University of Calgary Board of Governors chair Jill Wyatt announced the next U of C president and vice-chancellor Thursday morning.
Ed McCauley will begin the presidential role on Jan. 1, 2019 after a unanimous recommendation by the Presidential Steering Committee. McCauley has served as the university’s vice-president research since 2011. According to Wyatt, McCauley was a clear choice based on both expertise and a passion for the university itself.
“[McCauley] told me yesterday, when he gets cut, he bleeds U of C,” Wyatt said.
The Presidential Steering Committee selected McCauley from a pool of over 400 candidates from across the globe. A shortlist was chosen for interviews, from which McCauley emerged as the ninth U of C president.
“The task of a university president in the modern day is a challenge because of all the issues we have to face,” McCauley said. “I think we’re well-prepared.”
McCauley said the university will continue with its revamped Eyes High Strategy through 2022, but will operate strategically to reflect the institution’s values.
“You don’t want to chase rankings for the sake of chasing rankings.” he said. “What we’ve done is looked at how the different ranking systems reflect our values.”
McCauley will take over the post held that current U of C president Elizabeth Cannon since July 2010. He joked that he’ll have some big shoes to fill in the job.
“I am intimidated by the big shoes. The shoes actually have heels and sometimes stilettos,” he laughed.
McCauley said that, given his current position, he already discussed institutional issues with Cannon and prioritized access to information and accountability.
“We talk all the time about issues, and everything that we do we try to make sure the other members of the executive leadership team — whether it be the provost or vice-president academic — all our team are actually up to speed and we’re accountable to the community,” he said.
Cannon’s last day as the U of C’s president will be Dec. 31, 2018. After that, she will return to the Schulich School of Engineering in a faculty role.
An interim appointment for the VP research role will be announced in the coming weeks. Before taking on that job in 2011, McCauley was a professor in ecology and evolutionary biology. He has also held directorial roles and visiting international professorships in places including California, Sweden and France.