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Expectations of board members

Every board member shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties of their office diligently, honestly, in good faith, and in the best interests of the university rather than in the interests of any other person, entity, or constituency.

Members of the Dalhousie University Board of Governors are expected to:

  • Be accountable for their actions and those of the university.
  • Be aware of the operations of the university.
  • Be cognizant of the university’s culture, environment, and its risks.
  • Be giving of their expertise. 
  • Support university fundraising activities and contribute to the university to the extent of their abilities.
  • Be aggressive in questioning issues and in challenging administrators and board colleagues.
  • Be good listeners.
  • Be available, in terms of their time, to prepare for and regularly attend board and committee meetings and help carry out the business of the board. 
  • Be able to subordinate themselves to the board as a whole and stand behind board judgments and decisions.
  • Support the president and be enthusiastically involved in advancing and defending the university.
  • Understand how they can help the board meet its fiduciary responsibilities.
  • Suggest agenda items to ensure that significant policy items are discussed. 
  • Resist the temptation to make judgments based on anecdotal and private sources of information.
  • Urge those with grievances to follow established policies and procedures.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Recognize the need for confidentiality. 
  • Finally, board members must have a sense of humour!

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct sets basic rules of conduct for board members to maintain and build public confidence in the integrity, objectivity, and transparency of the Board of Governors and to allow board members to exercise their mandate and carry out their duties with confidence, independence, and objectivity for the better fulfillment of the university’s mission.

Roles and responsibilities

Approved by the Board of Governors, April 18, 2006

The Board of Governors bears the ultimate responsibility for the operation and future of Dalhousie University. The board carries out this responsibility through a stewardship role. The board delegates day-to-day management of the university to the president and management team. The board respects the responsibility of the University Senate to adopt policies on academic matters, but such policies may be subject to board approval. 

The powers and duties of the board are outlined in the statutes relating to Dalhousie University as follows: 1863, C.24; 1875, c.27; 1935, c.104 & 1967, c.133; 1958, c.121; 1988, c.74; 1969, c.127; 1935, c.104, s.3; 1935, c.104, s.5 & 1967, c.133; 1935, c.104, s.6; 1863, c.24, 2.8. 

Role of the board chair

In addition to the duties and responsibilities of all board members, the chair must also do the following:

  • Preside over all board meetings.
  • Assure the integrity of the board’s process and be the official spokesperson for the board.
  • Serve as the chair of the Presidential Search Committee and of the Presidential Review Committee. 
  • Assess the performance of and approve compensation and benefit for the president annually.
  • Facilitate the periodic assessment of board practices and governance.
  • Serve as the signing officer of the board on matters related to contracts and other legal obligations undertaken by the board, except when the chair designates otherwise.
  • Represent the board at official functions as required, except when the chair designates otherwise. 
  • Be an advisor to the president and vice-chancellor and individual board members.