Vice President, Academic

Northern Lakes College

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November 14, 2021
Slave Lake, Canada
Job Type
Closing Date


THE ORGANIZATION – Northern Lakes College

Northern Lakes College (NLC) serves a vast region in northern Alberta with 25 campuses and CAP sites located from Fox Creek in the south to Chateh in the north. NLC has numerous collaborative initiatives with other Campus Alberta partners to offer programs in their communities or to support their programs in our communities. The College offers a wide range of dual credit opportunities and has over 24 active partnerships with school boards throughout the province.

NLC is a distance learning college with over 90% of our programs available to students using our innovative Supported Distance Learning model (SDL). We serve over 1900 students in credit programming and up to 6000 students annually in non-credit and continuing education programs and courses, and we are growing. The College offers a wide range of programs including Health Sciences, Human Services, Business and Information Technology, Administrative Studies, University Studies, Information Technology, Basic and Preparatory, Trades and Technology as well as Continuing Education and Corporate Training. A number of new programs are in development.

Northern Lakes College develops close relationships with our stakeholders. We have created a Community Education Committee (CEC) structure, unique to NLC, which serves as the primary advisory body to our Board of Governors. These committees and the Council of Community Education Committees (CCEC) are important parts of the fabric of NLC. As well, the College has developed a strong governance model to ensure our Mission, Vision, and Values guide our operations.

NLC is seeking a Vice President, Academic (VPA) who will lead in a collaborative manner with integrity, transparency, and innovation. This Senior Academic Officer will support and advance our Supported Distance Learning (SDL) and Supported Distance Teaching (SDT) models. The VPA will develop and nurture existing relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, including Ministry representatives.

The success of NLC is a result of collaboration between the College and community stakeholders working to strengthen individuals, families and communities through learning.


Northern Lakes College will be recognized as a first-choice community-based college with the most accessible programs and services in Alberta.


With respect for cultures and the needs of communities, Northern Lakes College provides quality educational programs and services which enable adults to continue their education, to improve their employment opportunities, and to enhance their quality of life.


To achieve our mission and vision, we share values that guide our practices and behaviors


The area served by Northern Lakes College is a vast expanse of boreal forests, sweeping grasslands, and endless lakes and rivers. This place is ripe with history, offering spectacular landscapes, incredible recreational opportunities, and a resource-based economy.

A Wide Range of Offerings

Northern Lakes College offers current, robust programs that meet the labour market demands of the region including certificates and diplomas leading to careers in Health, Education, Human Services, University Studies, Business and Administration, Information Technology, Professional Skilled Trades, and Resource Technology. The College collaborates with the University of Calgary to provide a degree completion in a Community Based Bachelor of Education program, and has block transfer into the Social Work degree of the same institution. The College collaborates with other Campus Alberta institutions on various initiatives, programs, and courses, and has many transfer agreements in place with other institutions.

NLC offers a wide range of non-credit courses and programs leading to a number of professional accreditations and certifications in health and allied health, safety, cultural programming, general interest and forestry, through our partnership with the Woodland Operations Learning Foundation. NLC also provides a wide range of dual credit opportunities to many high school students throughout the province.

NLC also sponsors a number of Indigenous cultural events each year as well as cultural programming through our museum at the Grouard Campus.

Supported Distance Learning

Northern Lakes College programs are accessible from any location through our Supported Distance Learning (SDL) model. Students do not have to relocate or move to an urban centre. Our model enables students to learn from the convenience of their home, or worksite, where they can continue to benefit from the familial and community support structures they have built around them.

Committed to the local and regional needs of its residents, Northern Lakes College focuses on providing opportunities that will enable our students to enter the local and regional economy. The programs offered by Northern Lakes College meet the labour market demands in our region and the College continues to work to ensure we are responsive to those needs.

