Working Group on Senate Governance Review


The basic structure of the Senate was established in the University of Guelph Act, 1964 and at four special meetings of Senate held in the summer of 1964. It took another five years for Senate to finalize its bylaws and settle on a permanent membership and committee structure. The structures put in place in 1968-69 remained in place, with some meaningful revisions, until 2007-08.*

In response to the 1993 Report of the Independent Study Group on University Governance and a perceived lack of engagement on Senate at the time, Senate undertook a substantial review of its size and committee structure in 1994-95. Ultimately, Senate determined that it would challenging to tackle the issues identified in the review without amending the University of Guelph Act, and Senate continued to operate much as it had since 1968-69.

Senate conducted a further comprehensive review of its committee structure in 2006-7 that resulted in the approval of significant changes, including the creation of the Senate Priorities and Planning Committee. This review was followed by a review of the composition and membership of Senate. Completed in 2011, this review resulted in a twenty-five percent reduction in the number of voting members of Senate.

The current review will be conducted by the Working Group on Senate Governance Review, a working group constituted by the Senate Priorities & Planning Committee in accordance with Senate Bylaws. The working group has been tasked with undertaking a broad survey of the structure and foundational documents of the Senate (as it is presently legislatively constituted), and determining whether Senate’s bylaws, committees and practices are best positioned to support its responsibility for the educational policy of the University.


It is anticipated that the review will proceed by way of a five-phase process with some phases running simultaneously:

  • Phase 1 –  Approval of the mandate and membership of the Working Group on Senate Governance Review by the Senate Priorities & Planning Committee (Complete)
  • Phase 2 – Consultation with Senators and University stakeholders (Complete)
  • Working Group meetings were paused from mid-March through September 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • Phase 3 – Research compiled and reviewed by the Working Group (Fall 2020-Spring 2021)
  • Phase 4 – Recommendations developed by the Working Group and forwarded to the Senate Priorities & Planning Committee (Fall 2021)
  • Phase 5 – Recommendations considered for implementation by Senate and its boards and committees (Fall 2021-Summer 2022)


  • Ian Newby-Clark (Chair), Chair of the Board of Undergraduate Studies (CSAHS) | Former Chair of the Committee on Bylaws & Membership (2018-20)          
  • Jingen Liang, Graduate Student (LANG)
  • Tami Martino, Chair of the Senate Priorities & Planning Committee (OVC)
  • Scott McEwen, Chair of the Committee on Quality Assurance (OVC)
  • Sooraj Modi, Undergraduate Student (Bachelor of Computing)
  • Andrew Papadopoulos, Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies (OVC)    
  • Byron Sheldrick, Acting Dean, CSAHS | Former Chair of the Board of Undergraduate Studies (2016-20)  
  • Julie Vale, Chair of the Committee on Bylaws & Membership (CEPS)
  • Gen Gauthier-Chalifour, University Secretary | non-voting


In order to ensure that the governance review process is transparent, accountable and attentive to the perspectives of the University community, the Working Group will consult with a broad array of stakeholder groups including:

  • Deans, Associate Deans, Directors and Chairs
  • Student Senate Caucus
  • Board of Governors
  • Central Student Association
  • Graduate Student Association
  • University of Guelph Faculty Association

All members of the University community were invited to provide input into the Senate governance review process through a survey. The survey closed on February 14, 2020. University community members are welcome to review the list of items under consideration by the working group and e-mail any feedback they may have to


If you have questions or feedback related to the Senate governance review, you can contact the Working Group through the University Secretariat at

*A number of minor committees were renamed, created, merged and disbanded in this time period. Substantial revisions to committee membership were also made following the 1981 Report on the Academic Administration of the University.