Dr. Jerome Cranston (PhD) is USask’s new vice-provost, students and learning, and a professor in the College of Education.
Dr. Jerome Cranston (PhD) is USask’s new vice-provost, students and learning, and a professor in the College of Education. (Photo: Matt Smith)

Cranston appointed vice-provost, students and learning

Dr. Jerome Cranston (PhD) began his five-year term at USask on Aug. 1, 2023.

Cranston, a scholar-educator, administrator, author, speaker, and leader, has joined the University of Saskatchewan (USask) as vice-provost, students and learning.

Cranston, who most recently served as dean and professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina (U of R), began his five-year term as part of USask’s senior leadership team on Aug. 1, 2023.

As vice-provost, students and learning, Cranston will work closely with staff in the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (TLSE) portfolio to lead, support, and celebrate the student learning and development cycle. This includes further implementing the USask plan titled Fostering Tomorrow’s Leaders: Learning, Teaching and the Student Experience 2019 – 2025.

Cranston said one of the first things he noticed about USask is its caring community, with USask faculty, staff, and students welcoming him and his family to the university and to Saskatoon.

“The university community has been unbelievable,” he said. “They’ve been generous and gracious and kind beyond anything we would have expected.”

When asked why he wanted to take on the new role at USask, Cranston noted the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Airini (PhD), USask’s provost and vice-president academic. Cranston said USask’s membership in the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities—the association of 15 leading research universities across Canada—was also a draw.

“I began my career at the University of Manitoba, another U15 research-intensive university,” he said. “I was there for 10 years. I had the opportunity to move into a senior-leader position at the University of Regina as dean, and then an opportunity to come back to a U15 (at USask).”

Cranston is looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with the staff in USask’s TLSE portfolio. TLSE includes various administrative units that support student success, such as Access and Equity Services, Admissions and Transfer Credit, the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre, the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning, the International Student and Study Abroad Centre, Registrarial Services, Student Finance and Awards, the Student Wellness Centre, and more.

“I look forward to joining a team within the TLSE portfolio who seem really engaged, really committed,” Cranston said. “They’re an incredibly positive group who really want to do good.”

Airini said Cranston will play a key role in championing and promoting the success of USask students, creating environments that empower staff, and encouraging and supporting academic instructors.

“We are so pleased to welcome Dr. Cranston to USask,” said Airini. “He is a highly respected scholar and senior administrator, as well as a presenter, consultant, and educator on the topics of systemic racism and social inequity. Throughout his career, Dr. Cranston has exemplified his commitment to Indigenization and to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and he continually positions students, and their success, at the heart of his administrative work.”

Cranston, who has a 30-year professional history of being committed to student-centred teaching and learning, completed his post-secondary education on the Prairies. He earned Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees at the University of Alberta, a master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Lethbridge, and a PhD in educational administration at the University of Manitoba. His research areas include using narrative ethnography, arts-based forms of educational research, and other approaches of critical analysis to understand human capacity-building in the education sector, focusing on issues of human rights, racial justice, and social (in)equities that exist in society and in K-12 and higher education.

While at the U of R, Cranston served as the principal consultant on a two-year project between the Faculty of Education’s research centre and the Canadian School Boards Association to provide anti-racism training and resources for Canada’s public-school boards. He also collaborated with the First Nations University of Canada and the Mongolian National University to draft a tripartite memorandum of understanding to guide future partnerships. As well, he initiated the Faculty of Education’s first fully online pathway to complete the Master of Education in Teaching, Leading and Learning degree.

Other key achievements at the U of R included collaborating with the Gabriel Dumont Institute to establish a Research Chair in Métis/Michif-language education and creating two new undergraduate scholarships: Black Teachers Matter, an endowed annual entrance award for a qualified undergraduate student; and the Brighter Futures Award, an endowed annual entrance award for a qualified undergraduate student who spent at least one year in the care of the child welfare system.

In 2013, Cranston initiated a collaborative process to work with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to develop and teach a human rights-focused summer institute for educators. In 2014, he was granted academic observer status for the Thirteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. During the past several years, he has collaborated with the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and the First Nations University of Canada on community-based degree programs designed to meet the needs of Indigenous communities and to respect the sovereignty of each institution. He is also the author of a new book, Half-Caste: Decidedly Brown in a Black or White World, a memoir that examines the lived experiences of someone who identifies as multi-racial.

“I try to frame my work through what’s referred to as race-conscious scholarship,” Cranston said. “It’s recognizing that for Indigenous and racialized people—whether they are students, faculty, staff, community members—that the pathway that we follow can be more difficult. It can be harder to navigate, and the work that I do is to try to eliminate barriers and obstacles that exist, that are part of the architecture of the society we live in. I try to create, through equity measures, greater opportunities for success, and greater opportunities for full participation in the university community and society at large.”

In his new role at USask, Cranston will focus on enhancing the work of the provost and vice-president academic in the areas of teaching, learning, and student experience.

“I think this particular role—as vice-provost, students and learning—provides an amazing and challenging opportunity to focus on student experience and the effectiveness and quality of teaching and learning across the institution,” he said. “It’s really student-centric in a sense of providing pathways and opportunities for students to be able to find success and, in some ways, reducing or eliminating barriers that might get in their way.”

Together we will support and inspire students to succeed. We invite you to join by supporting current and future students' needs at USask.

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