Laurentian University has announced that Dr. Lynn Wells has been appointed as Laurentian University’s 12th president and vice-chancellor.
In this role, Wells will provide strategic vision and leadership for all academic, administrative, financial, and service operations, in keeping with the university’s bilingual mandate and tricultural identity, said a press release issued by the university Dec. 5.
Wells will begin her role as president and vice-chancellor starting on April 1, 2024.
Laurentian has been under interim leadership since the termination of former LU president Robert Haché in the fall of 2022, just before Laurentian exited insolvency under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (or CCAA).
Wells is an experienced leader in post-secondary education, having held a series of senior positions at universities across Canada over the last 20 years, the press release said.
She began her career at the University of Regina, serving as acting dean and associate dean research and graduate studies in the Faculty of Arts, and finishing her time there as associate vice-president, academic.
Following this, she was appointed vice-president, academic at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) where she actively supported national reconciliation and worked directly with Indigenous communities, students, and employees. At MacEwan University, she served as the inaugural associate vice-president students and teaching.
Since 2020, she has been the provost and vice-president academic at Brock University, where for 15 months she served concurrently as interim president, providing critical executive guidance during the difficult pandemic period.
“The selection committee was thoroughly impressed by Dr. Wells’ depth of experience leading in post-secondary education, her dedication to scholarly excellence, and her commitment to Indigenous and Francophone cultures,” said Vernon Cameron, chair of the Laurentian University board of governors.
“She demonstrated an integrity and openness that aligned perfectly with what the Laurentian community identified as what we need in a president. Her authentic and strategic leadership style has helped her to realize institutional goals in her past roles by fostering effective communication. We are thrilled to welcome her to Laurentian.”
Wells received her Ph.D. in English from Western University as well as a Master of Arts in English and Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and French Studies both from York University. As a professor, she has held tenured roles for 20 years at Brock, MacEwan, FNUniv, and the University of Regina.
Despite her busy administrative career, she has continued her passion for scholarship, actively teaching and publishing peer-reviewed work and presenting at academic conferences in Canada and England.
She is a highly regarded scholar, having authored multiple articles on contemporary British fiction as well two books, the most recent of which is on the prominent writer Ian McEwan, on whom she is an internationally recognized expert.
“I strongly believe in the tricultural identity of Laurentian, and its commitment to offer bilingual education,” Wells said.
“With a degree in French literature, I am a long-time advocate of Francophone education and committed to advancing the University’s bilingual mission. As a descendant of settlers who had the opportunity to learn from First Nations and Métis people through my work at FNUniv, I hold genuine passion for both Francophone and Indigenous cultures that have helped me connect with Laurentian’s unique mission to meet the needs of the people of the North and the communities served by the University. I am honoured to be part of Laurentian’s future.”
Laurentian University said in the press release it would like to extend its gratitude to the search committee, as well as the hundreds of community members who provided feedback throughout the selection process.
“The university has benefited greatly from the leadership of Interim President Dr. Sheila Embleton, who will continue to serve in the interim role until the arrival of Dr. Wells,” said the press release.