Chair of the Board of Directors
Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities
Rector of Université de Sherbrooke
Many key issues concerning Quebec’s universities, including those that will be debated at the Higher Education Summit, merit ongoing consideration and systematic advisory work, which would benefit Quebec society, the government and the universities themselves. It would be in Quebec’s best interest to establish an independent body for the purpose of contemplating, studying and analyzing an institution of such importance.
That is why the rectors and principals of Quebec universities are unanimously proposing the creation of an independent, autonomous public body for study and consultation, to be called the Conseil des affaires universitaires du Québec (Quebec Council on University Affairs).
The Council would operate with a medium and long-term perspective. It would serve the development of the university system by advising both the government and the universities. Once a year, it would report to the National Assembly and the people of Quebec on the situation of the university system in general and, more specifically, on the following: the quality of university programs and how well they are meeting society’s needs; Quebec’s competitive position with regard to research in all fields of knowledge; and how universities are contributing to social, cultural, scientific, technological and economic development.
The Council on University Affairs could, for example, propose development objectives for the university system; produce reliable data on the state of the university system; improve the quality of university programs; identify best practices from around the world; develop opinions on key scientific, technological and economic issues regarding university research; produce comparative analyses with peer societies as regards the resources necessary to fulfil the university mission.
This independent and autonomous forum would have 21 members appointed by the government, including one president and two vice-presidents. Members would come from diverse backgrounds and the majority would be neither students at nor employees of a Quebec university. All would be chosen for their expertise and their familiarity with the university milieu.
Quebec universities already have effective governance and quality improvement mechanisms. The Council on University Affairs would support these in their quest for continuous improvement while respecting academic freedom and the independence of each establishment.
For complete information on the creation of the Council on University Affairs, visit www.universites-avenir.ca.
November 30, 2012