Dec. 18, 2020

Dr. Teri Balser appointed provost and vice-president (academic)

A message from Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Teresa C. Balser as provost and vice-president (academic), for a five-year term effective April 1, 2021.

Dr. Balser is the former interim president and provost & vice-president academic at Dalhousie University. Prior to joining Dalhousie, she was the dean of teaching and learning for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University, after having been dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida.

A graduate of Dartmouth College in biology and earth sciences, she received a PhD in soil microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral research in ecosystem ecology at Stanford University.

She has been honoured as an NSF Early Career Award winner, made a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, and as a John Curtin Distinguished Professor for her work as an environmental scientist.

In addition to international recognition as an accomplished research scholar, Professor Balser is recognized as a master teacher, and has received numerous accolades for her educational accomplishments including a USDA National Excellence in College and University Teaching Award in 2009 and recognition as the 2010 U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). She was also one of three finalists for the 2016 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the largest teaching prize in the English-speaking world.

Dr. Balser is widely known in higher education as a collaborative and consultative leader — an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, and a change agent and leader in STEM. She is a co-founder of the Society for Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER), a National Vision and Change Fellow with the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), and was a Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair to India in 2015 to help build capacity at the national level for pedagogically advanced and responsive STEM education. In 2018 she was named a Principal Fellow of the U.K. Higher Education Academy. She has long been an active advocate, speaker and workshop facilitator in teaching, research and leadership.

While I am excited to welcome Teri to our university family, this also means the upcoming departure of our long-time Provost and VP (Academic) Dru Marshall — a more bittersweet event.

Dru Marshall

Dru Marshall

First appointed in 2011, Dr. Marshall has led the university through 10 years of incredible growth. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the academic and research plans that have elevated the University of Calgary’s reputation and built us into the strong institution we are today. The international strategies that she led have grown the university’s national and international profile — work that has more deeply integrated Calgary with the world, enriching student experience and our community.

A focus on people that has always been at the heart of Dr. Marshall’s work. She’s elevated conversations around equity, diversity and inclusion and championed ii’ taa’poh'to'p. She has rededicated the university to — and prioritized investments in — students, student supports and the learning experience. She’s fought for increased funding and profile for mental health supports and built the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, which has catapulted the University of Calgary to the forefront of the national conversation around how we can best support the transfer of knowledge.

Dr. Marshall has also overseen crisis management at the university over her tenure. From floods and fires to the Brentwood tragedy and our ongoing COVID-19 crisis, she has worked harder than most will ever know on protecting our community’s health and safety. I would like to particularly thank Dr. Marshall for her leadership during the past year, which has proved to be more difficult than any of us could have anticipated.

On a personal note, Dru is also a wonderful colleague and friend.

She will be serving as a special adviser to the president through June 30, 2021 so there will be much time to celebrate her accomplishments — a list, knowing her, she will only grow in the next six months.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Balser on her appointment and Dr. Marshall for her tremendous contributions to the University of Calgary.

In closing, I would also like to thank the Advisory Search Committee for their strategic and thoughtful advice throughout the selection process. Members included: Penny Werthner, Dean’s Council representative; Robin Yates, Dean’s Council representative; Nancy Moules, GFC representative; Lisa Young, GFC representative; Benedikt Hallgrimsson, GFC representative; Nora Molina, MaPS representative; Justin Huseby, AUPE representative; David Stewart, TUCFA representative; Alex Paquette, GSA representative; Frank Finley, SU representative; Jennifer Koo, Alumni Association representative; Mark Blackwell, community representative; Chima Nkemdirim, community representative; and Brenda Mackie, community representative.

Regards,
Dr. Ed McCauley
President and Vice-Chancellor

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