Jan 27, 2022

Vancouver, BC – On behalf of the Board of Governors, following a robust search process, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Paula Burns will become the fourth President and CEO of Langara College on June 6, 2022.

As President and CEO, Paula will lead Langara to advance its reputation as Canada’s premier pathways college to provide diverse learners with the academic and experiential foundation for further education, career success, and professional and personal development.

Paula brings a track record of over 25 years of academic leadership that prioritizes Indigenization, student success, and justice, equity, inclusion and diversity for Langara’s students, faculty, staff and community. Over the course of her career, she has demonstrated the ability to cultivate a progressive, positive, respectful and welcoming culture.

“My values are strongly aligned with the priorities outlined in the 2025 Strategic Plan for Langara College,” says Paula. “I see a focus on a diverse learning community, an emphasis on building a positive culture that supports students, staff, and faculty, and a commitment to Indigenization and maintaining and deepening relationships with Musqueam and other Indigenous Nations and communities. The role of post-secondary education in Truth and Reconciliation is essential for our future collective success.”

Paula has established herself as an active and energetic leader locally, provincially, and nationally. Paula is currently the President of Lethbridge College where she has served since 2013, over three terms. She is also board chair of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Paula previously served on their National Indigenous Education Advisory Committee that developed 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.

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.

When faced with the inevitable challenges of running a complex institution in a new community, Paula faced them head on and found herself stronger for it. “Challenges we face can be uncomfortable, but I am grateful for them as they are also great learning experiences. My intention is to always use them as an opportunity to connect, listen, and strengthen relationships through respect, providing opportunities for responsibility and support as needed, and empowering people through accountability.”

We wish to thank Yusuf Varachia for his continued leadership as Acting President and CEO until Paula’s arrival in June. Yusuf’s contributions to our community, faculty, staff, and students, have been instrumental for the continued success of Langara College.

Join us in welcoming Dr. Burns to our community and our College. We look forward to the next era of Langara under her trusted leadership.

Michal Jaworski
Board Chair, Langara College Board of Governors

Ian Mass
Chair, Human Resources Task Force (Presidential Search)

About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College 
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm 'house of teachings', a name given to it by Musqueam, on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.   

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Mark Dawson
Manager, Public Affairs
Langara College