[Index of messages from the Principal]

From the desk of the Principal

Given the many pressures and challenges facing the University, I have been very conscious, since coming to McGill last year, of the need to re-examine the administrative functioning of the University and the role in that functioning of our senior executives.

In the past year, I have begun this re-examination with the objective of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the senior administration while reducing the overall number of senior executive positions. The major steps taken have included:

  1. the amalgamation of the position of Secretary General and Secretary of Senate;
  2. the amalgamation of the positions of Vice-Principal (Planning and Resources) and Vice-Principal (Macdonald College);
  3. the creation of a new Executive Director of Human Resources (HR) to relieve some of the responsibilities of Vice-Principals Heaphy and Tavenas in a very complex and sensitive area and thus enabling the current Director of HR to focus on strategic projects relating to redesign of our administrative processes;
  4. the amalgamation of the positions of Director of the Equity Office and Assistant to the Principal;
  5. the redefinition of the senior position in the Instructional Communications Centre, now occupied by a manager rather than an executive; and
  6. the merging under a single manager of the offices of the Principal and the Vice-Principal (Academic).

These steps have resulted in substantially improved efficiency and in reduction in the operating costs, but we have had to accept some reductions as well in the level of service in some of the less essential parts of our operations.

I realize that, as the entire University is asked to re-examine its operations to effect substantial reductions in operating costs, it is important to continue to review our senior administrative processes with a view to reducing the number of senior executive positions where possible. As we move towards a simplification of our administrative structure based on the integration of closely associated functions to improve the quality of service, and on the empowerment of staff at all levels, I plan to reduce the number of executive positions by 25%, i.e., from the current level of 32 to about 24 over the next three years.

A number of measures are already in advanced stages of planning with the full participation of the executives involved, and I should be in a position to announce some major reorganizations leading to the abolition of several executive positions in the coming months.

The further reorganization of our senior management structure will take some considerable care, and it will require time if we want to protect at the same time:

Still, I am confident that, with the necessary effort and energy, the final objective stated above can be reached by June 30, 1999 at the end of my term as Principal.

I hope and expect that similar re-thinking of administrative functioning can be undertaken in all sectors of the University, understanding that although there are gains to be made through more efficient operations, in the final analysis change must also include the elimination of less essential services.