Dr. Shawn Flynn Appointed as Interim President of SJC

Academic Dean to take over leadership of the College for one year

17 January 2020

January 17, 2020

Announcement: Interim Arrangements in Place for July 2020


Dr. Shawn Flynn will serve as Interim President and Dr. Matthew Kostelecky will serve as Interim VP (Academic) and Dean


In October of 2019, Archbishop Smith announced that St. Joseph's College President, Fr. Terry Kersch, would not be renewing his role for a third term. The Board of Governors warmly thanks Fr. Terry for his strong leadership. Over Fr. Terry's eight years of transformational leadership, the College has seen the commissioning of a major College history to be written, a new strategic Plan "To Live Our Mission", and has witnessed the building of a new women's residence. Please hold Tuesday, May 26, as St. Joseph's College will be celebrating Fr. Terry Kersch's many years of service to our community. More information will be forthcoming.


Given Fr. Terry's leave from the College, the Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Dr. Shawn Flynn has agreed to serve as Interim President. He will assume this role on July 1, 2020 for a one-year appointment. Dr. Flynn has the full confidence of the Board and both have agreed to continue to work together to ensure a smooth leadership transition for the College.


Dr. Shawn W. Flynn has served as the Academic Dean, and then Vice President (Academic) and Dean, at St. Joseph's College since 2017. He is an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and earned his PhD at the University of Toronto. In his Academic role Dr. Flynn has produced three monographs and one edited collection with publishers such as Brill, Oxford University Press, and Routledge. Flynn's research area in the Hebrew Bible in its ancient context, focuses on topics such as God in the Hebrew Bible, as well as children in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East.


While teaching and staying active with research, Dr. Flynn has provided leadership for the academic affairs of the College. In this role Dr. Flynn has led St. Joseph's College in strong enrolments. Enrolments historically around 1,900 when Dr. Flynn arrived, have now risen to 2,600 during his tenure. He has also led increasing partnerships and interaction between SJC and the University of Alberta community, attracted a major scholarly conference to the College, as well as engaged the College with Catholic school boards and Catholic Health, all through promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to these strategic partnerships. During Dr. Flynn's tenure, SJC courses have seen the introduction of consistent TA support, the Certificate of Catholic Education has been revised and doubled its enrolments through new community partnerships, SJC has welcomed a new Director of Library Services, and the Peter and Doris Kule Lecturer in Catholic Education has been filled.


During this time while Dr. Flynn serves as Interim President, Dr. Matthew Kostelecky has also agreed to serve as Interim Vice President (Academic) and Dean. Dr. Kostelecky, with a PhD from KU Leuven, has been an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Joseph's College since 2009. He has written on Thomas Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles, then in 2019 co-authored a volume titled The Human Person: What Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Offer Modern Psychology, and is currently researching the historical development of metaphysics as a discipline, from ancient Greek philosophy, through Islamic thought, and then into medieval Latin thought.


Dr. Kostelecky has also served as the Associate Dean for four years. In that role he has been a key contributor with the work of Dr. Flynn, while spearheading important projects like the St. Joseph's College Speaker's Series, leading an important event with the Faculty of Native Studies, and has chaired the Curriculum Committee working on important projects like a new professor teaching evaluation system for the College.


The Board will begin consultation with the community about the search process, and following this work, will then begin the task of the search for President of St. Joseph's College.


Ramona A. Kearney MD, MMEd, FRCPC

Chair, Governance Committee

Board of Governors

St. Joseph's College