Opinion: RDC’s new president ‘ticked all the boxes’

By Morris Flewwelling

In the spring of 2018, my colleagues on Red Deer College’s board of governors and I began an important task: the process of selecting RDC’s 11th president.

As a board, we had been preparing for the day when our current president and CEO, Joel Ward, would share his intention to retire, and we accepted his letter stating this more than a year ago.

Since then, we have had a busy journey on the road to hiring the new president.

One of our first goals was to develop a comprehensive profile of the college and the position.

We are at a historic juncture as RDC transitions to Red Deer University, and we knew we needed someone who would be moved by and committed to the exciting future that is on the horizon.

And this was no small ask, as it was essential that we found someone who had the appropriate experience and expertise, along with the personal drive, commitment and training to make our desired future a reality.

Fortunately, we had help along the way, as we hired an executive search firm, Leaders International, to assist with the process.

It led consultations with you, our internal and external communities, to ensure you had input into the position profile, and we incorporated your important feedback.

Then, with its knowledge of qualified candidates and through advertising on a national scale, Leaders International developed lists of potential individuals, which our board reviewed early this year.

We interviewed a number of individuals for the position, and, ultimately, I am delighted to share we have hired Peter Nunoda as RDC’s next president and CEO.

When we considered this institution’s current and future needs, Nunoda ticked all the boxes. He has more than 30 years of experience in the post-secondary sector, he is an academic with a PhD, and he was an instructor in the departments of history and native studies for 12 years at the University of Manitoba.

Plus, he has an extensive background in senior administration at both the college and university levels across Western Canada. He comes to us from Vancouver Community College, where he has served as its president since 2014.

Nunoda also brings a very inclusive, collaborative, community-minded perspective to his role as RDC’s new president. He has vast experience working with Indigenous students and communities, both in Canada and through international work in Australia.

He also places importance on building partnerships with community groups and ensuring post-secondary institutions have strong connections with the communities they serve.

This philosophy resonates strongly with our mission at RDC, and through our discussions with Nunoda, we soon realized his perspective was an ideal fit – he would understand our college, community and region.

Another aspect absolutely critical in our selection process was the concept of a learner-centred institution.

All of us at RDC are here for the students, whether it’s those of us on the board, or instructors, the president, or members of the students’ association.

You only have to speak with Nunoda for a few moments to realize how deeply committed he is to ensuring everything we do contributes to our students.

They are at the centre of focus for him, and they’re the reason he is in the role of president.

The next few months and years are going to bring exciting changes for Red Deer College, as we continue to transition to our new governance model and officially become Red Deer University.

As we travel down this path, it’s essential that we maintain a sense of who we are and what we’ve achieved, while also looking to a future of opportunities.

Nunoda is the ideal new leader for this institution, with his experience, his warm and engaging personality, and his strength and resolution to achieve what’s best for RDC and our students.

Nunoda will begin his duties as RDC’s 11th president and CEO Sept. 3, and his official installation will take place later in the fall.

On behalf of all of us on the board of governors, I would like to welcome him to central Alberta.

I know he will have a tremendous positive impact on our college and community.

Morris Flewwelling is chair of Red Deer College’s board of governors.

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