Developing and Implementing Policy
As University staff members perform their responsibilities, they will be guided by the policies set by the University governance and the regulations, guidelines and procedures developed by the administration to implement those policies.
This section provides links to more information on the various boards and committees involved in developing and implementing policy:
The Governing Council
The legal corporate name for the University of Toronto is Governing Council of the University of Toronto .
The Council is charged by the University of Toronto Act with the government, management and control of the University and University College , and of the property, revenues, business and affairs thereof.
For a more complete overview of the governing council’s composition and areas of responsibility, see the Governing Council website.
The Committee is responsible for setting the agenda of meetings of the Governing Council, overseeing the discharge of the Council’s accountability requirements, approving external appointments and certain appointments to senior University positions, assigning new issues to Boards and Committees as appropriate, and confirming certain Academic Board decisions.
For more information on the terms of reference of the committee, refer to the Executive Committee page on the Governing Council website.
The Business Board’s responsibilities include: ensuring that resource allocations are responsible and cost-effective, and approving policy and major transactions in the business-management of the University. It is also responsible for the areas of advancement, public and community relations, and alumni affairs.
For more information on the composition and terms of reference of the Business Board, refer to the Business Board page of the Governing Council website.
The Business Board has one standing committee – the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee receives reports from the administration and from the internal and external auditors. It acts as the financial conscience of the University.
Initiated by the Administration
In some cases, the administration will bring forward firm policy proposals. In other cases, it will bring problems, perhaps with alternative solutions, and request preliminary discussion and advice before firm proposals are formulated.
Initiated by a Member of the Business Board
Because it consists mainly of members from outside of the University, the Board almost always awaits the advice of the President, one of the Vice-Presidents or the CFO before acting. Most often a member might make the suggestion that the administration consider bringing forward a proposal on a particular matter.
However, members of the Business Board may also act to bring business before the Board.
More formally, the Board can pass a resolution to add an item to the annual calendar of business or to any future agenda.
Ten percent of the members of the Board (3 members) can present notice to a particular meeting and have a matter or a motion placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting.
Even a single member of the Board can give notice of motion which the Chair is empowered to place on the agenda of the next meeting, if deemed appropriate.
Developing a Proposal
Unlike the other boards, the Business Board does not normally form a working group or task force to develop a proposal. Generally it approves a resolution asking the administration to develop a proposal to deal with a particular matter.
If members do choose to put forward their own proposals, the administration can delay a decision until the next meeting of the Board so that the administration can formulate its advice concerning the matter.
The President, the Vice-Presidents and the CFO frequently invite members of the Business Board to work with them, formally in working groups and informally in consultations, on the development of proposals that are eventually brought to the Business Board for approval.
In addition to considering policies and monitoring the business administration of the University, the Business Board assists the University in three major areas:
- Ensuring accountability to the public
- Providing management expertise
- Acting as University ambassadors
Accountability to the Public
The University is a public institution, with much of its income coming from the taxpayers and from the University’s benefactors. The Business Board, consisting predominantly of government appointees and elected alumni, is responsible for ensuring the University’s accountability to the public: to assure both the taxpayers and the University’s benefactors that their money is being spent responsibly and effectively.
In this regard, the Board is generally not responsible for allocating University resources but rather is charged with ensuring that allocations of University resources are responsible and cost-effective .
The one area in which the Board is responsible for resource allocation is faculty and staff salaries and benefits which, to prevent conflict of interest, the Board approves. For the same reason, the Board recommends to the Governing Council the annual schedule of tuition fees.
The Board’s membership includes many able and accomplished business people who are asked to give the University the benefit of their expertise in management.
The Business Board does not manage the University; rather the Board ensures that it is managed well.
In doing so, the Board considers proposals from the administration, which must obtain the approval of the Board for policies in the business area, new programs and major transactions.
Members of the Business Board act as ambassadors of the University to the public. To this end, the Business Board is responsible for the areas of development, public and community relations, and alumni affairs.
Business Board policy may:
- set out specific approvals for certain categories of transactions
- establish principles to guide the administration in carrying out University business.
Frequently a policy will include a combination of these.
Regulations and Guidelines
In accordance with a specific policy provision, or guided by the intent of a particular policy, the administration develops regulations and guidelines to further define limits and approvals or recommend parameters for the conduct of University business.
The administration develops procedures to implement policies, regulations and guidelines.
The Guide to Financial Management encompasses the University’s regulations, guidelines and procedures that are financial in nature.
The Academic Board is one of the three Boards of the Governing Council. It is responsible for matters affecting the teaching, learning and research functions of the University, the establishment of University objectives and priorities, the development of long-term and short-term plans and effective use of resources in the course of these pursuits.
Except in purely academic matters, the Board does not have final decision-making authority. In most instances recommendations of the Board are confirmed by the Executive Committee on behalf of Council.
Matters which normally require the approval of the Governing Council include those:
- those having significant impact on the University as a whole,
- those having serious steering effects on the development of a particular division, or
- those having a major impact on the relationships amongst divisions and relationships between the University and the community at large.
For information on the Board’s standing committees, the membership of the Academic Board and its terms of reference, refer to the Academic Board page of the Governing Council website.
University Affairs Board
The University Affairs Board is one of the three boards of the Governing Council. The Board is responsible for consideration of policy of a non-academic nature and matters that directly concern the quality of student and campus life.
For information on its composition and terms of reference, refer to the University Affairs Board page of the Governing Council website.