Red River College has named Stephanie Forsyth of British Columbia as its next president and chief executive officer.
Forsyth is currently the president of Northwest Community College (NWCC), based in Terrace, British Columbia, serving 10 communities in northern B.C. She has held that position for the past 10 years.
Of Blackfoot ancestry, Forsyth has strengthened aboriginal programs during her 10 years at Northwest.
Forsyth officially becomes Red River College’s president Sept. 27, succeeding Jeff Zabudsky, who left earlier this year to head a large community college in the Toronto area. Catherine Rushton remains interim president.
"Red River College is a dynamic and innovative institution that makes a significant contribution to the social and economic development of Manitoba," Forsyth said in a prepared statement. "It is a good fit with my values and leadership style, and a terrific opportunity."
Forsyth cited RRC’s national reputation, growing applied research program in sustainable technology, capital expansion plan and focus on aboriginal education as factors that drew her to the position.
Sheryl Feller, RRC board chair, said that the college’s governors are "particularly impressed with her commitment to enhancing post-secondary education for aboriginal students, which is a strategic priority for the college and the province."
At NWCC, Forsyth has woven indigenous knowledge and traditions into the college culture, and strengthened ties with aboriginal communities through initiatives such as the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, the House of Learning and Applied Research, and the Challenge the Paradigm Conference on decolonizing post-secondary education. She is of Blackfoot ancestry, and is an adopted member of the Tsimshian Nation.
Forsyth has also been a leader within the Canadian college system in advocating for sustainability, Red River officials said. She has challenged her colleagues across the country to green their campuses, initiated an ambitious plan to make NWCC a carbon-neutral institution, and overseen construction of several LEED Gold construction projects.
Forsyth holds a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University, a Master of Education from the University of British Columbia, and is currently completing a PhD in Higher Education from Deakin University in Australia. She is a Director of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the BC Achievement Foundation, Science World British Columbia, and the BC Post-Secondary Roundtable on Aboriginal Education.