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Provost and Vice President (Academic), University of Calgary

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Job ID: 20956

Updated: December 17, 2020

Location: Main Campus

Position Description

Provost and Vice President Academic

The University of Calgary (UCalgary), is a global intellectual hub located in Canada’s most enterprising city. UCalgary is a bold and spirited institution with a strong vision developed through its Eyes High institutional strategy to be recognized as one of Canada’s top-five research universities, grounded in innovative teaching and learning, and fully engaged with the community it serves and leads. UCalgary is building a community of discovery, creativity, and innovation, aligning its activities to position the university as one of the boldest, most welcoming, spirited, rigorous and well-run institutions in Canada.

“Great cities are built around great research universities and cities that successfully reinvent themselves do so in partnerships with focused, world-class institutions. The fate of Calgary and UCalgary are inextricably tied. Our community has supported us, and now is the time to show returns on those investments for the benefit of our community. Our ambition is nothing short of UCalgary being a catalyst of economic growth and quality-of-life improvements in this city and beyond.” - Ed McCauley UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor

The University of Calgary recently unveiled its “Growth through Focus” proposal, which is a ten-year vision that provides a roadmap for how UCalgary will differentiate itself and achieve its status as a great research university on the world stage. UCalgary will achieve this bold ambition by:

  1. Continuing to build its reputation around areas of excellence, entrepreneurial thinking, innovation, advanced technology, and strong connections to industry and community;
  2. Being a destination for top scholars that want to work in an entrepreneurial and transdisciplinary environment;
  3. Being a destination of choice for students around the world with expanded enrolment (from 33,000 to 37,000 students) and recognized as a national leader in student experience and professional upskilling and reskilling, with nearly double the number of graduate students (from 6,300 to 10,000 students); and,
  4. Future-proofing its financial position by increasing total annual revenue to $2B through the growth of sustainable alternative revenue sources. On this exciting journey, UCalgary is seeking a Provost and Vice-President (Academic) with limitless ambitions to match those of the institution.

To learn more about this vision:

Despite its youth, at 53 years of age, UCalgary is already one of the nation’s leading research universities, with over $488M in annual research revenue and 146 research chairs (75 Canada Research Chairs), NSERC Industrial Research Chairs and more than 50 research institutes and centres. UCalgary benefits from the ongoing support of our community, which rallies behind the university, recently completing the third-largest fundraising campaign in Canadian history, surpassing their goal of $1.3B.

The university is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with four campuses in the Calgary area and a fifth in Doha, Qatar. UCalgary is a publicly funded institution with 14 faculties, all bringing teaching, learning and research to life. There are more than 33,000 students and over 1,800 academic staff on campus who are actively engaged in research, scholarship and teaching. We foster entrepreneurial thinking across all activities and promote knowledge mobilization for the benefit of all.

UCalgary is a large and complex institution that drives tremendous value with an annual consolidated budget of more than $1.4B, it is among Calgary’s largest employers, and generates nearly $8B in economic impact to the province. Two-thirds of the university's 180,000 alumni live and work in the Calgary area, effectively building a city of leaders and those dedicated to improving quality of life and prosperity.

In 2019, the University of Calgary was ranked as the top university under the age of 80 in Canada and as #25 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In 2019, RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. positioned the University of Calgary as #6 nationwide amongst Canadian research universities.

The University of Calgary has incredible talent – motivated and accomplished students, faculty, and staff – who drive new knowledge creation, improve lives, and better our world. Those who work at the University of Calgary come for the opportunity to make a positive contribution to student experience, to participate in groundbreaking research initiatives, to be immersed in a lifelong learning environment, to engage with and give back to the community, and to enjoy all that Calgary has to offer as a city. To learn more, visit

LOCATION – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calgary is one of Canada’s safest and most culturally diverse urban centres, repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities. With a population of 1.2M, it is also the largest city in Alberta and the third-largest municipality in Canada. 

Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Provost & Vice-President Academic (VPA) is the senior officer of UCalgary, responsible for achieving the strategic academic direction and priorities of the institution – serving as both the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Calgary. This position is a member of the University’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT), and the President’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

The successful candidate will be offered an academic position with tenure at the rank of Professor. The appointment as Provost & VPA is for a five-year period with the possibility of renewal.

