As many of you already know, I have a particular interest in encouraging much wider-scale cooperation between Quebec universities, particularly between the four Montreal-area universities, i.e., McGill, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Concordia.
Each of these institutions has its own history, its own mission and its own priorities. It is not, therefore, a question of merging these institutions. Rather it is a question of exploring those areas in which a heightened degree of cooperation would either have academic advantages and/or provide administrative efficiencies in the form of either budgetary savings and/or levels of service.
None of this is entirely new. Not only are there many examples of cooperation as between individuals at various levels, we also have the "institutional" instances of academic cooperation as, for example, between (i) McGill and UQAM with regard to Chemistry and Computer Science, (ii) McGill and the Université de Montréal in Social Work and East Asian Studies, and (iii) McGill, Université de Montréal, Concordia and UQAM in both Mathematics and Management Studies.
I expect that these examples will multiply in the future as we discover either areas of common interest and/or areas in which McGill can do in partnership what neither it nor its partner(s) can do alone.
I am hoping, however, that we will expand the area of cooperation to include more fully both libraries and administrative services. Indeed, it is these areas to which last weekend's articles in both Le Devoir and The Gazette referred. Those discussions are in fact going on, although at quite a preliminary level, but I am hoping that these initial explorations will yield positive results in the coming months.
Again, neither McGill nor Concordia nor any other university with which we are in contact is discussing or, in fact, is interested in institutional merger. We are, however, increasingly interested in the extent to which cooperation and partnership will enable us to make the very best use of the increasingly limited resources that are available to us.
I look forward to these discussions which, I imagine, will be ongoing for quite some time. I intend, as usual, to consult with those most immediately affected by the discussions, hoping in this way to make the outcome(s) as happy as possible for as many as possible.