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Policy 45 – The Dean of a Faculty

Established: 21 September 1972

​Last Updated:​ 4 February 2003

Class: A

Note: At its meeting on 20 January 2014, Senate approved a one-off exception to Policy 45, The Dean of a Faculty, which will allow the size of the next Dean of Science Nominating Committee to increase by one to include seven regular faculty members.

1. General

The Dean of a Faculty provides leadership for the Faculty and for the University. The Dean is appointed for a definite and known term after the appropriate selection procedure has been followed.

2. Qualifications, Duties and Responsibilities

The Dean of a Faculty is a senior faculty member of academic stature, appointed for her/his intellectual and administrative abilities, devotion to education and research, and qualities of leadership. The Dean should have the ability to create an environment conducive to the growth of intellectual life within the Faculty and to maintain the confidence and co-operation of her/his colleagues.

The Dean of a Faculty is primarily a University Officer, serving in that capacity on the Senate, appropriate major committees and on other University bodies. As University Officer, the Dean has the dual role of making independent judgments on total University matters and representing the particular Faculty's policies and points of view. The Dean should oversee the particular Faculty's relations with other Faculties to ensure that they are harmonious and serve the total University's objectives. The Dean will report directly to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost.

Within her/his Faculty, the Dean of that Faculty is its senior executive officer. As such, the Dean is responsible for all matters academic, financial and material pertaining to the Faculty. The Dean has particular responsibility for fostering a free and harmonious environment for academic activity, and for promoting excellence in both teaching and scholarship. In providing leadership the Dean shall consult with the members of the Faculty, providing them with an adequate basis of information concerning its operations, and ascertaining their views and ideas concerning the various aspects of Faculty operations. The Dean normally will meet regularly with the Chairs of departments within the Faculty, and normally will make a report at regularly scheduled Faculty Council meetings. The procedures followed by the Dean in all matters shall of course be governed by prevailing Faculty practices and University policies. Significant changes to Faculty practices or procedures should not be made without wide consultation.

The Dean may recommend the appointment of one or more Associate Deans to assist in these tasks.

3. Term of Office

  1. The term of office for the Dean of a Faculty is normally five years, renewable for three years, to a maximum of eight years.
  2. Reappointment beyond a second consecutive term should be considered unusual and will occur only if there are compelling reasons, as specified by the nominating committee, along with strong support throughout the Faculty.
  3. In the event of the Dean's absence for any prolonged period, arrangements should be made for the Vice-President, Academic & Provost to appoint an Acting Dean for a period of no more than one year.

If the Office of the Dean becomes vacant through death, resignation, or other causes, it is the responsibility of the Vice-President, Academic & Provost to appoint, after appropriate consultation, an interim Dean and to initiate the process of filling the vacancy as prescribed in Section IV. The term of office of the interim Dean should be of sufficient length for the nominating committee to complete its task and, normally, should not exceed one year.

4. Appointment and Reappointment Procedures

A. Appointment of a Nominating Committee

When nominations for the Dean of a Faculty are required, as through notice of resignation, death, or the approaching end of a term, a nominating committee shall be formed by the Vice-President, Academic & Provost. The nominating committee shall normally be formed no earlier than 18 months and no later than one full calendar year prior to the end of the term of office of the incumbent.

The Committee Chair shall vote only to break a tie. The majority of the other voting members of the Committee shall be elected by and from the regular faculty members of the Faculty. The nominating committee shall consist of:

  • The Vice-President, Academic & Provost, who shall chair the committee.
  • Seven regular faculty members in Arts and Engineering, and six in the other Faculties. At least one committee member shall be elected at-large; the others are to be selected by a procedure approved by the Faculty Council and distributed to each regular faculty member. Where some of the members are to be elected by Department by and from the regular faculty members in the Department, those elections shall be conducted prior to the at-large Faculty-wide election. If both genders are not represented on the Committee as a result of departmental elections, then the at-large election shall be conducted so as to ensure that both genders are represented.[1]
  • In the Faculty of Arts, one faculty member from and appointed by the Federated & Affiliated Colleges.
  • One senior regular faculty member from outside the Faculty concerned, selected by the Vice-President, Academic & Provost in consultation with the President.
  • One staff member elected by and from the regular staff of the Faculty, and one appointed by the Staff Association, normally from the Faculty concerned.
  • One undergraduate student from the Faculty concerned, appointed by the Federation of Students, in consultation with the appropriate student society.
  • One graduate student from the Faculty concerned, appointed by the Graduate Student Association, in consultation with the appropriate student society.

A reasonable gender balance should be maintained on nominating committees, whenever feasible.

Membership on nominating committees shall be conditional on each person agreeing to maintain in confidence the information discussed by the committee, except on points where the committee subsequently agrees otherwise, and to exercise authority and responsibility as an individual in order that decisions may be taken at the time and place of committee meetings.

If any member of the nominating committee becomes, or seeks to become a candidate for the Office of Dean of a Faculty, the member shall resign from the committee.

In the event of a perceived conflict of interest that could compromise or be seen to compromise the member's judgment of the candidates, he/she shall disclose the nature of that conflict to the committee in sufficient detail to enable the committee to determine whether the member must resign from the committee.

