STLHE Board meeting – June 15, 2015 (Face-to-face)

Executive Summary

Approved: September 17, 2015

The STLHE Board Face-to-face meeting occurred on June 13th in Vancouver. The agenda for the meeting included the following: An update on the new administrative unit, audited financials and the 2015 Budget, the 2014 Annual Report, discussion with the STLHE 2016 Conference Organizers, a Letter of Agreement between TLC and STLHE, Awards, and a number of smaller items.

The administrative unit has officially moved to Ottawa and Tim Howard, our new administrative officer, was welcomed to the meeting and STLHE Board. New contact information has been posted on the STLHE Web site. The move is a two part process and the financials will move to Ottawa after the Annual Conference book keeping has been completed in the fall.

The preparation of the audited financials for 2014 and a budget has been a challenge. Part of the challenge was that there was no sign off of the books and accounting when the Hamilton office closed, there have been delayed invoices and missing details that have had to be sorted out, and a late request from the auditor for additional information. The auditor’s report raised a number of concerns about the financial operations of the Society during the 2014 year. Many of these were concerns identified by the new Treasurer and the Board and have been addressed in the move of the financials from Hamilton and ultimately to Ottawa. These included missing or insufficient expenditure detail, inappropriate cheque signing procedures, and oversight on the use of the STLHE credit card. Searching out and missing expenditure detail was, in part, why the preparation of the audited financials was delayed.

A set of closed audited financials is required in the preparation of the 2015 Budget and the delays in completing these have affected budgeting as well. As a result the treasurer reported that we will not have a complete 2015 budget to present at the Annual General and instead his report will explain that revenues are now exceeding expenditures and we will have to have a plan for a surplus that exceeds one years’ worth of operating expenses. The Board has asked the Treasurer to create a travel policy (including a travel bursary) and include in the budget expenses associated with Board members attending the face-to-face meetings and to set aside $12,000 for the repair and rejuvenation of the STLHE web site. The STLHE board authorized an annual $5,000 payment for three years as the Society’s contribution to ICED. This would give ICED a small measure of financial stability and is an important outreach initiative for the Society.

The secretary presented the Board with the STLHE annual report that had been circulated to members prior to the Annual General meeting. This annual report represents a hybrid between a newsletter and traditional annual report and is designed not only as the required report for members but as a promotional tool for the Society. For the first time the digital format is the primary form of the report and it provides email links to the members mentioned in the report and all the members of the various committees and groups are identified to showcase the tremendous number of volunteers who assist with the work of the Society.

Simon Bates and Stephanie Chu, the STLHE Conference Co-chairs provided an update on the conference. Registration has exceeded expectations and was closed at 700, this represents an approximate 70% participation rate by the STLHE members in their annual conference. Fortunately, having booked the entire hotel the Conference has been able to expand sessions into additional rooms, although additional hotel room blocks had to be arranged. The budget was presented; the conference is on sound financial footing even though the number of discounted preconference registrations was higher than expected. Everything is pointing to one of the best attended conferences in STLHE history.

Originally TLC was to have been the charitable arm of STLHE but over the past months there has been an increasing disconnect between the Society and TLC. There were however to be two links between the two. The first was the ex-officio position of TLC on the STLHE Board but TLC informed the Society that Maureen would not fill the ex officio Director’s position because much of the STLHE Board business wasn’t relevant to TLC; consequently the position was removed from the revised by-laws. The other link was to have been in TLC by-laws with the Vice president being the ex officio Vice-president of STLHE – but this is missing from the Cape Breton TLC by-laws. As such there is no formal link between the two and TLC should not be considered the charitable arm of STLHE. STLHE provided $50,000 in seed money for setting up TLC but the accounting of these funds remains unreported. It is also not clear how donations from STLHE members would be tax deductible by TLC and how donated funds would be available for the Society. In attempt to resolve these issues a draft Letter of Agreement was prepared by Robert and Maureen but had not been circulated to the Board in time for our face-to-face meeting. Maureen had been invited to join the meeting via WebEx but was unable to attend. The Board remains concerned about the matter, and agreed not to proceed with the LOA until the Board had the opportunity to raise its concerns with Maureen at a meeting later this fall.

With the ongoing discussion on the inclusion of the college sector in the 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award it will be necessary to insure that there is no bias in the 2017 call for nominations that may have an impact on new college sector nominations. In anticipation of the inclusion of the college sector the coordinators of the 3MNTF and College Sector Educators award will work together with the Awards Chair on a revision of the call. It was also agreed that in the absence of a funding source the College Sector Award would be suspended when college sector applicants become eligible for the new more inclusive 3MNTF award. With the current time-line, the first call for for nominations from the entire post-secondary sector for the 3MNTF will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the award at the London STLHE conference. There still needs to be work done on including college students in two year diplomas, and students who are in the last year of the program and not returning to their institutions to work on the cohort’s project.

Among the other items discussed was the transition of a Special Interest Group into a constituency. Currently Tim Loblaw is both the College Advocacy Chair and chair of the College Educators SIG and in the next few months the Chair of the Standing Committee for Partnerships will engage in discussions and consultations for how a SIG would change into a new constituency. There were some initial discussion about Bilingualism which were deferred to after the election of the new Chair of the Standing Committee for bilingualism.