Dr. Scott Walsworth (PhD), a professor in the Edwards School of Business, will serve as USask’s vice-provost, faculty relations for a five-year term.
Dr. Scott Walsworth (PhD), a professor in the Edwards School of Business, will serve as USask’s vice-provost, faculty relations for a five-year term. (Photo: Matt Smith)

Walsworth appointed USask’s vice-provost, faculty relations

Walsworth, a labour-relations expert, began his five-year term at USask on Aug. 1, 2023.

By Shannon Boklaschuk

Dr. Scott Walsworth (PhD), a labour-relations expert, researcher, author, and professor at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), has been appointed as USask’s new vice-provost, faculty relations.

Walsworth, a faculty member in the Department of Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour at Edwards School of Business, began his five-year term as part of USask’s senior leadership team on Aug. 1, 2023. In his new role, he will provide leadership and support for faculty relations at USask, working in partnership with Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Airini (PhD) and other members of the university’s senior leadership team to support the institution’s strategic directions and ensure the successful implementation of the University Plan 2025.

For Walsworth, taking on the vice-provost, faculty relations position was a natural fit based on his previous academic and work experiences. He first began practicing labour relations about 10 years ago, offering training courses to unions and employer groups, and found the work to be gratifying.

“As I built up a bit of a reputation and rapport with the practitioner community, I was then invited to start doing some arbitrations. I really enjoyed that work. You really get invited into the workplace to solve some of their most serious problems, and I really like practicing labour relations,” he said.

“I started doing some government work as well, where I got to play the role of a neutral in overseeing the labour relations for the province’s teachers, and I enjoyed that work.”

Walsworth has focused on labour relations since his first university degree, earning a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in labour studies from McMaster University. He also holds a PhD and a master’s degree in labour relations, both from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Law degree in employment and labour law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. At USask, he has taught Edwards School of Business courses on human resources, industrial relations, and labour and employment law, and previously served as the academic director of the Labour-Management Relations Certificate program offered through Edwards Executive Education. 

Airini described Walsworth as a highly respected expert in labour relations who has established a reputation on and off campus as an effective leader by serving as a department head, chair, director, and president of various academic bodies and units, government committees, and arbitration boards.

“This impressive breadth of experience positions him well to take on the duties of the vice-provost, faculty relations,” said Airini. “I am so pleased to welcome Dr. Walsworth into this key leadership role and to have an opportunity to work with him in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic.”

The vice-provost, faculty relations enhances the work of the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic by providing support in a variety of areas, such as academic recruitment; retention and career development for faculty; collegial relations, including faculty and administrative appointments; collegial processes, including salary review, tenure, and promotion; and negotiations with the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association (USFA).

Walsworth previously served two terms on the executive of the USFA and is the former president of the national Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) and the current director of the CIRA’s Saskatoon chapter. In 2019, he began a four-year term as the chair of the Educational Relations Board, a position created by the Saskatchewan Education Act to oversee labour relations between the province and its 17,000 teachers. Since 2020, he has worked as a labour arbitrator and is a named arbitrator in several collective agreements.

Walsworth was also the principal investigator on a recent three-year Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). With this SSHRC funding, he investigated how, and under what circumstances, unions affect management decisions and firm outcomes, such as innovation, profits, and employment growth. His work has been published in several top journals, including Industrial Relations (Berkeley), Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, and the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and he has co-authored a leading textbook in his field.

Recently, Walsworth’s work has focused on the effect of gender and caring for children on the research productivity of academics, labour market outcomes of immigrants and international students, and labour arbitration policy.

Walsworth said he has enjoyed his career at USask, and the vice-provost, faculty relations role will now enable him give back to the university in a new way.

“The university has been very good to me and my family,” said Walsworth. “This role is essentially the university’s equivalent of a senior labour-relations position. So, I thought I can spend the next phase of my career practicing labour relations and having an impact that uses both my academic training and my practitioner skills—and I get to do it at an institution that has afforded us such a wonderful life in Saskatchewan.”