Towards a Living History of Governance at Queen’s: A Query (17 April 2012)

Posted by Mark Jones on 17 April 2012 and sent out on campus lists. See also the “Statements and Sources.”

Dear Colleagues:

Recent events in Queen’s Senate and at Faculty Board in Arts and Science have brought important questions of University governance to the fore:  in a bicameral system, what is the proper balance between the Board of Trustees and Senate, between Administration and Faculty Boards, between financial and academic decision-making?

How might they be cooperatively integrated rather than polarized?  Should the Board of Trustees be in closer touch (and how so?) with the community and with the academic realities of the University?  How does unionization of employee groups affect the balance between the Board and Administration on the one hand, and Senate and Faculty Boards on the other?  What is the place, and what is the future, of collegial governance at Queen’s?

The less we know of our institution’s history, the harder it can be to answer such questions about what it is and should be.  Yet the complexity and revolving membership of a university can make institutional memory difficult to come by.

I therefore call upon you as colleagues, and particularly upon our senior colleagues, to share your  impressions and your memories:    What changes in governance have you seen since you came to Queen’s?  What is now better, and what is worse?  What needs to change, and how?  I invite facts, anecdotes, polemics, ideas, and recommended reading.  You might answer in the “comments” field below, or you might send me texts for separate posting.  My hope is to start a discussion and so build up a living history of governance at Queen’s.  Once we know better where we have been, we may find it easier knowing where we need to go.

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