Roles and Responsibilities of the Senate and Senators

The Senate is responsible for the establishment and regulation of academic policy, standards and procedures at OCAD University. In particular, the Senate is in charge of all matters pertaining to OCAD University’s academic resources, academic programming, academic strategic planning, student affairs and any other such matters relating to academic issues. Membership on the Senate consists predominantly of senior faculty but also includes student representation and members of the academic administration.

Why Be A Student Senator?:

  • Have your voice heard on matters of academic concern at the University
  • Represent your student peers to bring issues to the table
  • Gain experience in a leadership and governance role
  • Build bridges between faculty and the student body
  • Make connections with faculty and the broader university community

Senate’s Responsibilities Include:

  • Determining and regulating educational policy
  • Making recommendations to change or terminate programs and courses of study,schools, faculties, departments
  • Determining the standards of admission to the University and the qualifications fordegrees, diplomas and certificates
  • Determining curricula for all programs and courses of study

Senate Activities Include:

  • Approval of articulation agreements between colleges and OCAD University
  • Approval of all new or revised academic policies
  • Conferral of honorary degrees and the title of Professor Emeritus/Emerita
  • Approval of new programs, specializations and minors
  • Approval of undergraduate and graduate grades and graduands
  • Approval of the University’s Academic Plan
  • Discussion of pertinent educational issues affecting OCAD University, the student experience and art and design education in general

Senators are expected to:

  • Attend and be well-prepared for Senate and Senate Committee meetings and vote on resolutions that come before the Senate
  • Engage in discussion with thoughtful consideration while exercising civility, collegiality and decorum
  • Maintain confidentiality of all confidential information as designated by in camera sessions of Senate and meetings of Senate Committees, disclosing only when appropriate
  • Communicate with your Faculty or constituency about pertinent issues raised at Senate
  • Act in the best interests of the University, trying to foresee probable consequences of each proposed course of action
  • Be knowledgeable of the OCAD University Senate By-Laws including the jurisdiction and function of the Senate
  • Understand and respect the distinction between the role and responsibilities of the Senate and the Board of Governors
  • Participate in Senate Committees and working groups as opportunities arise and scheduling permits

Standing Committees of Senate

Senate Executive Committee (SEC)

  • Responsible for establishing the Senate meeting agenda including considering all matters brought forward to Senate
  • Acts on behalf of Senate when quorum at Senate cannot be achieved or to make emergency decisions
  • Responsible for vetting nominations for Professor Emeritus/Emerita

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate Student Senator; 1 Graduate Student Senator

Senate Academic Policy and Planning Committee (SAPPC)

  • Acts as the principle advisor to Senate on academic priorities and the development of policies including articulation agreements
  • Reviews major proposals for organizational changes in the University in terms of recommending to Senate appropriate academic structures
  • Advises and recommends to Senate on all matters pertaining to the organization of Senate and its committees

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate or Graduate Student Senator

Senate Undergraduate Studies Committee (SUSC)

  • Responsible in overseeing the implementation of education al policy as it relates to undergraduate education at the University
  • Oversees the activity of the Faculty curriculum committees, receiving for ratification, revisions to undergraduate curriculum
  • Reviews and approves proposal for changes to all programs including the addition or elimination of undergraduate degrees

Vacancy: 2 Undergraduate Students

Senate Graduate Studies Committee (SGSC)

  • Responsible in overseeing the implementation of educational policy as it relates to graduate education at the University
  • Oversees the activity of the Graduate Studies curriculum committee, receiving for ratification revisions to graduate curriculum
  • Reviews and approves proposal for changes to all programs including the addition or elimination of graduate degrees

Vacancy: 2 Graduate Students


Senate Academic Standards Committee (SASC)

  • Oversees the academic standards for undergraduate and graduate studies at the University
  • Monitors and makes recommendations regarding the University’s grading practices along with other aspects of assessment involving academic standards
  • Makes recommendations regarding program, curricular or policy issues arising
  • Recommends the awarding of all graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate Student; 1 Graduate Student


