Dear members of the McGill community:

On February 15, 2018, McGill’s Board of Governors held its third meeting of the 2017-2018 governance year. I would like to share with you the meeting’s important discussions, decisions and developments.

I reported on the following:



  • Respect and inclusion in campus life:
    • In early February, Prof. Spencer Boudreau submitted his report regarding the events surrounding the October 23, 2017, General Assembly of the Students’ Society of McGill University.
    • The Task Force on Respect and Inclusion in Campus Life submitted a progress report to Senate on February 21, 2018. The Task Force’s final report is due at the end of April.
  • Government Relations:
    • Provincial:
      • University funding policy: Quebec universities have been working with the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur to revise and modernize the funding policy for universities.
      • Potential acquisition of former Royal Victoria Hospital site: McGill representatives recently presented the project to Martin Coiteux, the minister responsible for the Montreal region.
      • Recreational cannabis: McGill is working through the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire to ensure that the Quebec government’s draft legislation meets the needs of the University community.
  • Federal:
    • McGill has joined other stakeholders across the country to make the case for the importance of federal investment in fundamental research in Budget 2018, which will be tabled on February 27, 2018.
  • External Relations:
    • World Economic Forum: McGill participated again in the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as a member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF). The theme of the 2018 meeting was “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.” There were many discussions on the impact of technology on the workplace and the role of universities as catalysts of social inclusion.
    • Leadership briefings: In the lead-up to McGill’s bicentennial celebrations and campaign, Vice-Principal (University Advancement) Marc Weinstein and I engaged in a series of 17 conversations with McGill alumni and friends across the world, including Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

I closed my remarks by congratulating a few members of the McGill community for their recent outstanding achievements:

  • On December 29, 2017, the Governor General announced 125 appointments to the Order of Canada. Eleven members of the McGill community received this distinguished honour.
  • The editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers named McGill one of Montreal’s top employers. This is the 10th year in a row that McGill has made the list.
  • McGill researchers led two of the breakthroughs on Québec Science magazine’s list of 10 Discoveries of the Year for 2017, and contributed to a third.
  • The McGill Symphony Orchestra delivered an outstanding performance, conducted by Kent Nagano (DMus 2005), to a nearly sold-out Maison symphonique. Guest solo artist Andrew Wan, first violin and concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, is also a faculty member of the Schulich School of Music at McGill.
  • Former Martlet player Mélodie Daoust (BEd 2017) is currently competing as a member of Team Canada’s hockey team at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
  • The 2017 McGill-Centraide Campaign is projected to surpass its $500,000 target by $10,000. Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated, and to co-chairs Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), Dilson Rassier, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Abby Almir, President of the McGill Association of Continuing Education Students, Matthew Satterthwaite, Financial Affairs Officer of the Post Graduate Students’ Society, and Muna Tojiboeva, President of the Students’ Society of McGill University.

The Board approved the following committee recommendations:

  • Report on New Appointments, Promotions and Tenure: the promotion of three Associate Professors to the rank of Full Professor. Congratulations to all three members of our academic staff for this recognition of excellence in teaching, research and scholarly activities.
  • Building and Property Committee: the approval in principle to proceed with the electro-mechanical infrastructure upgrade of the University Centre building. The project is scheduled to begin in April 2018, and to be completed in winter 2019.
  • Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee: modifications to the Guidelines for Questions at Board of Governors Community Sessions.

On the recommendations of two advisory committees, the Board approved the appointments of Carola Weil as Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, and Elham Emami as Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. Both renewable five-year terms begin on July 1, 2018. I would like to thank outgoing deans Judith Potter and Paul Allison for their respective 10 years of outstanding leadership.

Edyta Rogowska, Secretary-General, announced the Board meeting dates for the next academic year: October 4 and December 13, 2018, and February 14, April 25 and May 23, 2019. The annual Joint Board-Senate Meeting will be on November 14, 2018.

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management, presented an informative overview of the Faculty’s activities, initiatives and developments.

Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), presented a report outlining the University’s sources for operating revenue, and the new forecasting methodologies, implemented during the past year, for estimating revenue from enrolment-based grants and tuition.

On behalf of the Finance Committee, the Provost presented a report that included the second of three presentations concerning the 2018-2019 University budget. The Finance Committee will present the proposed budget at the April 26, 2018, Board meeting.

I presented the University’s annual scorecard of key performance indicators.

Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), presented the Annual Report on Research Performance and Innovation, which she had presented to Senate on January 17, 2018.

Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), presented the Vision 2020 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. V-P Beauchamp presented this report to Senate on November 23, 2017.

The Board received an update on the review of the terms of reference of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR). The Board was informed that further to input received,  CAMSR would be meeting on February 20, 2018,  to further consider proposed revisions to its terms of reference. The committee plans to present a proposal to the Board this spring.

The Board held its second, and final, community session for 2017-2018 immediately following the open session.  The questions and responses are available here.

The Board will next meet on April 26, 2018. I will share key actions and discussions with you shortly thereafter. The full minutes from this meeting’s open session, and a summary of items dealt with during the closed session, will be available following Board approval in April. (The minutes from the previous meeting, held on December 12, 2017, are now online.) Summaries of Board meetings from previous years are archived here.

If you have questions, ideas or comments, please write me at I always appreciate hearing your thoughts.



Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

March 6, 2018