Just shy of the nine year anniversary of her arrival at Lethbridge College, president and CEO Dr. Paula Burns announced she will be leaving to take the same positions at Langara College in Vancouver.
“The college in the Lethbridge community has grown over the last number of years and it’s been a great time here,” Burns said. “I really enjoy it.
“I would point people here.”
Burns joined the college in February 2013.
Since that time she oversaw the opening of the Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility in 2017, the largest construction project in the college’s history.
Under her watch, the school was also named Canada’s third-fastest growing research college in 2020.
Burns said among her biggest highlights is fostering a connection with the Indigenous community.
“Having an honour song, getting a Blackfoot name — Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan — for Lethbridge College and then my own personal Blackfoot name, those things stand out as important things for our community,” Burns said.
The school permanently raised the Blackfoot Confederacy Flag in 2018 and launched the Niitsitapi: Coming Together in a Holistic Way strategy last year.
She has also been at the helm during an unprecedented time in school history as Lethbridge College navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and says she is proud of how the school responded to the challenge.
“I think that Lethbridge College was prepared, in terms of being able to pivot quickly to remote learning and our leadership team has done a fantastic job of keeping the focus on our community being safe,” she said.
Board of governors chair Michael Marcotte believes Burns is leaving the college well-positioned, as it begins the search for the ninth president and CEO in the school’s history.
“An institution that is really thriving and extremely successful: applied research, EDI, the Indigneous strategy, its just been an amazing opportunity for me to learn,” Marcotte said.
Burns will remain at the college until the end of May to help with the transition.