Board of Trustees in brief
Highlights from the Oct. 4 meeting of the Board of Trustees
Update from the chair
Chair Barb Palk welcomed new trustees Andrew Aulthouse, James MacLeod, Robert McFarlane, Kent Novakowski, Steve Tanner, Lewis Tomalty, and Mary Wilson Trider. She encouraged all trustees to participate in the many Homecoming events planned for the weekend.
Principal’s Strategic Update
Principal Woolf updated trustees on several initiatives and significant events. Highlights include:
- Seven professors were elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada for 2013, a record number for Queen’s. Professor Kerry Rowe was named a fellow of the Royal Society in the United Kingdom, one of only four Canadians elected to the prestigious institution in 2013.
- In July the principal traveled to Israel and the West Bank with colleagues from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. He signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen ties between academic institutions in the two countries, as well as a partnership between the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University and Queen’s Faculty of Law.
- Queen’s dropped slightly in the QS World University Rankings (ranking 189th) and in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (placing in the 226-250 category). He noted that while Queen’s is concerned about its placement in international rankings, they are not reflective of its success at delivering on its core mission. Queen’s does very well in surveys that better reflect its core mission, for example Queen’s placed first in Canada and 34th globally for undergraduate student learning experience in the International Student Barometer Survey.
- Queen’s continues to participate in discussions with the province about its proposed mandate statement and the government’s proposed differentiation policy framework.
- One of the principal’s goals for the year is to create a talent management plan to foster the development of mid- and senior-level managers.
- Two Queen's initiatives, the SeQure student safety mobile app and the Canadianized Hazardous Materials Inventory System, were recognized with Quality and Productivity Awards from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers. Planning for Queen’s 175th anniversary has begun.
- The principal recognized the hard work that went into planning for Queen’s first Homecoming in five years, and that everything possible was done to ensure safe and respectful celebrations.
The Provost highlighted that Kingston City Council approved amendments to zoning bylaws allowing Queen’s to build two new student residences on Stuart Street and Leonard Field. He noted that the 20-day period during which an appeal can be made to the Ontario Municipal Board ends Oct. 17. The university aims to have the two new residences open for students by fall 2015.
Campaign progress report
Tom Harris, Vice-Principal (Advancement), noted that Queen’s has raised $25.4 million for the Initiative Campaign so far this fiscal year, which began May 1, on an overall annual goal of $60 million. He remarked that the principal has played a key role working with major donors, as have the deans. The campaign has achieved nearly 75 per cent of its overall goal of $500 million. Work continues on the identification of and reaching out to potential donors.
Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research) provided an update on research activities and accolades, including the following:
- Kent Novakowski was awarded the Engineering Medal for Engineering Excellence from Professional Engineers Ontario
- The Royal Society of Canada elected a record seven Queen’s professors as fellows this year: Gauvin Bailey (Art History), Nicholas Bala (Law), Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Philip Jessop (Chemistry), David Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), F.P. Lock (English), and Carlos Prado (Philosophy).
- The search for the next CEO of PARTEQ is ongoing and it is expected that a candidate will be in place by January, 2014.
- Progress in the recruitment of Queen’s two Canada Excellence Research Chairs in particle astrophysics and geofluids.
Campus Master Plan
The provost noted that much work has been done on the Campus Master Plan (CMP) project over the past 10 months by the university’s consultant team, led by Urban Strategies Inc. Warren Price of Urban Strategies presented initial findings and the five key directions of the CMP project: assessing capacity, facility renewal and the need for change, place making, creating campus communities, the campus and the city.
Library and Archives Master Plan
The provost noted that the Library and Archives Master Plan (LAMP) is moving in lockstep with the CMP. The LAMP will provide a planning framework for the development of the library system at Queen’s over the next 20 years, based upon its solid foundation of superb services, collections and spaces. The draft Library and Archives Master Plan is available here.
Report from Senate
In addition to a written report on the May 28 and September 17 meetings, David Detomasi (School of Business) updated trustees on Senate activities. Highlights included communications about the implementation of the new budget model, Senate input on strategic enrolment management and the creation of a new degree plan in Indigenous Studies.
Reports were received from Rector Nick Francis, Alma Mater Society President Eril Berkok, and Society of Graduate and Professional Students President Iain Reeve.
Audit and Risk committee
The Board approved the university’s audited financial statements for the year ending April 30, 2013. Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) Caroline Davis noted that although the statements show a surplus in revenues over expenses of $67 million, the majority of the surplus is not cash available for the university to spend. The surplus is the result of strong performance on investments held by the university and the Queen’s Pension Plan (QPP) and includes gains of $58 million that remain within the QPP. At August 31, 2012 the QPP had a solvency deficit estimated at $459 million.
Trustee David Pattenden also provided an overview of the committee’s broad mandate.
Capital Assets and Finance committee
The Board approved a revised debt management policy for the university that aims to ensure that any future debt is used strategically to support the university’s mission, while increasing transparency by creating alignment between the use of proceeds and debt issuance.
It also approved a micro/nano facility with a renovation investment of $1.3 million, funded by grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and contributions from CMC Microsystems and the Innovation Park grant, to construct a Queen’s University micro/nano research facility at Innovation Park, conditional on a lease for the applicable space to be signed with Novelis Inc.
The Board approved naming dedications and ratified the following Senate approvals:
- Stephen J.R. Smith Chair in Economic Policy
- Donald and Sarah Munro Chair in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
- Amendments to the Edith and Carla Eisenhauer Chair in Clinical Cancer Research
- Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research