SACKVILLE, N.B. – As he takes on the top post at Mount Allison University, Jean-Paul Boudreau said his first priority is to make connections.
Whether it’s with students and staff on campus, or the municipal officials and residents in the surrounding communities, the new president wants to engage with people and initiate conversations as he takes on his new role.
“I want to spend time learning more about the campus and about the community … to talk to people directly and hear their stories; find out what their goals are,” said Boudreau.
Boudreau has already begun those efforts, having initiated what he calls a ‘Discover Mount Allison Listening Tour’ this summer that has sparked conversations around the campus with students, faculty and staff members.
Boudreau wants to become a more accessible president and open up the lines of communication. So he said rather than wait for people to come to him, he is making it his mission to go to them. Whether it’s doing drills with the Mount Allison ladies soccer team or chatting with the football players before their first game, or hosting a meeting with staff outdoors at the breezeway on campus, Boudreau said he is listening with open ears.
Boudreau’s plans also include a campus radio show, pop-ups around the university, and live Twitter chats where people can feel free to ask any questions they may have on their mind.
Some of the ideas generated from these discussions will eventually be implemented into a new strategic plan for the university down the road, said Boudreau.
Boudreau, who became Mount Allison’s 15th president and vice-chancellor on July 1, succeeding Robert Campbell, said he was attracted to the university both because of its reputation as a leading undergraduate university and because of his strong connection to the Maritimes. Boudreau is a proud Acadian who was born in northern New Brunswick and grew up in Moncton.
When he heard of the position opening up here in Sackville, he saw it as an exciting opportunity for him to come home to New Brunswick.
“This is like a dream come true for me, this job.”
And since arriving in Sackville, he said he is relishing how open and welcoming people are here.
“This community is very easy to love and to wrap your arms around it,” he said. “There’s just such a vibrancy here, a real beautiful energy around it.”
His hope is to continue to build on the relationship between ‘town and gown’ which has already been well established – saying the benefits for both the municipality and the university are reciprocal.
Boudreau said in his role as president, he will take on the task of finding ways to develop new and innovative programs as well as to create partnerships that will help expand the options available for students. He said Mount A is always competing on both a national and international level to attract students, and the university needs to ensure it has a wide mix of programs to appeal to today’s learners.
Boudreau will be installed during a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 19. Members of the community are invited to the event, which will be held at 3 p.m. in Brunton Auditorium, followed by a reception at the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts.
Boudreau left his mark at Ryerson
Jean-Paul Boudreau began his post-secondary education at the University of New Brunswick, graduating with an honours in psychology. He went on to receive his master’s in child development from Laurentian University and earned his PhD in experimental psychology from Tufts University in Boston.
His career was first launched at the University of Prince Edward Island, where he was the founder and director of the UPEI Infant Cognition Lab.
In 2003, he accepted the position of chair of the department of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto. Over the past 15 years, Boudreau has certainly left his mark on the research university – having launched BA, MA and PhD programs there and establishing Canada’s first interprofessional psychology training clinic within a hospital, at St. Michael’s.
Boudreau also served as dean of arts at Ryerson from 2011 to 2016 and as special advisor and executive lead of social innovation from 2016 to 2018.