The following is an open letter from Marcel Danis, Vice-Rector, Institutional Relations, and Secretary-General:
Dear Concordia Community,
Dr. Lowy's present mandate will end on August 14, 2000. Normally, it would be time to start a search. However, he has informed the Chair of our Board of Governors, Mr. Reginald Groome, that for personal reasons he does not wish to stand for a full five-year term. Nonetheless, he would be willing to continue in this position until May 31, 2003.
Upon learning of this, as Secretary-General, I suggested to Mr. Groome that rather than going forward with a full-fledged search, including a full engagement of costs and resources, that the Board of Governors should consider extending the contract of Dr. Lowy. This would mean an extension of his term for a period of 2 years and 9 months. This was discussed with my colleagues, the Vice-Rectors, the Chief Financial Officer and the Deans, and they fully support an extension to Dr. Lowy's mandate.
Since the University currently has no policy governing extensions to the terms of senior administrators, a policy is now being drafted to attend to the issue. After due consultation with the members of Senate, this proposed policy will be presented to the members of the Board of Governors at the April Board meeting.
Today, Concordia is experiencing a more positive period, not because the financial difficulties and complexities of our organization are no longer present, but because the components are better managed. The Rector, as chief executive officer of the University, is formally responsible for achieving the institutional objectives of the Board of Governors and of Senate and for leading a large and diverse population toward these objectives.
Dr. Frederick Lowy has brought to the University an open and collegial management style. His five-year appointment marked a new era for Concordia, one that directed us to be creative, to commit ourselves to excellence, to be inspired and to inspire others, all to be accomplished in a period of unprecedented fiscal challenges. This has been achieved by an attitude of respect and by a strong commitment to teamwork. In a sense, we senior administrators have been motivated and directed toward a common will for change.
Under Dr. Lowy's leadership, we have developed a team spirit and a common framework for meeting our challenges. We are concluding a development plan that will operationalize the innovative ways in which the Faculties have improved the quality of their academic programs. Developments such as those Dr. Lowy advocates will ultimately affect the success and direction of Concordia's programs and research. His foresight has enhanced our position in the academic community where our accomplishments are measured against international standards. With our space and academic plans, among others, we have the basis for a comprehensive vision of Concordia University for the 21st century.
Dr. Lowy has led the University during a very difficult period in the life of our institution with admirable fairness, foresight, openness, transparency and collegiality. In addition to the University's steady handling of its regular operations in these pressing times, the Capital Campaign is proving to be a triumph. The University is expected to surpass its goal of $55 million thanks, in part, to the many contacts that Dr. Lowy has established. The future of our fund-raising efforts relies on his indispensable contacts in the business and academic communities.
Embarking on strategies that will implement a multi-year development plan requires the continuing leadership of someone who is sensitive to, and capable of, dealing with various challenges, both internal and external to the University. I believe that Concordia would be better served by not upsetting the delicate balance that has been achieved during Dr. Lowy's stewardship: that of influencing a common will for change, professional respect and accountability to the University as a whole.
It is my belief that it is in the interests of the University to ensure that the continuity and momentum already generated toward our future is sustained. Because of this I believe that it is highly desirable that Dr. Lowy continue beyond his present term. At present, we are at the mid-point of many initiatives that are essential to our future. Efforts are underway to refocus and restructure Concordia's academic activities. Space and support services will require consolidation, major fundraising and lobbying efforts, particularly over the next several years. The University must imminently reconsider the structure and mandate of its senior administrative posts in light of task force reports and other recent discussions.
As Secretary-General, I respectfully recommend that Dr. Lowy be given the mandate to assist Concordia through the formative years of the new millennium and that he be offered an extended mandate until May 31, 2003. I believe that Dr. Lowy has successfully provided effective leadership, stimulated and fostered the spirit of collegiality, and not least, has helped lead the process of developing a vision for the University and of articulating that vision.
I would like to invite the members of the University community to write in confidence to Amely Jurgenliemk, Secretary to the Board of Governors (L-AD-222), with their thoughts on this matter. Your written comments would be appreciated by April 6, 1999.