Thompson Rivers University

Open governance

July 14, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Christine Bovis-Cnossen, Matt Milovick, Christopher Seguin and I are committed to a respectful and collegial approach to university governance. Over the past months we have been considering possible ways to increase the opportunities for open consultation within the university community. Today we are sharing some initiatives which will increase the openness and effectiveness of TRU’s collegial governance structures and the accessibility of its senior administrators.

Starting this year we are initiating two annual Town Hall meetings. Early this September students, faculty and staff will be invited to a Town Hall meeting to start the academic year. The participants will be invited to share their ideas of possible challenges and opportunities in the year ahead and to engage in an open dialogue with the senior leadership. A reception will follow and we hope people will join us to continue conversations. This Town Hall will become an annual kickoff to the new school year.

During the winter term, Christine and Matt will invite the community to a Town Hall to discuss the development of the proposed budget for the next year before it is the presented to Senate and then the Board. This meeting will involve the community in addressing the budgetary challenges and opportunities facing the university and this will serve to augment the feedback received from the Budget Committee of Senate and Senate on the proposed budget.

Both Town Hall meetings will be live-streamed, and notes will be taken which will be shared with the Board, Senate, the Planning Council of Open Learning, the TRUSU Board of Directors and every Faculty Council.

The members of the Board of Governors, the Senate, and the Planning Council of Open Learning have enthusiastically agreed to an annual three-way joint meeting in the winter term to discuss their mutual roles as governance councils, to discover helpful shared involvement, and to develop a deeper understanding of TRU’s unique tricameral governance structure. This will build mutual understanding of the deliberations of these bodies and their interlocking responsibilities and authorities. This joint meeting will be live-streamed to the community and, in the interests of transparency, the Board of Governors, the Senate and the Planning Council of Open Learning have also agreed to live-stream all their future public meetings starting in the fall term.

Christine, Matt, Christopher and I are in the process of requesting annual invitations to a meeting of each of TRU’s Faculty Councils. This will give the members of each faculty or school the opportunity to engage in a conversation with the executive which will enhance our understanding of each faculty’s or school’s unique challenges and opportunities. We will also be requesting invitations to join a meeting of the Faculty Council Chairs group and the Leadership, Relationships, Alignment and Communications group (LRAC).

In addition to these new ways of increasing open dialogue, I will continue my open invitations to students, faculty, and staff to have lunch with me.

We have requested that the chair of the Steering Committee of Senate be added to the Senate Agenda Group to contribute to the formulation of Senate agendas. We have also requested the chair of the Board of Governors to arrange for two elected board members: one student member and one faculty or staff member be designated to join the Board Agenda meetings on an ongoing basis.

We believe that these initiatives will increase open consultation, and strengthen our collegial governance model. This will help us focus our knowledge and expertise on ensuring that a TRU education remains up-to-date and of high quality and that TRU is a great place to work. We sincerely hope that students, faculty and staff will also see these initiatives as an opportunity to build trusting relationships and a strong community. If you have comments on any of the changes above please feel free to send them to us. We look forward to seeing you at our first Town Hall and at other events and meetings over the coming months.

Alan, Christine, Matt and Christopher

Alan Shaver, President and Vice-Chancellor

Christine Bovis-Cnossen, Provost and Vice-President Academic

Matt Milovick, Vice-President Administration and Finance

Christopher Seguin, Vice-President Advancement