Brock chooses collaborative academic leader as its next President

brocku.ca

A proven Canadian collaborative academic leader, Gervan Fearon, will be Brock University’s next President and Vice-Chancellor.

Dr. Fearon has spent numerous years in senior leadership roles at Canadian universities, and is currently President of Manitoba’s Brandon University. He commences his new duties at Brock on Aug. 1.

The appointment was announced Thursday, June 1 by John Suk, the Chair of Brock University’s Board of Trustees, after it was unanimously approved by the Board. The appointment caps an intensive eight-month recruitment process that involved several leading candidates from across Canada.

Dr. Fearon received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, after having received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Economics at the University of Guelph. He also holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) designation. Besides academic achievements, his career includes several years in the Ontario government in roles as a senior analyst at Treasury Board Division, Ontario Ministry of Finance, and an executive assistant to Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. He has also served on numerous community boards and supported significant community development initiatives.

After arriving at Brandon in 2013 to serve as Provost and Vice-President (Academic), he was appointed President a year later. He focused on developing a shared vision for advancing the university’s development as well as its engagement with the surrounding community, an emphasis he plans to continue in his new role.

“I look forward to engaging with students, faculty and staff at Brock and working as part of a team on the priorities of the University and community,” he said. “Brock is well-known as a comprehensive university with outstanding experiential education, student-engaged academic programs, and innovative research and creative activities.

“I am passionate about the role of post-secondary education in supporting regional growth and development, and I look forward to working with the team at Brock and across the Niagara region on advancing these opportunities.”

Prior to his time at Brandon, Dr. Fearon served several other academic positions, including as the Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education; as an Associate Dean at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies; as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington; and as an Associate Professor at York University.

As Brandon’s president, Dr. Fearon worked with faculty and administration at the university and at Assiniboine Community College to renew a Memorandum of Understanding that has deepened the links between Brandon’s two post-secondary institutions, with options for faculty and staff that include professional development, new courses of study, research opportunities and increased student mobility. He has also worked at advancing student engagement, teaching excellence, research activities and internationalization at the university.

He also engaged Brandon students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members through an extensive consultation process to develop a new academic plan that supports teaching, learning, research and university-community engagement until 2020.

Following Thursday’s announcement, Dr. Fearon expressed thanks to Brandon’s students, faculty and staff as well as the Board of Governors and Brandon University Students’ Union for their support in strengthening enrolments, academic programs and services, research and creative activities, and community engagement.

Brock’s Board Chair Suk said Brock and the broader Niagara community should be very well served by the incoming President.

“Dr. Fearon brings excellent qualifications experience and strong leadership to Brock at an important time in its development,” Suk said.

“His track record, at Brandon University and with its regional community, bodes well for what Brock and Niagara need. The board and I look forward to working with Gervan and to continue to build Brock’s reputation as an outstanding university.”

Brock’s presidential search committee was headed up by trustee Gary Comerford, who later this month will succeed Suk as Board Chair.

Dr. Fearon will continue as President of Brandon University, assisting in the transition over the next two months, until he begins his term at Brock on Aug. 1.