Senate Quality Assurance Committee (SQAC)

  • Recommends to Senate for approval policies and procedures related to quality assurance
  • Monitors adherence to the University’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP)
  • Receives and reviews reports produced through the University’s quality assurance processes ie: program reviews, annual program reports, major modifications to programs

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate or Graduate Student


Sub-Committees of Senate

Research Committee (RC)

  • Monitors and advises on the administration of policies in scholarship and research at the University
  • Advises the Office of Research and the Senate on matters pertaining to the development of University’s research structure, research policy development, guidelines for research initiatives and implementation of resource materials on available research opportunities

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate Student; 1 Graduate Student
Joint Senate/Board of Governors’ Liaison Committee:

  • Acts as the liaison between the senate and the Board of Governors
  • Shares and discusses issues of shared concern including the university’s budgetary planning regarding academic matters and curriculum and the University’s strategic academic plans

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate or Graduate Student Senator

Teaching and Learning Committee:

  • Supports the implementation of the University’s Academic Plan with regard to teaching and learning
  • Reviews and recommends practices that promote the on-going assessment and improvement of teaching and learning throughout all faculties and academic

Vacancy: 1 Undergraduate Student; 1 Graduate Student

Still have questions?

Contact Natalie Nanton, Coordinator, Academic Governance & Quality Assurance 416-977-6000 Ext. 2856.


What is the Board of Governors?

The Board of Governors (Board) is one chamber of the two chamber governance structure at OCAD University that is responsible for governing and managing the affairs of the University. The Board is responsible for the administrative and fiscal matters and the other chamber, the Senate, is responsible for academic matters. Some of the powers of the Board include determining the mission, vision and values of the University, appointing/removing the president, appointing/removing the chancellor, approving the annual university budget, and setting fees/charges for tuition and other services offered by the University. Details of these specific powers are set out in the Ontario College of Art & Design University Act, 2002(the Act).

Who is the Board of Governors?

The Board of Governors consists of members from the external community, including six individuals appointed by the Ontario government, two elected by the OCAD U Alumni, and ten by the Board itself. There are also eight internal Board members drawn from the OCAD U community, elected by staff, management and students as well as faculty members cross-appointed by the Senate. The President and the Chancellor are ex-officio voting internal members. There are vacancies for two Undergraduate Students on the Board.

What are the Student Positions on the Board of Governors?

As part of the 28-member Board, there are current vacancies for:

  • Two Undergraduate Student positions, elected by registered full-time/part-time Undergraduate Students at OCAD U.

Each of these student positions is for a two-year term or as long as the student is a member of that student group. (Each position is eligible for re-election for one additional two-year term as long as the student is still a member of that student group.)

Who is Eligible for a Student Position on the Board of Governors?

To be eligible to be nominated for the Undergraduate Student position on the Board, you must:

    • Be a registered full-time/part-time Undergraduate Student at OCAD University;
    • Be a Canadian citizen or a Canadian resident; and
    • Be at least 18 years old.

You must complete a nomination form with the name, phone number, email address and original signature of three student nominators and submit it to the Board Secretary, Carole Beaulieu, by 4:30pm on September 14, 2016 along with your current resume and a 100- word summary profile. The 100-word summary profile will briefly explain who you are (including your program of study at OCAD University) and why you want to be a Student Board Governor and may be posted on the Board election webpage to announce qualified candidates, subject to review by the Board Secretary.

Why Be a Student Board Governor?