The Provost & VPA functions in a highly demanding environment which requires constant scanning for issues and challenges against multiple priorities and demands on resources. The workload is significant, the issues are frequently complex, and the partnerships and decisions required of the Provost & VPA are critical to UCalgary and its academic success. This position develops and maintains positive and productive relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders including other ELT and SLT members, the Board of Governors, faculty, students, staff, alumni, granting agencies, community leaders, other educational institutions, and senior level government officials.

The Provost & VPA has responsibilities across four primary domains:

  • Strategic and transformational leadership of the academy;
  • Academic operations;
  • Student enrolment and experience; and,
  • Long-range institutional planning and university operations.

Given the large ambitions of the University of Calgary (spelled out in the Growth through Focus strategy), a significant focus for the Provost & VPA over the next few years will be on the strategic leadership of the academy.


This is a critical role in the University of Calgary’s continued success and growth. The role is accountable for the following:

Strategic and transformational leadership of the academy

  • Identify opportunities to advance the University’s vision and strategic plan;
  • Champion academic excellence, entrepreneurial thinking, and innovation in the planning and delivery of the University's academic programming, operations and affairs;
  • Act as a leader and champion for scholarly pursuits, teaching, learning and interdisciplinary education;
  • Engage the academic community and support the Deans and Directors of Institutes and Schools in their scholarly pursuits, research, and creative activities;
  • Create enabling conditions to deliver programs through new models (e.g. credentialing and modularization), different delivery formats (e.g. remote/online offerings) and co-curricular development;
  • Work closely with the President & Vice-Chancellor to build strong institutional industry partnerships through programmatic collaboration in experiential learning;
  • Promote transdisciplinary approaches including the Confederation of Scholars model and the Communities of Practice model;
  • Drive the implementation of new incentive models; and,
  • Enable focused growth in graduation education, including upskilling and reskilling programs.

Academic operations

  • Lead a senior management team in effectively implementing and managing the University’s Academic Plan;
  • Collaborate extensively with the Vice-President, Research on supporting the University’s Research Plan;
  • Develop and manage the annual operating budget of the Provost’s portfolio;
  • Lead/co-lead the recruitment of senior administrative/academic positions (Deans, Directors of Schools, and Vice Provosts) and provide leadership and direction in the recruitment and support of faculty members;
  • Oversee the academic processes for faculty appointments, tenure and promotion;
  • Direct the development of faculty achievement awards programs;
  • Develop frameworks around, and review and assess academic policies, programs and processes, including faculty appointments, tenure and promotion, student success, academic research, and associated financial matters;
  • Oversee quality assurance processes in the academy, including unit reviews, curricular reviews, and accreditation reviews;
  • Oversee, in collaboration with the Vice President, Finance and Services, those aspects of human resources related to academic staff;
  • Act as Vice-Chair of the General Faculties Council (GFC) and the GFC Executive Committee; and,
  • Co-Chair the GFC Academic and Priorities Planning Committee.

Student enrolment and experience

  • Oversee student experience, including curricular, co-curricular, outreach, and access initiatives for students within the community and engagement with various student groups on campus, including the SU and GSA; and,
  • Oversee the enrolment management process, from recruitment through to graduation, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Long-range institutional planning and university operations

  • Support long range institutional planning;
  • Co-lead with the Vice-President Finance and Ancillary Services, the annual budget process providing direction to the forecasting, planning, strategic management and utilization of the University’s financial and capital resources;
  • Continuously identify opportunities to grow alternative revenue sources;
  • Establish and enhance provincial, national, and international collaborations and cost sharing opportunities; and,
  • Act as the Crisis Team Lead on the Crisis Management Team.

Given the critical role this individual will play in the University of Calgary’s continued growth and success, it is essential that the successful candidate possess the following education, experience, and personal characteristics:


  • A Ph.D. or equivalent, along with academic qualifications and career accomplishments commensurate with an appointment “With Tenure” at the rank of Full Professor.


