Position Profile

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THE OPPORTUNITY

As the 14th President and Vice-Chancellor, you will form deep relationships across the university and with its important external stakeholders. You will work with the Deans to model and support excellence in teaching and learning, to advance signature areas of interdisciplinary research and teaching, and to retain and renew the university’s exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff. You will embrace and advance efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive community, and to expand access and enrich academic experiences for outstanding domestic and international students and lifelong learners. You will collaborate with post-secondary institutions across the province to support students in building competencies and skills that will serve them well upon graduation and throughout their lives.

As the university’s ambassador and champion, you will be engaged – on campus, in the city and region, and provincially, nationally, and globally – to create mutually beneficial learning experiences, research projects, partnerships, collaborations, and commercializations. You will lead in pushing the frontiers of knowledge, inspiring creative experimentation, and driving innovation, in order to improve quality of life, drive economic diversity, and help shape the future. You will attract and responsibly steward the resources required to deliver excellence to the benefit of all. And you will immerse yourself in the welcoming communities of Edmonton and Alberta.

A distinguished academic and administrator, you are a collegial leader who is progressive, results focused, and values the contributions of all disciplines. You are an exceptional communicator and relationship builder, known for fostering cultures of respect, connectedness, and trust. You model and encourage creativity, adaptability, and resilience. You will use your skills as listener, synthesizer, and influencer to draw the members of the university community together for a common purpose as it positions itself for the opportunities that can be found in positive, transformational change. Bold, visionary, and inspiring, you will work to enable each member of the university to build a better province, a better Canada, and a better world.

ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT & VICE-CHANCELLOR

The President serves as the university’s chief executive officer and Vice-Chancellor, and leads the university community to preserve, enhance, and secure the university’s reputation as a major comprehensive and research-intensive institution. The President provides the university with strategic leadership; represents and upholds academic credibility and academic freedom; oversees university operations; and leads the university’s external relations locally, nationally, and internationally.

The President and Vice-Chancellor reports to the Board of Governors and serves as Chair of the General Faculties Council. The President reports to the Board on all matters including the performance of the university against the measures laid out in the university’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan.

The President encourages academic excellence in all disciplines and supports and collaborates to strengthen the university’s teaching, research, and service. This includes encouraging and nurturing the development of areas of research excellence and knowledge translation that have the potential to catalyze local, provincial, and even national economies. With the support of the leadership team, the President oversees the operations and finances of the university, including the administration of the university’s $2 billion in annual revenues. The President maintains and builds productive working relationships with the Board of Governors and its Chair, the General Faculties Council, the Chancellor, the Senate, as well as student, faculty, staff, and alumni associations, and other members of the university community.

The President is the face of the university, its chief representative at home and abroad, a model for the university’s spirit, values, and academic integrity and excellence. As its champion, the President plays a key role in the university’s advancement initiatives, and seeks opportunities to further the university’s interests and strategic priorities through partnerships in Alberta’s knowledge economy, engaging with businesses, industry, government, and community leaders across the province. The President also represents the university on national and global stages, engaging with peers, partners, alumni, and other stakeholders in Canada and around the world.

CONTEXT

One of the province’s oldest public institutions, the University of Alberta has earned a prominent place among the premier research-intensive, medical doctoral universities in Canada and in the world. It is a scholarly community characterized by excellence in teaching, research, and service, and a source of pride for all citizens of Alberta and for the university’s alumni in Canada and around the world.

The Alberta provincial government has committed to expense reduction that will affect many publicly funded institutions. The government aims to work with the post-secondary sector to achieve a revenue mix comparable to that of other provinces, i.e., less reliance on government grants, more funding from tuition and alternative revenue sources, and more entrepreneurial approaches to the ways in which programs are financed and delivered. This will include enabling institutions to implement responsible adjustments to tuition fees. To support the government in building a modern, diverse workforce and society, the post-secondary institutions that make up Campus Alberta will work together to develop programs and pathways that contribute to positive labour market outcomes.

