Sheree Drummond stepped into the role of Governing Council secretary on March 1, 2016. Drummond has worked at the University of Toronto since 2003 and previously held the positions of assistant provost and deputy secretary.
The Governing Council is the university’s highest governing body and the secretary’s role is to oversee the many parts of U of T’s governance processes, including the Governance Council, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office, the Internal Audit Office, and the Office of Convocation.
“At the core of it, you are — and the word is used in the position description — a guardian,” Drummond said. “There are all of these processes and rules that need to be maintained and respected and the role of the secretary… is to make sure that all of that is happening appropriately.”
As the fourth secretary of the Governing Council, Drummond hopes to make information more accessible and to build relationships with the various university stakeholders.
“I see that as a high priority because I think it is very important in terms of building the trust with people if they know who you are and have the chance to interact with you,” Drummond said. “Then I think the likelihood of there being open communication especially when there are difficult issues is a lot better at that point. I am expecting to spend a fair amount of my time actually meeting with people either inside or outside of our system.”
Drummond graduated from UTSC — known at the time as Scarborough College — in 1992. She was actively involved in student life, participated in student government, worked as a residence don, and even drove the shuttle bus around the Scarborough campus.
“In many ways, I see this as the grown up adult version of what I was doing as a student here,” Drummond said.
As an undergraduate student, Drummond did not know much about the Governing Council and wishes she had known about it. As a result, she wants to use her new position to educate more people about how the university operates.
“I see it as a public service really to kind of help people understand what our system is, how it is structured and where are the places for them to actually engage and make a difference and have their voices heard,” Drummond said. “While people can proactively do something about that, I think I can also be proactive in trying to be clear and open about that so it gives people the opportunity to know more about how we operate and actually become part of the dialogue in a positive way.”
Passionate about post-secondary education, Drummond also brings experience from her time working for the University of Alberta’s central administration.
“I just think that having the opportunity to work in a university is extremely exciting. Being constantly exposed to young people and the ways in which they are thinking, all the new ideas coming from the faculty, from the students; you’re always feeling like you’re in an evolving innovative environment,” she said. “Even if you are not personally engaged in the teaching and the research, it has a huge impact on the work that you do, even from the administration and governance side. It is a very satisfying thing.”