2017-20 Vancouver Senate Triennial Review


Every three years, the Senate undertakes a triennial review of its operations and practices. To aid in gathering informed submissions and suggestions, this website has been established to gather together relevant documents from UBC and comparator institutions.

This process is overseen by the Senate Nominating Committee with the involvement of the Senate Agenda Committee.

Comments are sought from the entire UBC community, and specific prompts for feedback and sent to specific groups, including each of the standing committees of Senate.

Background Documents

The following documents may assist you in understanding how Senate formally organizes its work, and what typos of suggestions past reviews have made.

The University Act. The “current” University Act is from 1973, but has been amended many times since then, most notably in 2005 to establish UBC’s second campus – and second Senate – in the Okanagan valley. The University Act sets out the structure of the University – including its Chancellor, President, Registrar, Convocation, Board, Senates, Council, and Faculties and grants them a variety of powers and responsibilities.   The University Act also sets out the functions and duties of the University generally and the Senate in particular.

The Rules and Procedures of Senate (pdf). This document is the Senate’s internal bylaws. These rules set out the parliamentary authority of the Senate, reflec/t the membership set out by the University Act with any additions made by the Senate, makes rules for Senate meetings and the consideration of business, and sets out the standing committee structure of the Senate. The Rules and Procedures of Senate also set out the organization of the Senate’s Nominating Committee and how it goes about its work.

The Current Membership of Senate. The University Act sets out the base membership of each Senate. For the Vancouver Senate, this results in a base membership of 24, plus four additional members (a dean, 2 faculty members, and a student) for each faculty, one additional member per affiliated college, and any additional members added by the Senate (Presently a further 8 convocation members and 1 professional librarian). Currently, this results in a Senate of 88 members. The University Act allows Senate to expand its membership so long as it does not alter the 2:1 ratio between faculty members and students. In practice, the Senate usually follows a similar ratio when adding senior academic administrators to the Senate (that is, for any administrator added 2 additional faculty members and 1 additional student would be added).

The Current Standing Committes of Senate and their Terms of References and Memberships 

The last Triennial Review (pdf) report (p. 225)

The 2005 Review (pdf). In a departure from the usual practice, an ad hoc committee was stablished in the previous year to review Senate operations.  Please note that not all of these recommendations were accepted by the Senate.

Select Other Senates in Canada (for Comparison)

Academic Board of the Goverining Council of the University of TorontoSenate of McGill UniversitySenate of Queen’s University at KingstonSenate of the University of VictoriaSenate of Simon Fraser UniversityOkanagan Senate.

NB: The latter three operate under the same University Act as UBC Vancouver (which some differences in mandated Senate memberships)

Questions to Consider

Broad feedback is welcome; however, to focus comments on tangeable areas for improvement, the Nominating Committee would also welcome your thoughts on some or all of the following questions:

1) Is the current size and composition of Senate appropriate, and is representation suitably balanced between groups?
2) Do the Rules and Procedures of Senate effectively support Senate’s functions on behalf of the University?
3) Do Senate committees have appropriate mandates and terms of reference to aid Senate in academically governing the campus?
4) Does the Senate have sufficient resources to fulfill its mandate?
5) Do Senate committees have appropriate sizes and compositions?
6) How can the Senate improve its communication with the campus?
7) How can Senate better ensure that all its constituent groups (e.g., convocation members, deans, faculty members, senior administrators, students) are engaged in its work?
8) Do you have any feedback regarding the Council of Senates?
9) Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

How to Submit Comments

Please submit your feedback to vancouver.senate@ubc.ca by 31 January 2020. Please ensure that “Triennial Review Comments” is at the start message subject line for ease of sorting.  The identity of those who submit comments will be kept in confidence by the Senate Nominating Committee.