University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon campus

The Canadian University Boards Association (CUBA) exists to improve the governance of Canadian universities. It serves as a means of mobilizing the leadership of university boards to support and develop policies and programs that enhance the ability of boards to discharge their fiduciary duties and to be accountable for the overall direction of their universities.

On May 4–6, 2023, CUBA will be hosting our annual conference at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK. Join us for an exciting weekend of education and networking opportunities, to meet with your peers and build your network, and to experience Saskatoon!

Conference theme

Governing Through Change

The last few years have created seismic shifts in almost every aspect of our daily lives. The changes thrust upon us have caused shifts in how we view and use technology, shifts in our expectations of one another and how we connect, and even shifts in how we approach and view leadership. These shifts are not independent ideas to be dissected and studied, rather we must come to terms with the interdependence of this change, a concept well known to the Indigenous people of our land through the concept of “wahkotowin”, a Nehiyaw (Cree) concept that teaches us that “everything is related”.

The 2023 CUBA conference will focus on key changes taking place in the post-secondary sector and beyond, that influence the future of governance of higher education. It is our conference goal to provide the information and tools needed for university board members, and the people that support them, to tackle the challenges ahead.


Friday, May 5
Morning Welcome to CUBA 2023
Change Leadership in Universities
KEYNOTE: The Cultures of Higher Education: Managing Change Across Boundaries

Dr. Jeffrey Buller: Director, Leadership and Professional Development Program, Florida Atlantic University; Senior Partner ATLAS: Academic Training, Leadership and Assessment Services

Universities have not one culture but many. In addition to the ways in which students and professors see the world, governing boards, fundraisers, alumni, and parents all have distinct perspectives. Each group brings its own vocabulary, concerns, and priorities to any discussion about setting the university’s agenda or even what the purpose of a university is. Focusing on some of the key differences in cultural expectations between board members and faculty members, the presentation will explore ways in which these differences are actually healthy and, by spanning boundaries, members of all the different cultures in higher education can work together to promote and manage change.

Changes in Identity
deybwewin | taapwaywin | tapwewin: A Case Study of Canada’s first policy on Indigenous verification in higher education

Dr. Angela Jaime: Interim Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, University of Saskatchewan.

In July 2021, the USask Board of Governors approved a new policy on Indigenous membership/citizenship verification, the result of ground-breaking work by a task force led by Indigenous Elders and leaders. Previously, verification relied on self-identification and had been conducted internally. Now, Indigenous communities will decide what evidence is required when faculty, staff and students apply for positions or scholarships where they could gain a material advantage. Dr. Jaime will present on the journey to develop that policy and lead a panel of task force members in discussing it’s future and the implications for post-secondary education.

Changes in Leadership
University Presidents: What keeps us up at night and what gets us going in the morning?

Peter Stoicheff: President, University of Saskatchewan; Chair, U15
Mike Mahon: President, University Lethbridge; former Chair, Universities Canada

Board members and board professionals will hear about the topics that occupy the minds of their key employee – their presidents. The session facilitator will ensure to ask the presidents the important question for CUBA participants “What do boards and board professionals need to know and how can they help?”

Changes in Leadership
Equity and Inclusion in universities: Moving beyond good intentions. 

Dr. Julie Cafley: Executive Director, Catalyst Canada.

In leading organizations, DEI planning is central to board governance, strategic planning, and organizational metrics, and the absence of real DEI action is seen as a major institutional risk. Inclusion and belonging is often led at the Board level, championed by the President and their executive team and supported by people across the organization who are driven not only by their passion but also metrics and accountability. It is now part of leadership. Carfley's talk will be followed by a moderated discussion with university leaders.

6 pm
CUBA Gala at Remai Modern
Saturday, May 6


Invitation to CUBA 2024 from Western University


Changes in Leadership
The Critical Role of Boards in the Success of the Canadian University President

Julian Demkiw: University Secretary, University of Saskatchewan; Ph.D Candidate, Educational Administration

The most recent research shows that close to 30% of people appointed to the role of a university president in a Canadian university will vacate their role before the end of their first term. As well, the average length of service of presidents has gone from a high of eight years in the 1950’s to just over four today. When asked what contributed to their earlier-than-planned departures, almost all presidents point to their relationship with their boards. Mr. Demkiw will highlight the outcomes of his own research, as well as present on others, outlining the critical role that boards, and the staff that support them, play in the success of these important positions in the post-secondary landscape.

