The University of Calgary Board of Governors met last Thursday and the open session was enthralling. It was filled with pertinent university issues and a lively discussion about the creation of a new and very powerful BOG committee, the Human Resources and Governance Committee.
I understand that BOG can seem boring at times, so I've jazzed up this report for your enjoyment.
'Twas the 26th morn' o February when I gathered my weapons of black coffee and a suit jacket and headed into Haskayne for another BOG battle.
The meeting opened with standard formalities, but the plot quickly thickened as U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten began his report. The university's quest to secure a downtown campus has now been realized through leasing a building on Eighth Ave. and Eighth St. SW. West campus expansion plans thrust forward, attempting to foster a campus community life while creating revenue for the university. The university squadron is also strategizing a new commercialization plan that will help link university research to useful commercial products. Captain Weingarten focused on university research successes before revealing the deep wound the current economic condition left-- an 18 per cent decrease in our endowment fund. But alas, the U of C forces remain strong, with new students applying to enter our realm at rates comparable, if not higher, than previous years.
The next epic encounter arose during the HRDC discussion. Although this motion was eventually tabled until the next meeting, the board was initially asked to endorse a terms of reference creating the most powerful board committee in existence. Some of the HRDC mandate includes determining executive (Sr. Admin) compensation, reviewing the Academic Plan, strategizing negotiations with TUCFA and reviewing all board practices and committees. HRDC would be an essential component in university checks-and-balances. So what was the problem? The HRDC's authority and membership. There is a strong likelihood that many of the HRDC members would also sit on the board executive committee and a chance that the entire HRDC would be compiled of public community members without a single student or campus community voice. I realize that all board members act in the best interest of the university, but without the student or campus community perspective, cultural context is lacking. This creates a situation where the HRDC may be out of touch with the community it oversees. Do you really want the most powerful board committee to be out of touch? I think not!
The remainder of the meeting was again filled with updates and reports, with little to fret about.
The next BOG adventure takes place April 24 at 8:30 a.m. in the RGO room in Haskayne with free coffee, fruit and bagels provided. Please take care and I'll see you there!