The next President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta will consult with and draw together the many faculties, institutes, and campuses that make up the university community in order to develop, articulate, and implement a vision and plan for the way forward. Change has become integral to leadership in universities; this is an opportunity to go beyond incremental change to encourage bold ideas, organically develop solutions, innovation, and calculated risk-taking. This is a time to show leadership in collaborating with other postsecondary institutions across the province, and to demonstrate that a premier research-intensive university can be nimble, internally and externally oriented, integrated with and contributing to the not-for-profit sector and the business community, and a valued advisor to government.

The university has abundant strengths upon which to build, including:

  • A strong, engaged, diverse community of outstanding faculty, staff, students, and alumni, 18 faculties and 100+ institutes and centres, five distinct campuses (including the only French-speaking campus west of Winnipeg), and a wealth of basic and applied research undertaken by faculty and undergraduate and graduate students
  • Scholars who have engaged in research and creative activities answering fundamental questions, building new industries and businesses and supporting local industry, improving human health, fostering social, economic, and environmental change, and enhancing an innovative and vibrant arts and culture scene
  • World leaders in fields as diverse as energy, virology, literature, history, agricultural genomics and proteomics, paleontology, and artificial intelligence
  • A breadth of disciplinary knowledge that is unmatched anywhere in the province, combined with proven success in developing innovative, interdisciplinary research and programs, and complemented by 800 teaching and research agreements with prestigious partners in 50 countries
  • A history of pioneering discoveries and innovations, including (to name a few): invention of early sonar; development of the Edmonton protocol for the treatment of diabetes; groundbreaking discoveries in the treatment of Hepatitis C; design of the national flag; pioneering work in machine learning; inventions of diagnostic tools, antirejection therapies for organ transplants, assistive devices, and protective clothing; and creation of student-run local community health clinics and community-university collaborations, and global development programs and supports
  • A host of inspiring alumni, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, community and public sector workers, Supreme Court of Canada Justices, and Prime Ministers
  • Enthusiastic partners in business and industry, over 130 operational research-driven spin-offs, and a joint venture that is one of the world’s top university business incubators
  • Sophisticated infrastructure and enviable facilities that reflect many years of significant and sustained capital investment
  • Supportive communities in the region and the province, and 290,000 proud alumni across Canada and around the world.

AIMS AND ASPIRATIONS

Over the summer, individual and group consultations were undertaken with internal and external members of the university community on multiple campuses and in a variety of other locations. Key ambitions for the university that were identified include:

Enhancing Academic Excellence and Experience
  • Building on the university’s unique strengths, including the distinctive educational opportunities offered by its 18 faculties, 100+ institutes and centres, affiliated theological colleges, and five distinct campuses: North Campus, South Campus, Campus Saint-Jean, Augustana
  • Campus, and Enterprise Square
  • Investing in the quality of teaching and learning
  • Enhancing the experience and supports for local and international graduate and undergraduate students
  • Increasing cohesion and integration across disciplines
  • Expanding experiential learning and undergraduate research opportunities
  • Enhancing technology-enabled learning
Building Community
  • Realizing the ambition of the university’s EDI Strategic Plan
  • Ensuring positive, productive labour/management relations
  • Expanding the university’s Indigenization across all dimensions
  • Forging stronger connections and engagement with the Alberta community
Raising Profile and Impact
  • Securing further investment in and earning greater recognition for the university’s research strength
  • Mobilizing and translating knowledge through partnerships with business and industry
  • Enhancing the university’s brand and reputation
  • Building philanthropic support for the university
  • Enhancing the university’s rankings and profile
Ensuring Sustainability
  • Innovating and diversifying
  • Responding nimbly and resourcefully to budget reductions
  • Reducing bureaucracy and bridging barriers and silos
  • Increasing enrolment to respond to demographic realities

