Taking Notes: Eye on Education – AU Seeking New VP Academic

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – AU Seeking New VP Academic

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for Taking Notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


Did you know AU is looking to hire a new VP Academic? The process has been underway for several months now, beginning with the departure of VPA Dr. Alan Davis last summer. As a position second only to the president (indeed, it is perceived as a stepping-stone to the presidency at AU), this is an extremely important job, requiring a very special and capable candidate.

We are very fortunate to have Dr. Judith Hughes serving in this position until the hiring process is complete. Dr. Hughes has been with Athabasca University for many years, serving in successive academic and managerial positions, including, most recently, that of VP Student Services and VP External. As VPSS, Dr. Hughes was the main liaison between AUSU and the university, and she excelled at the job – earning the respect of students and faculty alike. Dr. Hughes will be retiring soon, however, and her role as VP Academic is coming to an end.

What does the VP Academic do? Almost everything! They take the lead in program and course development, supervising all academic matters at the university, including the registrar’s office. The VPA oversees and encourages the development of research. The VPA takes the place of the President when necessary. For graduates, the VPA is very visible – as the person who introduces you and welcomes you as a new degree holder during the convocation ceremonies.

As befitting such an important position, the VPA search process includes stakeholders from all constituencies – academics, tutors, staff, AUGC public members, and students. A “headhunter” company has been hired to facilitate the process, but the VPA search committee will be involved in the final decision making at every step of the way.

AU is a unique university, and we need a VP Academic who will understand that, one who will not only be able to continue in the footsteps of very able predecessors such as Dr. Judith Hughes and Dr. Alan Davis; but also be able to expand and develop the role of VPA as we move into the future as a leader in the delivery of post secondary distance education!

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