The search for a new provost has come to a close after since it’s start in the spring.
On Nov. 18, President Peter Stoicheff announced the new provost and vice-president academic, Dr. Airini, in a live streamed event from the Convocation Hall. The position was previously filled by Anthony Vanelli, who was hired by Laurier University in February and left the position in July. Melissa Just, university library dean, took a leave from her position to serve as the interim provost over the past few months.
At the event, Airini said that being at the Convocation Hall was a humbling experience. She acknowledged the history of the treaty land on which the university is located and the history of the Convocation Hall itself.
“This is a place to be respected. This university is a place of leadership with humility and respect,” Airini said. “Being here has this energy of a university intent on being bold.”
Airini has a BA in religious studies, an MA in education, an MBA, and a PhD in curriculum and instruction. She has held various positions at the University of Auckland, Howard University, UNESCO, British Columbia’s education ministries and New Zealand’s ministry of women’s affairs. She currently works at Thompson Rivers University.
She says that she wanted to be a part of the University of Saskatchewan community after reading the university’s goal of being the university the world needs.
“The U of S is a university of high value and impact,” Airini said. “This is what is so compelling and bold about the University of Saskatchewan’s vision. To be together here with respect to weave together disciplines and academic goals, to work together with courage for Saskatchewan.”
“I feel so honored to have been appointed and called to serve this remarkable university.”
The upcoming provost says she is proud of the range of disciplines and programs at the U of S.
“No other research intensive medical doctoral university in Canada has the array of colleges and interdisciplinary schools there is at the University of Saskatchewan. None has the unique scientific infrastructure that is here, or the unique signature areas through which the members of this university are having global influence,” Airini said.
“The University of Saskatchewan has an unparalleled breadth of expertise.”
The provost and VP academic will provide leadership to many senior administrative positions and to the academic community throughout campus, says Stoicheff.
“Leadership will determine how well we succeed in our mission to advance the aspirations of the people of this province, and in our vision to contribute to a sustainable future,” Stoicheff said. “It will determine how we live our values of diversity, equality and human dignity, of commitment to community of reconciliation, and of excellence.”
Airini looks forward to meeting students and other faculty members as well as the Indigenous community at the university and Saskatoon. She believes these connections are vital to the university and strengthen it.
“Together, we will ensure the university’s academic strategy, investment and outcome see this university through the headwinds,” Airini said. “Together, we will make sure that future generations inherit a university that is as strong, and stronger.”