The University of Guelph has named a new president. Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic), has been appointed to lead the University on an interim basis for two years beginning Aug. 2.
U of G’s Board of Governors made the unanimous decision today. The Board also announced that the search for the University’s ninth president and vice-chancellor has been suspended.
“Our goal is maintaining the integrity of the presidential search process and ensuring stability for the institution amidst extraordinary global circumstances,” said Shauneen Bruder, chair of the Board of Governors who also chairs the Presidential Search Committee.
Universities and organizations worldwide are focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is where efforts and resources should be concentrated at this time, Bruder said.
“COVID-19 is creating much uncertainty, both now and for the future. We expect that even once the crisis subsides, the implications will be long-lasting. At the same time, there are many other strategic imperatives the University must address to continue to move forward.”
President Franco Vaccarino will conclude his term Aug. 1, 2020. “Understanding the importance of stability and continuity during these unprecedented times, the Board made the decision to appoint Dr. Yates as president for two years,” Bruder said.
She added that Yates has shown her effectiveness in a range of complex situations and circumstances. “Her significant experience and extensive knowledge of the complexities and challenges facing the University will enable her to act immediately on priorities during this critical period,” Bruder said.
“Beyond that, the Board has great confidence in her ability to build on the positive momentum generated by president Vaccarino’s leadership and is empowering her to fully use her skills, energy and knowledge to advance the University’s mission and vision.”
Yates has served as provost since 2015. During her tenure, she has focused on building a strong leadership team, including recruiting and on-boarding five new deans and numerous other key academic leaders; developing and enhancing mentoring, training and equity initiatives; and strategic planning, particularly in the areas of budgeting, enrolment management, internationalism and data management.
Before joining U of G, she was dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University. Yates is known for her research and expertise in the automotive industry, labour issues and public policy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Winnipeg, a master’s degree from Queen’s University and a PhD from Carleton University.
“I am deeply honored by the trust the Board has placed in me to lead the University of Guelph during this challenging time,” Yates said.
“I welcome this opportunity. The University has extraordinary, dedicated faculty, staff and students and exceptionally strong academic and administrative leaders. Working together, we will rise to meet the challenges before us while also enhancing our reputation for quality and excellence.”
An announcement regarding an interim provost and vice-president (academic) will be forthcoming.
In making the announcement today, Bruder thanked members of the search committee for their hard work and commitment to their task. She said the committee had been working extensively since fall 2019 and was at a critical stage of the process when it made the difficult decision to recommend that the Board pause the search.
Many other Canadian universities have also halted leadership searches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bruder said. The Board will relaunch the search at an appropriate time.
“On behalf of the Board, I also want to thank the entire U of G community for its continued understanding and support as we work together to adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and work to ensure continuity of the University’s academic and research mission,” Bruder said.