University of Regina President Vianne Timmons recently announced that she is leaving the University effective March 31, 2020. The configuration of the search committee, process, and how members of the University community will be involved in the search process is not yet known.
The selection of a new president is critical for the university. They will have great influence on the direction and future of the University, and will make important decisions that will affect the daily working lives of URFA members and the learning environment of our students. It is important that URFA and the university community have a say in who will serve as the next leader of the University, and should have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the search process.
URFA believes that an open, public search for the next president would be of great benefit to the University community.
The University President plays a key role in shaping the direction of the University of Regina, and we should know what their vision for the future of the institution is. The next President could lead the University of Regina for up to a decade, perhaps even longer. They will make decisions that will affect the day-to-day working lives of URFA members. It is important that the University community has a say in who is going to lead them in a time when the University is facing many different challenges around student population growth, limited resources, increased worker precarity, and underfunding from the provincial and federal governments.
The University of Regina is a public institution, and we should all have a say in who leads it. We need to make the search for the next president public. The next President should value the University’s role as a public institution, and be a champion of public higher education and research.
Closed searches hurt the academy, fosters increasing corporatization and administrative culture of the university, and erodes collegial governance. A secret search, conducted behind closed doors with minimal consultation from the university community, goes against the values of collegial governance and decision-making that are core values of academic institutions. It also can erode trust between URFA members and the administration, and fosters an increasing “corporate culture,” where searches are conducted in secret and information is closely controlled or kept entirely private.
URFA members deserve to have confidence in the search process. Members deserve to have confidence that the process and criteria for the search will be open and transparent, and that search for the next president will be thorough and the net cast as wide as possible to ensure that the ideal candidate is found.
An opportunity to work together. This is an opportunity for the entire University community to come together and work collegially to help select the next President.
URFA believes an open search should include the following:
Send this letter to the Chair of the University of Regina Board of Governors and let them know that you want the search for the next president to be open.
February 21, 2020- URFA has sent a letter to the University of Regina Board of Governors requesting an open search for the next president of the University of Regina. Read it here.
Open or Closed Search? - Caut Bulletin, February 2020