Five more years
By Brendan Howe
For better or for worse, Western is committed to its president Paul Davenport for the next six and a half years as he guides the university into the 21st century.
The Board of Governors re-appointed him Friday for his second five-year term after a recommendation from a review committee, which heard presentations from various campus groups on the president's performance.
Bill Peel, chair of the Board of Governors, headed the committee and said for the past two months, eight governors, including himself, received over 70 submissions on Davenport's performance in the form of letters and presentations.
"I think he's done an outstanding job in the three and a half years he's been on the job," Peel said. He added Davenport's good performance has been in a time of financial strain on the university.
The term of Western's president would have expired in June 1999 but now Davenport will lead the university well into 2004.
"I want to say what an honour it is to be president of Western. This is a truly outstanding university," Davenport said. "I look forward to the years ahead."
Recruiting students, faculty and staff, as well as executing the university's strategic plan, are among the things Davenport said he will be concentrating on for the next few years.
Ryan Parks, president of the University Students' Council, was one of the presenters to the review committee. He said after being re-appointed, Davenport now has an opportunity to interact more with student groups.
"I think for a number of reasons the communication between senior administration and students has been less than satisfactory," he said.
Since Parks presented to the committee, both VP-administration Peter Mercer and Davenport have scheduled regular meetings with the USC for the coming months. He said this is something which neither of his two previous predecessors experienced.
Peel said the alternative to re-appointing Davenport would have been to set up a search committee for a new president. "There were so many overwhelmingly positive comments, that wasn't necessary."
Sam Castiglione, USC VP-student issues, wrote a letter to the review committee making some recommendations on Davenport's performance thus far. He said on an external level the president has been great but he needs to work more on internal relations.
"This is the Western experience we have trouble getting a hold of Davenport sometimes," Castiglione said.
Parks said this should change in the future when his monthly meetings with the president begin. He added Davenport has a lot of influence as chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and he hopes the president will support the student loan proposal from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.