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Board of Regentsí report on autonomy released

March 10, 2009

The report on issues surrounding university autonomy was released on the university’s website March 10.

The report was prepared by an ad hoc committee of Memorial’s Board of Regents to invite discussion with the provincial government on strengthening the university’s autonomy. The full contents of the report of the committee can be viewed here: www.mun.ca/marcomm/public_affairs/issues/presidential_search.php.

In accepting the report, the Board of Regents passed a resolution that it would “seek to engage the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in a discussion of the recommendations.”

“I think the report presents a good starting point for further discussion with government,” said Bob Simmonds, chair of the Board of Regents. “There is no time line associated with that. Those kinds of discussions can happen over the next weeks and months. With the issues that arose with last year’s presidential search, the university wanted to open a wide-ranging discussion on where changes may be contemplated to the governance of Memorial.”

Mr. Simmonds was appointed to the Board of Regents last fall after the report had already been commissioned and he required some time to review

it before its release. “There has been great interest in this report, and I want to thank the university community, particularly the Senate and the Board of Regents, for affording me the time to review it thoroughly,“ said Mr. Simmonds, “and for supporting my suggestion that the report be forwarded to government in advance of its public release.”

“What we’re releasing today is the original report of the committee,” he said.  “There were no changes made to it and none contemplated.  But it was really important that we all understood what was in the report so we can engage in productive dialogue.”

Mr. Simmonds recently announced the start of a new presidential search which will use what he describes as an open, accountable process. He said a search committee of the Board of Regents is being appointed. That committee, aided by the top executive search firm in Canada, Janet Wright Associates, will consult widely to develop a presidential profile, recruit nationally and internationally, select a preferred candidate and recommend that candidate for the presidency. 

“The process we have defined to undertake this search is one that respects and reflects the autonomous nature of Memorial,” said Mr. Simmonds. “We are confident that we will find a world-class candidate.”


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