Changes in Governance
CLOSING KEYNOTE: Governing Canada’s universities in turbulent times

Julia Eastman: University Governance Author and Advisor

Julia Eastman, lead author of University Governance in Canada: Navigating Complexity (with Glen A. Jones, Claude Trottier and Olivier Bégin-Caouette) will sketch out commonalities and variations in how universities are governed across the country. After situating Canadian higher education in the global context and looking at challenges ahead for boards of universities and other organizations, Julia will speak about ways in which university boards are particularly constrained and tested and ways in which they are especially well-equipped and blessed. The talk will conclude with words of advice for you as board and governance leaders.

CUBA Annual General Meeting
Lunch and Conference end


Jeffery Buller 

Jeffery Buller

Senior Partner
ATLAS Leadership Training

Jeffrey L. Buller is a senior partner in ATLAS: Academic Training, Leadership, and Assessment Services. He has served in administrative positions ranging from department chair to vice president for academic affairs at four very different institutions: Loras College, Georgia Southern University, Mary Baldwin College, and Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of twenty-five books on academic leadership, a textbook for first-year college students, two books of essays on the music dramas of Richard Wagner, a book of research on the Greek tragedian Sophocles, and several novels. Buller has also published more than two hundred articles, essays, and reviews, including works on Greek and Latin literature, nineteenth- and twentieth-century opera, and college administration. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the principal English-language lecturer at the International Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. More recently,Buller has been active as a consultant to the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, where he is helping to improve academic leadership across the Kingdom.

Julie Cafley  

Julie Cafley

Executive Director
Catalyst Canada

Dr. Julie Cafley is the Executive Director of Catalyst Canada, an organization that drives inclusive workplaces. She is a creative, strategic leader and an accomplished academic with expertise in equity and inclusion, public policy and higher-education leadership. In 2023, she was chosen as a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67). She is a frequent writer and speaker on higher education, leadership and gender equity. Previously, she was the Vice-President, Communications and External Relations at the Digital Research Alliance of Canada where she helped to build the Alliance as a new non-profit organization. Before that, she worked as the Executive Vice-President at the Public Policy Forum (PPF). Cafley built bridges and enhanced the profile and visibility of the PPF while directing its communications, external partnerships, membership and learning teams. In her previous role as Chief of Staff to two presidents at the University of Ottawa, Julie worked closely with the President and the senior executive team to develop and advance strategic initiatives. Cafley holds a PhD in education leadership from the University of Ottawa with sought-after expertise in university presidential mandates. Her thesis focused on higher education leadership and governance through the lens of unfinished terms of Canadian university presidents. Cafley is an active community builder and a collaborative change maker. Whether it is serving coffee and muffins to the region’s homeless people, serving on the board of Parkinson Canada, mentoring young policy wonks, or supporting her alma mater on its Campaign Cabinet and Dean’s advisory council, giving back is integral to who she is and a part of her every day. Cafley is a committed advocate for women and leadership, a constant ally for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples and an indefatigable champion for diversity initiatives.

Julian Demkiw 

Julian Demkiw

University Secretary and Chief Governance Officer
University of Saskatchewan


Julia Eastman 

Julia Eastman

Adjunct Professor
Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

Julia Eastman writes, speaks and advises on university governance in Canada, drawing on extensive experience in the field. She is Adjunct Professor in the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, where she served as University Secretary from 2005 to 2018. Prior to that, she worked at Dalhousie University. Eastman has a BA in Political Economy from the University of Toronto, a MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Toronto. She co-authored a book on mergers in higher education (with Daniel Lang), has written about university governance and revenue generation and is lead author (with Glen Jones, Claude Trottier and Olivier Bégin-Caouette) of University Governance in Canada: Navigating Complexity (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022), based on a comparative case study of the governance of six major universities across the country.

Angela Jaime 

Angela Jaime

interim Vice Provost, Indigenous Engagement and Professor in Indigenous Studies
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Angela M. Jaime (enrolled member of the Pit River tribe) is the interim Vice Provost, Indigenous Engagement and a Professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Jaime arrived in Saskatoon July 2020 after accepting the position of the Vice Dean, Indigenous for the College of Arts and Science. Dr. Jaime spent 16 years at the University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming) as Professor in and Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies and Associate Director of the School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice. Dr. Jaime has been teaching, consulting and researching in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism/anti-oppression, critical race theory, social justice and Indigenous Education for more than 25 years. Jaime completed her doctorate at Purdue University in 2005 and her master’s degree from San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies in 1997. Her areas of research are in critical race theory, Indigenous education, Native women and their experiences in higher education, and research methodology through an Indigenous and anti-racist/anti-oppression lens. She promotes social justice by critically examining systematic racism/oppression and discrimination of Indigenous people and people of color in higher education. Most importantly, she is a mother of two amazing boys.

