CHERD webinars

Upcoming webinar

  • Photo of scales of justice, books, professional handshake.
  • University governance and labour relations: Ne’er the twain or? 

    December 14, 2022
    12 pm to 1:15 pm CDT

    In this webinar, Cheryl Foy will describe the ways in which university governance and labour relations or faculty affairs intersect. Cheryl will discuss the role of the university Board in approving mandates and collective agreements. She will also explore the ways in which collective agreements can intentionally or unintentionally complicate university governance. 


Cheryl Foy, President, Strategic Governance Consulting Services Ltd.

Yvonne Kinley

Cheryl Foy is the author of An Introduction to University Governance. See her website at

With over 20 years of governance experience in the publicly traded, private, not-for-profit and university sectors, Cheryl began her legal career as a union-side labour lawyer. She is very interested in the intersection between governance and labour relations. 

Cheryl brings an understanding of the evolving governance best practices that are driven by the increasing sophistication of the investing public in ensuring accountability and transparency within the companies in which they are invested. She combines a deep understanding of a board’s legal obligations and the foundations and principles of good governance, with an effective, accessible, and practical communication style. She focuses on strategic governance, meaning that she works to fully understand the founding mandate and the strategic direction of each organization. Cheryl considers each university’s governance effectiveness in the context of the individual organization’s strategy, understanding that there is no “one size fits all” model of governance. 

Previous webinars

The future of work on campus: Faculty, staff and student perspectives

As higher education institutions returned to a new normal, we discussed how the COVID pandemic transformed aspects of higher education, especially in the way that people work and study. We re-examined the objectives of all we do including the use of space, and the dynamics of the engagement that is core to higher education. Alan Davis, President and Vice-Chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) joined us for our first Fall 2022 webinar, using KPU as a case study.

Is it possible to develop a set of nationally applicable university governance best practices?

Cheryl Foy’s answer to this important question is yes. In this webinar, she spoke to the 2021 International Standards Organization Governance of organizations - Guidance - Reference No. ISO 37000:2021(E) as the possible basis for a set of Canadian university best practices.

Challenges for academic leadership in Canada: Lessons from Netflix’s The Chair

Current and recent Canadian academic leaders discussed the Netflix show, The Chair, from a Canadian perspective. They considered how closely it mirrors the Canadian experience, and the lessons it can teach us about academic leadership. The Chair, starring Sandra Oh, was launched by Netflix in September 2021. This comedy-drama examines the challenges faced by a new English department chair, exploring issues of race, gender, and academic leadership.

Sustaining strategic innovation in higher education: Can insights from the corporate sector help?

Over the past two decades, research in the corporate sector has identified successful practices and structures to sustain strategic innovation in mature organizations. As higher education lags behind other sectors, perhaps some of these could help us to address our many challenges including changing learner demographics, diminishing government support, and preparing graduates for an uncertain future of work. Anahita Baregheh, Thomas Carey and Gina O’Connor considered if these insights could be adapted to higher education.

The changing relationship between governments and universities

Canadian public universities have always had a strong connection with their respective provincial governments as education falls within provincial jurisdiction. Over the last few years, with the introduction of new metrics including performance based funding, quality assurance and employability, this relationship has changed. John Alho provided background and future directions for university government relationships, drawing on his extensive experience.

Defending institutional autonomy: the role of effective governance


This webinar examined the nature of the threats to institutional autonomy in Canada and the role that effective university governance plays in protecting and advancing institutional autonomy. Institutional autonomy is essential for universities to thrive. There are many indications that it is under threat.

Department leadership in the time of COVID

In this webinar, three current Canadian department chairs reflected on their experiences over the past year and looked ahead to what returns to campus might mean. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for higher education. Academic department chairs have played a crucial role as on-the-ground leaders, responsible for managing unit responses and translating institutional policies into specific disciplinary and program contexts.

Leading Change to Prepare Graduate Students for Diverse Careers

This was a free webinar that looked at how academic and administrative leaders can promote change that maintains and advances the academic and research goals of the university, given that doctoral programs in most disciplines have traditionally focused on preparing students for academic careers, but only a minority of current PhD graduates obtain academic positions. It discussed these issues based on SSHRC-funded research on PhD career development.

Imagining the Future of Higher Education in Canada: Radical Flexibility as a Potential Solution

This was a free webinar sharing recent research coalesces around the future of higher education. Drawing from survey and interview studies examining faculty experiences and practices during the pandemic, and grounded on a large body of earlier work examining flexible and online learning, it invited participants to reflect on potential higher education futures, and discuss the role of flexibility in those futures.

Leadership in the Midst of a Black Swan Event

Leadership in the Midst of a Black Swan Event was a free webinar that examined how Canadian post-secondary institutions and their constituent units have responded to the pandemic, with a specific focus on the identification of leadership best practices. It addressed a number of topics including pedagogy, governance, student issues, faculty, support staff, administrative and communication.

Leadership Post-COVID

Leadership Post-COVID was a free webinar that shifted the focus from short-term emergency response to what John Kroger has termed long-term strategic adjustment. It asked how we take our learning and experiences and pivot from short-term to long-term strategies for our organizations. The discussion included financial exigency, student financial support, pedagogy, student services, labour relations and collective bargaining post-COVID and campus communities’ mental health. We will also discuss the role PSE institutions may play in helping the broader community tackle these new realities.

Leading an Academic Department During Times of Crisis

Leading an Academic Department During Times of Crisis was a free one-hour webinar for university and college department heads, chairs and directors. This new professional development opportunity by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD) showed how heads, chairs and directors can provide clear leadership to their academic units while protecting personal well-being during times of uncertainty and crisis.

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