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Board Orientation and Education Policy

1. Policy

While it is expected that Governors will possess sufficient knowledge, experience and expertise at the time of their appointment to serve in such capacity, it is recognized that they will not be experts in all disciplines or in all aspects of governance. Therefore, ongoing professional development is expected of the Board, the Board Chair and individual Governors. New Governors are expected to participate in Colleges Ontario’s and the College Employer Council’s College Centre of Board Excellence orientation session(s).

In addition, the Board will ensure that each new Governor receives a comprehensive orientation to help him/her become an effective Board member as soon as possible. Ongoing education to enhance the Board’s and individual Board members’ governance capacity will also be planned and offered to the Governors.

The following principles will guide the Board’s orientation and ongoing education:

a) The Board will proactively define its requirements for orientation and ongoing education;

b) The Board will develop an annual education plan through the Board’s governance committee and include items related to good governance, policy related matters relevant to the governance function and strategic matters of importance to the college;

c) Board members will commit time to participating in the orientation and education sessions as part of their overall commitment as Board members of the organization; and

d) Wherever possible, all Board members will participate in the same educational offerings; customized education may be required to support specialized committee work from time to time.

2. Responsibilities

The Board (through the Governance Committee) and the President are responsible:

a) define the key elements of a comprehensive orientation for new Governors;

b) provide leadership in the delivery of the orientation program (normally through the Board Chair);

c) annually take stock of its collective and individual needs for professional development of Governors; and

d) develop an annual education program delivered in one or more special meetings or incorporated into the regular meeting agendas of the Board.

The President’s responsibility is to co-ordinate all aspects of the orientation and ongoing education programs, once the Board has defined them.

The President and the Board Chair have responsibility for monitoring and implementing the orientation and ongoing education program.

3. Orientation

All new Governors will receive a comprehensive orientation about Cambrian College and its mandate, the role of the Board, and the expectations for individual Governors. The orientation will be mandatory for new Governors, but will also be open to all members of the Board.

Orientation should include the following:

  • Legislative framework;
  • The college’s operations;
  • Board governance, including structures and processes;
  • Stakeholders and key relationships; and
  • Post-secondary education environment.

4. Governor Mentor Process

The Board Chair in consultation with the President, assigns a mentor by reviewing the list of incoming Board members with a view to matching similar backgrounds and areas of common interest as much as possible. The mentoring term will be for the first year of appointment of the new Governor but may continue unofficially thereafter.

Role of the Mentor and Mentee

Mentor’s role

a) To act as a counselor with respect to any questions or concerns the new Governor may feel more

comfortable addressing to another Governor and, in particular:

(i) provide support for the new Governor and help make him/her feel part of the team;

(ii) assist the new Governor in achieving goals and learning objectives;

(iii) encourage participation;

(iv) listen;

(v) provide information on routine Board processes; and

(vi) make himself/herself available if the new Governor requires guidance on issues of governance either at meetings or by phone.

New Governor’s (Mentee) Role

a) strive to achieve goals and learning objectives;

b) communicate;

c) listen; and

d) stay accessible, committed and engaged with the Mentor.

5. Ongoing Education

In recognition of the evolving nature of a Governor’s responsibilities, ongoing education may be necessary. In most cases, all Governors should be exposed to the same education.

On an annual basis, the Board (through the Governance Committee) and the President will develop an education agenda for the entire Board based on a consideration of the following:

a) Suggestions from Governors as part of the annual Board evaluation;

b) Key strategic directions of the College;

c) Major decisions on the horizon;

d) Appropriate and significant risk management themes;

e) Other factors as considered appropriate; and

f) Training related to any legislated requirements.