A Note from the President: Announcing the University Provost and Vice-president (Academic)

Dr. Verna Yiu has been selected for a 5-year term beginning January 1, 2024.

Verna Yiu

Following a national and international search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Verna Yiu as the university’s provost and vice-president (Academic), effective January 1, 2024.

In July 2022, Dr. Yiu, a valued leader and strategic thinker, took on this role in an interim capacity. While serving in this role, she has advanced the university’s academic mission, including leading the steering committee and guiding the development of the university’s new strategic plan, Shape: A Strategic Plan of Impact. Moving forward as provost, she will continue to lead the implementation of Shape to grow the U of A’s reputation and impact on an international scale. She will also continue to co-lead the creation of the inaugural People Strategy. Her skilled and collaborative leadership will support the strategic work essential to this key role.

During her time as interim provost, she also served as the co-lead of the Engagement Survey and Budget Model 2.0. Dr. Yiu was also responsible for completing the review of the college model, and hiring the three college deans (Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Ruepell and Dr. Marvin Washington). She hired key faculty and staff in the areas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Dr. Carrie Smith), Online and Continuing Education (Jessica Butts Scott), the China Institute (Philippe Rheault), and she oversaw the creation of the deputy provost (students and enrolment) position.

Dr. Yiu has deep roots at the U of A – she completed her undergraduate degree, medical degree, and residency here – and is a well-respected member of the university community. In addition to her time as interim provost, she has served in several other leadership roles in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, including interim dean (2011), vice dean (2008-2011), and assistant dean, student affairs (2000-2008) in addition to her clinical practice and professorship in the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Yiu brings a wealth of leadership experience to the role of provost and vice-president (Academic). In addition to her time at the U of A, she served as the president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services (AHS) for more than six years (2016-2022) after serving as executive vice president and chief medical officer (2012-2016). During her time at AHS, Dr. Yiu improved the organizational culture and morale; she also provided oversight and built relationships with the more than 10,000 physicians across the province As the president and CEO of AHS, Dr. Yiu played a vital role in getting Alberta – and Albertans – through the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am grateful for Dr. Yiu’s continued leadership here at the U of A, and I look forward to continuing to work with her as we move the university forward with purpose. 

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor