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Governance Strategy . August 21, 2006. Purpose. Provide background information and a status update on the governance “Key Result Area;” Provide a summary of consultations/discussions to date;

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governance strategy

Governance Strategy

August 21, 2006

  • Provide background information and a status update on the governance “Key Result Area;”
  • Provide a summary of consultations/discussions to date;
  • Propose a “governance strategy” that seeks to address several of the success measures listed under the governance KRA, including a proposal for changes to the structure of the TUAA Council; and,
  • Outline ‘next steps.’
consultation discussion to date
Consultation/Discussion to Date
  • Potential reforms to Council have been the subject of numerous and lengthy discussions since the creation of the strategic plan.
  • Key consultation/discussion activities to date have included:
    • An “e-broadcast” which informed alumni of the governance KRA.
    • Creation of an ad hoc committee on governance to get alumni input into the governance of the organization.
    • Creation of a governance “options paper” which was presented to Council.
    • Discussion of governance options at the June 2005 Council retreat and subsequent Council meetings (i.e., November 2005).
    • Informal discussions with past members of the Council and the Executive.
    • Discussion with Chapter presidents.
what we ve heard
What we’ve heard…
  • Consultations on TUAA governance to date have revealed the following themes:
    • Flexibility is important: the Council needs to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
    • Councillors like being assigned “portfolio-type” work on an “as needed” basis since it allows them to take a lead in an area.
    • Designating specific councillor roles or constituencies (i.e., councillor’s which represent specific years) may prove counter-productive.
      • For example, if a position is designated for a specific constituency, but no one in the constituency willing to fill that position, it could leave the association with resource deficiencies.
    • Committee work is an important method for “opening up” Council processes to the membership: alumni can participate on an “ad hoc” basis without committing “long-term.”
    • Chapter Presidents (at times) may feel overwhelmed by additional activities related to also being members of the Council.
      • Some Chapter President have cited the inability to actively contribute to Council as a reason for resigning.
    • The Executive should help provide leadership, focus and long-term planning for core Council activities.
    • Facilitating communication between the University, Association and TUAA membership should be a key focus of the Council’s activities.
    • The current Council structure does not need radical change.
key considerations
Key Considerations
  • The TUAA constitution gives Council the ability to change the constitution/by-laws subject to ratification at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
    • This was done previously when the Vice-President, Chapter Relations position was established in 2005.
  • It is anticipated that the Alumni Office will receive additional resources as the creation of the new Advancement and External Relations department within Trent University proceeds.
    • Preliminary scoping indicates that the changes to the Alumni Office will be used in support of key Association activities (i.e., there is unlikely to be “overlap, as any new positions are to be ‘complimentary’ to current activities), and should not impact any potential governance changes of the TUAA.
  • Notice of potential governance changes will be given in the Fall Edition of the Trent Magazine.
governance strategy key principles
Governance Strategy - Key Principles
  • Issues regarding succession cannot be achieved through structural reform alone.
    • “Success breeds success:” good work within the association will generate interest in the Council’s activities and events.
    • “Baby-steps:” alumni need smaller, but important, opportunities to be drawn into the Association’s activities.
  • The current Council structure is fundamentally sound and does not require radical reform.
    • Current practices which engage councilllors and provide leadership opportunities should be continued.
    • Positions on the Executive Committee should be modified to ensure that core areas of the association, including Internal and Campus Affairs, External and Chapter Relations, and Communications, have at least one person to responsible for them.
  • Chapter Presidents should be allowed to focus on “local work,” but should be informed of Council activities and have opportunities to participate, where appropriate.
governance strategy tactics
Governance Strategy - Tactics


  • Do not make any constitution/by-law changes to the composition of Council.
  • Continue to use the “portfolio” approach for engage councillors and ensure they have leadership opportunities which allow them a real contribution to the Association and the University.
  • Strengthen the use of Council committees (i.e., nominations and recognition, finance and services) and ad hoc Council committees to draw in the alumni membership and act as a “gateway” to Council membership by:
    • Identifying committees that could be include alumni membership;
    • Ensuring councillors are appointed chairs to these committees; and
    • Actively advertising and encouraging alumni participation in these committees.


  • Amend the constitution/by-laws to “refocus” the two current Vice-Presidents of the Executive Committee (1st Vice-President and Vice-President Chapter Relations (2nd Vice President)) into:
    • Vice President, Internal and Campus Affairs.
    • Vice President, External and Chapter Relations.
  • Add a Vice President, Communications.
    • This position will also act as “Secretary to the Council.”
governance strategy tactics1
Governance Strategy - Tactics

Executive (con’t):

  • Consistent with current practice in the by-laws, only outline “broad duties” for the Vice Presidents.
  • Make no constitutional/by-law changes to the President or Past-President positions.


  • Remove Chapter Presidents as voting members of the Council.
    • Chapter Presidents, like all TUAA members, will continue to be able to attend Council meetings as non-voting members
  • The proposed Vice-President, External and Chapter Relations, will work to facilitate strong communication between the Chapter Presidents and the Council (i.e., inviting them to meetings, making personal contact where possible, informing Council of Chapter activities)


advantages of the governance strategy
Advantages of the Governance Strategy
  • Completes a “Major Initiative” of the TUAA strategic plan.
  • Consistent with comments from consultations/discussions with key stakeholders.
  • Full implementation (including ratification vote by AGM) can occur by October 2006.
  • Reduces any potential instability created by an “ongoing” governance review (review has been in progress since 2004).
  • Strategy is consistent with previous changes to the Executive (i.e., Vice-President, Chapter Relations), in that it seeks to provide more direction for the role of the Vice-Presidents.
next steps
Next Steps
  • Council to vote on whether to adopt governance strategy and proposed Constitutional/by-law amendments (please see attached document for exact constitutional amendments).
    • Motion to approve strategy and associated the proposed amendments (I.MacFarlane/M.Griem)
  • Should the governance strategy and proposed constitutional/by-law amendments be approved:
    • Make appointments to fill new Executive positions (i.e., current incumbents plus Communications KRA leader);
    • Begin implementing the strategy by identifying Council Committees that could be advertised to alumni;
    • Prepare a package to outline governance changes adopted by Council; and,
    • Seek ratification of constitutional/by-law amendments at the 2006 Annual General Meeting of the TUAA (September 30, 2006).