Nearly a decade before the majority of King’s fourth-year students were born, George MacLean walked across the King’s quad as a graduating student. Thirty years later, he hopes to walk across the King’s quad again – this time, as president of the university.
As one of two candidates in the race to become King’s next president, MacLean gave a half hour speech in Alumni Hall on Feb. 1. Currently the dean of arts and a political science professor at the University of New Brunswick, MacLean received his Masters from McMaster University and his PhD from Queen’s University.
The other candidate, Bill Lahey, will present his speech on February 2.
MacLean says that despite his time away from King’s, his attachment to his alma mater hasn’t wavered.
“If I were chosen for this role, I would still be an outsider at first – and I recognize that,” says MacLean.
In order to change that, he plans on interacting with students and making efforts to become part of the tight-knit community that helps make King’s unique. He says experiencing this firsthand 30 years ago has also given him the opportunity to think about how this should change the way the university attracts future students.
“We’re not recruiting students – we’re recruiting family,” says MacLean.
Beyond changing the recruitment process in order to increase enrolment, he also plans on strengthening relationships outside of the King’s community.
If MacLean becomes King’s newest president, he says he will create internship opportunities throughout the university’s programs, similar to what the School of Journalism has been doing for years.
He says internships outside of the journalism program wouldn’t be mandatory, but wants the opportunity to be available to students. He says doing this would give King’s students a leg up when competing with students from other post-secondary institutions.
He also says bringing new opportunities to King’s will help the dire financial situation the school is in. He says the declining enrolment is an elephant in the room that can’t be ignored, and that the financial situation is not unlike other post-secondary institutions in the region.
“The opportunities at King’s are distinctive,” says MacLean. “The interdisciplinary approach to courses gives King’s options that other schools don’t have, and while the financial situation might not be different, the way we can resolve it can be.”
Alex Bryant, the president of the King’s Student Union (KSU), encourages students to express their opinion on MacLean and Lahey to search consultant Anna Stuart (firstname.lastname@example.org) before February 10.
In an email statement, Bryant wrote, “The selection of our new president is one of the most important decisions that the community will have made in recent memory and will have implications for a long time to come.”
MacLean says his ideas, experience and attitude towards King’s makes him the best candidate for the job.
When fourth-year political science student and chair of the KSU Gwendolyn Moncrieff-Gould asked MacLean what he wouldn’t do as president, he said, “I would never speak solely for the university. I do not want to be a president who brought down the academic and tradition of this place.”