New Provost, Vice-President (Academic) ‘seasoned leader’

Special to Western News

Janice Deakin, Western provost and vice-president (academic)

A Canadian expert in sport performance and authority on Ontario graduate programs will be the next Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at The University of Western Ontario.

Janice Deakin, currently Associate Vice-Principal (Academic) and Dean of Graduate Studies at Queen’s University, will assume Western’s top academic position for a five-year term beginning  Aug. 1.

Western President Amit Chakma describes Deakin as “a high-energy, seasoned, academic leader.”

“Her track record shows her to be a strategic thinker and an extremely capable leader who can build effective teams and networks.”

Deakin says Western held a strong draw for her. She was impressed with the commitment to student accomplishment inside and outside the classroom.

“I look forward to a process of listening to and learning about the people, the programs, the opportunities and the challenges that face Western as a community of students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says Deakin.

Deakin holds three undergraduate degrees from Queen’s – education, psychology and physical education. She earned a Master of Science degree at McMaster University and a doctorate in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo.

In 1986, Deakin joined Queen’s as an assistant professor and was appointed professor in 2006. She was director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies from 2000 to 2006, leading development of new programs and a purpose-built building. She served as Acting Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs from 2005 to 2006. She is currently a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

She says three factors influenced her decision to pursue the Western position.

First I am moved by the record of and vision for the role that Western fulfills in the higher education sector within the province, country and beyond. Western integrates the themes of excellence, experience, relevance, community, responsibility and accountability as being foundational to the mission and future of the university.

Second, Western’s commitment to student accomplishment both inside and outside the classroom, in a residential setting, is one I believe in and am familiar with.

Third, Western’s strategy to leverage collaborative research, student and faculty mobility and opportunities to engage in international development initiatives to underpin its increased presence and recognition on the global stage is compelling and speaks to a commitment to capacity building that is based on sustainable relationships.

She has served as president of the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology, president of the Canadian Council of University Physical Education and Kinesiology Administrators, Vice-Chair of the Ontario Council of Graduate Schools and was a member of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities joint task force on graduate expansion through the Reaching Higher initiative.

Deakin is one of Canada’s top researchers in evaluating the determinants of expert performance in sports such as figure skating, martial arts, basketball and volleyball. She has published extensively and provided technical reports to the Department of National Defence, NATO and Sport Canada.

In addition, she has long been recognized as one of the country’s top basketball referees and was the first woman to referee both World Championship and Olympic medal games.

Deakin will succeed Fred Longstaffe who has served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) since 2005.

The Provost portfolio includes academic units, Faculty Relations, the Office of the Registrar, student recruitment, Institutional Planning & Budgeting, the university library system, and Information Technology Services.

As for what lies ahead, Deakin says her first step will be to watch and listen.

“It will in fact be the people of Western who collectively set the course for the successes of the future. I look forward with great enthusiasm to becoming part of the Western community.”