. The role of chief information officer will be filled in 2014.