24 Presidential Search Committee Update

PDAD&C #24, 2004-05

Memorandum

To: Governing Council
Academic Board 
Business Board 
University Affairs Board 
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs 
Professionals, Managers and Confidential Staff 
President of UTFA 
Presidents of Employee Unions 
Presidents of APUS, GSU, SAC and SCSU
From: Rose M. Patten, Chair of the Governing Council
Date: October 25, 2004
Copy: PSC Committee 
Assistants 
Supplemental Mailing Lists 
Governing Council Staff
Re: Presidential Search Committee Update



At its meeting on September 23, 2004, the Governing Council approved the membership of the Presidential Search Committee (PSC).  Since then, the PSC has met twice and has agreed on how it will proceed in its work over the next several months.  As part of its deliberations, members discussed extensively their individual and collective obligations with respect to the search and, in that context, have adopted a Charter of Expectations.

Charter of Expectations

The Charter of Expectations outlines ten principles which members of the Presidential Search Committee acknowledge - and overwhelmingly endorse - as a guide for all of the activities related to the execution of their responsibilities.  It is consistent with and supports the expectations expressed in the Policy Respecting the Appointment of a President.  A copy of the Charter follows for your reference.

Acknowledgement and Affirmation of Members' Commitment

Each member of the Committee, in adopting the Charter, has signed an acknowledgement and affirmation of commitment to the Policy Respecting the Appointment of a President and to the Charter of Expectations.  This agreement is a formal undertaking of and commitment to the obligations
and responsibilities described in both documents.

Next Steps:  Selection of Search Firm and Consultation Process

Selection of Search Firm - The PSC is currently in the process of selecting a search firm to assist it in its work.  A Request for Proposals was issued earlier this month and the Committee has now had
the opportunity to begin its review of the proposals submitted.  Within the next two to three weeks, we will have completed our interviews and due diligence and will announce the name of the firm we have engaged.

Consultation - As we noted in earlier communications, a critical step in the search process is the development of the position specification and role profile.  A key part of this effort will be broad and deep consultation within the University community and beyond.  In our next communication, we will define for you how we intend to approach this consultation which will begin with a formal call for input and advice on the position of President.

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Charter of Expectations

Presidential Search Committee
University of Toronto
October 2004

Introduction

Each member of the Presidential Search Committee was selected, not only for the constituency he/she represents according to the Policy Respecting the Appointment of a President and the General Guidelines and Principles for Selection of the Presidential Search Committee, but, also for the excellence she/he will bring.  Regardless of the constituency, each member's duty is to consider the best interests of the university as a whole.

Being a member of the 2004/05 Presidential Search Committee (which will recommend the selection of the University of Toronto's 15th President) entails enormous responsibility and accountability.  We are being entrusted individually and collectively to contribute a broad range of skills and attributes which will enable the best outcome - an outcome which is executed smoothly and professionally, and which can be benchmarked as a model for others.

Among the many familiar expectations of each member, 10 particular principles require extra emphasis when one takes stock of the successes and potential pitfalls which have characterized other search experiences both at the U of T and elsewhere.

Expectations

1) Absolute Confidentiality

Confidentiality is mandatory.  Members need to fully understand what this means, and if there is any doubt at any time about what is permissible, members must speak with the Chair before acting.  All
Search Committee business must be kept strictly confidential.

  • External discussion with anyone, at any time, about the candidates' names nor any other aspects of the Search Committee's deliberations would constitute a breach of confidentiality.

2) Timely External Progress Updates

As the Chair committed to doing in announcing the processes of appointing an Interim President and a new President, thorough and appropriate communication with the university and external community on
progress will be a priority.

  • The Chair will be the official and only spokesperson for the Search Committee.

3) Avoiding Commentary in External Settings

In social settings and otherwise, people will be aware that one is a member of this Search Committee, and they will likely have heard of, or will speculate on, the names of potential or actual candidates who might be before the Search Committee for consideration.  While listening to external advice and/or recommendations it is critical that members do not provide their own commentary, assessment or reflections.

4) Due Diligence and Reference-Checking

Members are to refrain from unauthorized or informal reference-checking/due diligence, unless they are specifically assigned the task by the Search Committee. 

  • Reference-checking and complete and thorough due diligence can and will be planned and executed systematically and professionally at the appropriate time.

5) Value-Added Constructive Interventions

Members will be expected to add value to the Search Committee deliberations through constructive interventions and clarification, while taking care not to exert undue influence and/or dominate proceedings.

6) Early Declaration of Personal Biases and Assumptions

It is quite normal that as candidates' names are put forth, members might have their own personal biases and/or assumptions based on their familiarity with the candidates.  Early acknowledgement and declaration of any personal bias or assumptions to the Search Committee will be considered both honourable and professional.

7) Full Engagement by each member at all stages

It is proven that the ultimate success of selection committees depends a great deal on the degree to which individual members are engaged in each stage of the process.  It is critically important that each member be fully engaged in the fair, objective, and comprehensive assessment of each candidate prior to short-listing - as well for those candidates who have been short-listed.

8) Constant Focus on Position Specifications and Role Profile

When assessing candidates throughout, members will be expected to constantly focus on the skills, relevant experiences and other key attributes agreed to in the Position Specifications and Role Profile
developed from wide consultations.

  • Experience demonstrates that committees responsible for the selection of critical leaders are more successful in deciding on the best candidate when, they first concentrate on/ and agree to the needs of the organization for the next 7-10 years, and second on matching the candidates to those specifications.

9) Role of Search Consultant

During this presidential search process, the search consultant/firm (once selected) will play the role of advisor and provide support to the Search Committee, but will not diffuse the responsibility and
accountability of the Committee members, which is to recommend to the Governing Council the very best and most appropriate President.

  • The Search Consultant will have their own very specific mandate, but will also be subject to this Charter of Expectations.

10) Meeting Attendance

Attendance at all meetings is expected, unless dire circumstances prevent it.  Hence, the possibility of missing just one meeting would be the most that would be acceptable or expected.

After the search

Our responsibilities will not end once the President is appointed. Members of the Search Committee - collectively and individually - will play a vital role in ensuring his / her success.  Members will be
expected to provide direct and indirect support to the new President once he / she assumes office, as well as serve as ambassadors for the appointment both within the University community and beyond.