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Governance at Laurier

Governance describes how authority, decision-making and accountability work at an institution. Like many universities in Canada, Wilfrid Laurier University has a bicameral governance system with two separate and distinct governing bodies: the Senate and the Board of Governors. The powers of both the Senate and the Board of Governors are set out in provincial legislation entitled the Wilfrid Laurier University Act (the Act). (See below for more about the powers of these two groups.)

The Act provides the authority to Senate and Board to make decisions about the university’s operations and strategic direction. From there, an evolving set of principles, systems, and processes guide how matters are brought forward, considered, decided and acted upon.

How You Can Get Involved

Meetings of Senate and the Board are open to the public but may include a closed portion available only to the members of Senate or Board. You can attend and observe the open portion of the meeting if you are interested in a specific issue, or if you want to see how governance works at Laurier.

Students may stand for election for student positions on Senate or the Board of Governors through elections facilitated by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union (WLUSU) for undergraduate students, and by the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) for graduate students.

Role of Student Senators/Governors

  • Add student perspective and experiences to help make decisions.
  • Participate in developing and sustaining positive change in campus.
  • Develop leadership skills.
  • Build meaningful interpersonal relationships.
  • Work with campus and community leaders.
  • Model social responsibility.

Note: Participation can be added to your experiential learning portfolio. Record this involvement on the Laurier Experience Record.

Responsibilities of Student Senators/Governors

  • Attend meetings.
  • Prepare for meetings:
    • RSVP in advance;
    • Review materials prior to meeting; and
    • Come prepared to participate.
  • Respect confidentiality and conflict of interest.
  • Ask good questions.
  • When making decisions on behalf of the university, your responsibility is to keep in mind the good of the whole university not just the interests of current/future students (The role of governor carries a legal responsibility to do this).

Powers of the Board

The Act gives the Board of Governors the power to govern the university and control its property and revenues. Some matters that come before the Board include:

  • appointments of senior leaders
  • university budget for approval
  • tuition and other fees
  • strategic direction
  • university-wide policies
  • investments

Powers of the Senate

The Senate is the highest academic body of Laurier and makes decisions on all academic issues. Some matters that come before the Senate include:

View Agenda Packages and Minutes

Accessible agendas and minutes are posted online for Senate and Board. If you have questions about Senate or Board material, please contact the University Secretariat or the University Archives.