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Returning home

Dr. Gavan Watson moving to new leadership role in Ontario

Campus and Community

By Courtenay Griffin

A new opportunity is on the horizon for Memorial’s associate vice-president (academic), teaching and learning, and director of the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL).

Dr. Gavan Watson shown with CITL colleagues accepting 2022 Blundon Award for Leadership in Institutional Change.
Dr. Gavan Watson, centre, with CITL colleagues accepting the 2022 Blundon Award for Leadership in Institutional Change.
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Gavan Watson will be leaving his position at the end of March 2023 to take on the role of vice-provost (teaching and learning) at Queen’s University.

Exceptional leader

Dr. Watson came to Memorial in 2018 from Western University. Since arriving, he has been an integral part of the academic leadership team.

From leading CITL operations and developing a new strategic framework for teaching and learning at Memorial to providing leadership and guidance on myriad committees and working groups, to hosting teaching forums, workshops and more, Dr. Watson has been a steady hand, inspiring innovator and exceptional leader for CITL and Memorial.

“While we are thrilled for Gavan as he embarks on this next chapter, we are also sad to lose a strong academic leader at Memorial. Queen’s is fortunate to be gaining such a great leader with significant expertise in 21st-century teaching and learning,” said Dr. Neil Bose, interim provost and vice-president (academic).

“On behalf of your colleagues at Memorial, I wish you all the best on your next professional endeavour. I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with you and I am grateful for your commitment and leadership.”

Vision to reality

In his time at Memorial, Dr. Watson worked with faculty and staff across academic units and institutions to improve the quality of student learning. Other notable feats include his dedicated leadership through the pandemic while continuing to steer CITL towards a new vision and strategic plan.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at CITL in the past four-and-a-half years,” said Dr. Watson. “My arrival came with a renewed focus on our work supporting teaching and learning on the St. John’s campus and across the university, and with our strategic plan, new strategic goals and our efforts to respond to the conditions created by the pandemic, the team at CITL is making real the vision that underlay my arrival.”

Blending expertise and scholarly practice in his work, Dr. Watson has published research in peer-reviewed journals such as New Directions for Teaching and Learning, as well as articles in publications such as EDUCAUSE review.

A recognized leader in the field of teaching and learning in higher education, Dr. Watson has been invited to speak across Canada and the U.S., engaging audiences on topics that range from open badges to facilitating student assessment with technology.

“Being offered an opportunity to return to Ontario is the right decision for me and my family,” said Dr. Watson. “St. John’s has been a great place to live, my family and I love the opportunities we get to spend outdoors here on the island and I’ve enjoyed my time at Memorial immensely. But having been through the pandemic away from home, there’s an opportunity to re-evaluate where it makes the most sense for me and my family to live. These realities, along with the desire to be closer to family, helped to drive the wish to return home.”

Information on the search process for this leadership role will be shared as it becomes available.

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