If the association of any member of the nominating committee with the University is terminated or in any way significantly altered, or if for any reason, including resignation, any member is unable to carry out responsibilities on the committee, the nominating committee will request a replacement member, unless the committee has reached a stage in its deliberations where it deems such a replacement inadvisable.

B. Terms of Reference

It is understood that the committee shall be responsible for soliciting the views of those affected, including regular and non-regular or part-time faculty members, staff, and students. It must also consult any Church College offering courses also available in the particular Faculty for which the Dean is being sought.

1. Reappointment at the End of a First Term

The first charge to the nominating committee will be to solicit, with the prior knowledge of the incumbent, the opinion of faculty members and other persons affected with respect to the reappointment of the incumbent. This soliciting of opinion shall include a secret mail ballot of the regular faculty members of the Faculty. If the incumbent is found to be generally acceptable, the committee shall then determine the incumbent's willingness to accept reappointment. If the incumbent indicates willingness to accept, the committee shall recommend reappointment to the President without considering other candidates. Upon receiving the report of the nominating committee and the recommendation of the Senate, the President shall recommend an appointment to the Board of Governors.

2. New Appointments

If the incumbent is not to be recommended for reappointment at the end of a first term, or if the incumbent is nearing the end of a second term, or if the incumbent has died, resigned or been removed, then the following procedure shall be followed: the committee will invite nominations, by whatever means it considers appropriate, from any person or group; it will advertise the position, internally and externally; and it will establish criteria against which nominations and applications may be measured.

The committee will consider all names placed before it and will develop a short list of candidates as its first step in proceeding towards a recommendation. These candidates will be invited to meet with the committee and/or with such other persons and/or groups as it may determine. After screening candidates, the committee shall select the person it regards as most suitable for the position, and shall submit its recommendation for the appointment of that candidate to the regular faculty members of the Faculty. If the committee feels that two or more of the candidates are well qualified, it may choose to submit the choice between these to the members of the Faculty.

The regular faculty members of the Faculty will then have the opportunity to indicate the acceptability of each candidate, and their choice among candidates, in a secret mail ballot which shall be returned to the Chair of the nominating committee. The results of the ballot shall be made known to the nominating committee. If the Committee concludes that no candidate is acceptable[2] it shall resume its screening activities. Otherwise, the nominating committee shall recommend the appointment of a candidate to the President. When more than one candidate is generally acceptable and the ballot results indicate no clear preference, the nominating committee shall select the person it regards as most suitable for the position and recommend the appointment of that candidate to the President.

Upon receiving the report of the nominating committee and the recommendation of the Senate, the President shall recommend an appointment to the Board of Governors.

5. Removal of the Office Holder Before Expiration of Term

A. General Principles

A Dean may only be removed from office for cause. Cause is to be understood in relation to the duties of the Dean as indicated by all relevant University policies. Causes for removal include negligence, incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and inability to maintain the confidence of the members of the constituent Faculty.

Dismissal for cause from an administrative position is not to be confused with the dismissal for cause of a tenured faculty member. The criteria used and the procedures to be followed are different.

B. Reconciliation

In cases where the Vice-President, Academic & Provost becomes aware of serious problems in a Faculty, for example through individual submissions or a general petition of regular faculty members, the Vice-President, Academic & Provost will, where appropriate, seek to mediate the situation as early as possible. Especially in cases of widespread disaffection or dissatisfaction with the Dean, the process of reconciliation may involve the holding of a meeting with all department Chairs and/or a Faculty Council meeting for a full and frank discussion of concerns.

C. The Setting-Up of a Formal Inquiry

If the process of reconciliation fails or is inappropriate, then the Vice-President, Academic & Provost should determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an inquiry into whether there is cause for removal. The Dean will be informed in writing of the Vice-President, Academic & Provost's decision and the basis for it, and be given an opportunity to respond. The Vice-President, Academic & Provost will then bring the evidence, together with the Dean's response, before the President. If the President believes that formal proceedings are necessary, the President will set up a formal inquiry. At the same time, the President may choose to suspend the Dean, without prejudice, financial or otherwise, for the period of the inquiry, if this is warranted by the general interests of the Faculty and of the individuals involved, and is compatible with principles of natural justice. In the case of suspension, the President will appoint an Acting Dean so as to facilitate the operation of the Faculty during that time.

D. Formal Inquiry

The President will appoint a committee of three senior faculty members from outside the Faculty concerned and inform the Dean. The Dean may challenge, in writing, a member or members of the committee for bias, apprehension of bias or conflict of interest.

The committee shall determine its own procedures. However, in all its proceedings it shall be guided by principles of natural justice. In particular, it shall make sure that the Dean has full knowledge of every charge, and has every opportunity to respond to these charges. On completion of its work, the committee shall report to the President with a recommendation, supported by reasons, that the Dean either (1) continue in office (or be reinstated if temporary suspension has occurred) or (2) be removed for cause. The President will then take appropriate action. The report of the committee shall be made available to the Dean, the Vice-President, Academic & Provost and, at the discretion of the committee, to other concerned parties within the Faculty.

[1] In the unlikely event that no candidate from the unrepresented gender is willing to stand for election as an at-large member, the Vice-President, Academic & Provost shall appoint a candidate from the unrepresented gender in that Faculty.

[2] The nominating committee shall decide what constitutes an acceptable level of support, subject to the expectation that a candidate normally will be acceptable to a majority of the regular faculty members of the Faculty.