Dr. Gillian Siddall to Become President + Vice-Chancellor of Emily Carr University

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By Rob Maguire

Posted on June 25, 2018 | Updated August 06, 2019, 9:07am

Dr. Siddall will join the University on September 1.

The Board of Governors of Emily Carr University of Art + Design today named Dr. Gillian Siddall as the University’s next President and Vice-Chancellor.

“I am delighted to announce Dr. Gillian Siddall as ECU’s new President and Vice-Chancellor,” said Kim Peacock, Chair, ECU Board of Governors. “As the University begins writing the next chapter of its story, Dr. Siddall has the qualities, experience and track record to harness the best ideas from the ECU community and the leadership experience to put them into action.”

The appointment marks the culmination of a year-long search by ECU’s Presidential Search Committee, guided by the international recruitment firm Caldwell Partners. The 14-member Search Committee comprised representatives from across the University, and included students, faculty, staff, alumni and a member of the Indigenous community at ECU.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of being the President and Vice-Chancellor,” Dr. Siddall said. “I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the people of ECU to help advance the priorities that they’ve already identified around decolonization; trans-disciplinary learning, research, and creative practice; social justice; and innovation. There are a lot of exciting things happening at Emily Carr, and it will be wonderful to be part of that.”

Dr. Siddall holds an Honours BA and MA in English from the University of Guelph and a PhD in English from the University of Western Ontario. She began her career as a sessional lecturer at the University of Guelph, before accepting a tenure-track appointment at Lakehead University in 1998. There she went on to become the founding Director of the teaching and learning centre, and then Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her research area is Canadian literature, and she has published extensively on the subject of musical improvisation, both within and outside a literary context.

She most recently served as Vice-President Academic and Provost at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) where she led the academic planning process. This experience, along with her personal connection to the arts as a jazz vocalist and choral singer, make her well-suited to understand the specialized nature of art and design education. She is an advocate of Indigenization and decolonization within the university sector, and co-led the Provost’s Taskforce on Indigenous Learning at OCAD U with Professor Bonnie Devine.

Dr. Siddall succeeds Dr. Ron Burnett, who has served as ECU’s President since 1996. Dr. Burnett will be stepping down from the position on July 31, 2018. Dr. Siddall’s term commences September 1, 2018.

Michael Clifford, VP, Finance + Administration, and Bonne Zabolotney, VP Academic + Provost, have agreed to serve as co-Interim Presidents from August 1 until Dr. Siddall’s arrival.

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