Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Thursday, May 25, 2017, for its final meeting of 2016-17. Here are the important discussions, decisions and developments from that meeting.

In concluding the year-long tenure process, the Board approved the granting of tenure to six Associate Professors, and promoted 40 members of the academic staff to the rank of Associate Professor or Associate Librarian with tenure. In addition, the Board approved the appointment of one new professor. Earning a promotion or tenure is an academic milestone. Congratulations to everyone on these significant recognitions of quality and excellence.

I began my remarks by thanking five outgoing Board members for their service, leadership and wise counsel. This was the final Board meeting for Chair Stuart “Kip” Cobbett, Jade Corriveau, Victor Frankel, Sean Murphy and Thierry Vandal. Thank you all for your important contributions to the governance of the University.

I also acknowledged that Dr. Rosie Goldstein will be ending her term as Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) at the end of June, and thanked her for her leadership and dedication.

I next addressed the following topics:

  • Government Relations
  • Quebec: The government recently announced a $100-million investment to help solidify Montreal’s standing as one of the world’s top artificial intelligence research hubs.
  • Canada: The new Innovation Supercluster Initiative was launched on May 24, 2017. Although industry will take the lead in the consortia, participating groups will include researchers from post-secondary institutions.
  • Montreal: McGill made recommendations to La Commission sur le développement économique et urbain et l’habitation about how universites could collaborate with the city to advance economic development, innovation, entrepreneurship and the attraction and retention of talent.
  • External Relations
  • Angelique Mannella, Associate Vice-Principal (Innovation and Partnerships), and I participated in a trade mission to Israel and the West Bank, led by Premier Philippe Couillard and Dominique Anglade, the Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation. The mission’s main goal was to strengthen Quebec’s strategic partnership agreements in research, innovation, start-ups, life sciences and information technologies. In parallel to the Quebec mission, V-P Goldstein and Professor Anne McKinney, Associate Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), led a delegation of McGill researchers from neuroscience, water sustainability and oncology.
  • The spring meeting of the U15 included discussions with the Prime Minister and the federal Minister of Science. A key subject was how to best address the recommendations of the federal Fundamental Science Review panel report on “Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research.”
  • Community Relations
  • Spring Convocation began on May 30. We will be celebrating the achievements of more than 7,400 students, including our first graduating cohort of MasterCard Foundation scholars, and welcoming 14 honorary doctorate recipients to our campuses.

I closed my remarks by offering kudos to some members of our community for recent outstanding achievements, including:

Victor Frankel, outgoing Secretary-General of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society, gave an informative presentation on PGSS’s mandate, governance structure, challenges and opportunities.

On the recommendation of V-P Goldstein, the Board approved the following grant agreements with Génome Québec:

The Board approved the following items:

  • The appointment of Stuart “Kip” Cobbett as Governor Emeritus and Board Chair Emeritus, and the appointment of Thierry Vandal as Governor Emeritus.
  • The reappointment of Michael Boychuk, currently the chair of the Board’s Audit Committee, as member-at-large.
  • The Advisory Committee’s recommendation to reappoint me as Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
  • The honorific naming of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute.
  • The honorific naming of the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health.

On the recommendation of Provost Christopher Manfredi, the Board approved renewal of the agreement between McGill University and the Société québécoise de gestion collective des droits de reproduction (Copibec), covering the right to reproduce books, newspapers and periodicals.

The Board received reports from the following standing committees:

  • The Audit Committee updated the Board on its meeting of May 12, 2017, which included approval of the internal audit plan for 2017-2018.
  • The Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee reported on appointments to advisory committees and Board standing committees. The Committee also submitted to the Board a report on the evolution of governance at McGill.

The Board approved several action items recommended by Senate, including:

Secretary-General Edyta Rogowska presented the Annual Report on Safe Disclosure (“Whistleblowing”) for January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. The report was presented to Senate on May 15, 2017.

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 when it convenes for its first meeting of 2017-2018 on October 5, 2017.  The minutes from the previous meeting, held on April 27, 2017, will be posted online soon. Summaries of Board meetings from previous years are archived here.

Thank you for your comments and questions during the past year. I always welcome your input: I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to again sharing the Board’s activities with you in the fall.


Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor