Chad London officially began his five-year term as dean on Nov. 1 and has set a lofty goal for the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) campus community.
“I would really love to see the U of S be the healthiest campus in the country and I think the College of Kinesiology is perfectly placed to be a leader in championing healthy living across campus,” said London. “I think that would be a wonderful measure to attain for the university and I don’t think it’s unrealistic.
“When you ask about my philosophy for healthy living and how it can help students and staff and faculty, it can help them in all aspects of their health, not only their physical health but also their mental health, emotional health and social well-being.”
The 45-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alta., came to the U of S from Calgary’s Mount Royal University where he was serving as dean of the Faculty of Health, Community and Education. For London, working in the field of kinesiology—focused on the study of human movement, active living and healthy lifestyles—is not just his profession, but his passion. And he is determined to help the college take a leading role in inspiring and helping students, staff and faculty across campus and in the broader community.
“We need to get moving,” said London, who earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Lethbridge, a master’s in human kinetics at the University of Windsor and his PhD in educational leadership from the University of Calgary. “When you look at the amount of sedentary behaviour in society, inactivity, obesity and related chronic diseases, it’s scary.
“I think the College of Kinesiology has a role to play to help reverse that trend and to inspire physical activity and the health benefits will follow. I am a real big proponent of walking meetings, for example, and taking the stairs rather than an elevator. Those kinds of little changes in our behaviour can make all the difference.”
The first step for London is developing relationships with his new colleagues in the college and building on their strengths.
“Being new to the university and new to the College of Kinesiology, my first priority is to get to know the people, the faculty, staff and students, and gain a greater understanding of their work and see how I can support and strengthen that,” he said. “What I do know, and what drew me to the position, was that the college has a great reputation, a real national reputation. I know that they conduct world-class research and have great academic and service programs, within the university and the external community as well.”
As for his main priorities, London points to the upcoming accreditation process, building enrolment, advancing research and exploring possible new programming in the college.
“One thing that is on our agenda this year with our undergraduate program is we’re up for renewal for accreditation and I anticipate that we will move through that with flying colours,” said London, who is also a big proponent of the university’s Recreation Services programs as champions of physical activity on campus. “I think there is also an opportunity to grow enrolment in our graduate programs and there’s some new program opportunities at the master’s level. So there won’t be a shortage of things to do.”
London is also excited about the future of Huskie Athletics, which features more than 400 varsity student-athletes competing on 15 teams in eight sports. Huskie Athletics is now guided by a new 11-member Board of Trustees—chaired by U of S alumnus and member of the Board of Governors David Dubé and featuring the likes of former Canadian Olympian Diane Jones Konihowski—drawing on expertise across campus and in the community.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity,” said London. “When you look at the people who are on that Board of Trustees, we are talking about high-level people who are very bright, intelligent and accomplished and it’s going to be outstanding. Huskie Athletics is already a force to be reckoned with, but when you look at what this board is going to bring, it’s a great opportunity to really raise the profile of the program.”