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Position Profile

Who We Are

From our humble beginnings as one historic building in a prairie field shortly after Saskatchewan became a province, the University of Saskatchewan has flourished along with the province itself. With more than 100 years of history, the U of S is one of Canada’s top medical-doctoral universities. We offer a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate degree options at our main campus in Saskatoon and distributed off-campus programming in locations throughout the province. Our 13 colleges and three graduate schools encompass over 60 academic departments offering a broad range of programs, including many of the health science disciplines, the fine and performing arts, humanities and social sciences, and the professions (business, law, engineering and more).

We are home to two of Canada’s largest science projects: the Canadian Light Source synchrotron (CLS), the nation’s largest scientific installation in a generation with users from across Canada and around the world; and the International Vaccine Centre (InterVac), the only containment level 3 facility in Canada with mandates for both research and education. Our people and facilities support our six signature areas of research in Aboriginal peoples, agriculture, energy and mineral resources, human and animal health, synchrotron sciences and water security.

Our campus is home to more than 7,000 faculty and staff, making the university one of the province’s largest employers. Our 20,000 students—including 2,800 graduate students, around 1,700 students who self-identify as Aboriginal, and about 1,800 international students—are vibrant and engaged. Our Huskies Athletics program celebrates its centennial during the 2011/12 season, and, with recent championships in football and basketball, we have a lot of reasons to cheer.

As our student population continues to grow, we look for better ways to support and welcome new U of S students. The Learning Commons in the Murray Library offers gathering space and study options; students have better access to services as a result of additions and upgrades to the Place Riel Student Centre; Learning Communities help first-year students make the transition into post-secondary education; and our new student residences will enable more students to live on campus.

The U of S is growing in many ways, including our infrastructure. Our campus is expanding more than at any time before, with $1 billion in funded capital projects in the last decade. The Health Sciences project will be an interdisciplinary home for our health sciences students and researchers, while the visionary College Quarter Master Plan is guiding our plans for future development, including student residences, arts and recreation spaces, and more. Located in the heart of Saskatoon, our campus and surrounding land creates one of Canada’s most historic and beautiful campuses. Our location also enables us to host Innovation Place, one of Canada’s most successful research parks and a major factor in the provincial economy.

Our proud history has led to a future of endless possibilities. Last year we realized revenues in excess of $919 million annually, with over $206 million of this attributed to extramural research support. We are resourceful, collaborative and dynamic. With all of these characteristics combined on one campus, our reputation as a leader in both teaching and research is well deserved.

Who You Are

The U of S is in an exceptionally strong position. Our growth offers opportunity. Our new president will be able to build on our past success. We want a leader who will enable us to continue growing economically, intellectually, socially and culturally so we can make a difference in Saskatchewan, Canada and the world.

The Presidential Search Committee, in keeping with our university’s commitment to collaboration, openness and transparency, has developed the president’s position profile following extensive consultation with our partners and stakeholders. The profile includes the background, experience, skills and personal qualities that the committee will consider in its search for the next U of S president and vice-chancellor. We are looking for the person who best personifies these elements.

Leadership and Vision

  • Exceptional leadership ability, with an accomplished track record in articulating a compelling vision and successfully leading institutional change while responding to diverse challenges and interests;
  • Demonstrated passion to build institutional reputation, both nationally and internationally;
  • Established financial and administrative experience in a complex environment, including fundraising and partnership development;
  • Outstanding capacity to encourage and inspire all members of a university community and to support a sense of cohesion and common mission.

Academic Experience and Understanding

  • Academic credentials and scholarly experiences, sufficient to ensure credibility in an institution of higher learning;
  • Demonstrated understanding of, and respect for, a broad range of academic disciplines and programming;
  • A deep commitment to students and to the quality of their experience, with a dedication to ensuring that their voices are heard;
  • An understanding of and enthusiasm for the opportunities that exist in the provision of university education to Saskatchewan’s and Canada’s Aboriginal population.

