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‘Transformational leader’

Dr. Robert Shea appointed vice-president (Marine Institute)

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

The Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Dr. Robert Shea as vice-president (Marine Institute) of Memorial University, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The term of the appointment is five years and is renewable.

“Dr. Shea is a transformational leader who has shown deep commitment to the Marine Institute and Memorial University,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, president and vice-chancellor. “He is the right person, at the right time, to lead MI as it continues to act locally and think globally to advance applied oceans education and research.”

Currently serving as the vice-president (Marine Institute) pro tempore since September 2021, Dr. Shea is the associate vice-president academic and student services at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University and associate professor in the Faculty of Education. His research and teaching has embraced career development, experiential learning, higher education leadership and adult education.

His most recent publication is entitled Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education (2016). His most recent research project was a five-year study of Career Integrated Learning which investigates the importance of reflecting on student competencies through curriculum reform which has been identified in the publication Reclaiming the Value of the Liberal Arts for the 21st Century as a most promising practices in North America by the Education Advisory Board in Washington. He is a prolific presenter nationally and internationally.

His university service includes leadership roles as president of national and international associations, including the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and the International Association of Student Affairs and Services Association (IASAS) representing more than 52 countries around the world.

Dr. Shea has previously held multiple senior leadership roles at Memorial as director, dean and deputy provost. He is currently the co-lead of the historic partnership with Nunavut Arctic College.

“Memorial University and its Fisheries and Marine Institute are well-positioned to lead this province and country in the global ocean economy,” said Dr. Shea.  “It is an exciting time to lead a team who will make significant contributions to our oceans knowledge and society by sharing our expertise, strengthening our research, creating opportunities for our students and people, and collaborating with industry to apply impactful solutions. With our student centered approach and deep relationships with industry, academia and government, we will solidify our reputation as the leading centre of fisheries and marine research, teaching, and industry innovation nationally and internationally.”

An 11-person search committee drawn from the Marine Institute, including student representatives, as well as deans council and chaired by President Vianne Timmons considered applications and conducted interviews. The committee then unanimously recommended Dr. Shea’s appointment to the regents who accepted it at a meeting on Dec. 15.

About the role

With oceans intrinsic to the cultural heritage and economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Marine Institute – being integrally linked to the province’s marine identity – will continue to play an essential role in tackling challenges and seizing opportunities that will guide Newfoundland and Labrador to the world through global leadership in applied oceans education and research. The institute’s “To the World” strategic plan outlines a strategic framework that will guide the MI to embrace a holistic approach in establishing a solid foundation in its people and technology, and enhance its applied academics and knowledge generation functions, as well as industrial solutions services.

It is within this context that the vice-president (Marine Institute) will provide visionary and inspiring leadership and administrative oversight to further advance the MI’s reputation for excellence in an unparalleled breadth of academic expertise, industrial training and research across the oceans sector.

Given the institute’s pedigree within Canada and beyond, it will be critical that the vice-president (Marine Institute) maintain and develop strong partnerships with industry, community, government, public and private organizations on both a national and global scale. The vice-president (Marine Institute) will report directly to the president of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and work collegially with the Marine Institute’s executive committee, as well as with other vice-presidents and members of the university’s senior leadership team. The VP (MI) is also a member of the Senate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, and chair of the Marine Institute’s Academic Council.


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