Dr. Deborah Saucier is the new president and vice-chancellor of Vancouver Island University, which has a campus in Duncan.
Saucier, who starts a five-year term on July 4, is an accomplished neuroscientist, dedicated educator and university administrator with a deep commitment to Indigenous education and reconciliation.
Originally from Saskatoon with Métis heritage and connections to Vancouver Island through both her education and her family, Saucier comes to VIU from MacEwan University in Edmonton, where she has served as president since 2017.
Saucier will succeed Dr. Ralph Nilson, who has served as president of both VIU and its predecessor institution, Malaspina University-College, since 2007 and will complete his final term on June 30.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Saucier back to the Island to help lead VIU through the next stage of its journey,” said VIU board chairwoman Makenzie Leine.
“Her deep passion for student success and employee engagement, her extensive experience as a distinguished researcher and educator in psychology and neuroscience as well as an academic and community leader are impressive. For these reasons, along with her own personal connection to Indigenous peoples and commitment to reconciliation, we are excited to welcome Dr. Saucier as our next president.”
Leine said VIU is deeply grateful to Dr. Ralph Nilson for his incredible dedication, commitment and passion for the university’s students and its community during the past 12 and a half years.
“He has left an incredible legacy not only for VIU, but also for Vancouver Island, B.C. and Canada, and we look forward to his continuing involvement and contributions in the future,” she said.
Saucier said she was drawn to VIU by its commitment to student success, teaching quality, supporting a healthy workplace, as well as its proven commitment and track record of serving coastal and Indigenous communities.
“I am so excited to be part of the unique ways that VIU is transforming the communities of coastal British Columbia; allowing people to realize their dreams without having to leave their homes,” said Saucier.
“I identify strongly with the values that VIU brings to these conversations and look forward to the ways in which we can do even more in the future.”