Management and Administration

  • An appreciation for the fiscal challenges in the public sector, combined with the entrepreneurial spirit to encourage and prioritize new ideas and opportunities;
  • Strong business acumen and demonstrated managerial, budgetary and financial skills, as well as a commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability;
  • Experience in building and motivating effective teams, and working with them to establish and achieve institutional goals through appropriate delegation and accountability processes.

External and Government Relations

  • Experience in advocacy and in building effective partnerships with important public and private sector entities, such as governments, industry and higher education institutes;
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in and provide leadership to all aspects of institutional advancement, from building strong relationships with alumni, friends and benefactors, to fundraising and donor stewardship;
  • Demonstrated success in working effectively with a board of governors or directors.


  • The capacity to enhance the reputation of the university by promoting its achievements locally, nationally and internationally;
  • The ability to demonstrate the university’s importance as a key partner in the economic, social and intellectual vibrancy of Saskatchewan to government, businesses and the public;
  • The skills to be both a powerful and engaging speaker and an attentive and intuitive listener.

Personal Qualities

  • A demonstrated commitment to openness, diversity, equity, fairness and respect, and a reputation for integrity, collaboration, decisiveness and sound judgment;
  • A pride in and passion for the success of the University of Saskatchewan, and for the president’s role as an active and committed member of the university.

What Lies Ahead

A great deal happens at the U of S. Our students, faculty and staff, along with our facilities, create endless opportunities, but making the most of those opportunities will be a challenge. Among the opportunities and challenges awaiting our new president are the following:

Strategy and Planning

The university’s strategic directions are well established and serve as the pathway to how the university will evolve in the future. We have a national reputation for developing and implementing an integrated planning process. Many other Canadian universities have emulated the process that is now moving into its third four-year cycle. The third integrated plan (2012-2016) is centred around four focal areas:

  • Knowledge Creation: Innovation and Impact
  • Aboriginal Engagement: Relationships, Scholarship, Programs
  • Culture and Community: Our Global Sense of Place
  • Innovation in Academic Programs and Services

Government and Community Relations

Over the years, the University of Saskatchewan has built a solid relationship with the provincial government, which recognizes the importance of the university to the economic, social and cultural evolution of the province. The opportunity to enhance this partnership for the benefit of future generations will be a top priority for the new president. He or she will be expected to build strong ties with all levels of government, with the community, with alumni and with potential funding sources, as well as develop sound financial strategies to enable the university to realize its vision.


The University of Saskatchewan has made significant progress in graduate enrolment in the past decade, growing from eight per cent to 14 per cent of the student population. Today almost 30 per cent of graduate students are in doctoral programs. Graduate enrolment is expected to grow to 20 per cent of the student body by 2015.

The competition for undergraduate students continues. A move to embrace strategic enrolment management will need the support of the incoming president. In partnership with the province’s secondary school system, the University of Saskatchewan is expected to take the leadership role in providing university education to the Aboriginal population of Saskatchewan. There are over 60,000 Aboriginal people under the age of 25 in the province. The incoming president will recognize how this sizeable opportunity for Aboriginal university education can impact the economic and social health of the province.

Recruitment and Retention of Faculty

Nearly two-thirds of the current faculty members at the University of Saskatchewan have been hired in the past nine years. The next president must continue to support initiatives that encourage the renewal of faculty. We compete for the best faculty in the world. The facilities and support offered, the market compensation to which the university is committed, and the social, cultural and environmental amenities of the community facilitate the commitment to “attract and retain outstanding faculty.”


The University of Saskatchewan is the province’s largest research organization, with an annual research income of more than $200 million, a four-fold increase from 1997. The university has been very successful in Canada Foundation for Innovation competitions. We now have a prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Water Security and a world-leading research and training institute.

One of the strategic directions is to “increase campus-wide commitment to research, scholarly and artistic work.” The next president will continue to encourage and support significant improvements in Tri-Council research performance. Our goal is to be at or above the average of medical-doctoral institutions in Tri-Council funding across all academic units. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) research grants are meeting this objective, while Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grants will need to improve.

