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Letters to the editor


Forgotten president

Thanks for the excellent article (“Set up for failure?,” November-December 2021). In the article you state that Vianne Timmons and Annette Trimbee are the only current female presidents who have served as presidents in multiple universities. I want to note that our president, Deb Saucier, at Vancouver Island University is in that same category, having served as president of MacEwan University prior to coming to VIU.

Dan VanderSluis
Mr. VanderSluis is associate vice-president, human resources at Vancouver Island University.

The role of the board needs to be better understood

Julie Cafley points to a lack of rigour in board governance among the difficulties facing female presidents (“Set up for failure?,” November-December 2021). But the problems often stem from a lack of understanding of the board’s role in relation to administrations who often view them as a branch of the executive rather than as a supervisory body of oversight. We saw this at Laurentian for example, where the looming financial crisis was hidden from its board for nearly 10 years. Boards need to retain a collegial but arms-length relationship with presidents, who for their part need to exhibit candour rather than trying to always paint the sunniest picture of the university’s operations. Trust will be earned when boards are honoured with full transparency.

Alexandra Phillips
Ms. Phillips is an associate professor in the faculty of culture + community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

NOSM: making a difference

I can attest that social accountability is one of the main draws for why I chose NOSM (“On the mend,” November-December 2021). The school really does do a good job of increasing the physician numbers in underserved areas and helps to improve the lives of many citizens in remote communities.

Stone Li
MDr. Li is a public health and preventive medicine resident physician at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.