New president Dr. Jeff Keshen, installed after an 11-month search by the University of Regina, stresses that he will be accessible to the students.
“ I am always accessible,” Keshen said during an interview one day after the university announced his hiring. I really want to participate in some of the events that they put on, and I really hope we can do some really fun things together.”
Keshen will become the U of R’s eighth president July 1. He will replace the interim president, Dr. Thomas Chase, whose last day is June 30. Chase served in the role after Vianne Timmons resigned to become president of the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Dr. Keshen is an easy-going person who had aspirations to be a sports broadcaster before his work in education. The sport he enjoys is football because he grew up with it, and is also is a fan of boxing.
The recent Super Bowl, won by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a letdown.
“The Super Bowl was a real lame game; it was awful,” said Keshen.
What drew Keshen to the University of Regina was the wide range of programs and its strategic plan, plus it is only 50 years old.
Keshen provided a comparison when praising the wide range of programs and their impact in Regina versus other places like Toronto’s Ryerson University. Due to Regina’s size compared to Ryerson, people would overlook Regina vs Toronto’s impact because of how big they are.
“I’m hoping that being a tight-knit community that’s mid-size, that with years to Regina that can do with its programs, with its research will really be noticed in the city and the broader regions,” said Keshen.
The population of Toronto is 6,197,000 people and Ryerson has a total of 47,350 full/part-time students. whereas Regina has a population of 254,061 with the U of R holding 16,664 full/part-time students.
Keshen likes the values that came with the University of Regina and its strategic plan about creating a better society.
“It’ll come to areas like sustainability, Indigenisation and reconciliation and really also the notion of equity, diversity and inclusion because it speaks to an institution in my mind that’s trying to install positive values and seen as an engine of social progress,” said Keshen. “That is really important to me.”
Keshen hopes to incentivize research as he believes it will help the U of R’s reputation.
“I want us to be widely recognized as a place in which people want to come because we’re a center of research excellence.”
Chase likes the hiring of Keshen.
“My impression so far, very positive,” said Chase. “ He is going to be a good president. He got a good personality and a good sense of humour.
“one of my main tasks in the four months that is left for me is to stay in close touch with Jeff to make sure that he’s fully briefed about what the University is doing, where we’re going what the progress is on the teaching plan .”
The University of Regina Student Union President Gurjinder Singh also approves of the hiring.
“I think it was the best choice that our university could have had,” said Singh, who had positive interactions with the new president.
“I think his opinion about the students and engagement that he wishes to bring on campus, what I feel is something unique.”
Here are some tweets from the University of Regina’s Twitter Page and Student Union on the new hiring.
The University of Regina is pleased to announce that Dr. Jeff Keshen, current Vice-President of @GrenfellCampus @MemorialU, will become the 8th President & Vice-Chancellor of our University on July 1.
Congratulations Dr. Keshen, and welcome to the #UofRegina family!
— University of Regina (@UofRegina) March 1, 2021
With the vision of a caring community where every student feels connected and thrives, URSU is excited to work closely with Dr. Keshen and the rest of the @UofRegina Executive Team. #yqr #uofregina #welcome https://t.co/9KJ8AorwWv
— UofR Students' Union (@urstudentsunion) March 1, 2021