      • Have input on administrative and financial planning matters at OCAD U;
      • Represent your student peers to bring that perspective to the Board table;
      • Gain experience in a leadership and governance role;
      • Participate in major decisions at OCAD U;
      • Build bridges between the governing bodies and students at OCAD U;
      • Make connections with various representatives of the OCAD U community

What are the Responsibilities of a Student Board Governor?
All members of the Board of Governors must adhere to these guidelines:

      • Oversee the vision, mission and the implementation of the strategic plan of the institution adopted by the Board of Governors
      • Be informed about the issues facing OCAD U and Ontario universities in general
      • Prepare for meetings, seeking clarification of pending issues and any informationnot provided in the agenda package [distributed about a week in advance ofmeetings, to enable informed decision making
      • Attend Board meetings and meetings of assigned Board committees faithfully,providing regrets in advance if attendance is prevented by some unforeseen occurrence
      • Participate actively and openly in discussion, being respectful of the process, fellowmembers, and differing points of view
      • Respect the principle of Board collegiality: an issue may be debated vigorously, butonce a decision is made, it is owned by the entire Board
      • Review the minutes of all meetings and note any errors or omissions promptly
      • Recognize the distinction between the role of the Board to approve policy for theinstitution and the role of management to develop and implement policy and to oversee the day-to-day operations of the institution
      • Recognize that the President or her/his express delegate is the primary spokesperson for management and that the Chair of the Board or her/his express delegate is the primary spokesperson for the Board
      • Insist that the Board obtain outside expert advice whenever necessary
      • Refrain from voting only when necessary

The Board of Governors meets five times a year (October, December, March, May and June) on a Monday of the month from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. on the OCAD U campus. In addition, it holds a full-day annual general meeting and retreat on a Saturday in November. (2016/2017 Board of Governors Meeting Schedule) Regular attendance is expected of members, and the Board may declare a position vacant if a person fails to attend a majority of meetings over any 12-month period.

Student Board Governors may be assigned to one of three Board Committees that have student representation:

Audit, Finance and Risk Committee

This Board Committee advises the Board on matters related to the planning, allocation, monitoring and evaluation of all financial resources of the University in keeping with its needs, purposes and strategic objectives, to ensure the appropriate controls and accountabilities exist within the University and are sound as they relate to finance, statutory and regulatory compliance, and financial policy requirements. The Committee also liaises among the external auditors, management, and the Board in its role of overseeing the review of the University’s independent financial statement, pension and other required audits at least annually, and making all necessary recommendations on these matters to the Board. In addition, the Committee will assist the Board in its oversight of the University’s risk management to ensure that appropriate processes are in place to identify, report, and control areas of significant risk to the University, including risk management frameworks, policies and strategies.

This Board Committee meets about five times per year and requires one student member of the Board to be on the Board Committee.

Human Resources Committee

This Board Committee deals with policy level issues related to the recruitment, retention and development of University employees and related human resources matters. Other areas of responsibility include policy-level issues regarding health and safety, and diversity and equity.

This Board Committee meets about two times per year and may require one student member of the Board to be on the Board Committee.

Physical Resources & Capital Assets Committee

This Board Committee has responsibility for advising on alignment of capital and information technology infrastructure assets of the University with its strategic objectives, including its academic priorities. The Committee oversees campus planning and development activity with regard to prudent sustainability practices. It makes recommendations to the Board on leasing or acquiring new properties or major assets and the disposition of properties and major capital assets.

This Board Committee meets a few times per year, as needed, and may require one student member of the Board to be on the Board Committee.

For more information on the Board and its Board Committees, please read the OCAD U Board of Governors General By-Law No 1.

Key Dates
Nomination Period: August 17-September 14, 2016

Student Information Session: Monday, September 12, 2016 12 noon – 2:00 p.m. in Room 1115 (11th Floor Boardroom), 230 Richmond Street West (Drop in anytime during these two hours!) (FREE PIZZA!!)

Nomination Deadline: Nominations close at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Candidates Announced: By September 16, 2016

Election Period (Electronic Voting): September 21, 2016 from 12:00 a.m. to September 26, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.

Election Results Announced: September 30, 2016

Still have questions?

Contact Valerie De Souza, Manager, University Governance at 416-977-6000 Ext. 2853.