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Changes in the Office of Vice President Academic and Provost

November 10, 2006

Source: St. Mary's University

The following is a statement from Prof. Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice Chancellor.

Dr. Lorne Whitehead, who has served UBC with great distinction since July 2004 as Vice President Academic and Provost, and I have agreed that he will resign from his current administrative duties in order to focus his energy and skills on improving the quality of teaching at this university as Leader of Education Innovation.

As Provost, Lorneís passion and patience have advanced the cause of educational reform at UBC. The SHINE initiative is raising the profile and quality of teaching at UBC and he has advanced the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning movement on campus, most notably by attracting Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman to UBC to enhance the teaching of science.

Lorne has chosen to focus his skills and energy on the promotion of educational innovation, and while his departure represents the loss of a valued member of the executive team, it provides a great opportunity to further raise the profile of pedagogy at UBC. The Vice-Provost and Associate Vice President Academic Affairs, Professor Anna Kindler, will continue to guide the SHINE initiative, reporting to the Acting Vice President Academic and Provost.

I find Lorneís advocacy for the primacy of teaching, no less than Carl Wiemanís, all the more remarkable because of the undeniable distinction he has carved out in the research enterprise. Lorne, as a physicist with a distinguished career at UBC, has earned more than 100 patents and has successfully created several spinoff companies to bring his ideas around the physics of light to the marketplace.

The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, Lorne has often told me, will achieve its goals only with continuing championship, careful stewardship, and concerted support in everything from operational infrastructure to strategic fundraising and strong signals from the highest levels of this university. As the Leader of Education Innovation, Lorne will indeed champion this initiative and others.

At this time I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. George A. Mackie as the Acting Vice President, Academic and Provost, effective immediately, to maintain the Vice-President, Academic portfolio until a permanent successor is found. The search process for the new Vice-President Academic and Provost will be launched immediately.

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Mackie for agreeing to serve in this capacity. A long-time member of the UBC faculty and an experienced administrator, he has worked closely with the Provost for the past two years as the Vice Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic Resources, and is familiar with all matters relating to academic planning and budgeting.

George Mackie was recruited to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, as Head in 1994, and served in that capacity until 2004. He received his BSc (Honours) in Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Toronto, and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Cornell University. Dr. Mackieís research is in the field of RNA-protein interactions, which are important in RNA processing, and gene expression. Among the awards and distinctions he has received is a UBC Killam Research Prize.

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