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Wilfrid Laurier University University Secretariat
November 30, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Governance at Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier University became a “new” university incorporated in 1973 by the Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973.The Act sets out the process of how Laurier carries on from Waterloo Lutheran University and its relationship with the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

Like many universities in Canada, Laurier has a bicameral governance system.Essentially, governance is the act of governing.It includes the processes and systems by which an institution is governed.At Laurier, our bicameral governance system provides for two separate and distinct governing bodies consisting of the Senate and the Board of Governors. The powers of both the Senate and the Board of Governors are set out in the Wilfrid Laurier University Act, 1973.

The Act gives the Board of Governors the power of management of the university.This includes control over all financial matters, such as property and revenues, and authority over its business and affairs, except with respect to matters assigned by the Act to Senate.

The Act gives the Senate the power to establish the educational policies of the University and over academic matters, except where there is the expenditure of funds and under the authority of the Board of Governors.Senate also has authority to make recommendations to the Board of Governors on any matter relative to the operation of the University.

The bicameral governance system is a truly shared one in which both Senate and the Board of Governors are required to act in carrying out their respective obligations.For example, Senate and its standing committees would be directly involved in the development and approval of a new academic department in a Faculty at Laurier.The Board of Governors and its standing committees would also be directly involved and responsible for the final approval of the establishment of the proposed new department, as well as in approving the expenditure of University funds and the budget for the department.

Chart: Senate and Board of Governors committee roles and responsibilities

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