Senators find Queen’s Senate ineffective

Report finds lower engagement and accomplishment than past years

The Senate Governance and Nominating Committee published the report.

Senators had mixed feelings about the effectiveness of the Queen’s Senate during the 2021-22 school year, reflected by declining participation and engagement from past years. 

According to the report published by the Senate Governance and Nominating Committee (SGNC), some senators chose not to participate in Senate meetings. The SGNC looked at results from the 2020-21 and 2021-22 Senate Effectiveness Surveys for the report.

50 per cent of senators reported being “somewhat” or “extremely” uncomfortable with expressing their views during Senate meetings.

Senators pointed to a lack of focus, an “adversarial” environment, and a lack of trust between senators and administrators as factors negatively affecting their participation.

Senators suggested mandatory equity training as a possible avenue for improving the meeting culture. Similar to last year, Principal Patrick Deane received positive comments on his leadership style during meetings.

“The members of SGNC are continuing their discussions and will return to Senate with further details and suggestions,” Nathan Brinklow, chair of SGNC, said in a statement to The Journal.

Only one senator reported feeling a “high” sense of accomplishment at the end of Senate meetings. This is a reduction from last year, where 24 per cent of respondents reported feeling a “high” sense of accomplishment.

Senators were split between evenly between “high” and “low” engagement, with 50 per cent finding engagement “adequate.”

Despite the entire year of meetings being conducted over Zoom, most senators found the work to be well-distributed.

During the first Senate meeting of the 2022 year in September, Senators did not discuss the survey results, which surprised Senator and Smith School of Business professor Steven Salterio.

“When I read a report like this [about the governance effectiveness], if I was doing pro-bono consulting, which I’ve often done for other organizations, I would say ‘Holy s—, I have a lot of work in front of me to help this organization,’” Salterio said at Senate in September.

The SGNC is the university body tasked with responding to the survey results.

“The members of the SGNC are committed to reviewing the data presented in the most recent Senate Effectiveness Survey and continuing the discussion which began in September,” Brinklow said.

The Senate is using a hybrid model this year so senators can Zoom-in or attend in-person.

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