Sunday, 5 Jul 2020

Concordia University president Alan Shepard to step down in June 2019

After six years at Concordia University, Alan Shepard is stepping down as president and vice-chancellor.

The English-language university made the announcement Thursday afternoon, saying it is looking for new applicants as Shepard takes on the presidency at Western University in London, Ont., next year.

“He leaves Concordia in a very strong position,” the university said in a statement.

“During his six-year tenure, the university has steadily climbed national and international rankings.”

Shepard will finish his term at Concordia and will leave the university in June 2019.

The longtime academic worked at universities in Virginia, Texas and Guelph. He came to Concordia in 2012 from Ryerson University in Toronto, where he served as provost.

Shepard’s arrival came as the university found itself in the midst of an internal crisis after two presidents were let go in a three-year span. In 2011, an external committee described the university’s governance as a “culture of contempt” and said the environment appeared “unnecessarily and unproductively adversarial.”

He also came into the role as Quebec student protests had taken off and triggered a provincial election, leading the Parti Québécois to take on a minority government.

“Alan arrived at a critical time for Concordia,” said Frédérica Martin, vice-chair of the board in a statement.

Under his leadership, Concordia said the university blossomed over the past six years — it earned record funding, enrolment grew and fundraising took off. Shepard also helped improve labour relations, promoted strong governance and strengthened the university community, according to his colleagues.

In a public letter, Shepard said his departure comes with mixed emotions.

“Concordia and Montreal welcomed my family and me warmly in 2012,” he said.

“The positive atmosphere you all created inspired me to meet the high standards we share.”

The university has also announced its board of governors is beginning its search for a new president. Provost and vice-president of academic affairs Graham Provost will serve as interim president starting July 1, 2019, until a new president is selected.

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