Invitation for Submissions on the Position Specification for the President

Memorandum to:   

Governing Council
Academic Board
Business Board
University Affairs Board
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
Professionals, Managers and Confidential Staff
President of UTFA
Presidents of Employee Unions
Presidents of APUS, GSU, SAC and SCSU
Presidents of PIAC and UTAA
Alumni and Friends of the University


Rose M. Patten
Chair of the Governing Council

Date: October 29, 2004

Re:  Presidential Search Committee -- Invitation for Submissions on the Position Specification for the President

As we noted in our most recent communication to you, the Presidential Search Committee would like your input and advice on a position specification and role profile for the new President of the University of Toronto. Once we have compiled and synthesized the input we receive, we will then issue a formal call for nominations.

At present, we are seeking your ideas on:

  • the principal strengths upon which the University should build over the next five to ten years;
  • the principal challenges that the University will face in that period;
  • the implications of those strengths and challenges for the new President, in two senses:
    • the President's specific personal priorities in the near- and long-term, and
    • the specific priorities the President should ensure are achieved by others in the University community;
  • the key strengths and characteristics the Committee should therefore be seeking in a new President.
We have agreed, as a Committee, that the position profile developed in 1999 could serve as the reference point for creating a specification at this time. To that end, we have attached the actual 1999 profile.

Your views and those of your colleagues are critical to the Committee's work and we look forward to hearing from you. Please submit your suggestions in writing to:

Ms Rose M. Patten
Presidential Search Committee
Office of the Governing Council
Room 106, Simcoe Hall
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5S 1A1

You may also provide your input by e-mail to . We would appreciate your submissions as soon as possible and before December 7, 2004. Submissions will be treated as confidential to the Search Committee.

Thank you very much for your contribution to this important process.

NOTE: This document was prepared in July, 1999, following consultations by the Presidential Search Committee at that time. It is provided here as a point of reference for the current call for submissions on a position specification and role profile for the new President of the University of Toronto. 1999 Presidential Search Committee

Position Profile - President of the University of Toronto
July 22, 1999


The University of Toronto is committed to being Canada's preeminent university and to ranking with the best public research universities in the world. Among its fundamental objectives are:

  1. the continued improvement in the quality of its undergraduate and graduate education;
  2. attracting an outstanding body of students both nationally and internationally;
  3. the support of outstanding research activity across a very broad range of disciplines and professions by faculty who are also engaged in undergraduate and graduate education;
  4. recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty in an increasingly competitive international environment for academic talent;
  5. acknowledgement of the roles of all sectors within the university and the fostering of positive relations with employee and student groups;
  6. the maintenance and growth of mutually supportive relations with alumni and other groups in the wider communities that the university serves;
  7. the broadening of its overall resource base, with particular emphasis on the achievement of public resources commensurate with its responsibilities and comparable to those of peer institutions worldwide.

Expectations of the Next President

  1. 1. General The President of the University of Toronto is expected to articulate the guiding values and principles of the University and to build a strong central and divisional leadership team which focuses the University on continually improved achievement of the above goal and objectives.
  2. 2. Specific In addition, in the short and medium term future, the next President should be particularly concerned with:
    1. issues related to growth in enrolment and research activity, including:
      • an enrolment strategy that includes selective growth and the recruitment and retention of outstanding domestic and international students;
      • strategies for the management of growth in undergraduate enrolment while improving the quality of academic programs and the overall student experience;
      • accessibility to the University for students from all areas of society;
      • the management of physical and infrastructure renewal, capital development and new technologies;
    2. strategies to recruit, compensate, support and retain faculty in an international market place and with a commitment to encouraging equity;
    3. strategies to acknowledge the role and contributions of staff in all University sectors and to maintain and support positive relations with staff;
    4. strategies to maximize the strengths of and opportunities arising from the University's multi-campus nature;
    5. continuing to press for strong government and private support for the University's full breadth of programs, including the humanities and social sciences;
    6. strategies to extend and to manage, in keeping with academic norms and values, increasingly complex complementary relations with federated and affiliated bodies, including health care institutions, with public and private sector research sponsors, and with University patrons;
    7. being a champion for the cause of higher education provincially and nationally and participating in public policy development more generally.

Candidate Qualifications

The Search Committee recognizes that no candidate for President is likely to meet all the following criteria in equal measure; nevertheless, the experience, abilities, and personal qualities outlined below are seen to be desirable in candidates for this important leadership position:

  • Academic qualifications and scholarly achievements that are clearly acceptable in Canada's leading research-intensive university.
  • Demonstrated excellence and a record of achievement in leadership and administration in a university setting.
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to encourage others to develop their own capabilities in these areas.
  • Character and integrity, with the ability to take stands and respond to rapidly changing circumstances and to make decisions on difficult strategic issues while earning the respect and confidence of all, including those who disagree with the President's position.
  • Team-building skills, including the ability to establish principles and values, delegate authority and monitor accountability.
  • Leadership which is energetic, positive, highly principled, and which provides a role model for students, faculty and staff.
  • Commitment to understanding and dealing with student concerns, and recognizing the academic and financial obstacles students face.
  • Ability to promote the University and to assume leadership in fundraising initiatives.
  • A vision of the role and promise of universities in a society, a profound understanding of academic values and traditions, and the passion to communicate and defend then inside and outside the University.
  • A clear record of achieving and fostering excellence in research, scholarship, and teaching.
  • A commitment to maintaining a personal presence and visibility on campus, and to exercising leadership on key academic and resource allocation issues.
  • The capability of being an articulate and persuasive "spokesperson" on public policy issues in general and in particular for the University in its relations with governments.
  • High energy, stamina and the ability to complete at least a five year term prior to normal retirement.