THE CANDIDATE

EXPERIENCE

Academic Leadership
  • Academic credibility earned in a distinguished career
  • A history of collegial academic leadership, including conceiving, articulating, and realizing a shared vision that has elevated research and teaching quality and practice, enriched the student experience, and enhanced the reputation and profile of the institution or division
  • Proven dedication to social responsibility and to higher education’s role in building a prosperous, inclusive, and progressive civil society
  • Demonstrated commitment to academic freedom, freedom of expression, collegial governance, and environmental sustainability
Strategic Administrative Leadership
  • A successful track record of strategic and operational leadership in an academic institution or division of relevant scope and complexity that will prepare the candidate to lead the University of Alberta (40,000 students, 14,000+ employees, 290,000+ alumni, 18 faculties, five campuses, $2 billion in annual revenues, and a $1.4B endowment)
  • A track record of anticipating and successfully responding to changing market forces and other challenges and opportunities in post-secondary education
  • A history of disciplined operational, fiscal, and risk management and resource allocation
  • Experience with complex governance along with an understanding of and willingness to lead within the university’s bicameral system of governance
Transformational Leadership
  • Transformational change leadership experience, including successfully rallying and inspiring colleagues to collectively envision, collaborate, and innovate in response to disruption
  • A history of identifying and supporting ventures, initiatives, and innovations that benefit the organization materially or in reputation, and of publicly celebrating successes
People Leadership
  • Demonstrated impact in advancing and promoting the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, with attention to the nuances and intersections of different identities
  • A track record of fostering an organizational culture of respect and connectedness that, in turn, generates a sense of increased possibility
  • Ability to learn from, work with, persuade, and motivate people
  • A history of supporting university indigenization, including evolving curriculum, leading Indigenous faculty, staff, and students, and ensuring a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment
  • Proven ability to identify, attract, and retain top talent
  • A history of values-driven leadership characterized by integrity, transparency, and trust Leadership and Engagement across the university Community
  • Demonstrated interest in and celebration of the accomplishments of all disciplines
  • A track record of considering and including the entire academic environment in decision making
  • A track record of advancing an environment of progressive human resources and respectful, collegial labour relations
  • A history of being visible and present, and of engaging productively and meaningfully with students, faculty, and staff
Leadership and Engagement across the Broader Community
  • Experience building rapport and productive and positive relationships with governments
  • Experience being the “face” of an institution—an ambassador at ease with diverse individuals and communities, including stakeholders, supporters, peers, regulators, and media
  • A track record of personally attracting substantial fundraising revenue
  • Demonstrated ability to build alumni engagement
  • A track record of engaging with the community and stewarding and strengthening public support
  • Proven ability to develop fruitful reciprocal partnerships with business, industry, and community partners, especially with regard to knowledge translation and commercialization and social benefit
  • A history of forging mutually rewarding relationships and partnerships with post-secondary partners locally, nationally, and internationally

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

  • A terminal degree in the candidate’s discipline
  • Capacity to communicate in French or in the language of any First Nations community of the Edmonton region would be an asset

LEADERSHIP COMPETENCIES AND ATTRIBUTES

  • The intellectual generosity necessary to acquire breadth and depth of knowledge of the university and to celebrate its disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths
  • Enthusiasm for teaching, basic and applied research, service, and co-curricular achievements
  • The ability to collaboratively develop and implement strategic plans based on solid
  • research, educational insights and experience, and understanding of the institutional and provincial operating environment
  • The courage to challenge the status quo; resilience; the ability to say “no” with firmness and warmth, explaining the reasons for tough decisions and working to find alternative solutions
  • Strategic vision to develop and advance new ideas, and to stimulate exploration of new approaches in support of the vision
  • Capacity to manage complexity and ambiguity, including internal and external interdependencies, with precision and purpose, deftly adjusting to developing circumstances
  • Ability to communicate compellingly and use influence rather than authority to engage, enlist, and empower people to action
  • A rassembleur/euse capable of drawing together diverse individuals and groups to coalesce around a common purpose
  • Passion for mentoring leaders and willingness to delegate responsibility to those best able to exercise good judgment and collegial approaches in support of institutional goals
  • Motivation to build relationships both internally and externally
  • Confidence tempered by humility, a high degree of emotional intelligence, and well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Authenticity in listening, learning, discussing, guiding, explaining, and entrusting people to act
  • High integrity, clear values, and a deep commitment to social justice, fairness, and inclusiveness
  • Openness and receptivity to fresh viewpoints