Governance at Queen’s: Statements and Sources (17 April 2012)

Posted 17 April 2012 by Mark Jones.  In progress.  Please send recommended sources to 

“University governments in Canada need to be much more strongly and continuously informed by academic judgment and academic experience than they have ever been in the past.  Strong academic representation is needed at every level, not least on the governing Boards.  Academic judgment is needed not because, in a political sense, academic staffs need more active representation, but because neither lay Boards nor university administrations will be able to govern effectively without it. Since academic opinion has always been accessible but has by tradition been little used, it would be well if it were secured and endorsed by legal recognition, either in amendments to university charters or, where the charters are liberal enough, in by-laws passed within existing charters.”  (Whalley, 1964, p. 155)

“Canadian [university] charters remain frozen, despite later amendments, in their original Victorian mould, and the charters of new Canadian universities continue to repeat the formulae which, unless tacitly modified from within by democratic restraint and mature civility, encourage the autocrat, enthrone the anti-intellectual, and canonize the amateur.

“Canadian university charters do in fact and in law assign virtually all decisive authority to governing Boards of non-academic persons.  In most cases even academic decisions are specifically within the competence of the Board.  In all but one or two instances, members of the academic staff are specifically forbidden to serve on the Board, and are therefore precluded from all the categories of decision in which the Board in practice indulges.” (Whalley, 1964, p. 156)


“It was consistently suggested during our hearings that the control of the university had fallen into the hands of an administrative group of senior officials, the Presidents, the vice-presidents, the deans and that this group, in fact, ran the university without any genuine accountability. Many faculty members expressed the concern that in some places these officials had formed an official management group which effectively displaced the senate, and frequently, the board of governors. It was widely suggested during our hearings that the senate was only retained to give greater verisimilitude to decisions already taken elsewhere. As the administrative cadre of the university has increased, many more officials have claimed seats with voting rights ex officio on the senate, thus reducing the relative power of the elected senators. In many places the president acts as both speaker and leader of government business, thereby raising suspicions that procedural decisions from the chair are motivated more by political ends than by the rules of parliamentary procedure. Administrative control is furthered in some institutions by needless and excessive secrecy. It is not surprising, therefore, that faculty and students have come in many institutions to regard service on the senate and particularly on its committees as a waste of time. This in turn stimulates an unfortunate cynicism about governance in general. It is depressing to report that Duff/Berdahl said many of these things in 1966.”  (Independent Study Group, 1993, qtd. Allain et al. 2-3)


CAUT Policy Statement on Collegiality

Collegiality refers to the participation of academic staff in academic governance structures. Collegiality does not mean congeniality or civility.

To be collegial, academic governance must:

(a)    allow for the expression of a diversity of views and opinions,
(b)    protect participants so that no individual is given inappropriate advantage (for example, due to power differentials) with respect to decisions, and
(c)    ensure inclusiveness so that all who should be participating are provided the opportunity to do so.

Collegial governance depends on participants being given and delivering their share of the service workload.

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2005; editorial revisions, March 2010.


Sources on University (especially Queen’s) Governance:

Allain, Greg, et al.  “Report of the CAUT Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Governance.”  Nov. 2009.

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).  Policy Statement on Collegiality.  2005; revised 2010.  15 May 2012.

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).  Policy Statement on Governance.  Nov. 2008.

Consolidated Royal Charter, Queen’s University.

Duff, Sir James, and Robert O. Berdahl.  University Government in Canada: Report of a Commission sponsored by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Toronto:  U of  Toronto P, 1966.

Hamilton, Herbert Jones, et al.  Queen’s Encyclopedias.v.Board of Trustees”;  “History of Queen’s: An Overview”; “Royal Charter of 1841”; “Senate”; “University Council.”

Historical Development [of Queen’s Senate].”

Hooey, Margaret. “The Queen’s University Senate: Evolution of Composition and Function 1842 -1995.”  1996.

Iacobucci, Frank.  Opinion Re: The Senate’s Role in Queen’s University Governance. 12 November 2012.

Independent Study Group on University Governance.  Governance and Accountability. Ottawa: CAUT, 1993.

Jones, Glen A., Theresa Shanahan, and Paul Goyan.  “University Governance in Canadian Higher Education.” Tertiary Education and Management 7.2 (2006),  135-148.

Lederman, W.L. and R.L. Watts, “The Governance of Queen’s University.”  1988.  Revised and published as “A Principal’s Discussion Paper,” 1991.

Mullan, David.  “Discussion Paper for Queen’s University Faculty Association on Responsibility for Academic Programs.”  Nov. 2009.

Quigley, Tim.  “A Study in Top-Down Mismanagement.”  CAUT Bulletin 50.1 (Jan. 2003).

Senate Operations Review Committee (SORC).  “Report on the Composition of Senate.”  24 September 2009.

—.  “Interim Report on the Composition of Senate.”  22 April 2010.

Whalley, George, ed. A Place of Liberty: Essays on the Government of Canadian Universities.  Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1964.

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