  • An internationally recognized catalogue of excellent scholarly research and teaching;
  • A minimum of 10 years’ progressive experience in leadership as well as significant graduate and/or postdoctoral supervisory experience. Experience in the administration of grants and contracts is key;
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills, including not only the ability to lead the academy, but also the ability to work collegially as an integral member of a leadership team;
  • The demonstrated ability to acquire the resources necessary to support best-in-class teaching and learning at the University of Calgary;
  • Highly attuned political acumen and community awareness;
  • The proven ability to create, communicate, and set achievable objectives, and promote and develop an environment for success;
  • Strong administration skills and experience managing significant financial resources;
  • Demonstrated history of effecting change and leading transformation within a university; and,
  • A commitment to continuous learning, and the ability to continuously seek out and acquire new knowledge, skills and expertise.


Acting with integrity means to support the core values of the university, to be congruent in what you say and do, to be trustworthy and honest, to offer respect to all people and to exhibit a high standard of integrity in all interactions. People in the organization can count on leaders to “do the right thing”, be accountable and fair and never lay blame. This quality enables leaders to be patient, flexible and accessible to their staff. Maintain a respectful workplace by modelling respectful behaviour and challenging and/or reporting disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour when it occurs.

Sensing, capitalizing and aligning a focused future by defining the future direction of the organization, and using the vision to guide and align the efforts of all members of the organization. It is the ability to anticipate, and interpret future trends, using decisive insight and critical thinking skills by drawing on background, experience and University knowledge to effectively decide, problem-solve and align others and resources in increasingly challenging and complex situations.

To champion and facilitate the development of breakthrough research and new solutions; to bring in changes and new ideas that improve services, methods or approaches. It is the ability to turn difficult situations into opportunities. As a knowledge organization, we need to think strategically, promote creativity, take calculated risks, challenge the status quo, develop best practices, and continuously improve.

The intention to engage with others to work together to build and maintain open and reciprocal relationships and understanding the importance of leveraging others to successfully achieve organizational objectives. Leaders work to empower and enable others with appropriate authority and responsibility and support their efforts to take responsibility. Leaders have a genuine interest to foster the long-term relationships and development of oneself and others through coaching, mentoring, personal and professional development and supporting successful performance.

The drive and the need to achieve positive results and the ability to focus one's attention on accomplishing key objectives for oneself, the team and the organization. This is demonstrated by considering the potential of each team member, ensuring they are in a position to deliver excellence, removing all traces of blame in the culture, and working actively on listening to, and inspiring individuals to deliver results. It is further supported by the ability to facilitate and lead positive change by involving others, committing oneself and appropriate resources to accomplish challenge goals, even in the face of complexity, uncertainty and change.

“We are creating, in the heart of Canada’s most enterprising city, Canada’s most entrepreneurial university. This is a place where leaders are created. This is a place where hard work is rewarded and where innovation turns into results.” - Geeta Sankappanavar Chair, Board of Governors

This role provides an opportunity to join an established organization that is poised for continued significant growth. Other attractions include the opportunity:

  • To be instrumental in the University’s bold and innovative growth strategy;
  • To create a canvas unlike anywhere else, within an institution that regularly makes an impact on the world stage and creates tangible change;
  • Be part of a young, dynamic and ambitious culture;
  • Work with a dynamic executive leadership team uniquely structured to achieve results collaboratively; and,
  • Build on established foundational relationships across provincial governments and a highly supportive community.

DHR International Contacts
The University of Calgary is partnering with the executive search firm, DHR International on this search. All deliberations of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) Advisory Search Committee will be conducted with full confidentiality for all candidates. Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Interested candidates should submit confidentially, in electronic form (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred) a Curriculum Vitae, a summary of accomplishments, and a letter of interest to [email protected] by September 22nd, 2020.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and we will support their academic and professional success while they are here. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities.

The University of Calgary’s comprehensive benefits and pension program is designed to promote productive level of health and well-being to staff members through coverage for health, dental, life insurance, income protection for disability, and retirement income planning. The base salary wage range is established to be between $200,000 and $365,000 Canadian dollars per annum and will be negotiated based on the candidate’s skills and experience.

Shahauna Siddiqui, Partner
DHR International
Suite 725, 435-4 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB, Canada T2P 3A8
T: 403-817-0999
E: [email protected]

Lachie Woofter, Senior Associate
DHR International
Suite 725, 435 4 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB, Canada T2P 3A8
T: 403-817-0989
E: [email protected]

Marissa Morey, Senior Associate
DHR International
71 S Wacker Dr #2700
Chicago, IL USA 60606
T: 312-782-1581
E: [email protected]



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