In early 2018, OCUFA formed an ad hoc committee on university governance with a mandate to collect data on the current governance practices of Ontario universities and articulate a vision for collegial governance. This initiative resulted from an increasing concern among faculty associations about the erosion of collegial governance at Ontario’s universities.
The committee’s research work commenced in the spring of 2018 with a detailed survey that collected comprehensive governance data from every university faculty association in Ontario. The data entailed information about governance structures and processes including senate and board structures and practices, searches for senior administrators, budgets and finances, and general university governance.
The survey results supported many concerns among faculty associations regarding the state of collegial governance, including:
- a growing prevalence of closed, secretive searches for senior administrators;
- a lack of meaningful consultation with campus community members regarding senior administrative searches;
- a growing trend in the use of professional hiring and consulting firms to administer search processes;
- a lack of accountability and reporting procedures for the internal members of Boards of Governors/Trustees;
- a lack of diversity and proper representation on Boards of Governors;
- practices and policies that require faculty and staff members to relinquish their union membership to sit on Boards;
- a lack of meaningful training and orientation for members on Boards of Governors and Senates; and
- a lack of proper, meaningful consultation regarding university budgets and finances.