Dr. Paula Burns, president and CEO of Lethbridge College, announced her departure on Thursday after nearly nine years at the helm.

She began working at the college in February 2013 and will leave at the end of May to pursue a new challenge as President and CEO of Langara College in Vancouver.

“I genuinely care for this community and am so proud of what we’ve accomplished over these last nine years,” she said.

“Over the last few years, the college in the Lethbridge community has developed, and it’s been a terrific time here,” Burns said. “It’s a lot of fun for me.”

“I’d direct people here.”

Since then, she has led the college’s greatest construction project, the Trades, Technologies, and Innovation Facility, which opened in 2017.

In 2020, the institution was named the third-fastest growing research college in Canada during her leadership.

Fostering a bond with the Indigenous people, according to Burns, is one of her greatest achievements.

“Having an honour song, having a Blackfoot name for Lethbridge College and then my own personal Blackfoot name stand out as vital things for our community,” Burns said.

In 2018, the school raised the Blackfoot Confederacy Flag permanently, and the Niitsitapi: Coming Together in a Holistic Way initiative was started the previous year.

She has also led Lethbridge College during an unprecedented period in its history as it navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, and she is proud of how the school handled the situation.

“I believe Lethbridge College was prepared in terms of being able to pivot rapidly to remote learning, and our leadership team has done an outstanding job of keeping the focus on the safety of our community,” she added.
Michael Marcotte, chair of the Board of Governors, believes Burns has left the college in a strong position as it begins the search for the college’s ninth president and CEO.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity for me to learn from an institution that is really thriving and extremely successful: applied research, EDI, the Indigneous strategy,” Marcotte said.

Burns will help with the transition at the college through the end of May.

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