The 11th president of the University of Saskatchewan won’t be moving into the President’s Residence on campus, as the school’s new leader is already immersed in the community.
The university’s Board of Governors chose the dean of the College of Arts and Science, Dr. Peter Stoicheff, as its incoming president.
The convocation hall rang with applause as Stoicheff, who’s been dean since 2011, slipped on a U of S Huskies jersey with the number 11. He said his time running one of the largest and most diverse colleges in Canada will aid him in his new role.
New president Dr. Peter Stoicheff making his inaugural address Thursday. Bre McAdam/News Talk Radio
“I was leading virtually close to half of the university, so you see a lot of the university when you’re leading that college,” he said.
Born in Ottawa, Stoicheff holds an undergraduate degree in English and history from Queen’s University and a master’s and PhD in English literature from the University of Toronto. He joined the U of S community in 1986 as a faculty member in the English department.
Stoicheff was the vice-dean of humanities and fine arts from 2005 until 2011, at which time he became the dean of arts and science.
A published author with a passion for literature and the arts, Stoicheff said he’s looking forward to featuring more of the school’s fine arts programs, such as the Greystone Theatre.
He said he also plans on implementing mandatory exposure to aboriginal history at the U of S, either through a course or through some kind of student experience.
But when it comes to the school’s financial affairs, Stoicheff stated he won’t be going back to the cost-cutting model of Transform US.
“There are many other ways universities across the country are modeling many different ways of dealing with it. My presidency is not about looking back at an issue that this university had, and I think has recovered extremely well from. It’s about seeing a wonderful future.”
Stoicheff’s five-year term will begin Oct. 24 at the university’s fall convocation. He will take over from Gordon Barnhart, who has been acting as the interim president after former president Ilene Busch-Vishniac was fired last May.
Here’s a timeline detailing the university’s recent events:
Dec. 19, 2011- Ilene Busch-Vishniac announced new president at University of Saskatchewan. Peter MacKinnon slated to step down June 30, 2012.
January 2013- The University of Saskatchewan announces the TransformUS program due to a projected deficit of $44.5 million by 2016 if there weren’t changes to expenditures and revenues.
Aug. 6, 2013- The university says the last round of layoffs have wrapped up with 198 jobs being cut in total.
Dec. 9, 2013- University of Saskatchewan reveals TransformUS reports. Two task forces categorize nearly 900 programs and support services, where 98 programs and 207 full-time employees sit at the bottom of the list.
Jan. 14, 2014- A handful of ex-employees let go in face of the deficit are still fighting over severance and benefits.
Feb. 3, 2014- The feedback deadline is up for the first phase of TransformUS. An open letter blasts the way some programs are targeted for potential cuts.
Feb. 27, 2014- University council rejects TransformUS non-confidence vote 48-18. The motion accused the university administration of lack consultation and flawed processes.
May 13, 2014- Senior leader Robert Buckingham is fired, stripped of his tenure and banned for life from the campus for speaking out about TransformUS. Brett Fairbairn, provost and vice-president of academic at the University of Saskatchewan, says deans’ contracts include an expectation of confidentiality and leadership competency.
May 15, 2015- Busch-Vishniac says the university “blundered” on part of the decision to fire Buckingham and strip him of his tenure and reverse revoking his tenure. She maintains Buckingham should not have been outspoken due to his position as executive director of the School of Public Health.
May 9, 2014- Fairbairn resigns, saying in a letter to Busch-Vishniac his motive was his “genuine interest in the well-being of the University of Saskatchewan.”
May 20, 2014- Students, staff and alumni expressed their discontent with the TransformUS process at a rally on campus. Busch-Vishniac is adamant she is hearing people’s concerns but that she will not resign.
After the rally, graffiti was found on the historic Peter MacKinnon building. The words “transform this” and “#defendUS” were scrawled in permanent marker on the 100-year-old building which has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada and Provincial Heritage Property.
Later that night, the board of directors concluded that the administration did not violate the University of Saskatchewan Act when they fired Buckingham.
May 21, 2014- Busch-Vishniac is fired by the board of governors. Gordon Barnhart is named as acting president.
June 2, 2014- The University of Saskatchewan names Ernie Barber as its acting provost and academic vice president, effective July 1.
June 6, 2015- Interim U of S President Gordon Barnhart responds to DefendUS letter, signed by over 800 people who demand the end to TransformUS.
July 15, 2014- In a memo that was never meant to be seen by the public, Brett Fairbairn, former provost and vice-president academic gave his account of events surrounding the firing of Dr. Robert Buckingham.
Sept. 9, 2014- Barnhart scraps TransformUS process. The university moves from 41 priorities laid out in the TransformUS to eight. They still include: commitment to aboriginal achievement; restructuring the College of Medicine; delivering on a promise of inter-professional health education and inter-disciplinary health research; the transformation of library collections and facilities; along with others.
March 20, 2015- The University of Saskatchewan takes one-time $20 million hit in provincial budget. The government said the cut is a “one-time fiscal restraint” because the U of S managed to find savings within its budget that greatly reduced its expected deficit.
June 3, 2015- Ilene Busch-Vishniac files $8 million statement of claim over her firing.
July 5, 2015- Ilene Busch-Vishniac sends resignation letter to media. Robert Buckingham resigns.
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