Nominations and Elections
A committee appointed by the Board of Governors nominates four members of the Society each year for election to the Board. Society members may also make nominations. The Nominations Committee seeks out candidates who are able to bring a diversity of skills and experience to the governance of the school, with a focus on specific qualities and individual ability to help in the execution of the strategic plan and the fulfilment of the school's mission. We endeavour to maintain a board that reflects a balance of expertise and perspectives.
The Nominations Committee is charged each year to make a recommendation to the Board and the Society as a whole as to whom we believe to be best suited to fill any upcoming potential Board seats. However, alongside the Nominations Committee’s work, the Society bylaws also allow any member of the Society to put their own name forward, in addition to those names recommended by the Nominations Committee. If this happens, there are more nominees than available Board seats, and an election is held.
Nominations and Elections FAQ
The Bylaws establish the Nominations Committee as an autonomous body set up by the Board. Its principal responsibility to the SMUS Society is to ensure that suitably qualified candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board.
Candidates are nominated in two ways:
A) By the Board appointed Nominations Committee. The SMUS Society Bylaws were drawn up to ensure that sufficient nominees would be available to fill vacancies on the Board of Governors. The Bylaws (Article 5) require institution by the Board of an autonomous Nominations Committee.
B) A Society member or members following the publication of the Nominations Papers.
The Committee is appointed by the Board for a one-year term, starting in October each year. For a list of current members, see the Board Committees section of the website.
The Nominations Committee is charged each year with the critical task of assessing the composition of the Board in light of vacancies caused by departing Governors, and then selecting suitable candidates for nomination. This is an ongoing task that continuously occupies the Nominations Committee and is undertaken with great diligence and deliberation. As an autonomous body set up by the Board its workings are necessarily confidential and its principal responsibility to the SMUS Society is to ensure that qualified candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board.
The Committee identifies suitably qualified candidates for nomination and approaches them individually to consider serving the school. Not only are the short, medium and long term operational requirements of the school considered, careful assessment is also given to the specific skills and experience necessary in each potential candidate in order to serve the school most effectively as it moves forward with the execution of the Strategic Plan to fulfil the Mission of the school.
Candidates are considered who are willing and able to volunteer their expertise, time, energy and resources to the school, who are strategic thinkers, who are fully engaged with the school (or who will become so engaged) and whose maturity, expertise and wisdom will contribute significantly to the effective governance of the school.
The Nominations Committee also considers the diversity of representation on the Board with regard to many factors such as multi-disciplinary backgrounds, gender, alumni, and parents, both day and boarding.
The Nominations Committee looks to the composition of all its nominated candidates to achieve the desired balance in terms of experience, skill and diversity required on the Board. Prospective candidates together form a slate that the Nominations Committee recommends to the Society and suggests that the entire group be evaluated on their combined ability to fill the governance requirements of the School. The Nominations Committee does not recommend one candidate over another on the slate; all are recommended equally.
Approximately six months before an Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Nominations Committee distributes nominations papers to all Society members by email outlining the number of candidates needed to fill vacancies on the Board of Governors, together with the Committee’s list of nominated candidates to fill these vacancies.
The nominations papers give full details and deadlines, together with instructions on how to nominate, so that if Society members wish to nominate additional candidates, they may do so at that time.
The Nominations Committee is mandated by the Bylaws to ensure that candidates are nominated to fill vacancies on the Board. This is considered a critical task involving the assessment of the composition of the Board in light of vacancies caused by departing Governors and then, in the best interests of the school, in selecting suitable candidates for nomination. It is an ongoing task that continuously occupies the Nominations Committee and is undertaken with great diligence and deliberation.
As an autonomous body set up by the Board, the Committee identifies suitably qualified candidates for nomination and approaches them individually to consider volunteering to serve the school. Not only are the short, medium and long-term operational requirements of the School considered, careful assessment is also given to the specific skills and experience necessary in each potential candidate in order to assist the school most effectively as it moves forward with the execution of the Strategic Plan to fulfil the Mission of the school. In discharge of its mandate the Nominations Committee identifies those candidates, which it has nominated.
Candidates nominated by individual Society members are not subject to the same selection process and voters must rely on the skills and experience profiles, as well as the expressions of interest that are provided by such candidates. In the instructions for the Ballot, all candidates’ biographical skills, experience profiles and expressions of interest in serving the School are given equal weight.
The right of any member to be nominated for election as provided by the Bylaws is not only recognized, but also rigorously observed in the nominations and elections procedures. While being fair to all candidates the Nominations Committee is still bound by its duties as prescribed by the same Bylaws to put forward a slate of suitably qualified candidates to the Society.
In a typical year the positions of four governors come up for election as Governors are elected to a three-year term and there are 12 elected governors. If the number of nominees does not exceed the vacant Governor positions by the nomination deadline, the election is by acclamation, otherwise an election is held by an online ballot.
If, at the end of the nominations period (21 days following the mailing of the nominations papers) the number of nominations exceeds the vacant governor positions, the Nominations Committee will post resumes and brief statements of interest of candidates on the school website, and advise all Society members no later than 50 days following the date of original mailing of nomination papers. The list of continuing members of the Board, and the means to participate in the ballot will be emailed to all registered and confirmed Society members and posted online. Society members then have until the date specified in the instructions to place their votes for counting.
All members of the SMUS Society in good standing and who have up-to-date contact information with the Society (an email address) are entitled to vote and will receive instructions by email on how to vote online in the event of an election. See the SMUS Society membership page for information on eligibility.
In the past the question has arisen whether or not a meeting of candidates should be held. It is considered to be in the best interests of all Society members to judge the candidates, and vote based on the skills and experience information profile provided in the biographies included in the instruments for the online ballot. Election by vote is prescribed by the Bylaws since it reflects the makeup of Society membership, and recognizes that it would be unfair to Boarding parents, for whom attendance at such a meeting would be impossible in most cases; the same being true for many other members of the Society such as alumni and alumni parents no longer living in the Victoria area.
Candidates nominated by the Nominations Committee are very carefully considered as to suitability prior to nomination; with candidates nominated by Society members as much care as possible is taken by the Committee to ensure their skills experience profiles adequately enable members to judge the relative merits of all candidates when voting. The same information is provided in writing to all Society members in order for them to make a fair decision when voting. The best practices followed by other comparable independent schools shows that candidates meetings are not held, probably because such meetings tend to be politically charged and inappropriate for the purpose of electing volunteer governors for a school.
The integrity of the voting process is very important, and the Nominations Committee takes steps to ensure that proper process is followed throughout.
Pursuant to the Bylaws, the Board of Governors has authorized that governor elections may be conducted by electronic means. The e-voting platform selected for this purpose provides a secure, easy to use and efficient method for conducting an election. All eligible members receive a unique personal voting code, together with an electronic ballot and instructions to link to the SMUS election website. There the voter is invited to select up to the maximum number of candidates for election on the ballot and press submit. Once submitted the voting code cannot be used again. The vote is electronically deposited in the secure databases of the independent platform provider. The votes are secret/anonymous as submitted. On the date set for counting, a tabulation is run electronically by the platform provider under the scrutiny of the scrutineers appointed in accordance with the Bylaws and the results are verified and confirmed. The Nominations Committee is informed of the successful candidates and the result is posted on the school website.