The Partnership:

The Professional Director Education and Certification Program and other board governance professional programming is developed and delivered in partnership between the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) and Brown Governance Inc. (BGI).

Together, BGI and JSGS leverage their strengths to develop and deliver programs that are unique to public sector organizations. Each of the partners brings unique talents and knowledge:

  • BGI has been a leader in corporate governance and director education programs here in Canada and around the world for over 20 years, with specific expertise in the public sector federally, provincially and municipally, in addition to co-founding The Directors College in the private sector.
  • JSGS is a leading public policy school in Canada, a unique inter-university collaboration committed to providing the province of Saskatchewan with a powerful presence in public policy research and education and to projecting the values and experience of Saskatchewan onto the international stage. It is a centre for advanced education in policy and administration, and a source of respected policy advice and commentary. Through this board governance program, JSGS provides experience in various areas of public administration, sector-specific customization and public sector expertise.
Why We Do It:
  • Governance Drives Success: The better an organization is governed, the better its management, accountability, fiscal responsibility, community engagement, customer care and focus, outcomes and accomplishments. 
  • Capacity Building: Our graduates serve not only on the boards of crown corporations, RHAs, colleges, universities and school boards, but they serve on many other boards across the province in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. This contributes to the province’s overall capacity to build and expand on its good governance practices. 
  • Network Benefits: Better governed organizations have strength both vertically – they are managed better – and horizontally – they work well across the system. Together there is a common language about corporate governance principles, concepts, expectations, roles, responsibilities and relationships with each other and with government.

Brown Governance 

The Programs:

1.  The Governor Development & Certification Program (4, 2-day modules followed by an online exam)

Learning Objectives
•    Articulate the right roles and responsibilities of the board, committees, CEO and executive
•    Establish a clear sense of purpose, direction and priorities
•    Effectively ensure the accomplishment of strategic objectives   

Learning Objectives
•    Receive accurate, complete and timely information at the board
•    Effectively oversee programs and projects of the organization
•    Ensure effective oversight of the financial system and all corporate resources

Learning Objectives
•    Oversee management and control of resources
•    Effectively measure the organization’s performance
•    Effectively report – with transparency, clarity and accountability    

Learning Objectives
•    Ensure board and management function effectively together and make decisions wisely
•    Conduct business ethically and professionally, with integrity
•    Effectively oversee human resource policy and development

Board members who attend all modules are eligible to write the certification exam, which is administered by the JSGS. Those who pass receive a non-credit certificate of completion, which provides the designation of Professional Director (Pro.Dir™). Since launching in 2010, the program has graduated 160 Saskatchewan board members with another 103 working their way through current programs, and 58 who have missed portions of the program and may be waiting for new offerings to open up. In addition, over 400 board members have participated in advanced programming offered by the partnership.

The Approach:

  • Build on well-established, foundational, principle‐based governance practices
  • Design customized programs that meet the unique needs and regulations of a specific sector
  • Promote continuous collaboration with government officials and sector experts including practitioners and JSGS faculty in design, development and delivery
  • Integrate the political character of board governance into each distinctive program
  • Provide a university level, professional designation of Pro.Dir™ (Professional Director) for graduates of the program
2. Online – Professional Director Certification Program™

In addition to the in-person program, the Partnership also offers the only director education and certification program that is delivered completely in an online environment. The Professional Director Certification Program™ is a comprehensive governance program designed to ensure directors have the skills, knowledge, attitude and capabilities to fully contribute to the pursuit of excellence in corporate governance regardless of sector. Students work at their own convenience and pace to earn certification as an accredited professional director. And, consistent with our commitment to meeting the needs of our clients and students, the online program can be customized to meet the specific needs of a given sector.

For more information about the online program, please visit:

3.    Other Programming Options

Other programming options can be developed to ensure they are relevant to the sector and experience of board members. Examples of other programs developed for clients or the general public include:

a.    Governance Essentials (1 or 2-day session)
This intensive program is designed for those who seek a condensed version of the full program, with an overview of concepts and introduction to practical tools.  

b.    Community Engagement (2-day session)
This workshop introduces participants to new skills and tools to highlight effective approaches to community engagement, including the implications of social media.

c.    Advanced Chair & Board Dynamics (2-day session)
This workshop focuses on advanced skills and tools in chairing effective meetings of the board and committees, including board dynamics, relationships, difficult board members, and working with management. Simulations provide opportunities to chair a simulated board meeting using a realistic sector scenario, with constructive feedback from professional and peer observers.

d.    Advanced Financial Governance (2-day session)
This workshop focuses on advanced skills and tools in financial governance: forecasting, financial analysis, ratios, red flags, financial reporting, accounting choices, funding, liquidity, investment and other key aspects of effective financial governance and stewardship.

e.    CEOs & Senior Executives  (2-day session)
This workshop is designed to familiarize CEOs and senior executives with relevant aspects and tools of the core program; especially with regard to expectations that the governance framework places on governors and executives, relative roles and responsibilities of each, and how executives can better prepare information for, engage with, and respond to questions from board members.

f.    Governance & The Public Good (2-day session)
This workshop explores the differences between governing in the public vs. the private sector. It focuses on the how the political environment, including the public service, can impact board room decisions in terms of risk, accountability and influence.

For more information on the Director Education & Certification Program, please contact:

Giselle Marcotte, Director, Outreach & Training
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Telephone: (306) 585-5409

Andrea Geisbauer, Manager, Outreach & Training
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Telephone: (306) 585-4923

Brenda Buchanan, Governance Training Program Coordinator, Outreach & Training
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Telephone: (306) 585-5637

For more information on our Executive Education Programs, please view our fact sheet.