Biography

Dr. Paula Burns joined Langara College as its fourth President and CEO on May 30, 2022. Paula brings a track record of over 25 years of demonstrated innovation in leadership that prioritizes diversity and inclusivity, collaboration and community building, and the ability to cultivate a progressive, positive, respectful and welcoming culture.

Paula comes to Langara from Lethbridge College where she served as President from 2013 - 2022 and NAIT, where she was the provost and vice president academic. While at Lethbridge College, Paula built strong relationships with the Indigenous community, culminating in the College being gifted an honour song, and a name (Stone Pipe) bestowed in 2018 by the Blackfoot Nation. She also secured an increase in applied research funding of over 200% in five years, including a $400,000 grant for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In 2018, Lethbridge College conducted the largest fundraising campaign in its history.

Paula invests her commitment, passion and energy to advance education and to support and create a safe and respectful learning environment for students, faculty and staff. She faces leadership challenges head on by connecting, listening, and strengthening relationships through respect, empowerment and accountability.

Paula has established herself as an active and energetic leader locally, provincially, and nationally. She is also board chair of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Paula previously served on their National Indigenous Education Advisory Committee that worked to develop CICan's Indigenous Education protocol; was chair of their governance committee; and was previously chair of the Presidents Advisory Committee on Sustainability, a committee of Presidents who advises CICan and its members on their role with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Paula got her own start in higher education as a college student at Fanshawe College in London,ON, where she earned her Respiratory Therapy diploma in 1987. From there she went on to the University of Waterloo, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1996; Central Michigan University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Education in 1999 with a specialization in community college leadership; the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, where she earned her PhD in 2005; and Royal Roads University, where she earned her executive MBA in 2010 with a specialization in leadership.