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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
March 27, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Terms of Reference

Laurier, as a multi-campus university, is a federation of campuses. However we have not fully determined what type of federation we should be as a university. There are numerous possibilities (just as no one multi-campus model works best, neither is there a perfect model of a federation).

Over the past 11 years decisions about academic programming, provision of services, lines of authority and accountability, and many other matters have been made in the absence of an over-arching federation or governance model. Processes and practices have evolved in an ad hoc fashion, without the benefit of guidance that an overarching governance framework would provide.

Governance: is the process whereby societies or organizations make important decisions, determine whom they involve and how they render account. (Canada Institute on Governance).

Premises: The work of the Task Force is guided by the Vision, Values, and Mission statement of the university. More specifically, the work of the Task Force is founded on the recognition:

1. That Laurier embraces a multi-campus model of operations and that it will be a multi-campus university for the foreseeable future

2. That Laurier values an intimate and supportive community environment that is most readily achieved when student numbers do not exceed approximately 15,000 in any one locality

3. That Laurier aspires to excellence in education that engages students in purposeful developmental activities both inside and outside the classroom

4. That Laurier aspires to increased research intensity in the context of a number mid-sized campuses, each delivering undergraduate education and a limited number of focused, nationally and internationally recognized areas of research excellence

5. That Laurier aspires to complementarity among teaching and research foci among its campuses such that synergies are enabled to ensure that the whole university has impact and presence that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Mandate: of the Presidential Task Force on Multi-Campus Governance is to build on these premises and the Vision, Mission and Values statement to identify and recommend to the university community an overarching model of federation and governance among the existing and potential campuses of Laurier. Considerations should include, but not be limited to:

  • identifying principles that should guide the distribution of academic programs across campuses

  • principles to guide the allocation of resources among campuses

  • the functions of academic, administrative, and student leaders (Deans, Chairs, Directors, Managers, etc) across campuses,

  • identifying the principles that should be applied to make changes in composition of the Board and Senate as campuses develop and grow,

  • shifts in representation that should be implemented in university committees as new campuses grow,

  • expectations of the university community to be participating citizens across campuses as well as at their “home” campus

  • identifying principles to establish the administrative structures that must follow from governance recommendations of the Task Force

  • such other matters as the task force identifies as fundamental to effective and efficient governance in multiple locations

Timeframe: The work of the Taskforce will begin in March 2010 and is expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year.

Reporting: The task force will report to the university community with a report of its findings and it will also report separately to the Board, Senate, Brantford faculty, Academic Faculties, and such other bodies and groups as are deemed appropriate.

Consultation: The Task Force will consult stakeholder communities widely and appropriately as it conducts its work.

Appendix: Key Issues to be Analyzed

  • Student experience

  • Faculty experience

  • Area of focus (how is it organized)

    • Programs/courses

    • Research

    • Other offerings

  • Organization - decision making: Governance

    • Central administration

    • Campus administration

    • Finance/budgets

  • Organization - decision making: Senate

    • Faculties

    • Curriculum

    • Faculty hiring

    • Faculty tenure & promotion

  • Relationships

    • Among campuses

    • With local community

    • With government (town, municipal, regional, provincial, federal)

  • Partnerships (public, private)

    • Drivers & desired outcomes

    • Terms and parameters

    • At what level(s) are they made? Managed?

    • To what extent do they impact stakeholder groups?

    • Pros/cons, benefits/compromises