President & Vice Chancellor – Carleton University

A.General Overview of Duties

Reporting to Carleton University’s Board of Governors, the President & Vice Chancellor (President) is responsible for the management of the University and the development and execution of Carleton’s Strategic Integrated Plan (CSIP). The President champions research excellence, teaching and learning, community engagement, wellness, accessibility, and sustainability.

The President leads, empowers, and supports the leadership team across campus and provides management and strategic oversight of the University operations and academic programming, ensuring its continued financial health and sustainability in an ever challenging fiscal and funding environment.

The President advocates for and represents Caarleton University to a range of important audiences and constituencies, both to the general public, but also among its peer group in the sector, to promote and further Carleton University’s reputation, locally, nationally, and internationally for academic excellence, collegiality, transparency, and integrity.

The President fosters a caring, student-centric culture that attracts and retains great undergraduate and graduate students and ensures the services are provided for a first-rate student experience, while also attracting and retaining excellent faculty and staff, including a high-performing senior leadership team.

B. Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The President’s duties and responsibilities fall under four, overlapping executive functions and mandates:

  • University Vision and Strategic Direction
  • Operational Leadership, Management, and Financial Sustainability
  • Campus Culture and Community Building
  • Partnerships, Engagement, and Reputation Building

University Vision and Strategic Direction

The President develops, articulates, and delivers a bold, aspirational, and forward thinking, long-term vision that attracts students, faculty, staff, donors, investments, and collaborations to Carleton. To this end, the President:

  • Oversees a consultative, collaborative strategic planning process that galvanizes the community around a common and consistent purpose.
  • Ensures strategic priorities have longevity, are clear, timely, relevant and anticipate future challenges, opportunities, and trends at a local, national and global level.
  • Clearly identifies and articulates Carleton’s distinctiveness and strategic strengths to advance its position and brand as a leading and prestigious comprehensive, research-intensive institution.
  • Leads change that positions Carleton as a thought leader in areas of academic strength and societal importance.
  • Encourages and nurtures interdisciplinary collaboration and research excellence, innovation, and real-world application.
  • Is active in sector-wide public policy and advocacy efforts (i.e., with the Council of Ontario Universities, Universities Canada, etc.) to ensure the University has a strong voice and that the University and the sector remain resilient, highly valued, and sustainable.

Operational Leadership, Management, and Financial Sustainability

The President leads, guides, and supports University operations, ensuring its ongoing fiscal health and long-term sustainability. To this end, the President:

  • Models a balanced, contemporary, and forward-thinking approach to team leadership, empowerment, and decision-making.
  • Mentors and motivates senior staff and encourages innovation, bold and creative thinking, and open communications at all levels of the organization.
  • Provides strategic oversight and support to operations in areas that include funding, budgeting, capital planning, facilities, deferred maintenance, financial management etc., delegating as appropriate to members of the senior leadership team.
  • Promotes technological and digital innovations and the modernization of structures, systems, programs, and services to keep pace with change, needs, growth, etc.
  • Models and sets the tone for sound business principles, practices, decision-making, and discipline across the University, prioritizing performance, quality, and operational excellence.
  • Builds strong relationships with employee and labour groups.
  • Provides prompt, thorough, and accurate information to keep the Board of Governors appropriately informed of the University’s financial position and risk mitigation.

Campus Culture and Community Building

The President leads and sets the tone for a high-performing, collaborative, empowered team environment and a vibrant, caring, and compassionate community of students, faculty, and staff who are guided by a shared vision and sense of common purpose. To this end, the President:

  • Delivers broad, transparent, and frequent communications to the Carleton community.
  • Prioritizes the student voice and experience, fostering a culture that attracts, serves, and retains Carleton undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Instils pride, excitement, and confidence, modeling the values and enthusiasm to attract and retain excellent faculty and staff, including a high-performing senior leadership team.
  • Champions diversity, inclusivity, and equity, and Carleton’s commitment to and strengths in accessibility, sustainability, mental health, and wellness.
  • Continues and enhances the support and relationship-building with Indigenous communities, students, and faculty.
  • Ensures a strong, collaborative working relationship with the Board of Governors and Senate.

Partnerships, Engagement, and Reputation Building

Serving as a respected spokesperson, the President furthers Carleton’s reputation and relationships with a range of partners to advance Carleton’s position, locally, nationally, and internationally. To this end, the President:

  • Spotlights Carleton’s strengths and distinctiveness to domestic and international audiences.
  • Advocates to and maintains relationships with the three levels of government, including key Ministries, the civil service, policy makers, elected officers and political staff, and funding bodies.
  • Engages donors and alumni and is active in fundraising and advancement campaigns to increase and diversify income streams and the long-term financial viability of the University.
  • Proactively develops strong roots and key strategic relationships within the City of Ottawa, across partner institutions, and with local community, industry (Kanata North), and scholarly networks.
  • Positions Carleton as an active and valued contributor to the knowledge economy and labour/talent market of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and internationally.
  • Ensures Carleton has a comprehensive issues, crisis, and reputation enhancement strategy.
  • Acts as the University’s spokesperson on key issues and in extraordinary/emergency circumstances.

