Ninth president announced for University of Saskatchewan

Posted on December 20, 2011

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The University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors announced that Ilene Busch-Vishniac has been appointed the university’s ninth president. Busch-Vishniac’s term will commence July 1, 2012. She will replace Peter MacKinnon, who will step down June 30, 2012 after serving 13 years as president.

Busch-Vishniac says she was attracted to the position by the incredible progress the University of Saskatchewan has made over the past decade. “It is clear that the University of Saskatchewan has both the capacity and the drive to contribute on the national stage,” says Busch-Vishniac. “I look forward to continuing the momentum created by the extraordinary work of President MacKinnon as we foster innovations in teaching and learning, grow research programs that will drive the economy of the province in the future, distinguish ourselves through innovative approaches to the issues of the Aboriginal communities, and define the role we wish to play locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.” Currently the provost and vice-president academic at McMaster University, Busch-Vishniac previously served as dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University and associate chair of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas (Austin). A graduate of the University of Rochester, Busch-Vishniac earned her Master of Science and PhD in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As provost at McMaster University, Busch-Vishniac increased student enrolment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, strengthened ties with Aboriginal communities, particularly with the Six Nations in Ontario, grew the full-time faculty complement, and led both the development of an activity-based budget system and systems renewal. She has also served as chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, and led the creation of a new quality assurance process for Ontario universities. As dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University, she raised millions of dollars for the school, oversaw the construction of four new buildings, and chaired the university’s United Way campaign. In 2008, Johns Hopkins University created the Ilene Busch-Vishniac Lecture to honour her work on issues of diversity in engineering. Her research emphasis has been on noise control in hospitals, acoustic sensors and actuators, and curricular change for diversity enhancement in engineering education. Current University of Saskatchewan President Peter MacKinnon expressed his strong support for the appointment of Busch-Vishniac as his successor. “I am very proud of the work we have done at the University of Saskatchewan, and I believe we are well positioned for further success. I am confident that Ilene Busch-Vishniac will provide the calibre of leadership necessary to bring this university to new heights.” Nancy Hopkins, chair of the University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors, said Busch-Vishniac’s outstanding academic background combined with her extensive leadership experience and track record in establishing strong, mutually beneficial partnerships made her an ideal candidate for the presidency. “The University of Saskatchewan has made tremendous progress under President Peter MacKinnon’s leadership,” said Hopkins. “We are confident that Ilene Busch-Vishniac will continue to build on this momentum, strengthening the University of Saskatchewan even further as we pursue our ambition to become one of the most distinguished universities in Canada and the world.” Hopkins says the Board of Governors was assisted in selecting the next president by the unanimous recommendation of the search committee, as well as by the public input the search committee received prior to undertaking the search. Through public town halls both on and off campus, and through comment cards and online submissions, the search committee gathered valuable feedback that helped to inform the search process. Hopkins, who chaired the search committee, was joined on the committee by fellow board members Susan Milburn and David Sutherland as well as by Chancellor Vera Pezer, University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union President Scott Hitchings, Graduate Students Association member Xue Yao, Deans David Hill and Peter Stoicheff, and faculty members Michel Desautels, Ingrid Pickering, Keith Walker and Winona Wheeler. Busch-Vishniac is married to Ethan Vishniac, currently a professor of physics and astronomy at McMaster and editor of The Astrophysical Journal. Original posting: http://announcements.usask.ca/news/archive/2011/12/university_of_s_116.html