Downlands College has operated as a corporation since 24 November 1995. The Constitution of Downlands College empowers the Board, which currently consists of nine directors, to manage the College.
Board Meetings and Activity
Every meeting begins with a time of prayer and reflection, usually with a focus on MSC spirituality and ethos. All directors are thus invited into a deeper appreciation of “heart spirituality” which is the foundation and inspiration for Downlands College. Following this time of prayer and reflection, the meeting deals with the minutes of the previous meeting and any correspondence is tabled and discussed. Having dealt with these matters, the Board then receives reports.
Firstly, the College Principal reports on issues of importance and of interest that have occurred in the life of the College since the Board last met. These reports are informative and ensure directors are kept up to date with the key events in the life of the College. They alert directors to issues that may require action from the Board in meeting their responsibilities as directors in the collaborative governance of the College. They also provide opportunities for advice to be sought and received. In this way, the Board, as the strategic planning body for the College, works collaboratively with the Principal who is responsible for day to day management issues.
Following the Principal’s report, the seven committees of the Board also report on activities since the last meeting. These seven committees are aligned to the ‘objects’ for which the Downlands College as a company was established. These objects are outlined in Clause 2 of the Constitution. The committees are: Catholic Identity and the MSC Tradition; Collaborative Leadership and Governance; Educational Philosophy and Vision; Staff Development and Support; Student Care and Welfare; Financial Management and Stewardship of Resources; and Audit. Membership of these committees includes directors and members of the College community who have direct day to day responsibility for these areas. Reports from each of these committees illuminate activity of the Board as well as providing the Board with the necessary data so that it can monitor activity in these areas for which it has some responsibility. The committee structure also ensures that the Board meetings keep members abreast of each of these areas and that no one area dominates the agenda.
The Board and the College community generally is well served by these committees with the committee reports demonstrating that due attention has been given to each of these areas in the life of the College, that on-going development continues to take place and that the College is in a sound position across all areas.
The Board consists of the following: Chairman - Mr John Minz, Mr Murray Crawford, Mr Stephen McIllhatton (Principal), Ms Kate McLoughlin, Mrs Julie Raitelli, Mrs Dianne Rozynski, Mrs Donaugh Shirley, Fr Bob Irwin MSC, Mr John Dornbusch and Ms Dorothy Andrews.
Identity and Ethos
Identity and ethos issues are important, not just for Downlands College at this point in its history, but for Catholic education across the country. In part this is the the result of a declining number of religious who are now engaged in Catholic education. It is also reflective of the weaker position generally of the Church in our society. A number of measures are in place to ensure that the staff of the College are initiated into the “heart spirituality” which permeates the life of Downlands College and underpins its identity and ethos. Each year, the Directors of the Board participate in a retreat day which focuses on these essential aspects of MSC charism and spirituality. The Board needs to be mindful of the unique identity and ethos of Downlands College in all its deliberations – the retreat day is one important activity that facilitates this alignment. This year the retreat day was held at the College and included sessions on MSC ethos and spirituality, governance matters and the identity of the Catholic School.
The Board continues to work collaboratively with the College Principal and staff in assisting the College achieve its goals by following sound management and educational principles.
Mr John Minz