The Appointments Forum

It is seldom in the search process that there is a meeting of the Appointments Forum. It has met perhaps a dozen times in the last decade. However, in the last two weeks there have been three Appointments Forum meetings and all were examples of this step in the search process set out in the Collective Agreement being put to good use. 

In one case, the Search Committee’s recommendation for appointment was potentially going to be rejected because of financial challenges in the College, despite the position being necessary for the success of the department’s academic program. We are pleased to report that as a direct result of discussions at the Appointments Forum meeting, the recommendation for appointment was accepted. 

Another recommendation for appointment in the same College was ultimately rejected. In this example, the Dean did not support the recommendation for appointment. Again, because of financial challenges in the College. However, this position, a Canada Research Chair, was not necessary for the particular department’s academic program. Additional information was provided by Forum members that resulted in the conclusion it was likely best that the recommendation for appointment not be accepted. 

Whenever a recommendation for appointment is not supported by a Dean, or there is the potential for it to be rejected or turned back to a Search Committee by the Provost, or Provost’s designate in the search process, a meeting of the Appointments Forum is required. It is also required to meet at the request of any member of the Forum. The purpose of the Forum is set out in Article 13.5.2 of the Collective Agreement: “The purpose of the Appointments Forum is to review and discuss the conflicting views of the Search Committee, Dean and/or Provost and Vice-President Academic and evaluate alternatives prior to a final decision from the Provost and Vice-President Academic.” Following the Appointments Forum meeting, if the final decision of the Provost, or Provost’s designate, is to reject or turn back the recommendation for appointment, the Provost, or Provost’s designate must meet with the Search Committee to explain the decision.

It is important to be aware that the Employer has the right to accept, reject or turn back to the Search Committee any recommendation for appointment and the Collective Agreement does not set out particular reasons or circumstances that must exist for any  of these decisions to be made. However, a search is not complete until every step of the process has been taken. The Appointments Forum is an advisory body to help the Provost or Provost’s designate make a final decision and it was instrumental in the final stages of these two searches. 

The third Appointments Forum meeting took place at the request of a member of the Forum. In this example, there were questions and concerns about the search process. Members of the Forum provided information and insight into the search, which addressed the questions and concerns. 

Every time the Appointments Forum meets, it is an opportunity to learn how we can improve aspects of the process and avoid pitfalls in future searches.

If you have questions about the search process, simply let us know in a reply to this email.