Looking forward

July 15, 2019 | Campus Life
In his first column as acting president, John McGrath introduces the executive team, provides organizational updates and looks ahead to the rest of the summer and into the fall.

John McGrath

Your three vice-presidents and I have taken on a variety of different responsibilities until the search for a new president is complete. As acting president, my focus will primarily be on the operational aspects of the university – the parts of our work that allows us to keep the doors open and the lights on.

In addition to my acting presidential duties, I will be keeping the finance, facilities, and information technology aspects of my vice-president, Resources and People portfolio. During my term, Procurement and Contracts will report to Stuart MacLean, associate vice-president, Facilities; and Campus Services will report to Rick Ellis, associate vice-president, Finance and chief financial officer (CFO).


Until the university has a new president in place, you will likely see Dr. Craig Monk, provost and vice-president, Academic representing the university at many events, including Convocation. Craig has been designated the duties of vice-chancellor, will act as chair of Deans’ Council and General Faculties Council (GFC), and will assume responsibility for academic governance. Each of these changes is in keeping with Craig’s role as the academic voice of the institution. 


Myrna Khan, vice-president, University Relations, will continue to focus on MacEwan’s place in our community – strengthening our connections with alumni, donors and government. The university’s Web Services department has also joined Myrna’s team on an ongoing basis.

Michelle Plouffe

In addition to her current areas of focus, including legal services, risk management, human rights and diversity, Michelle Plouffe, vice-president and general counsel, will assume responsibility for our Human Resources function on an interim basis.

Together, the senior administrative team is committed to responsibly stewarding the university and continuing the many projects and initiatives underway until a new president and vice-chancellor is in place.  

Organizational updates

In addition to the organizational changes related to the search for a new president, there are several other highlights and updates to share from across the university.

University governance

  • The Office of University Governance is now part of the Office of the President.

  • Dr. Craig Monk, provost and vice-president, Academic will assume the role of vice-chancellor as recently designated by Deans’ Council in accordance with the PSLA. This delegation will remain in place until a new president commences. As such, Dr. Monk will preside over convocation.

  • Executive Council membership has expanded to include the associate vice-president, Finance and chief financial officer, and a dean or associate vice-president from Academic Affairs who will serve for a year, concurrently, as vice-provost.

  • Chairmanship of Deans’ Council and GFC has been formally delegated to the provost to ensure continuity with the academic mission of the university during the term of the acting president.

Academic affairs 

  • Karen Keiller began her term as dean of the Library on July 1, bringing with her 30 years of post-secondary experience at institutions in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario.

  • Dr. Craig Kuziemsky will begin his term as associate vice-president, Research effective September 1.

  • kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre is now part of Academic Affairs.

University relations

  • Theresa Vladicka, director of Government Affairs, joined MacEwan in early June and will work with government officials to anticipate and advocate for MacEwan’s priorities.

  • Kevin Fitzgerald will join MacEwan as associate vice-president, Alumni and Development on September 9. Kevin will lead the university's ambitious fundraising and alumni relations activities as we approach our 50th anniversary.

General counsel 

Construction updates


Summer is construction season in Edmonton and MacEwan is no exception. Here are a few updates on projects currently underway.

Allard Hall

Work continues the design of new space at Allard Hall fifth floor to accommodate the School of Continuing Education. The move of programming from Alberta College Campus will coincide with the leasing of space at Alberta College campus to the Edmonton Public School Board in the summer of 2020.

kihêw waciston

The new home of the kihew waciston Indigenous Centre is taking shape. The space in the Robbins Health Learning Centre is scheduled to be ready this fall and will feature an innovative design to meet the requirements of the staff and students that access the Centre.

You may have noticed a new outdoor sculpture that arrived as part of the new kihêw waciston construction. The sculpture, Mother Bear Praying for Earth Healing, will act as a treaty marker and will be unveiled at an event this fall. Watch for more information as details unfold.

SAMU Building

The SAMU building project will continue to progress rapidly over the summer months and is scheduled for completion and occupancy by the end of the Fall term. SAMU has exciting plans to offer more study spaces, enhanced services, and new retail outlets for students to enjoy on campus.

Looking forward 


As part of the ongoing work on the university’s Integrated Strategic Plan (ISP), in late April Craig Monk walked faculty and staff at Organizational Development Day through the plan’s four strategic directions. Attendees then ranked proposed priorities attached to each strategic direction.

In May, the Board of Governors endorsed our Integrated Strategic Plan (ISP) for external consultation. Work on the ISP will continue to move forward, and meetings to review priorities identified within the plan with external stakeholders are currently underway.

The new Code of Conduct came into effect on July 1. For more information about the code and our obligations as students, faculty and staff of the university, please visit where you’ll find a series of frequently-asked questions and details on information sessions that will run until the end of September.

This fall, we are reaching out and reconnecting with our MacEwan alumni with focus groups and a large-scale survey to set a course for engaging with this important part of the MacEwan community in a meaningful way. Not only is it part of creating a new Alumni Association, it will inform our preparations for the university’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

I’ll end with a message of appreciation. I know our community will come together, as we always do, to move our institution forward and ensure our students continue to receive the same quality post-secondary experience they expect from our university.

I look forward to seeing what the coming year will bring.



John McGrath
Acting President, MacEwan University


June in photos

Celebrations and goodbyes marked the end of the academic year and the beginning of summer.

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