The leadership Canadian universities need now
Over the next year, Canada’s postsecondary leadership will undergo dramatic change. Four university presidents, with 50 years of combined experience, are preparing to turn the job over to a new generation who will be charged with steering the sector through an era of sharp change.
Earlier this month, Dalhousie announced its new president, who will start in June: He is Richard Florizone, a 44-year-old with a PhD in nuclear physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and experience at the World Bank. The University of Toronto and McGill, the leading institutions in the country, and the University of Victoria, which has established itself as an international player, are also now searching for new leaders.
The current presidents have had to deal with this era’s financial constraints by becoming fluent in the language of money, from fundraising with alumni and private donors to defending the sector against competing public priorities. Their successors must continue those efforts – while strengthening Canada’s global brand against ambitious new competitors. Winning the international race requires strong personalities, and some observers argue that famously secretive search committees should take this moment to look outside the walls of the ivory tower.
“The job is bigger than it ever was, and it’s way more visible. It’s not the ivory tower any more. There’s all these rankings, and institutional profile is critical,” said Ross Paul, the former head of two Canadian universities and author of Leadership Under Fire, a book about the role of the university president. … Read more.