MSVU is a small, supportive community with a big-city experience located just minutes from downtown Halifax, and recognized for its small class sizes and personalized approach to learning. A diverse mix of 4,000 people from across Canada and more close to 70 countries take advantage of our programs and unique sense of community through on-campus classes and distance learning opportunities.

Mount Saint Vincent University’s strategic plan, Strength Through Community, will inform who we are as an institution as we continue to nurture socially responsible global citizens and prepare them to confidently take their place in an uncertain world where activism on climate change, economic, social and political issues will be expected of them. The plan speaks to our research and scholarly work, our respect for cultural diversity, our commitment to community in every sense of the word, and will reflect and respond to an increased need for even wider diversity within our academic programming.

MSVU is governed by two bodies: the Board of Governors and the University Senate. The composition of the Board of Governors consists of various stakeholder groups mandated by the University Charter including “No fewer than 12 and no more than 17 members from the Community at Large”.  The Board Nominations Committee is responsible for recommending to the Board of Governors, suitable volunteer candidates to fill these 12-17 positions.

For more information about this volunteer opportunity, please review the frequently asked questions below.

Expectations of Board Members include:

Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings
The voice and perspective of Board members are important in the discussions and decision-making process. While conflicts in schedules, and inclement weather do happen Board members are expected to make every reasonable effort possible to attend the five (5) Board meetings mandated by the University Charter as well as meetings of committees to which they are assigned.

Preparation for Meetings
Board members are expected to read meeting materials and arrive at the Board (and Committee) meeting prepared to engage in discussions.

Participation in Discussions and Decisions
Board members are expected to be prepared to question and challenge ideas and concepts presented before participating in motions.  Active participation and diversity of thought are key to good governance.

Committee Participation
All Board members are expected to participate on at least one Committee. A skills matrix is used to match Board members to committee(s) where their skills sets are best suited.

Board Conduct
MSVU’s Board of Governors promotes a culture of integrity at the University through its own actions, its interaction with senior executives, and its individual interaction or business dealings with external parties. Board members are expected to act in the highest ethical manner and with integrity in all professional dealings; annually, they are are required to sign the Mount’s Board of Governors’ Acknowledgement and Agreement (A&A) document acknowledging their responsibility to:

  • Understand their role, responsibilities and commitment as a Board member;
  • Observe the provisions of the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest policies;
  • Disclose to the Board Chair information they become aware of that would be considered an actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest; and
  • Disclose to the Board Chair conduct that could impact their ability and/or qualifications to continue as a Board member.

Act in the Best Interest of the University
At the Board (and committee) table, Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the University and must act in its best interest. Board members participating in the decision-making process must bring their perspective to the Board table discussions, consider all perspectives and then make the decision in the best interest of the University; this may sometimes conflict with what is in the best interest of an individual or stakeholder group. It is not an easy task; however, Board members must act in the best interest of the University.

Leave the Meeting with “One Voice”
While Board and Committee members are expected to actively engage and participate in discussions and decision-making process, it is not expected that a full consensus will be possible in all decisions. However, once a discussion had been held, all perspectives have been considered, and a decision has been made by the Board of Governors, Board members are expected to respect this decision making process and leave with one voice, the voice of the Board and not the voice of individual Board members or stakeholder group.

Meetings of the Board of Governors at MSVU are closed sessions and discussions at the Board (and committee) table are considered confidential. It is important that Board members can be open and honest with regard to their opinions and thoughts, understanding that while decisions will be announced or released, the actual discussion leading up to the making of decisions, remains confidential.

Time Commitments of the Board Include:

Board Meetings
The Board of Governors at MSVU meets five (5) times throughout the Board year.  Typically these meetings are held September, November, February, April and June and generally last 2-3 hours.  While conflicts in schedules, and inclement weather do happen Board members are expected to make every reasonable effort possible to attend the five (5) Board meetings.

Committee Meetings
The number of committee meetings to be held over the Board year is dictated by that committee’s Terms of Reference.  Typically, committees meet 3-4 times per year; meetings generally last 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Board Retreat
The Board Retreat is generally held in the fall and consists of a Friday evening (6:00 – 8:00 pm) and a Saturday morning (9:00 am – 12:00 pm).

The University Charter (S. 6.2) provides the opportunity for Board members to participate on the Board of Governors for a maximum of six (6) years.

Members from the Community at Large are sourced through the Board Nominating Committee and recommended to the Board of Governors for appointment to the Board for a three-year term, with the possibility of reappointment for second three-year term.

The Charter does, however, have a provision that, by resolution by the Board, allows a Board member to serve beyond the six years allowable. This clause within the Charter is invoked in circumstances where the Board member’s responsibilities will extend beyond the six years (i.e. Vice-Chair, Chair, Past Chair).

Given the various skill sets that would needed for the Board of Governors to effectively carry out its fiduciary responsibility to the University, the Board Nominating Committee uses a Skills Matrix approach to monitor current skills sets on the Board (and committees) and to identify any current or upcoming gaps in those skill sets.  The following skill sets are included on the Mount’s Skills Matrix:

  • Accounting/Audit
  • Finance/Banking,
  • Investment
  • Facilities Planning and Development
  • Information Technology
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Risk Management
  • Legal
  • Labour Relations
  • Human Resources
  • Executive Compensation
  • Governance/Policy
  • Community Engagement
  • Fundraising/Philanthropy
  • Strategic Risk
  • Public Affairs
  • Government Relations
  • Education
  • Business Management

As you can see, it takes many different skills sets to effectively manage the assets of the Mount.  The Nominating Committee also considers diversity and whether the Board Candidate is an alum as positive attributes.

The Nominating Committee is committed to ensuring the diversity of Mount Saint Vincent University’s Board of Governors; it endeavors to source skill-specific representation from women, persons of any sexual orientations and gender identities and/or expressions, Indigenous persons, African Canadians, other racialized groups, persons with disabilities, and other groups that would contribute to the diversification of our campus.

Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) is strongly committed to fostering equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA). MSVU is an institution that was established by women for the advancement of women with social responsibility and social justice at its core. We embrace the diversity of our community and are committed to efforts that enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across all facets of our university, within our local community, and in society at large.

The Board Nominating Committee is responsible for maintaining a repository of possible Board Candidates who possess the skills and attributes that would make them a good Board member.  Completing the steps below does not guarantee a position on MSVU’s Board; it will, however, help us better understand your current skillset and possibly allow us to add your name to the repository of names for consideration as vacancies arise.

Step #1
Submit a bio or CV for consideration by the Nominating Committee.  This bio can be emailed to the Governance Secretary

Step #2
Complete the Skills Matrix via the link below.

Board Candidate Skills Matrix

All nominations are considered in confidence by the Board’s Nominating Committee.  As a result, the Committee does not disclose the status of nominations at any time.