Position Specification

Position Specification - University of Toronto President

Date: January 6, 2005

Taking into consideration extensive consultations and assessments in recent months, the Presidential Search Committee has developed the following position specification for the 15th President of the University of Toronto.

1.   The Opportunity

The University of Toronto is an internationally significant university that seeks to be among the world's best public teaching and research universities.  It is known for its discovery, preservation and sharing of knowledge, and for its commitment to excellence and equity.  The University of Toronto is seeking a president who will embrace this ambitious vision with commitment and passion, and who will provide leadership in working with all who have a stake in its attainment.

2.   The New President's Mandate

The next President of the University of Toronto will be an inspiring leader, who articulates persuasively a vision of the University as a world-class teaching and research institution, who stands for and supports constant improvement in its standards and programs, who nurtures a culture in which progress is not only feasible but expected, and who works tirelessly and with imagination to provide the resources needed to achieve the University's goals.

While responsible for progress in achieving all institutional goals, the next President will need to devote particular attention to the following priorities:

  • Increasing the University's capacity for creating knowledge, and advancing research and scholarship that is recognized internationally as outstanding among its peer institutions;
  • Enhancing the quality of student experience.  Significant improvements can be identified for all groups of students, but particular attention is needed to assess further and to promote the re-invigoration of undergraduate life, within and outside the classroom;
  • Fostering a culture that attracts, motivates, recognizes and retains excellent faculty;
  • Building effective relationships that will advance the University's interests and those of post-secondary education in general.  This includes establishing and motivating an outstanding team of executives and academic administrators, as well as strengthening alliances with governments, agencies, foundations, other universities, industry, donors and alumni; and
  • Being a strong external representative and a champion of the University as a force for public good.  This includes encouraging research and scholarship on – and being able to contribute personally to debate on - pressing public issues.  

3.   Personal Qualifications and Experience

The Presidential Search Committee, while recognizing that different individuals may have strengths in different measure, is seeking candidates with the following background, experience, and personal qualities:

  • Outstanding record of teaching, research and academic leadership, with accomplishments that demonstrate academic excellence and a proven commitment to the values of academic integrity and freedom.
  • Proven executive leadership skills, preferably demonstrated in an environment comparable to the University of Toronto, including:
    • the ability to choose, to motivate, and to delegate effectively to senior executives, and to be a model for motivating staff at all levels of the organization;
    • extensive administrative experience and financial acumen, together with a record of making disciplined strategic choices;
    • successful experience, at a senior level, in fundraising and in working with advancement professionals; and
    • skill in dealing with accountability and institutional autonomy issues in the academy and in the public sector, and evidence of effectiveness in working with university governance bodies;
  • A passion for, and deep commitment to, the aspirations of the University of Toronto as a great public teaching and research institution, and the ability to inspire others to share these goals.  This would include sensitivity to the broad and deep range of interests, viewpoints, and approaches to scholarship in the University, its complex and dynamic federated and multi-campus structure, and openness to active dialogue with all constituencies;
  • A demonstrated commitment to students and dedication to the enhancement of their educational experience within an inclusive and supportive environment;
  • A strong public presence, including the ability to champion academic freedom and other values of the academy, the specific objectives of the University of Toronto, and its engagement in Canadian public life, locally, nationally, and internationally;
  • Excellent social skills and the ability to build and maintain strong relationships with alumni and members of the wider community;
  • A proven record of effective and productive relations with representatives of governments, other institutions, and the private sector, including in-depth knowledge of Canadian post-secondary education and the issues affecting it, and the ability to become a strategic leader among university leaders, nationally and internationally; and
  • A record and reputation for integrity, commitment to equity and diversity, openness, decisiveness, and sound judgment, exercised in favourable and in more difficult circumstances.

4.   The Appointment

The President of the University of Toronto:

  • is ex-officio a member of the University's governing board, the unicameral Governing Council, and is ultimately responsible for the flow of administrative proposals and recommendations to it;
  • holds authority for the approval of tenure recommendations and for recommendations to the Governing Council on the appointment of academic administrators and on the removal of members of the teaching staff; and
  • is required by statute to be a Canadian citizen.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Located in one of the world's most diverse cities, the University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to further diversification of ideas.

The President is expected to take office on July 1, 2005, or on another mutually agreeable date.

The Presidential Search Committee will begin its consideration of individuals in late January.  Nominations and applications, including the qualifications and accomplishments on the basis of which the individual merits consideration, should be submitted in confidence to:

Janet Wright & Associates Inc.,
21 Bedford Road, Suite 300,
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2J9
Fax:  (416) 923-8311
E-mail: uoftpresident@jwasearch.com.

Please send any questions or comments to: governing.council@utoronto.ca .