Mike Mahon 

Mike Mahon

University of Lethbridge

As the sixth President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge, Dr. Mike Mahon is committed to building a comprehensive, destination university in western Canada. Mahon has held several standing provincial and national commitments related to post-secondary education. He most recently served as the Chair of the Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta (COPPOA). Fall 2019 concluded Mahon’s two-year term as Chair of the Board of Directors for Universities Canada. He has served on a number of Boards including Canadian University Sport (USports), Alberta Economic Development Authority, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Coaching Association of Canada. Mahon is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and an honorary member of the Kainai Chieftainship of the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. His Blackfoot name is Iipisowaahsiiyi (Morning Star). Mahon holds a PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His current research is in the field of disability studies and sport for development.

Mike Mahon 

Peter Stoicheff

President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Saskatchewan

Peter Stoicheff began his 37-year career at the University of Saskatchewan in 1986. After serving as a professor and then dean of the College of Arts and Science, he was appointed the 11th President of the University of Saskatchewan in 2015. He has led it to be one of Canada’s top research-intensive medical-doctoral universities, with global impact in water and food security, synchrotron science, pandemic preparedness and agricultural technology. Recognizing the importance of postsecondary education to Indigenous peoples, Peter has supported the University of Saskatchewan to be a Reconciliation leader in the country, increasing its Indigenous student enrolments and ensuring its close connections with local and national Indigenous communities and organizations. He has also increased the university’s partnerships with other world-leading institutions around the world. 

Professional Development Day

The Governance Professional Development Day will be hosted by Western University in Saskatoon, SK on May 4, 2023.

*Please note that the professional development day is open to board professional staff only.


Registration is now live! Be sure to register early — early bird registration now extended to March 15, 2023.

Conference fees:

Early Bird Rate:
(extended to March 15)

• Full Conference Early Bird rate (May 4-6, excluding PD Day): $670 
• Professional Development Day + Full Conference Early Bird rate: $760 

Regular rate

• Full Conference Regular Registration rate (May 4-6, excluding PD Day): $795
• Professional Development Day + Full Conference Registration rate: $885 

Other fees

• Professional Development Day (May 4 only): $90
• Extra Ticket to Gala (May 5): $120

*All above conference fees include applicable sales tax. Please note that cancellations are required in writing; please contact the conference organizers to cancel. Registration fees will be refunded in full if cancelled by April 7, 2023 (3 weeks before conference). After April 7, 2023 registration fees will be refunded 50% if cancelled.

Getting here

Saskatoon is serviced by Skyxe, the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport. Car rental services are available at the airport as well as taxi, Uber, or city bus service to the university.

The University of Saskatchewan is nestled in the the South Saskatchewan River in the heart of Saskatoon. We are located on Treaty 6 land and the homeland of the Métis.

Where to stay

This year's conference is being hosted at the historic Delta Hotels by Marriot Bessborough, located right in the heart of downtown Saskatoon. The Delta Bessborough was built in the 1930s, initially for the Canadian National Railway, and today, it is one of Saskatoon's most iconic landmarks. Situated on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, the hotel is surrounded by local eateries and shops, walking paths that wind through the beautiful Meewasin Valley, and stunning views of Saskatoon's many bridges that stretch out across the river. 

Delta Bessborough Hotel

Book your accomodations now to receive the exclusive CUBA / ACCAU Conference rate. 

Around town

Saskatoon is known as the "Paris of the Prairies," and with good reason! Whether you're taking in the gorgeous riverfront, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, or meeting with a friendly face, Saskatoon's charm is unforgettable. 

(clockwise l-r) Remai Modern Art Gallery; River Landing, Meewasin Valley Trails; Persephone Theatre. Photos courtesy Discover Saskatoon.

Be sure to check out some of Saskatoon's downtown attractions, all located within walking distance of the conference venue:

Remai Modern Art Gallery: a modern and contemporary art gallery with work from both local and international artists, located right on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River (also the venue for the May 5 gala).

Persephone Theatre: a professional performing arts theatre with both in-house and visiting productions offered year-round. 

River Landing: this riverfront park space is perfect for taking in the river valley or enjoying a walk along the many pathways. Be sure to grab a bite to eat from the popular Sugar Shack while you're there!

Kiwanis Memorial Park: Located right next to the Delta Hotels by Marriot Bessborough, Kiwanis Memorial Park is home to walking paths, beautiful park space and the Vimy Memorial. 

Local eateries like Living Sky Cafe (perfect for lunch out), Ayden Kitchen & Bar (owned by Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay), Shelter Brewing Company (local beer on tap + tacos) and so much more!

For more on what to see and do around town, check out Discover Saskatoon, which is your go-to source for the latest on local happenings and attractions. 

Peter MacKinnon Building, University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon Campus