Back to top

CAUT warns against attack on collegial oversight at Sheridan College

Sheridan College [photo: Dan Zen / Flickr]

(Ottawa – May 31, 2021) Sheridan College’s decision to unilaterally terminate its Senate is ill-informed and threatens the quality of education at the institution, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“Sheridan was a leader in college governance until the abrupt decision, with no faculty or staff consultation, to abolish its Senate,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The Senate was a positive force - working to ensure transparent, informed decision-making on academic matters inclusive of administrative, faculty and other viewpoints within the community.”

A report on governance commissioned by the Administrators praises the institution, noting it has not faced “widespread discontent or a challenging occurrence that has fractured the community,” and notes that Sheridan is intent upon being “a genuine leader in governance…in a way that reflects the value it places on effective collegial participation in decision-making.”  Despite this, the report raised concerns over the legality of the Senate, which CAUT disputes.

“As long as the board maintains oversight, there is nothing in the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act that would prohibit colleges from constituting senates to advise on academic matters,” notes Robinson.

CAUT has long advocated for shared governance at post-secondary institutions with academic staff playing the decisive role in making academic decisions and setting academic policy for post-secondary institutions to fulfill their public responsibilities for the creation, preservation, and transmission of knowledge.