Presidential transition updatePosted on: Nov 26, 2016
While Gerald Krispin is still fully Concordia’s president, preparations are being made for my transition to that role in May of 2017. This ‘Presidential Transition’ blog has been set up as a means of regularly communicating those preparations and activities to the Concordia community.
President Krispin’s tenure has seen Concordia grow and change significantly for the better. Amongst other things we are currently in a healthy financial position, our programs are thriving, we have a new building in the works, and we have more students than ever before. A smooth transition between his presidency and mine will help to ensure that we not only stay on track, but that we advance our institution ever further.
Since my selection as Concordia’s next president I have sought advice and engaged in reading on how to ensure a successful transition into the role of president. What I have come up with is a structured approach that provides for input from a variety of sources. These include:
- President Krispin, who has been most gracious in providing mentorship, support, and advice, and who continues to keep the best interests of Concordia at front of mind.
- The Board, and particularly the Board Executive, who have provided me with encouragement, sound advice, and their full support. In particular, Board Chair Mike Wade and I have been developing our critically important relationship.
- A Presidential Transition Team. This is a group I have selected and is comprised of members of stakeholder groups including faculty, Board members, staff, students, administrators, and others. This team meets monthly and helps me by offering advice and arranging the practical aspects of a presidential transition.
- Dr. Peter MacKinnon, former president of the University of Saskatchewan and former interim president of Athabasca University, is providing me with external mentorship through regular meetings, phone calls, and email. I met with him for a full day last week and have more meetings scheduled for the future.
To date, in addition to interactions with the various people and groups mentioned above, my main activities have included:
- Attendance at a full day Field Law university governance seminar.
- Attendance at important meetings and introductions facilitated by President Krispin.
- Reading relevant books such as:
- Peter MacKinnon’s ‘Public policy and university leadership’
- Ross Paul’s ‘Leadership under fire’
- Bogue, Kauvar, and Trachtenberg’s ‘Presidencies derailed’
- Sanaghan et al’s ‘Presidential transitions: It’s not just the position, it’s the transition’
- Registration for a Universities Canada 3-day course for new presidents in January.
- Meetings to build networks with other presidents.
One of my most important transition activities will be to ensure that I am replaced by and outstanding person in the role of VPA and Provost. That position has been advertised across Canada and internationally, including on our website. I cannot fully transition to the presidency until we have this role filled, ideally by February in order to allow for some transition for that person.
Please continue to ‘watch this space’ where I will be providing regular – and I hope shorter – transition updates.