Terms of Reference

Purpose:

The purpose of the Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) is to advise the UBC Board of Governors (through its Finance Committee) and the Executive Management Team on matters related to maximizing the benefits of investments in Information Technology (IT) consistent with the strategy and risk appetite of the university.

Objectives:

  1. Help improve the effectiveness and mitigate the risk of UBC's investment in IT.
  2. Provide advice for strategic and operational implementations.
  3. Offer assurance to the UBC Board of Governors, the UBC Executive Management Team, and the wider UBC community that the institution's approach to IT governance, planning, investment prioritization, administration and risk management are robust, realistic, and reflect best practice.
  4. Share relevant experience from other organisations and industries pursuing similar objectives from technology deployment to help gauge appropriateness of policies, strategies and delivery approaches.
  5. Comment on policies and strategic directions based on experience in other public sector, education, highly technology dependent, or customer-intense organisations.
  6. Comment on plans for solution selection, technology deployment, risk management, communication and change management based on experience with similar undertakings.
  7. Review the organisation's approach to delivering technology solutions and its ability to absorb associated structural changes.
  8. Examine considerations for the institution's employees' capacity to process workplace change enabled by new technology.
  9. Examine the IT organisation's plans in the context of organisational readiness and involvement.
  10. Challenge current IT thinking with alternative technology approaches and creative solution options.
  11. Assess whether the level of innovation and creative thinking in the IT organisation's approach is appropriate to UBC.
  12. Offer alternative solution thinking in terms of technology selection, work resourcing and service operation.
  13. Evaluate and if deemed appropriate, recommend approval of budget authorizations for IT projects requiring Executive and/or Board approval.
  14. Evaluate implementations of major IT projects considering scope, budget, timeline and factoring in considerations such as quality reviews, risk management, sustainment and change management.

Reporting Relationship:

  • ITAC reports directly to the UBC Board of Governors, through its Finance Committee, as well as on a dotted line reporting basis to UBC's Executive Management Team.
  • The Executive Sponsors for ITAC are the Vice-President Academic and Provost, UBC Vancouver and the Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UBC Okanagan.
  • The primary contact for ITAC is the Associate Vice-President, Information Technology & Chief Information Officer.

Membership:

ITAC is comprised of:

  • Up to four Deans from the Vancouver campus, to be nominated by the Provost, including the Dean of Science, the Dean of Arts, and one of the Deans in Health Sciences
  • One Dean from the Okanagan campus, to be nominated by the Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Okanagan
  • The Chairs of Finance and Audit Committees, and up to another three members of the UBC Board of Governors
  • One external senior leader from another research-intensive institution
  • Two external senior leaders with corporate business experience and ideally familiarity with IT system implementations in large, complex organisation(s)
  • One external member who holds, or held, the Chief Information Officer (or equivalent) position with a large, complex organisation
  • the VP Academic & Provost Vancouver
  • the Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Okanagan
  • the VP Finance and Operations
  • the VP Human Resources
  • the Associate Vice-President Information Technology & Chief Information Officer

A current list of members and the term expiry dates shall be maintained by the CIO's office and will be attached to the Terms of Reference as an appendix.

Terms of Appointment:

  • Up to 3 years, or, coincident to positions held.

Representatives from Enterprise Risk and Assurance, Office of the CIO, the President's and the Provost's Office shall have a standing invite to attend meetings as they deem appropriate, as non-voting members.

Format:

  • The Council will have at least four regularly scheduled half-day sessions annually, as well as possible additional ad hoc meetings (in-person or via tele or video conference) when required.
  • Required notice for meetings and online votes is one week, or, as otherwise agreed by the Council.
  • The agenda for each regular session will be approved by the Chair in advance and normally include, but not be limited to the following:
    • Approval of prior meeting's minutes
    • Review of outstanding action items from prior meetings
    • Summary review of the status of major and large IT capital projects
    • "Deep dives" on one or more significant issues or projects under consideration, or being implemented
    • Recommendations concerning upcoming budget funding approvals for IT Capital Projects requiring Executive and/or Board approval
    • Analysis and updates on significant risks and issues related to IT at the university; and
    • Any matters requested by the Chair or members of the Council.
  • The agenda will indicate whether items are intended for Information, for Discussion, for Recommendation (e.g. to Executive/Board), or for Approval. If for Recommendation or Approval, then the corresponding draft resolution should be posted for consideration.
  • Pre-read materials are to be posted on the Council's online portal ideally at least one week prior to the meeting.
  • Presenters at Council meetings will endeavour to ensure the purpose of their presentation and any recommendations or approvals requested are appropriately summarized and highlighted.
  • The Office of the CIO will be responsible for overseeing the preparation of the pre-read and discussion materials and for the facilitation of each session, in coordination with the Chair of the Council.
  • Subject matter experts from outside and within the University may be invited to present to the Council.
  • Presentations at Council meetings are intended to highlight key points/issues and stimulate informed discussion and evaluation, rather than merely repeating the pre-read materials.
  • "Deep dive" discussions will cover technology topic(s) or projects of high significance for the university at that time. Examples are information security, enterprise applications and systems, disaster recovery and research computing support.
  • Each half-day session will be attended at a minimum by the Chair and/or Deputy Chair of the Council, two Deans, at least one Board representative on the Council, and the CIO. All members are invited to attend every session.
  • The Council will have quorum for meetings and voting when at least two of four Deans, the Chair/or Deputy Chair, and at least one member of the UBC Board of Governors is in attendance, or have registered their vote in the case of an online vote. On an exception basis, when Council members are not able to attend meetings due to unavoidable reasons, appointed delegates shall be granted authority to vote.
  • Resolutions will be carried by a majority vote, subject to quorum requirements being met.

Discussion Inputs:

  • Current or emerging technologies, policies, strategies, product/services selections and service offerings, vendor relationships and implementation plans for technology and technology enabled business changes at UBC
  • Risk assessments of IT projects, services, issues
  • Points of view from subject matter experts attending meetings or prepared ahead of the meetings and distributed to Council members
  • Relevant contextual information about the institution
  • Internal audit reports

Discussion Outcomes:

Advice to the UBC Executive Management Team and the UBC Board of Governors about:

  • IT governance and program/project management
  • Prioritization of IT projects
  • Appropriateness of technology solutions proposed or IT related standards and policies
  • Expected change impact on the institution and adequacy of change management plans
  • Likelihood of success with proposed implementation approach
  • Appropriateness of funding and other resourcing assumed by the university
  • Significant IT budget proposals
  • Emerging technology and industry experience

ITAC will share its views and recommendations with the Board of Governors in writing or in presentation form, as requested by the Board of Governors.

Chair / Deputy Chair:

The Chair of the Council is an external member appointed by the UBC Executive, on a term to be agreed upon with the Chair. The role of the Chair is to:

  • Set the meeting agendas
  • Coordinate with the CIO about the preparation of meeting materials and presentations
  • Lead the meetings
  • Ensure meetings are documented, action items noted, and minutes are circulated promptly

The Deputy Chair is determined by its members on a term to be agreed upon with the Deputy Chair. The Deputy Chair is an external member. The Deputy Chair's role is to provide advice to the Chair and act in the Chair's absence upon request.

Updated May 2020