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Dr. Lesley Brown has been appointed the new president and vice-chancellor of Yukon University.

University names new president and vice-chancellor

Dr. Lesley Brown of Calgary has been named the new president and vice-chancellor of Yukon University. She will take up her new role on Aug. 16.

By Whitehorse Star on June 24, 2021

Dr. Lesley Brown of Calgary has been named the new president and vice-chancellor of Yukon University. She will take up her new role on Aug. 16.

The board of governors announced the appointment on Wednesday.

Brown was most recently provost and vice-president, Academic, at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

In this role, she oversaw all facets of educational programming and research at Mount Royal, which evolved into a university in 2009.

Under her leadership, Mount Royal experienced significant growth in student enrolment, faculty research success, and academic programming. The achievements included the establishment of a long-anticipated Bachelor of Social Work program.

Before this, Brown was with the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. There, she served as a faculty member and an administrator in a number of roles including vice-president Research (interim), associate vice-president (Research) and vice-provost (Academic).

“In addition to being a proven leader, Brown is an accomplished scholar in the field of kinesiology, with a research specialization in balance and fall prevention in the elderly and people with Parkinson’s disease,” Yukon University said.

“Yukon University’s exceptional potential to broaden its scope of impact through teaching excellence, research and student success, along with its deep commitment to Indigenization, reconciliation and community education, is what attracted me to this opportunity,”  Brown said.

“As I moved through the interview process, it became very evident that Yukon University is poised to influence the future of Canada’s northern and Arctic regions and its people.

“I am so honoured to step into this role.”

“Dr. Brown brings over 20 years’ experience as a collaborative professor, researcher and administrator—all with a student-centred focus,” said David Morrison, who chairs Yukon University’s board of governors.

“Throughout the search process, Dr. Brown impressed the committee with her insights and vision. We believe she is the right choice to lead YukonU as we grow into our new status as a hybrid university.”

Brown holds a PhD in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, a Master of human kinetics in biomechanics from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of physical education from McMaster University, all three of which are in Ontario.

She also completed a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Oregon.

In 2009 and 2011, Brown was recognized by the University of Lethbridge for excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level. In 2019, she was named to the Calgary Herald’s list of Compelling Calgarians.

Brown has served on numerous organizations at the provincial and national level.

These include the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the research advisory committee and board of the Alberta Rural Development Network, Parkinson Alberta and the Alberta Epigenetics Network.

She has also served as the vice-chair of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities, and as a member of the executive steering committee for the Alberta Strategy on Patient Oriented Research.

Brown and wife Paddy will move to the Yukon this summer.

They are the parents of Emily, who works in infection prevention with Alberta Health Services, and Ian, a heavy duty mechanic with Teck Mines.

Their youngest, Davis, is a final year medical student at the University of Calgary.

The new president “steps forward to lead YukonU as it settles into its new university status and the board prepares to launch a new strategic plan, created with input from students, faculty, staff, First Nations and stakeholders across the territory, to guide the institution for the next five years,” the university said.

Dr. Maggie Matear will continue serving as interim president until Brown assumes her duties. At that time, Matear will resume her role as vice-president, Finance and Administration.

“Without hesitation, Dr. Matear graciously accepted the board’s invitation to take on the role of interim president and has done a wonderful job leading Yukon University during this unprecedented pandemic year,” said Morrison.

“On behalf of the entire YukonU community, the board thanks Dr. Matear for her thoughtful, compassionate and collaborative leadership this past year.”

Matear took on the role after the sudden resignation of former president Michael DeGagné in 2020 – after fewer than three months on the job. He cut short his expected five-year commitment to become president of the Indspire charity.

Yukon university offers more than 40 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs.

Its 13 campuses are located on the traditional territories of the 14 Yukon First Nations.

Comments (5)

Up 6 Down 0

Anonymous on Jun 30, 2021 at 8:56 am

Unfortunately universities typically don't focus on trades at all. Trades are usually part of colleges or vocational schools.

We're lucky we still have the option with our "university".

Up 1 Down 5

Sheepchaser on Jun 29, 2021 at 1:33 pm

@My Opinion,
You are correct. However, the problem arises when you begin to ask the questions about who pays those tradespeople. The Yukon can benefit from a more diverse economy. More small and medium businesses especially. Tech will be the major growth industry of the next decade and beyond.

If the instigators and funding of everything becomes government projects and private projects paid for by government worker incomes, we’d end up in even more of a pickle when the consequences of all the money politicians are printing come home to roost.

Footholds in tech and innovation now will serve as a foundation to be built on for generations to come. It’s more about economic diversity than anything. A diverse portfolio is a strong portfolio.

Up 13 Down 5

My Opinion on Jun 26, 2021 at 6:03 pm

They need to focus more on the trades. We are so short of Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians, Dry Wallers, Tapers, Concrete Guys, Mechanics, millwrights, welders, Equipment operators, Truck Drivers. Yet all we talk about is Tech training. If you are not in San Francisco you won't be making big money from big tech. You may be able to get a $15.00 per hour job in an Amazon fulfilment facility. I guess that is tech Eh?

Up 19 Down 3

Sheepchaser on Jun 25, 2021 at 9:15 am

Lots of work to be done:

-commercial pilot program needs a simulator that can prepare pilots for handling emergencies and making good judgement calls outside of ideal conditions, stress inoculation works
-the university needs a digital creative program that teaches the front-end creative and back-end development to ensure northern youth have greater understanding, control and capability to craft their own stories and companies
-stop lowering standards, increase learning supports: graduates of the last decade have suffered greatly once out of the ‘no fail’ education model and into the real world; failure is learning and shouldn’t be shunned
-move to a facilitation priority for educators while adopting greater use of digitally learning from foremost experts in their fields
-place a moratorium on hiring consultants, access the community resources and groups that already exist trying to fill the gaps to create partnerships and/or formalize their programs within the university
-offer greater flexibility for online learning of all ‘textbook’ materials that don’t really require physical attendance
-mandate recording of expert lectures and begin building an engaging digital database for all time
-partner with a wider variety of other universities around the country in their shift to digital learning, again acting as facilitators to expert knowledge
-embrace short, intensive master classes taught by university students in their final year that are put on for high school students to demonstrate the value of post-secondary learning
-the digital economy has a very steep learning curve, you’re either on the bicycle delivering the food or you’re programming the application that collects a percentage off each order; the difference is education and that needs greater reinforcement in the minds of northern youth than at any time since the computing revolution

Welcome and good luck.

Up 13 Down 17

bonanzajoe on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:39 pm

Great to have a real professional come in to run our University. Welcome Dr. Brown.

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