Board of Governors Approves Appointment of New Provost
Current Bishop’s University Dean of Arts and Science to Take Office in June
In keeping with recent tradition, there will be another new face on campus next year.
Concordia’s Board of Governors unanimously appointed Benoit-Antoine Bacon to be the university’s newest Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs, set to take office July 1 for a five-year term.
“This is a big moment,” said board Chair Norman Hebert Jr. in an interview with The Link following the meeting. “[Concordia President Alan Shepard] can’t do everything, and he needs a strong provost. This is his right hand.”
Before making his move to Concordia, Bacon will have to finish his current job as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and associate Vice Principal Research at Bishop’s University.
Bacon holds a M.Sc. in Psychology and a PhD in Neuropsychology from the Université de Montréal. He is also a Concordia alumnus, having graduated in 1995 with an Honours Psychology.
Though he was keen to point out Bacon’s Concordia connection, and he’s excited about the changes that he can bring to the university, Shepard added that Bacon would be wise to take his time to become reacquainted with his alma mater.
“What I’ve told him is ‘don’t come and make any sudden decisions. Come get to know the place again,’” said Shepard. “He was here as a student but it was a while ago, and he was a visiting professor at the beginning of his teaching career.
“We’ve talked about him coming to get a lay of the land before starting to pull levers.”
Last year saw Concordia usher in its first official Academic Plan, which Shepard is eager to move forward on. But, he added, some revisions will be necessary as the new provost is brought on.
“We’re ushering in the next era of academic leadership,” said Shepard. “I think we’ll be doing a mix of traditional stuff that universities do, and some innovative stuff that not so many of them do.”
Part of this movement will be to continue towards Shepard’s vision for online and alternative learning at Concordia.
“We’re ushering in the next era of academic leadership. I think we’ll be doing a mix of traditional stuff that universities do, and some innovative stuff that not so many of them do.”
—Alan Shepard, Concordia President
While Bacon’s portfolio as provost will include e-learning in certain capacities, Shepard explained his intention in creating a new position to focus specifically on online education.
“I don’t know what we’ll call it yet, but I’m thinking of some sort of vice-provost role inside the provost office that would work on e-learning,” said Shepard. “We need somebody that wakes up everyday thinking of online learning and the sort of next-generation pedagogy as their baby.”
He added that this would not be restricted to eConcordia, the online learning platform run through the university’s for-profit e-learning corporation, KnowledgeOne.
“We have to position ourselves to stay current,” said Shepard.
According to Bishop’s University, Bacon’s primary research interests are in the field of visual neuroscience. He is also a member of Centre de Recherche en Neuropsychologie et Cognition out of the Université de Montréal and the Group for Interdisciplinary Research in Psychology Applied to Social Systems. Bacon also co-founded the Psychological Health and Well-Being Research Cluster at Bishop’s.