Policy 48 -- The Vice-President, Academic & Provost

Established: April 3, 1973 

Last updated: October 27, 1998 

Class: A

1. General

The Vice-President, Academic & Provost provides leadership in all matters, academic, financial and material, and has particular responsibility for setting and encouraging a high academic standard of scholarly activity within the University. The Vice-President, Academic & Provost is appointed for a definite and known term after the appropriate selection procedure has been followed.

2. Qualifications, Duties and Responsibilities

The Vice-President, Academic & Provost should have a record of distinction in teaching and research together with proven academic leadership and administrative experience in a university environment.

The Vice-President, Academic is responsible for overseeing and upholding policies and for maintaining the intellectual quality of the University. In particular, the Vice-President, Academic should foster an environment which promotes excellence in teaching and research, and shall work with the Graduate, Research and Faculty Deans and other senior officers to develop long-term academic goals. The Vice-President, Academic also serves as Vice-Chair of Senate.

The Provost carries operational and budgetary authority and responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the University. The scope of the Provost's responsibilities will be defined by the President.

The Vice-President, Academic & Provost may recommend the appointment of one or more Associate Provosts to assist in these tasks.

3. Term of Office

  1. The term of office for the Vice-President, Academic & Provost is normally five years, renewable for five years, to a maximum of ten 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 University community.
  3. If the Vice-President, Academic & Provost's Office becomes vacant through death, resignation, or other causes, it is the President's responsibility to appoint an interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost and to initiate the process of filling the vacancy as prescribed in Section 4. The term of office of the interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost should be of sufficient length for the nominating committee to complete its task and, normally, should not exceed 18 months.

4. Appointment and Reappointment Procedure

A. Appointment of a Nominating Committee

When nominations for a Vice-President, Academic & Provost are required, as through notice of resignation, death or the approaching end of a term, a nominating committee shall be formed by the President. 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 nominating committee shall consist of:

  • The President or the President's delegate, who shall chair the committee.
  • A senator of professorial rank from each Faculty, elected by a vote within that Faculty.
  • Two regular faculty members, elected from and by the faculty-at-large of the University.
  • One undergraduate student, appointed by the Federation of Students.
  • One graduate student, appointed by the Graduate Student Association.
  • Two staff members, elected by and from the regular staff of the University.
  • One Board member, appointed by the Board of Governors.
  • One faculty member from and appointed by the Federated & Affiliated Colleges.

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 Vice-President, Academic & Provost, 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 the appointment of 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 the Deans, regular and non-regular faculty members, the President of the Faculty Association, the Federated & Affiliated Colleges, staff and students.

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 and by whatever means it may decide, the opinion of members of the University, including the President, with respect to the reappointment of the incumbent. 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 from 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 or 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 in Canada; 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 Senate. If the results indicate that the candidate is unacceptable to a majority of the Senate, the nominating committee shall resume its screening activities. If the Senate approves the recommendation it shall be forwarded to the President. Upon receiving the report from the nominating committee and the recommendation of the Senate, the President shall recommend an appointment to the Board of Governors.

All such discussions, in the committee and in the Senate, will be carried out in confidence.

5. Removal of the Office Holder Before Expiration of Term

A. General Principles

The Vice-President, Academic & Provost may only be removed from office for cause. Cause is to be understood in relation to the duties of the Vice-President, Academic & Provost as indicated by all relevant University policies. Causes for removal include negligence, incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and inability to maintain the confidence of the University community.

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 President becomes aware of problems, for example through a petition of regular faculty members or senior academic administrators, the President will seek to mediate the situation as early as possible.

C. Formal Inquiry

If reconciliation fails or is inappropriate, the President should determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an inquiry into whether there is cause for removal. The Vice-President, Academic & Provost should be informed in writing of the President's decision and the basis for it, and be given an opportunity to respond. The President will then bring the evidence, together with the Vice-President, Academic & Provost's response, before a joint meeting of the Executive Committees of the Board of Governors and of the Senate. If they believe that formal proceedings are necessary, they shall set up a formal inquiry. At the same time, the President may choose to suspend the Vice-President, Academic & Provost, without prejudice, financial or otherwise, for the period of the inquiry, if this is warranted by the general interests of the University and of the individuals involved, and is compatible with principles of natural justice. The details of the inquiry shall be decided by the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Senate. However, in all its proceedings the hearing committee shall be guided by principles of natural justice. In particular, it shall make sure that the Vice-President, Academic & Provost has full knowledge of every charge, and has every opportunity to respond to these charges. On completion of its work, the hearing committee shall report to the President with a recommendation, supported by reasons, that the Vice-President, Academic & Provost either (1) continue in office (or be reinstated if temporary suspension has occurred) or (2) be removed for cause. The President shall then report to the Board of Governors, which will take appropriate action.