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Board of Governors

In 1910, a new University Act was passed allowing Premier Arthur Sifton’s Alberta Liberal Party to create the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors. Since 1910, the creation of a powerful Board has ensured that the highest level of university governance has been empowered. This empowerment, in turns, helps promote the University’s mission and mandate. The Board of Governors is sanctioned to

“... serve our community by the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and the discovery of knowledge through research. The mission will be carried out in a select number of fields and professions, to be determined within the context of a province-wide educational system and based upon the highest national and international standards.”
- The Mission of the University of Alberta

Today, the Board of Governors is a corporation named The Governors of the University of Alberta. It is composed of the Chancellor, the President, and eighteen members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, including the Chairman. Of the remaining seventeen, two are members nominated by the Alumni Association; one is a member nominated by the Senate from its members who are not on University staff; two are nominated by the General Faculties Council from among its membership; one is nominated by the Non-Academic Staff Association from among its membership; one is nominated by the Graduate Students’ Association; two are nominated by the Students’ Union Council; and eight are appointed from the general public.

Responsibilities of the Board of Governors include management of the University’s property, business, revenue, and affairs. The Board of Governors is a corporation that oversees educational affairs; finance and property; community and government relations; human resources and compensation; audit; safety, health and environment; and investment.

Educational affairs managed by the Board of Governors include appointment of the deans of all faculties, all members of the teaching staff, the librarian, the Registrar, and all members of the administrative staff. Faculty and those holding senior administrative posts must first be nominated by the President of the University before the Board of Governors can appoint them.

Questions about the Senate or any other University body, the President, a dean, or any other officer or employee are brought to the Board of Governors when the Post-Secondary Learning Act does not address the question. When the Board makes decisions on these matters, its decision is final.

Finance and property responsibilities include fees charged for university courses; these fees are fixed by the Board of Governors. When new faculties, departments, or courses are required, the Board provides the finances for their establishment. Building maintenance, the creation of new buildings, and the purchase of additional property are managed by the Board.

Community and government relations are of strategic importance to the University of Alberta; therefore, the Board of Governors has a committee devoted to advising the President on strategic public relations, including effective involvement with political decision-makers. The Board of Governors, because of a strong mandate to play an integral part in Alberta’s daily cultural, economic and social life, makes provision for—or contributions to—advancement of the cultural or educational life of Alberta at large. Through this component of its portfolio, the Board of Governors works to strengthen relationships between politicians and government departments at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. The Board of Governors’ involvement in community and government relations means that communication between the University and government addresses issues like long-term trends, performance measures, fundraising, and changes to legislation that might affect the University.

The Board of Governors' human resources and compensation duties involve reviewing and approving compensation for deans, the chief librarian, Vice-Presidents, and the President. This work is done through soliciting, reviewing, and evaluating Board members' comments regarding the performance of and compensation for each of these members of Univesity's senior administration. The Human Resources and Compensation Committee is also responsible for reviewing succession plans for senior administration, appointing members to Search and Review Committees to find Vice-Presidents, and making appointments to Killam and Tory Professorships. Reviews of senior administrators' responsibilities and reviews of travel, hosting, and other expenditures are conducted annually. Key strategic performance initiatives and other devices currently in place at the University are used to measure the performance of the University’s human resources and compensation.

The Board of Governors' audit responsibilities encompass all financial reporting done by the University and all auditing and governance of internal control functions at the University. For example, the Board ascertains that policies and procedures established to ensure environmental and occupational health and safety controls are preserved through adequate maintenance of the buildings on campus. The Board also works to identify business risks and the University’s risk tolerance. The Board establishes procedures for addressing complaints regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters.

The Board of Governors works to ensure the safety, health, and environment of the University community and the general safety of the public at the University and that University regulations and procedures comply with all legal standards. Long-term trends with respect to the environment, health, and safety of the University are monitored. For example, biohazard research and waste management are monitored to ensure all related safety matters are addressed.

The Board also makes decisions about all short- and long-term investments. Endowment objectives, policies, and investment policies are managed by the Board; this includes the monitoring of investment managers and advisors and of their appointment and termination. The University’s Conflict of Interest Policy is in place to ensure that staff comply with its Terms of Reference, particularly with respect to investment activities.

The Board of Governors is the senior governing body of the University of Alberta. It shares and balances power with the General Faculties Council. Together, their governance advances the University’s educational system and its presence within the community, the nation, and the international sphere.

Chairs of the Board of Governors
2006– Brian Heidecker
2002–2006 Jim Edwards
1998–2002 Eric P. Newell
1997–1998 Lloyd Malin (Acting)
1994–1997 John Thomas Ferguson
1993–1994 Sandy Auld Mactaggart
1991–1993 Stanley Albert Milner
1978–1991 John Lewis Schlosser
1975–1978 Eric A. Geddes
1972–1975 Frederick Thomas Jenner
1966–1972 John Edward Bradley
1950–1966 Charles Malcolm Macleod
1940–1950 Harold Hayward Parlee
1917–1940 Horace Harvey
1911–1917 Edwin Charles Pardee

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