Local needs are identified at the community level. NLC supports Community Education Committees (CEC) in each community to identify local program and service needs. The Chairs of these communities comprise a Council of Community Education Committee (CCEC) that meets regularly with the President and the Chair of the Board of Governors.   This ensures the College is contributing to community growth, development, and leadership capacity through strong partnerships. Student success is enhanced through our Supported Distance Learning (SDL) framework with local and regional supports that are readily available for all students in all communities.

Northern Lakes College now has over 50 years of experience utilizing technology to make post-secondary education accessible. In 2020, Northern Lakes College was identified as a Distance Learning College in the province of Alberta.

Making an Impact

NLC remains pivotal to the growth of the region and the vibrant lifestyle of our residents. The College is proud of our ongoing community relationships and the positive impact they have on the lives of students and their families, and we look to build more of these relationships in the future.


Northern Lakes College is seeking a visionary, strategic and innovative leader to join the President’s Executive Team as Vice President, Academic (VPA), who will operate within the context of respect for culture and the needs of communities. Reporting directly to the President, the VPA is the Senior Academic Officer of the College and has overall responsibility for providing leadership, management, and strategic planning for a broad range of academic programming and student services personnel, and ensuring alignment with the mission, vision, values, and goals of the College. The incumbent will be an active participant in the overall management of the college as a member of the Senior Leadership Team and is responsible for a wide range of academic and student support areas that enhance teaching and learning.

The VPA is responsible for all credit programming including Academic Upgrading, Business and administrative Studies, Community Adult Learning Programs, Health, Human Service Careers, Trades and Technology, and University Studies. The portfolio also incudes Student Services, encompassing oversight of the Registrars’ Office, Counselling, and other student supports. The incumbent’s leadership approach must have a view to maintain excellence while encouraging improvement, innovation, and collaboration, all within the mandate of serving students and communities within their context. The   VPA chairs the Deans’ Council and has oversight for other committees, groups, and initiatives as required.

This leader is a strong communicator and relationship builder who is enthusiastic and able to inspire and generate   excitement around current and future college programming. This person fosters a climate that encourages faculty, staff, and students to identify and pursue excellence, and promotes innovation and integrity in teaching and learning.

The VPA will have the capacity to listen and make decisions grounded in a commitment to equality, diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and to providing relevant and timely programs and services in our changing world.

The office of the VPA is based at the Slave Lake Campus. Frequent travel throughout the region will be required.

Knowledge and Skills

Strategic and Business Planning: Provides leadership in planning initiatives and ensures accountability for achievement of results throughout the division. Able to maintain focus on the strategic direction and long-term vision while balancing the need to address immediate and emerging needs.

Institutional Research: Maintains knowledge of institutional research requirements, practices and trends. Also, oversees program accreditations, paying attention to standards and learning outcomes.

Service Excellence: Ensures student satisfaction while effectively managing customer expectations in context of the College’s priorities, policies and delivery standards.

Relationship Building: Effectively builds relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders both internal and external to the institution. Flexible, adaptable and collaborative while demonstrating a positive attitude. Diplomatic with well- developed negotiation skills. Strong stakeholder management skills to build and maintain relationships in the community.

Communication Skills: Open, honest and tactful with all audiences. Demonstrates respect to all in a clear and straightforward manner.

Creativity and Innovation: The ability to utilize theory, principles and experience to develop new and unique ways to address existing issues and / or increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Leadership Skills: Collaborative, progressive and visionary. Develops and mentors others to be leaders. Creates, supports and leads by example to build a high-performance team and a positive and safe work environment. Is appreciative in practice, understanding, and knowledgeable of issues and concerns. Identifies opportunities, inspires action and achieves results. Able to prioritize competing demands.

Integrity and Trust: Honest, sincere, dependable, authentic and trustworthy. High ethical standards and integrity is to be the consistent approach to working with all stakeholders and staff.

Politically Astute: Knows and understands legislative and regulatory processes and has an intuitive ability to read the political implications of recommendations and actions. Makes solid and informed recommendations.

