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Algoma U chooses new academic dean

We can't tell you who. It's a secret
Andrea Pinheiro, visual art associate professor at Algoma University, pit-fires a pot fashioned from Garden River clay during a demonstration of ancient pottery techniques by John Laford, an instructor in modern and contemporary Aninishinaabe art history. An open house was held Friday to show off new visual art studios in the university's Convergence Centre. David Helwig/SooToday

Algoma University has selected its next academic dean but it's not known whether the successful candidate will be in place when the current dean steps down at year's end.

"We have worked through the process of selecting a candidate and now we're in the process of negotiating the contract," Asima Vezina, who assumed office as the university's president six weeks ago, said Friday.

So far, no start date has been determined for the new dean, whose identity has not been released, Vezina told a meeting of the Algoma University senate.

"If there is not a dean in place on Jan. 1, then we will have a plan in place that we will share."

"Please don't worry about that right now. We will have strong plans in place," Vezina said.

The current dean, Richard McCutcheon, is not seeking re-appointment after completing his three-year term of office.

The following are members of the decanal search committee charged with choosing a new academic dean:

  • Professor Noni Boyle, academic staff representing humanities
  • Professor Cathy Denomme, academic staff representing social sciences
  • Dr. Laurie Bloomfield, academic staff representing sciences
  • Professor Sofia Silberberg, faculty at large
  • Bushra Asghar, student
  • Ivana Bruni, member from staff association
  • David Marasco, university registrar,
  • Asima Vezina, president and vice-chancellor
  • Nadine Landon, office of the president/committee resource
Selected by senate and reporting to the Vezina, the academic dean is responsible for all academic administration and programming.
The following are desired characteristics as expressed in Algoma University's advertising for the dean's position:
  • demonstrated accomplishments in a university (or other) administrative role
  • demonstrated teaching, research and scholarly ability
  • a track record of community involvement
  • ability to think strategically and to provide visionary leadership
  • patience, diplomacy, flexibility and resolve to deliver academic leadership
  • ability to build consensus, to resolve conflict and to bring about constructive change
  • ability to work in teams and as a team leader
  • ability to prioritize and to delegate
  • ability to build partnerships
  • ability to listen, to take into account differing points of view, but also to make independent and difficult decisions
  • genuine interest in students and an enthusiasm for academic pursuits
  • skills to mentor faculty members
  • demonstrated sense of fairness and a consistent commitment to respect and equity
  • strong oral and written communication skills and the ability to communicate openly and with firmness
  • suitability with the university’s mandate and mission

McCutcheon spoke Friday at his final senate meeting as outgoing dean, providing a comprehensive description of his work over the past three years.

"As for me, in the short term I am returning to my research," he said, indicating he would remain at Algoma University as a tenured professor.

McCutcheon was thanked for his service and received a warm round of applause from senators.