University Leadership and Governance

University Structure

The University of Alberta has a bi-cameral governance structure, as set out in the Alberta Post-secondary Learning Act, consisting of the Board of Governors and the General Faculties Council (GFC). The university is led by the president and vice-chancellor, appointed by the Board of Governors, and the chancellor, the titular head of the university, elected by senate.

Board of Governors and General Faculties Council

The Board of Governors consists of a chairman appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, the chancellor, the president and 18 other persons appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, representing alumni, students, staff and the general public. The Board of Governors has authority for board governance and the GFC has authority for academic governance. 

While senior authority rests with the Board of Governors, both Board and GFC conduct their business respecting jurisdictions, capitalizing on shared interests, and sharing governance authority within a collegial relationship based upon a mutual desire to serve the greater good of the institution.

Chancellor and Senate

The chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University of Alberta and is elected by the university's senate to serve a four-year term. The senate of the University of Alberta is an independent body of diverse community leaders and university representatives that fosters and celebrates the achievements of the university. 

President and Executive

The president serves as the institution's chief executive officer and vice-chancellor. The president of the university guides the institution's senior leadership team and reports to the Board of Governors.

Senior Executive Team

President and Vice-Chancellor Bill Flanagan

Bill Flanagan, President and Vice-Chancellor

Bill Flanagan is the 14th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta. Under his leadership, the university is embarking on a major program of academic and administrative restructuring guided by the University of Alberta of Tomorrow proposal, his five-year vision for the university. Through his ambitious plan, the U of A will more efficiently deliver on its core mission and become a stronger driver of economic growth, innovation and creativity in our province and beyond. Born and raised in Alberta, Bill Flanagan holds a BA (English and Philosophy) from Carleton University, a JD from the University of Toronto, a DEA in International Economic Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and an LLM from Columbia University. He joined the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in 1991 where he later served as dean from 2005 to 2019. During that time, he oversaw the establishment of the faculty’s PhD program, the founding of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, a major expansion of the business law program, an online undergraduate Certificate in Law Program, an online Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management, and a forthcoming new online Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law.

Read more about Bill Flanagan.

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Steven Dew

Steve Dew, Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Steven Dew is in his second term as provost and vice-president (academic) at the University of Alberta. An experienced administrator, and award-winning professor and researcher, he has been associate dean (research and planning) in the Faculty of Engineering since 1999, and a professor in electrical and computer engineering since completing his PhD in electrical engineering at the U of A in 1992. He also holds BASc (1987) and MASc (1989) degrees in engineering physics from the University of British Columbia. With research expertise in nanofabrication, he has published more than 175 papers and is co-editor of Nanofabrication Techniques and Principles (2011). He is a recipient of the Killam Annual Professorship (2002), the McCalla Professorship (1998) and the Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence (1994). Steve is vice-chair of the national committee developing nanotechnology standards under the International Standards Organization.

Read more about Steve Dew.

Chief Strategy Officer Catherine Swindlehurst

Catherine Swindlehurst, Chief Strategy Officer

Catherine Swindlehurst is the Chief Strategy Officer at the University of Alberta. With a reputation for a collegial approach to developing and implementing results-driven, strategic, multi-disciplinary partnerships and initiatives, Catherine brings 18 years of experience in academic administration, strategic planning, communication, issues management, and stakeholder engagement to her roles. She has been at the University of Alberta since 2003 in various positions, including industry and community relations, advancement, and strategic initiatives. Catherine has a BA, MA, and MBA from the University of Alberta, a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and is a certified executive coach.

Vice-President (Research and Innovation) Aminah Robinson Fayek

Aminah Robinson Fayek, Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

Aminah leads the Research and Innovation team who support the university’s large, diverse and complex research and innovation enterprise. The portfolio provides leadership, support and services to the university's research and innovation community, across all stages and five campuses, and plays a key role in fostering, developing and supporting major research initiatives and partnerships. She and her team also work closely with our partners, sponsors, partner hospitals and other stakeholders.

Aminah is a professor of civil engineering and a renowned expert in construction engineering and management. She is a passionate advocate for research, graduate students, and industry collaboration and has served on many external policy and research committees.

Read more about Aminah Robinson Fayek.

Vice-President (University Services and Finance) Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist, Vice-President (University Services and Finance)

Todd Gilchrist is a skilled executive with more than 30 years of experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. In his most recent role as Vice President of People at Alberta Health Services, Todd’s diverse portfolio encompassed Human Resources, Workplace Health & Safety, Protective Services, Legal & Privacy, and Ethics & Compliance. In addition, he currently serves as Board Director and Human Resources Committee Chair of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta (CPHR AB), Board Director with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors with the Capital Region United Way.

Read more about Todd Gilchrist.

Vice-President (Facilities and Operations) Andrew Sharman

Andrew Sharman, Vice-President (Facilities and Operations)

Andrew Sharman leads the Facilities and Operations portfolio that provides services to all five of the University of Alberta's campuses. The portfolio is made up of five units: Asset Management and Operations, Campus Services, Integrated Planning and Partnerships, Support and Recreation Services and Utilities. Andrew is also the Executive Lead of the Public Health Response Team.

Andrew brings a deep and broad experience from the public sector, working with Alberta Health Services and the former Capital Health in a number of senior leadership roles. In 2013, he was appointed Deputy Secretary to Cabinet and Deputy Clerk of Executive Council working for three successive Premiers. Most recently, he served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health and Government Facilities Division with Alberta Infrastructure.

Andrew has a Master of Science degree in Defence Logistics Management from Cranfield University, graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and spent 22 years in the British army. He is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Vice-President (External Relations) Elan MacDonald

Elan MacDonald, Vice-President (External Relations)

Elan MacDonald, ICD.D is the Vice President, External Relations at the University of Alberta. Elan has spent her career advising organizations and corporations to sustain and grow their businesses by navigating government, policy development, crisis communications, the regulatory and legislative processes, and the shifting political, social and economic landscapes. As President and CEO of Impact Consulting, Elan built and operated one of Alberta’s most reputable government relations advisory and communications companies for close to a decade, serving local, national and international clients. She later joined her firm with Global Public Affairs, where she became the Senior Vice President, National Client Development.

Elan has a long history in Alberta politics serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Advisor to two Alberta Premiers, and as a political advisor to Cabinet Ministers. She is Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and a Director on the boards of Edmonton Global, Atlas Biotechnologies and Alberta Ballet.

Read more about Elan MacDonald.

General Counsel and University Secretary Brad Hamdon

Brad Hamdon, General Counsel and University Secretary

Brad Hamdon graduated from the University of Alberta law school in 1990. After practising at a large law firm in Edmonton for five years, he held positions in the legal department of Enbridge Pipelines and EPCOR Utilities prior to joining the U of A as its first General Counsel in 2004. In 2020, the University Secretary position was added to his portfolio.

As General Counsel, Brad leads a team that manages the provision of all legal services for the university and that provides legal advice to the board, the senior executive team, deans, chairs, directors and others.

As the University Secretary, Brad leads a team of governance professional that provides leadership and expertise to ensure the effective operation and administration of the university's collegial, bicameral system of governance (the Board of Governors and the General Faculties Council) as set out in the Post-Secondary Learning Act. Brad serves as the university's most senior advisor on governance related issues.

Read more about Brad Hamdon and General Counsel.