Audrey J. Penner has been hired as the new president of Northern College in Timmins.
Penner, who begins in the position on Aug. 4, takes over the helm from Fred Gibbons, who had served in the position since 2009 and retired earlier this summer.
In finding Gibbons’ replacement, Northern College had retained the services of Toronto-based Phelps Group, an executive recruitment firm, to conduct a national search.
But in the end, the college didn’t have to look far to find its new leader.
For the last six years, Penner has served as vice-president of academic and student services.
In that role, she developed an applied research department, which has led to the creation of the school’s coming Innovation Hub; established an advanced digital strategy for educational technology; and built up a solid international enrollment base, growing it to 600 students in 2019 from 50 just two years earlier.
As she approaches her new role, Penner noted, the college is preparing to develop its newest strategic plan.
Her goal is to meet with Indigenous leaders, individuals and other communities in her first days on the job.
“I intend to build upon the successes Dr. Gibbons has established as we strengthen postsecondary programming, empower learners, and stimulate economic development in the communities we serve,” Penner said.
“We provide exceptional talent to the workforce, and post-COVID, this will be needed more than ever.”
Glenn MacDougall, the college’s current director of technology and learning innovation, will assume the role of acting vice-president of academic until the role is filled permanently.
Gibbons will stay on in an advisory role until Aug. 31.