An interview with Dr. Tim Loreman, President and Vice Chancellor, CUE
Dr. Tim Loreman became Concordia University of Edmonton’s (CUE’s) 8th president in 2017. Three years into his tenure, CUE has become Canada’s pre-eminent small university, boasting multiple international partnerships, an Indigenous Knowledge & Research Centre, and an AI centre that has already begun some promising work in advancing CT scan diagnostics. Dr. Loreman is the first person to state that he hasn’t done this alone, but his vision, made possible by the work of by the previous president, and bolstered by a strong leadership team has garnered CUE a shining reputation, and an even brighter future. All of these aspects combined make CUE a great place to work. Keep reading below to learn more.
What attracted you to CUE?
Prior to working at CUE, I was an elementary teacher before taking the leap to post-secondary, where I worked at Monash University in Melbourne. As soon as I stepped through the doors, I fell in love with working in the university environment. What attracted me was the opportunity to teach and research, all at the same time. But since my family life brought me to Edmonton, I was excited about an open position at CUE. I was drawn to the small classes and the opportunity to connect with students while continuing on with my research.
What excited you about taking on the role of president?
CUE was primed for success in 2017. I saw so much potential and so much excitement on campus. The opportunity to lead the institution into this expansion period was too good to refuse. I thought I could contribute to our growth, our inclusiveness, and the rigour of our academic mission. From a professional standpoint, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What is the number one thing you’d like potential faculty to know about CUE?
CUE is one of the friendliest places staff and faculty will ever work. Our students are terrific and engaged, and our small classes and community environment mean faculty can connect with students on a personal level.
In your mind, what are some of the essential qualities a faculty member must possess in order to be successful at CUE?
To be successful here, faculty must be genuinely interested in student success, and willing to go the extra mile. But we also value scholarship, so faculty must be motivated to build a program of research here at CUE. This often includes collaboration and finding resources through grant opportunities. We also truly value community, so we ask that faculty give their time and talents to committee work as well. It’s not just a job, it’s a holistic educational and professional experience.
What is the number one thing faculty tell you about why they chose CUE?
There are so many reasons faculty decide to join the CUE team, but there exists one overarching reason they stay. And that’s community. Because of our unique environment, we have a very high retention rate. People care about one another. You see this most in the difficult times—people coming together and supporting one another.
CUE has continued to enjoy enrolment growth. In your mind, what is the main reason behind this? What has CUE done to attract students?
I am proud to say that CUE had the highest enrolment growth in post-secondary education in Alberta in 2019—this shows that the word is finally out about CUE. We’ve always offered a first class education, but not everyone knew about it. When people visit our campus, they tell me they are struck by how welcome and comfortable they feel. And this feeling stays with them for years after they’ve graduated. Our graduates and current students are big advocates; this speaks volumes about the power of word-of-mouth, and the quality of education offered at CUE.
What makes CUE unique from the perspective of students?
Many students are attracted to our unique, tailored programs, as well as our professional programs like Education and Public Health. But it’s more than just academics, and I know this because I meet with students every week. They tell me they love the vibrancy of the campus – from athletics, to theatre, to music, and more. They also truly enjoy and value interaction with, and access to, their professors.
How do you ensure CUE faculty continue to grow and develop in their jobs?
Continual education and growth are incredibly important to CUE. As such, we provide funds for professional development that faculty can use to attend events, courses, or conferences to ensure they remain current and advance their skills. But learning also happens as a community with on-campus opportunities such as research fairs and seminars, etc.
Additionally, our research clusters provide an excellent forum where faculty can connect with their colleagues regarding topics of mutual interest. We are a collegial bunch here at CUE, which is helpful in terms of mentorship and advice.
In what particular fields is CUE trying to recruit faculty and why?
Because our retention is so high, each faculty is careful and prudent in their approach to hiring. That being said, because of our unprecedented growth, we are looking to add to our great team in almost every area including arts; science; education; and management. There are lots of opportunities here.
If you had the power to change one thing in higher education, what would it be?
I would ensure that everyone who wanted a post-secondary education could access one. Currently, because of financial and other barriers, a post-secondary education isn’t possible for all who seek it, but we are working to change that.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing universities across Canada right now?
As noted above, the biggest challenge is access. All universities need to find ways to grant access to all members of Canadian society who want to attend. Education is the pathway out of poverty for individuals, families, communities, and even entire countries. We have marginalized groups and individuals in Canada who cannot access a university education. Our post-secondary communities need to work together remove those barriers.
CUE is becoming well-known for its partnerships with educational institutions both in Canada and abroad, why do you believe academic partnerships are so important?
We can’t operate in silos anymore. Communication technologies have provided opportunities for collaboration like never before. To this end, I—along with Manfred Zeuch, our Vice President of External Affairs and International Relations— have devoted a lot of time and energy to fostering our national and international partnerships. This has meant visiting partners in Canada and around the world to discuss ways to enhance student and faculty mobility; program cooperation; and, research partnerships. It has been one of our most successful initiatives to date, and something we plan to continue for many years to come.
CUE is also well-known for its robust international student recruitment initiatives. Why is it so important to attract international students to CUE?
International students enliven our campus. In class, they bring different perspectives; and, outside of class, they give us an opportunity to learn and experience aspects of their cultures. Some international students want to eventually immigrate to Canada, which I think is fantastic. By enhancing our international student presence, CUE helps to provide Canada with highly skilled, career-ready immigrants. Alternatively, my hope for those who return home, is that we have provided them with different perspectives, and the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in their home countries.