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A new Multi-Campus Model approved
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The Wilfrid Laurier University Senate and its Board of Governors have approved a report from the Presidential Task Force on Multi-Campus Governance that outlines a new multi-campus governance model for the university.
“The task force has recommended a framework that is not only appropriate to our current multi-community needs, but it is also flexible and scalable to facilitate strategic growth to additional communities in the future,” said Max Blouw, Laurier president and vice-chancellor.
Key among the report’s recommendations is the principle that university governance will be aligned by academic discipline or administrative function. Functional leaders will be accountable for their activities across all campuses, and location-specific coordinating bodies will ensure that programs and services are delivered effectively at each campus.
“In practice, this means that the Faculty from which an academic program originally developed will be responsible for that program in all locations in which it is offered,” said Deb MacLatchy, vice-president: academic and provost.
A new Faculty or Faculties will be created at Laurier Brantford from the programs that originated at that campus.
“Full-time faculty members in Brantford who are part of Waterloo-originating programs will be able to choose – as a sub-unit – whether they affiliate with the originating Faculty in Waterloo or a newly created Brantford Faculty,” said MacLatchy.
On the administrative side, leaders will be responsible for their functional area across all Laurier campuses; for example, the functional leadership for IT support is situated in Brantford, but is responsible for IT support at all Laurier locations. As another example, Human Resources leadership is based in Waterloo, but is responsible for HR administration across all Laurier locations.
“The goal of this model is to ensure that accountability follows function so that each unit is tied into the subject matter expertise that it needs,” said Jim Butler, vice-president: Finance and Administration. “But it’s equally crucial that coordinating bodies and processes are in place to meet local needs and coordinate local services. This combination will best serve stakeholders across the university.”
Throughout the fall and winter months, work will be taking place to create disciplinary Faculties from among current programs at Brantford as well as the other organizational changes associated with the academic model. President’s Group, in conjunction with functional leaders, will develop the integrated administrative model. The Multi-Campus Governance Task force recommendations will also serve as context for the Integrated Planning and Resource Management (IPRM) process.
The Presidential Task Force on Multi-Campus Governance was established in 2010 to meet the need for an overarching model of multi-campus governance, in response to fundamental shifts in the university’s identity over the past 20 years.
When the Brantford campus opened in 1999, Laurier became a multi-campus and multi-community university. Over the next several years, the Brantford and Waterloo campuses grew significantly, the Faculty of Social Work moved to Kitchener, and Laurier established an office in Toronto.
Increasingly, Laurier is beginning to realize its potential as an integrated multi-community institution.
Based on research into governance at other North American universities, the task force articulated 14 consensus points on governance, reflecting Laurier values, culture and history, that were endorsed by Senate and approved by the Board of Governors in spring 2011.
The consensus points served as guiding principles for two working groups; one focusing on academic governance, and the other on administrative governance. The working groups consulted widely with the Laurier community to develop recommendations for the integrated organizational structures. The Presidential Task Force then consolidated the findings of the two working groups into a single report, which was endorsed by Senate and approved by the Board of Governors in spring 2012.
To read the Presidential Task Force on Multi-Campus Governance reports and for detailed information, please visit the multi-campus governance website.