Annual General Meeting
Have Your Voice Heard
Over the past several years the Niagara College Student Administrative Council Inc. (NCSAC) has undergone some significant changes in regards to the structure of the Board and how to best advocate for the students of Niagara College. In the past, the job descriptions for each board member were rooted in an operational function, including: Director of Social Programming, Director of Goodwill, Director of Clubs, and Director of Student Relations. Board members were focusing their efforts on their operational function of the organization, which left little time for good governance and ultimately left NCSAC lacking a student-focussed, corporate vision. NCSAC was and continues to be devoted to the students of Niagara College and therefore set forth a plan to achieve best practices in the student government industry, to ensure compliance with the Ontario Not-for-Profit Act, the Business Corporations Act and to ensure NCSAC is advocating for students using the best practices available.
In the 2017/2018 academic year, NCSAC underwent an internal governance structure review. In order to complete this review, a Governance Review Committee was created. NCSAC had been operating with a governance structure that saw the Board of Directors roles encompass both operational and governance aspects. The Governance Review Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that a change the structure of the Board to have Directors from a “school of” as opposed to being a Director of an operational role (social programming, goodwill, clubs, and student relations). The Board motioned and endorsed the changes, which were then approved at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the membership. The main focus of this restructure was to differentiate between governance and operations.
Under the current NCSAC governance structure, the Board Members’ functions were refocused and there is currently a President, a Vice President at each campus, and Directors for each “school of”.
Director of Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI)
Director of Hospitality, Tourism, & Sport
Director of Environmental & Horticulture
Director of Business & Management Studies
Director of Trades
Director of Media
Director of Technology
Director of Nursing & Personal Support Worker
Director of Justice & Fitness
Director of Allied Health Studies
Director of Community Services
One of the remaining concerns of the organization, was that there is a hierarchy amongst the Board members. With the current NCSAC structure, there are the “School of” Directors reporting to the Vice President of their respective campus, who then report to the President.
Understanding that the NCSAC structure still needed some professional attention, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was circulated to different professional governance agencies during the summer of 2018. The goal was to work through ensuring NCSAC corporate structure, as well as NCSAC’s corporate governance documents are compliant with legislation and reflect best practices in the student government industry. NCSAC decided to work with Catherine Raso from CMR Governance Consulting, as well as Anna Naud, a lawyer who works in conjunction with Catherine. It was explained that Catherine would review Board Policies and structure, and Anna would handle the legalities of the By-laws. After several workshops and other various communications with the team, a new structure was proposed.
Below are the proposed changes:
The Board of Directors no longer report to the President, but instead the President reports to the Board of Directors, with the President no longer being a member of the Board of Directors. This serves two purposes; there would be accountability from the President to the Board and by not being a member of the Board, the President is not “their own boss” or evaluating themselves.
There is no longer a Vice President position at each campus. This was one of the final steps to eliminating the hierarchy within the Board of Directors. Without operational Directors, there is no need for direct reports or a hierarchy. This also places all Board members on as equals to represent the membership.
There is also a proposed change that the Board Chair and Secretary would be selected among the Directors at the first meeting of the NCSAC Board of Directors. This process is required by legislation and was not previously occurring.
The President and the Executive Director would be dual CEO’s, each responsible for their own portfolios, with the President focusing on Governance and Advocacy, and the Executive Director focusing on Operations.
As you can see there are many proposed changes, but the main reasons for these changes are to clarify accountability, the distinction between governance and operations, to comply with legislation, and finally to reflect best practices in student government.
Along with the new proposed Board structure comes new corporate governance documents. Catherine and Anna suggested streamlining the corporate documents to reflect these changes. The new by-laws will reflect the changes listed above in regards to the proposed 2019-2020 Board Structure.
It is important to note that as members, you will maintain your rights as members. The qualifications for fee-paying students to run for a position on the NCSAC Board of Directors has not changed. The membership will also maintain their right to elect the members of the Board of Directors each year. The membership will also maintain their right to vote for the President each year.