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Governance changes at Sheridan

Apr 13, 2021

Sheridan takes tremendous pride in governance excellence and places a deep value on effective collegial planning in decision-making. As part of that commitment, Sheridan’s Board of Governors initiated an independent review of Sheridan’s governance structure and systems in October 2020, focusing on its Board and Senate. The purpose was to determine their effectiveness, ensure they comply with all legislative and regulatory requirements, evaluate how they compare to best practices among Ontario colleges, and identify and evaluate opportunities for improvement.

The review concluded in February and the results of the review were presented to the Board in March. Key findings include:

  • Ontario’s public colleges are not intended to have a bicameral governance structure. Sheridan is the only publicly supported college in Ontario that has one. The work to establish the Senate from 2012-2015 did not properly follow Provincial legislation, regulatory frameworks and binding policy directives from our Ministry, which specifically hold the board of governors accountable for the college
  • Sheridan’s current governance structure puts the Board of out of compliance with its mandated accountability to stakeholders and results in the Board falling short of  its fiduciary responsibility and its accountability. The root issue is the structure of the Sheridan Senate, which does not report to the Board, has been granted authority that was and is intended for the Board, and which does not provide an adequate and appropriate substitute for the Advisory Council described in legislation, which Sheridan is required to establish.

As a result of the review, governance is being further redefined at Sheridan to ensure compliance with legislation while maintaining channels for meaningful engagement. To that end, the Board is dissolving Sheridan’s Senate and will:

  • Form an Advisory Council that provides faculty, staff and students with a mechanism to provide advice to the President
  • Develop a Consultation Policy that affirms that meaningful faculty consultation will be undertaken before academic decisions are made and that identifies who would be consulted, the circumstances under which that would occur and the mechanisms to use
  • Establish a physical or virtual faculty forum or lounge to create pathways for meaningful connection between faculty members across Sheridan and enable cross-disciplinary dialogue and information sharing.

Sheridan places deep value on effective, collegial participation in decision-making. Decisions relating to academic policy and advancement of the academic mission will always be informed by the knowledge and experience of academic colleagues.

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