UBCFA Member Notice: Senate Nominations Process and Elections

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to bring to your attention two elections and the Senate nominations process to select faculty representatives for two important search committees, and to encourage your participation as well as your nomination of candidates. However, we also wish to raise concerns about the process the Senate’s Nominating Committee has chosen to use for selecting nominees for the search committees for the new Provost and VP Academic and for the VP Research and International.

The first round of Board and Senate elections will be this fall. Nominations open October 17th and close October 31st for Board and Joint Faculties Senate positions. Voting will be Nov. 21st to Dec. 5th. Individual Faculty elections for Senate are next spring. Please see the information at https://facultystaff.students.ubc.ca/triennial1617 for additional details.

You should also have received a call, dated October 11, for nominations to the search committee for a new Provost and VP Academic, as well as VP Research and International. These nominations close 8 days from now, on October 20th. Since the broadcast message is not entirely clear about what is at issue, and since we have received a number of queries, we provide some additional information here.

The Senate’s Nominating Committee had previously proposed 3 faculty representatives for 3 positions to the Provost search committee — Dr Perry Adebar, Dr Nancy Gallini, and Dr Janice Eng. Dr Adebar is Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and a member of the Senate’s Nominating Committee itself. Dr Gallini is a Professor of Economics and a former Dean of Arts. Dr Eng is a Professor of Physical Therapy and an Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Similarly, the Nominating Committee had proposed 2 persons for 2 positions to the VP Research search committee: Dr Janet Werker and Dr Matthew Evenden. Dr Werker is a Professor of Psychology and Dr Evenden is a Professor of Geography and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Arts.

These nominations were intended to be put before Senate on September 14, but the motion was withdrawn. See page 147 of the Senate Docket, at https://senate.ubc.ca/sites/senate.ubc.ca/files/downloads/ 20160914%20Senate%20Materials.pdf.

However, it appears now that the original nominations will remain unchanged. The present call is for additional nominations from faculty for these five positions (which are also open to students).

Per the broadcast email, nominations must be “seconded by at least three faculty members and should be accompanied by a statement (up to 250 words) explaining the background of the proposed nominee and what their participation would bring to the search committee’s deliberations.”

We have been unable to obtain a clear answer as to whether the additional nominations so generated will be evaluated by the Nominating Committee, or simply brought before Senate for a vote. The situation is evidently complicated by the fact that members of the Nominating Committee responsible for generating the process have themselves been nominated.

It is also unclear to us what the criteria for evaluation of candidates might be, or what qualities the required statement is supposed to address. We do not know whether the previously identified candidates were required to supply such a statement prior to nomination. No rationale for the appointment of these particular individuals was offered at the time of their initial advancement as candidates.

It is our view that the proposed process is deeply flawed. The conflict of interest evident in allowing members of the Nominating Committee to be advanced as candidates, the rather short deadline imposed on the call for outside nominations, and the lack of clarity regarding the criteria for evaluation and final method of selection in the event of more nominations than available places, are deeply troubling to us, and bespeak fundamental problems in Senate governance.

Nevertheless, we urge your participation in this process, and we encourage you to nominate qualified individuals.


Mark Mac Lean, President
On behalf of the Executive Committee