Dr. Ernie Barber, PAg, PEng, has been appointed interim provost and vice-president academic of the University of Saskatchewan effective July 1, 2014.
Dr. Barber is currently serving as the managing director of the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), while the institute searches for an executive director and CEO. Dr. Barber was initially appointed as GIFS' founding deputy director and chief operating officer in February 2013. He was a key member of the team that negotiated the terms of reference to establish GIFS as a public-private partnership with PotashCorp and the Government of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Barber has had a long and distinguished career at the University of Saskatchewan. He served as the dean, College of Engineering for three years (2010-2013), as vice-provost teaching and learning (2008-2010), acting provost and vice-president academic (2007-2008), dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources (1999-2007), and head of the Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering, College of Engineering (1994-1999).
A graduate of the University of Alberta (BSc 1972 and MSc 1974) and the University of Guelph (PhD 2001), Dr. Barber began his professional career in 1974 with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture as a specialist in engineering for livestock production, including farmstead planning, animal housing systems and waste management. He successfully led the development and implementation of a system for industry self-policing of pollution and nuisance problems. In 1981, he joined the University of Saskatchewan in the College of Engineering where his research focused on heating and ventilating equipment and controls, livestock transport, design and testing of technology for improving air quality in livestock buildings, and quantifying the impact of indoor quality on agricultural workers, animals and the environment. His scholarly work has been characterized by a deep commitment to interdisciplinarity and industry relevance and he is a strong proponent for the integration of teaching, research and community engagement.
Dr. Barber has taught undergraduate and graduate students and was honoured with several teaching excellence awards, as well as being named professor of the year by students in both agriculture and engineering. He has received four awards from the Canadian Society for Biological Engineering, and was named a fellow of the Society in 2001. More recently, he received the U of S Students' Union Doug Favel Spirit Award.