Management Skills: Encourages and inspires new ideas and approaches. Ensures timely and efficient budgeting, and financial reporting. Uses resources effectively and efficiently; sets clear expectations and ensures accountability through the performance management system.

Make Decisions: Assess complex/sensitive situations to determine the importance, urgency and risks and, after considering all sides of an issue, is able to make difficult decisions that are in the best interests of the organization

Financial Management: Leads with a strong sense of service, efficiency, integrity, communication and transparency in all budgeting, financing and management reporting.

Duties and Responsibilities

Key Roles & Responsibilities

Academic Leadership and Quality Assurance

  • Work within the College model of community engagement by consulting on programming needs throughout the region.
  • Provide leadership in enhancing student-centred instruction and service quality.
  • Oversee the development, enhancement, review, updating and delivery of relevant, in-demand programming.
  • Represent the College on Senior Academic Officers’ groups.
  • Lead and support deans and others as required.
  • Collaboratively create and implement, and annually communicate and review an academic plan, which includes services to students.
  • Develop, implement, and maintain a formal program review process.
  • Lead efforts to expand and enhance College programming.
  • Support and lead the development of policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Support accreditation and curriculum development.
  • Support/Chair Academic Council, Deans’ Council, and other committees and groups as required.
  • Engage with all internal groups as required, including the Senior Leadership Team, Deans’ Council, Academic Council, Student’s Association, Faculty Association, Core Business Committee, Programs and Services Committee and other groups as required.
  • Support, nurture, and advance the existing culture of innovation and excellence.
  • Participate in collective bargaining.
  • Participate in data gathering and decision-making processes.
  • Identify and provide professional development opportunities for staff.
  • Develop a Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) framework for credit programming.
  • Initiate, develop, and update as needed, transfer and exchange agreements with provincial, national and international partners in support of institutional strategic goals.
  • Oversee and participate in the performance appraisal process.

Building Relationships

  • Build strong, professional relationships, both internal and external to the College, through collaborative engagement.
  • Develop and sustain positive relationships with the Ministry of Advanced Education.
  • Build collaborative relationships with communities, school divisions, business and industry, and others.
  • Work with stakeholders to create and advance an institutional culture that values scholarship, imagination, sustainable innovation while maintaining a focus on teaching and learning.
  • Coach and mentor direct reports.

Strategic Planning

  • Lead and participate in the development of strategic planning, including the Investment Management Agreement, and other College planning documents.
  • Participate in Executive and Board of Governors planning activities.
  • Foster a commitment to accessibility, inclusion and diversity.
  • Support a culture of indigenization.

Financial Management and Accountability

  • Participate in and accept accountability for budget development, monitoring, and expenditures.
  • Develop and enhance practices for resource allocation, programming, and other purposes.
  • Provide leadership in guiding and directing divisional resources to maximize the student and faculty experience.
  • Proposal writing and grant procurement.


The successful candidate will have completed a graduate degree in a related field, have six or more years of related experience, preferably in a post-secondary environment, have a broad understanding of institutional and academic leadership strategies and functions, and an outstanding record of academic success. The incumbent must have demonstrated success in leadership in working within a public governance structure. Required is an ability to create a sense of common purpose amongst faculty, staff, students and stakeholders, and the capacity to instill a sense of enthusiasm and confidence while fostering a climate of innovation. In depth knowledge of funding opportunities and success in proposal and grant writing is essential. Demonstrated proficiency in strategic planning, implementation and integration across multiple portfolios is required, as is superior skills in working collaboratively, communication, planning, analysis, problem solving, decision-making, and implementation. The VPA must be adept at conflict resolution, leading change, willing to take on challenges, and comfortable in an environment of change. Necessary is the ability to lead teams, and the skill to function as part of a team as others lead. Familiarity and experience working in a unionized environment and the ability to travel within the province is required.

How to Apply