Kacper Niburski

Assistant News Editor


After five years of serving as McMaster’s Provost, Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac has decided to leave McMaster and become the ninth president of University of Saskatchewan starting Jul. 1, 2012.

“To leave this office the last time, to leave McMaster, to leave the students; it will be all so hard.”

Her decision may have come as a slight surprise to some. In November Busch-Vishniac decided that she would not complete a second term as Provost at McMaster. She did, however, state that she would spend her leave traversing the halls of JHE, “to help me return to my research and to my teaching.”

Unfortunately for McMaster, this is not the case. Announced early January, Busch-Vishniac confirmed that she would be succeeding the current University of Saskatchewan President, Peter MacKinnon, who has served for 13 years.

She leaves behind a list of notable achievements, including the revitalization of the information systems, reform of the budget model, and fostering student development.

“We’ve been working hard on all fronts. The first of which was to improve information systems, and we are well underway of renewal of them. We have also worked to change the allocation of resources, which is addressed in our new budget model. We have made a lot of progress on that, to the point that we think if there is enough consensus on the model we will be able to start implementation in a year.”

She added that, “We have also generally worked towards the improvement of students’ experience and we are equally responsive to the needs of the student. Most of all, I am proud that we are intentionally responding to the needs of the students.”

But after a successful five-year term with only marginal hiccups, Busch-Vishniac did not wish to add to her list of accolades.

“We have accomplished a lot in the five year term,” she said, “and it might be time for someone with a new perspective to come in to work closely with the President Deane on the objectives he set out in Forward with Integrity.”

She further added that, “I am also in a position now which I wasn’t in earlier November to say it felt like the right time to move up. I didn’t want to put the University into a position where I signed on to a second term I had no intention of serving.”

And move up she did. “As of November, I had yet been offered the position of presidency at the University of Saskatchewan. It looked like I would finish my term at McMaster and join the faculty of Engineering, spending my leave here. I did have other opportunities pending, but I was not in a position to say anything about them at that time.”

Come late November, Busch-Vishniac had yet to even visit Saskatchewan. However at an invitation of the University of Saskatchewan’s search committee, after which she spent touring the University and  the city of Saskatoon, discussions materialized and the possibility became much more concrete.

Now without a shred of doubt, Busch-Vishniac has committed to serving the Saskatchewan community. The decision, while being anything but simple, will be eased by the University of Saskatchewan’s strong leadership as well as their widespread community engagement.

In life, things change. People come and go. Institutions rise and fall. Even a paragon moves on. No matter the work they have tirelessly invested in. No matter who they leave behind. No matter the accomplishments that pad their shelves. All doors close one day.

But it is only a matter of time before they are reopened. This case is no different. In response to Busch-Vishniac’s decision to not continue a second term and the subsequent expeditious transfer, a search committee has been appointed by the Senate in late October to begin the process of suggesting a new Provost for McMaster.

At this time, however, Busch-Vishniac’s replacement has not been announced by the University.


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