Board Highlights ‑ Oct. 15, 2019

- November 22, 2019

Following each meeting of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors, Dal News highlights some of the presentations and decisions made.

The Board of Governors is responsible for the overall conduct, management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and affairs of the university. It represents the interests of the university, carrying out its responsibilities through a stewardship role (delegating day-to-day management to the president and senior administration). Its membership currently includes three ex officio members (the president, chancellor and chair of Senate), 10 Order-in-Council members and additional representatives appointed by alumni, students, faculty and the Board itself.

The Board has six standing committees: Academic & Student Affairs; Capital Projects and Facilities; Community Affairs; Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk; Governance and Human Resources; and the Board Executive. While these committees meet regularly through the year, the Board as a whole meets five times a year between September and June.

New Board members

This was the first Board meeting for new Board chair Candace Thomas. Her appointment, announced in May, is for a three-year term effective July 1.

In her report, Thomas also welcomed other new Board members to their first meeting. New members include:

  • Level Chan, Order in Council Appointee
  • Jay MacIsaac, Order in Council Appointee
  • Kirstan Hines, Board-Appointed Representative
  • Paul Beesley, Alumni Representative
  • Devarsh Sood, Alumni Representative
  • Fatima Beydoun, Student Representative

Thomas set a tone for the year ahead, stressing the importance of open communication and dialogue built around respect. “If we do that, we can get the work of the Board done, do so effectively and make an impact on this great institution that we serve.”

Budget Advisory Committee presentation

Interim President Teri Balser, serving as chair of the Budget Advisory Committee (BACC), updated the Board on the operating budget process for the upcoming year’s planning, together with Acting Provost Chris Moore.

Dr. Balser explained how the BAC has two main tasks: support Dal’s academic mission (by recommending funding allocations across a wide range of university priorities) and ensure overall fiscal responsibility (by making recommendations to balance the operating budget to reflect rising costs of running the university).

At the time of the presentation, the BAC was finishing its first “context report” which was issued to the Dal community on October 25. Subsequently a survey was distributed to all faculty, staff and students to solicit further input on pressures and priorities. Dr. Balser explained that the BAC’s engagement with the Dal community is starting earlier, and will be more comprehensive, than in the past. Look for more on the budget in an upcoming series of Dal News articles.

Student Health and Well-being presentation

Verity Turpin, AVP of student affairs, was joined by colleagues in Student Health and Wellness — Medical Director Dr. Glenn Andrea, Director of Operations Krista Cross and Director of Counselling & Psychological Services Dr. David Pilon — to discuss the evolution of health services at Dalhousie in recent years.

Student Health & Wellness aims to provide responsive quality health-care and support campus well-being in general. Its priorities remain mental health, alcohol and substance use harm reduction, and sexual health. What has changed, though, over the past six years is a new operating model built around the university’s first Student Wellness Strategy and the launch of an interprofessional collaborative health-care model, among many other related initiatives. Some of the results include reducing the waitlist for personal counselling from 191 in December 2016 to 28 in December 2018; and creating new capacity for mental health including supporting a 50% increase in same-day appointments.

Turpin was joined by Madi Sutton, a recent Dalhousie graduate and a member of the MHCC Youth Council, who shared her personal story of dealing with treatment-resistant depression while studying at Dalhousie. She emphasized the importance of evidence-based knowledge in providing mental-health supports on campus.

Approved minutes for Dalhousie Board of Governors meetings are published on DalSpace. Learn more about the Board at its website.


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