C. Ideal President & Vice Chancellor Profile

Selection Criteria

Carleton is more than an institution. It is a community that stretches across campus and beyond. The President is therefore an inspiring and energizing community leader, builder, and connector, who appreciates the important work, value, and role that faculty, staff, students, partners, alumni, friends, and donors play in advancing the University’s academic mission and vision.

The University is on the ascent and seeks a leader who is a bold, collaborative, fiscally proficient individual that is capable of inspiring the Carleton community as it navigates change and explores new ideas in a fiscally uncertain time – together. A consensus builder and strategic communicator who can ask tough questions and make forward-thinking data-driven decisions; all while facilitating opportunities for the University to experiment, fail-forward when necessary, and enhance its reputation as a research-intensive institution capable of changing the world.

The ideal candidate embodies the courage, confidence, and agility that have defined Carleton to date and that, going forward, will help it challenge, disrupt, and change its conventions and approaches to academic excellence, quality higher education, community engagement, and meaningful societal impact. They have a range of skills, qualities, and experiences, a balanced and highly nuanced approach to leadership and decision making, and a genuine appreciation for the full, rich, and distinctive mission, vision, and values of Carleton University.

The selection criteria listed below align with the President’s job duties and responsibilities and were developed in consultation with the Carleton community.

Visionary Leadership and Strategic Direction 

The ideal candidate is a respected, service-oriented, and experienced leader with vision and a high degree of strategic foresight and agility, who can demonstrate:

  • Enthusiasm, excitement, and passion for higher education across campus, community, and society.
  • Academic and scholarly credibility in research and/or education.
  • The courage, confidence, and willingness to take appropriate, informed, and manageable risks.
  • A consultative, consensus-building, and engaging approach with comfort for making difficult decisions and choices with limited data, ambiguity, uncertainty, and disruption.
  • Systems-wide thinking approach and experience leading within a complex and dynamic academic and operational environment.
  • A commitment to advancing a dynamic, student-centric, and research-intensive environment that supports excellence in scholarship, teaching, and learning.
  • Global connectivity and an appreciation for how international trends, markets, geopolitics, risks, etc. can be best be managed within the campus community.

Operational Leadership, Management, and Financial Sustainability

The ideal candidate is a skilled, decisive, and proven operational administrator, who can demonstrate:

  • A record leading, empowering, motivating, and enabling high performing teams to excel.
  • Success leading sustainable, equitable change and growth that considers human, financial, legal, environmental, planetary health, community, socioeconomic, and cross-cultural factors.
  • A balance of financial and fiscal prudence with creative and informed risk taking.
  • Evidence-informed decision making when managing budgets, setting priorities, making difficult choices, evaluating and addressing the implications of their decisions.
  • Managerial insightfulness, flexibility, and acuity in a collaborative decision-making environment.
  • Ability to skillfully lead and navigate a complex organization through a period of fiscal challenge and economic uncertainty.
  • Experience with labour relations, with the ability to offer strategic insights on employee relations and contract negotiations.
  • Broad organizational and business acumen in human resources, legal, risk and investment management, project management, marketing, communications, IT, governance, etc.
  • Judgement, diplomacy, political acumen, and experience facilitating and chairing executive level meetings.
  • Digital savviness with an appreciation and enthusiasm for how technology can help transform a university’s programming, reach, and impact.

Campus Culture and Community Building

The ideal candidate is a visible, engaging, and accessible community builder, who can demonstrate:

  • Authentic, transparent, two-way communications with facilitation and listening skills.
  • Emotional intelligence: self-awareness, empathy, humility, care, compassion, vulnerability, etc.
  • Cross-cultural competence and experience with a demonstrable commitment and track-record leading initiatives to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Ability to foster the establishment and maintenance of strong relationships between the University and Indigenous Peoples, with mutual respect to create a deep network of support for students, staff and faculty within the University and advance the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives.
  • Success leading interdisciplinary efforts, and a holistic and integrative mindset and appreciation for each and all academic areas (research, teaching and learning, STEAM, social sciences, humanities, etc.) and how they can together enrich Carleton and support its bold academic mandate and mission.
  • Skills or experience in crisis communications, issues management, and media relations.
  • Experience in academic governance and an understanding of the value of collegial governance and the respective roles of Senate and the Board of Governors.

External Partnerships, Engagement, and Reputation Building

The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic, outgoing, and inspiring Carleton representative, who can demonstrate:

  • A record of success building meaningful relationships and trusted partnerships with individuals and organizations, i.e., in government, private industry, academia, healthcare, etc.
  • Excellent advocacy and storytelling skills with comfort in being a trusted and respected spokesperson and brand ambassador.
  • Experience and interest in advancing public policy, in support of higher education.
  • Fundraising and friend-raising experience, skills, ability, and commitment to identify, diversify, and secure revenues from traditional and new sources.
  • An appreciation for the important role governments, community partners, donors, friends, and alumni will continue to play in support of the academic mission.
  • Knowledge of and comfort advocating to the Ontario and Federal governments by working with Universities Canada and Council of Ontario Universities would be an asset.
  • Bilingualism, French and English, would be an asset.
  • Established networks in industry and government with experience in economic development, branding and positioning a region for success, would be valued by the local community.

To learn more about leading Canada’s Capital University and the position profile, please contact Michael Naufal at of Boyden Executive Search. To apply, please submit your cover letter and resume directly at

View the Job Description & Profile