The Position

The president and vice-chancellor is the chief executive officer of the university. Under the University of Saskatchewan Act, the president is responsible for supervising and directing the academic work and business affairs of the university, its faculty members and student body, and its officers and employees, and for exercising additional powers and duties that are conferred on or assigned to the president by our strong and supportive Board of Governors. In the increasingly competitive, yet necessarily collaborative environment of higher education, the president has both an external focus – looking outwards to encourage and nurture the engagement of external stakeholders – and an internal focus – providing leadership to the university’s faculty, staff and students as they work to fulfil the institution’s mission and meet its strategic goals.

Presidential accountabilities (expected outcomes) include:

Leadership and Stewardship

  • Provide vision and leadership in shaping and promoting the mission, values and goals of the institution;
  • Develop and direct a strong, effective and cohesive senior administrative team;
  • Stimulate and promote excellence and integrity in the university’s teaching, research, scholarly, artistic and service activities, and foster a climate that encourages faculty, staff and students to pursue innovation in these activities;
  • Foster a heightened sense of pride in, and recognition of accomplishments among students, faculty, staff and alumni;
  • Cultivate positive and respectful relationships among all members of the university community, promoting and modeling accountable behaviour and conduct based on the values of inclusiveness, transparency, open dialogue and a commitment to the sustainable future of the institution;
  • Advance and improve the financial resources of the University of Saskatchewan through fundraising and development initiatives;
  • Oversee the prudent management and sustainability of the university’s budget and operations;


  • Support and nurture each of the university’s governing bodies in fulfilling its role in accordance with the requirements of the University of Saskatchewan Act and the principles of good governance;
  • Participate as an effective member of the Board of Governors, the University Council and the Senate, providing each of these governing bodies with a window into the leadership of the university and the work of the other governing bodies;

Engagement with the University’s Communities

  • Act as an articulate and effective advocate for, and ambassador of, the university within the local, provincial, national and international arenas, maintaining and enhancing the reputation of the university’s programs and seeking recognition for its achievements;
  • Communicate the achievements and vision of the university to the people of Saskatchewan, and interpret to the university community the aspirations of the people of Saskatchewan for their university;
  • Maintain and foster positive linkages with the university’s student leaders and alumni;
  • Enhance external relations with key officials in government at the municipal, regional, provincial and federal levels, in order to further the university’s interests;
  • Forge effective links with other educational partners at the provincial, national and international levels, for the purposes of curriculum development and delivery, and research and policy collaboration;
  • Engage with the Canadian academic community to address such common issues as post-secondary funding, accreditation, quality assessment and access;
  • Provide leadership in the university’s service to the Aboriginal community;
  • Continue to develop and encourage business, industry, government and community partnerships to serve the teaching and research goals of the university.

The Location

Saskatoon is home to the main campus of the U of S and is world-renowned for scientific infrastructure and innovation. On the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, and home to 224,000 people, the city is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. Named one of Canada’s cultural cities in 2006, Saskatoon is metropolitan and urban. Its people are warm, friendly and welcoming. Beyond the city limits, Saskatchewan’s landscape changes from prairie fields of wheat and canola to rolling hills to boreal forests, the Canadian Shield and the land of 100,000 lakes in the north. It is a perfect place to experience four distinct seasons and some of the sunniest days in Canada.

For more information on the City of Saskatoon, please visit:

The Appointment

The appointment of the new president will commence on July 1, 2012 for a five-year term. The Presidential Search Committee will begin consideration of candidates in September 2011. Nominations and applications, including the qualifications and accomplishments on the basis of which the individual merits consideration, should be submitted in confidence to the address shown below.

The University of Saskatchewan is committed to employment equity. Members of designated groups (Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and visible minorities) are encouraged to self-identify in their applications or inquiries. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

All inquiries regarding this position will be treated in strict confidence and should be directed to:

Dr. Janet Wright or Dr. Marie Owens
Janet Wright & Associates Inc. (JWA)
174 Bedford Road
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2K9
Phone: 416-923-3008
Fax: 416-923-8311