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Athabasca University appoints new president

Athabasca, AB (Feb. 1, 2023)—Byron Nelson, Chair of the Board of Governors of Athabasca University (AU), is pleased to announce that Dr. Alex Clark has been appointed as the next President. Dr Clark is the current Dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines at AU and will succeed outgoing President Dr Peter Scott.

“The Board of Governors is delighted,” said Nelson. “We assessed what we would need for the next President. Someone credible in their visionary leadership and scholarship. Someone committed to relationships. Someone who is known for building trust. That person was already a member of the AU community. We know Dr. Clark well, and he has the strengths needed to fulfil this important leadership position at a critical time.”

Founded more than 50 years ago as a leading distance-delivery post-secondary institution, Athabasca University is focused on open and flexible learning while also contributing to the local community.

“I am deeply honoured,” said Dr. Clark. “Athabasca University is a very special place with committed faculty and staff that serve our students in numerous important ways. The university’s model offers a world of lifelong possibilities and benefits, and I will work to leverage our people, our resources, and our processes for continued success. Working together, I intend to make a difference in this role not through my title but through my actions.”

Responding to this changed world, yet grounded in AU’s past strategic plans, as President, Dr. Clark’s priorities for sustained and sustainable success are:

  • CONTRIBUTION - leading the implementation of a new courageous vision for Athabasca University as a uniquely open, inclusive, and flexible university, committed in all it does to improve the lives of people and communities via benefits to diverse learners, communities, and knowledge development.
  • RELATIONSHIPS - from the local to the global and routed in transparency, trust, and valuing all peoples and communities: fostering open, respectful, and brave reciprocal relationships and partnerships across and beyond the university.
  • COMMUNITY - responding to our community needs, including with our Indigenous partners, while also building community via new ways of working together through engagement, inclusive leadership practices, and involvement of Alumni, students, and donors.

“Within the last year, we engaged in a deep selection process for a new President that included multiple international candidates and involved numerous rigorous steps,” says Nelson. “Alex was a finalist in that process, and we know he has the talent and the aptitude to deliver on this important mandate while staying committed to the university, this community, and our partners,” says Nelson.”

“We need to move beyond a zero-sum mindset and recognize that we can have an active presence that benefits the local community while also profoundly contributing provincially, nationally, and internationally," says Dr. Clark. "In this post-pandemic era, AU’s unique role in open and flexible education has never been as precious or as needed.”  

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Updated June 29, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (