Transparency is a funny thing to navigate for any public university stuck in that semi-autonomous but government-operated grey zone. Especially if you’re trying to be globally competitive, as some Canadian institutions are. When and how a university attempts to be more open can be an interesting thing to watch, because of course no university has to do such things, but sometimes they do—and it makes it all the more glaring when they turtle up.
For example, at the University of British Columbia, the selection of a new Dean of Education has been remarkably open. Later this month, the final two candidates will make a public pitch to interested observers as to their vision for the faculty, and take questions from the audience.
Last year, when choosing a new Dean of Arts, the university conducted an election for which student would sit on the selection committee. They also let everyone know when the list of candidates was narrowed to three.
In this case, it’s good publicity for the university, it’s a way to consult the community in a key decision without giving over control—and it’s an approach other universities should emulate.