Ralph Nilson

Ralph Nilson

Nilson appointed to third term as president of Vancouver Island University

NANAIMO – Nilson's new contact extends his tenure to June 30, 2019.

By Jenn McGarrigle

Ralph Nilson, president and vice-chancellor of Vancouver Island University, has been reappointed for a third term.

Allan Wiekenkamp, chairman of the VIU Board of Governors, and Nilson signed the contract today (Dec. 21). Nilson’s third term as president runs until June 30, 2019.

“The board is so pleased that Dr. Nilson has decided to stay on,” said Wiekenkamp. “From the start of his tenure, he has had a clear vision for VIU which has allowed us to navigate challenging times in the post-secondary sector. Dr. Nilson has successfully guided the institution in the transition from Malaspina University-College to Vancouver Island University. As well, his leadership has brought VIU to the national stage, through innovative programs like the Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care, his extensive efforts in building ties with First Nations communities, and his commitment to making VIU a place for engaging in conversations on tough subjects, including the important topic of reconciliation.”

Nilson is looking forward to strengthening that vision, and further developing key elements, such as creating access to education for anyone who wishes to pursue it; developing innovative programs that meet the needs of students and community; strengthening collaborative relationships with First Nations, community and industry partners; and celebrating the excellence and success of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“I am committed to ensuring that VIU continues the incredible work we are doing in many different areas, including building bridges towards reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples; establishing a thriving international student body; and creating exceptional learning opportunities, both here and abroad, for all of our students,” said Nilson. “I look forward to celebrating a number of VIU milestones during this next term, including the completion of our new facilities, and continuing conversations with our stakeholders to ensure that Vancouver Island University will continue to have a positive and ongoing impact in all the communities and regions we serve, both close to home and around the world.”

To reappoint Nilson, the Board of Governors established a committee to review the performance of the president and make a recommendation to the board. The committee completed this work between November 2015 and March 2016. The committee included governors, the chancellor, and faculty, staff and student members.

“The predominant theme that came out of that process is how well-respected Dr. Nilson is with both internal and external stakeholders of the university,” said Wiekenkamp. “It is a testament to his leadership and dedication to the institution and community.”

Nilson was first appointed President in January 2007, the year before the institution (then Malaspina University-College) received its university designation under an amendment of the University Act. Prior to joining VIU, Nilson was vice president-academic at Acadia University in Nova Scotia; director of the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre at the First Nations University of Canada; and dean and professor for the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina.

Jenn McGarrigle is a writer with VIU’s communications department.