2011-03-15 Process for selection of the new President for the University, Peter Mackinnon’s memo, Jan 28, 2011
Thank you, Sandra, for your questions regarding the process for the search for a new president. There will be an opportunity to discuss the selection of the Senate member to serve on the presidential search committee at the April 16th Senate meeting, as presented by Bev Dubois, chair of the Senate Nominations Committee. My responses regarding the process and Senate’s involvement are found below. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions regarding this very important task.
Acting University Secretary
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1. Does the appended memo on the selection process for senior administrators apply to the search for a new president?
Yes, the newly approved search and review procedures approved March 4, 2011, by the Board of Governors will apply to the presidential search; the new procedures can be found at: http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/policies/search_proc.php. The principles and associated procedures can be found beginning on page 29 of the joint committee report.
2. If so, does the current president play the same role in the selection of his successor?
The current president is not involved in the search for his successor, search committees report to the Board of Governors through the president, except the search committee for the president, which reports directly to the Board.
3. The Search Committee includes “ … and, typically, a Senate representative”. What is the process for selecting the Senate representative?
Under the new procedures, the Senate Nominations Committee selects the Senate member to serve on the presidential search committee. The Senate Nominations Committee met recently and determined that expressions of interest from Senators willing to serve on the search committee be requested at the April 16th Senate meeting, to be considered subsequently by the Senate Nominations Committee.
4. Saskatchewanians will possibly have people who they think would be good candidates for the position of President of the University of Saskatchewan. What does the University recommend as the best avenue through which people of the Province can input their recommendations to the selection process?
Nominations for the candidacy for the position may be submitted to Ms. Nancy Hopkins, Chair, Board of Governors and Chair, Search Committee for the President.
5. I presume that the process has a time-line with deadlines. What is the time-line?
The search committee is to be constituted by July; following the search committee will determine its own timelines within the framework of the search and review procedures, with a view to making an appointment by July 1, 2012.
6. In the interests of transparency, I as a Senator, will appreciate being informed as the administrators of the process become known.
Regular updates on the process and progress towards appointing a new president will be communicated to the university’s governing bodies and stakeholders. In addition, broad consultation regarding the accountabilities for the position as stated in the search and review procedures, as follows: “For a Presidential Search, the committee will provide the opportunity for interested members of the University community to provide written comments on the strategic goals and objectives of the University, and on the progress made or problems encountered in achieving those goals and objectives” (no. 9, pg. 35).
From: McBain, Norma
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 11:27 AM
To: Sandra Finley
Cc: Calver, Sandra
Subject: RE: University: Search for New President to replace Peter Mackinnon
By copy of this e-mail I am forwarding your message to the Acting University Secretary, Sandra Calver for reply.
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RE: Process for selection of the new President for the University, Peter Mackinnon’s memo, Jan 28, 2011
Do you mind forwarding this to the appropriate person for response? The questions arise out of my role as a University Senator. I understand that I am to help represent the voice of the citizens of Saskatchewan in the governance of the University.
- Does the appended memo on the selection process for senior administrators apply to the search for a new president?
- If so, does the current president play the same role in the selection of his successor?
- The Search Committee includes “ … and, typically, a Senate representative”. What is the process for selecting the Senate representative?
- Saskatchewanians will possibly have people who they think would be good candidates for the position of President of the University of Saskatchewan. What does the University recommend as the best avenue through which people of the Province can input their recommendations to the selection process?
- I presume that the process has a time-line with deadlines. What is the time-line?
- In the interests of transparency, I as a Senator, will appreciate being informed as the administrators of the process become known.
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TO: President’s Advisory Council, all faculty, USSU President, GSA President
FROM: Peter MacKinnon, President and Brett Fairbairn, Provost and Vice-President
SUBJECT: Clarification and Update on Search Processes
DATE: January 28, 2011
We write to acquaint you with the university’s current selection processes for deans and other senior administrators–a topic widely discussed on our campus in recent weeks and months. As of late, search processes in general have been a topic of media stories, most notably regarding two searches, where misleading and inaccurate statements have been made.
Just yesterday, University Council concluded its discussion of our university’s senior search and review procedures. This topic has been the subject of more than a year of careful and thoughtful work by a joint board-council committee.
The report of the Joint Committee on the Review of the Search and Review Procedures for Senior Administrators confirms that our practices are appropriate for an institution of our kind in the 21st century. The committee has brought forward changes of a housekeeping nature together with some updates, modifications and clarifications. Perhaps most significantly, the committee has developed clear statements for our university that also detail the principles underlying our search and review processes. The committee’s work will no doubt be helpful to future committees, their members, the provost, president and Board of Governors. Now that University Council discussions on search processes have concluded, the report will next be presented to the Board of Governors for review at their March meeting, with a view to a final decision.
You are encouraged to view the committee report, which can be found online in the University Council agenda for Jan. 27, page 106: http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/council/Council%20Meetings/agenda_archives/2011_Jan_CouncilAgendaFinal.pdf.
As the report indicates, confidentiality and respect for participants are among the important principles for searches. While we can discuss the procedures, out of respect for the individuals involved in the searches, we avoid public comment about individual searches and urge others to show the same discretion.
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The new report does not change the fundamentals of our process. As detailed in the University Act 1995, deans and other senior administrators are appointed by the Board of Governors on the recommendation of the president. The board and president are assisted by large, multi-stakeholder search committees which include: members of the faculty of the college concerned; students; representation from the Board of Governors; the provost or designate; deans or other senior administrators; and, typically, a Senate representative.
The search committee is invaluable in the process and we want to take this opportunity to thank all members of search committees for their dedicated efforts. It is important to note the search committee is responsible for a number of tasks including:
• Reviewing the position profile and needs of the college
• Identifying candidates
• Collecting information about the candidates and assessing this information rigorously, collectively, and in confidence. Information assessed by the committee includes feedback from presentations done in the colleges during open searches.
• Interviewing candidates
• Keeping colleges informed on the progress of the search
Both the provost’s office and a search consultant support committees to do this work.
At the conclusion of its process, the committee is encouraged to deliberate in a way that provides a range of committee members’ perspectives on all final candidates, promotes internal consensus, and helps the provost frame a recommendation to the president. The president makes his recommendation to the board, and the board makes the final decision with the knowledge of what the search committee has reported.
The value of the search committee’s report lies in the advice it provides about all candidates. This important advice helps guide the provost, president, and the board in the processes leading up to the appointment. The university’s board and administration are represented within the search committee, hear all the discussion, and are participants throughout the process. The result is normally consensus. In 14 of 15 senior administrator searches co-ordinated by the provost’s office over the last five years, the university offered the position to the candidate favoured unanimously or by a wide majority of the search committee.
Search procedures for senior administrators are very different from search procedures for faculty members. In faculty searches, a committee comprised of faculty members and the department head make a recommendation, first to the dean and ultimately to the provost. No appointment is made by the provost without a positive recommendation from the search committee. The procedures for faculty searches can be found in Section 13 of the USFA collective agreement at http://www.usask.ca/hrd/docs/USFA_Collective_Agreement_2010_2012_Agreed_Language.pdf.
Please feel free to share this memo with others in your college or unit as you see fit.
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If you have any further questions about search committee procedures, please contact the provost’s office by phone at 966-8484 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter MacKinnon Brett Fairbairn
President Provost and Vice-President Academic