Dr. Robert MacKinnon’s recent reappointment as vice-president of the University New Brunswick’s Saint John campus was featured in the September 5 edition of the Telegraph Journal. The full story follows:

University VP receives another five-year term
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
September 5, 2013
Byline: Jennifer Pritchett

Robert MacKinnon has been appointed for his second term as vice-president of the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus.

“I’m thrilled to have been reappointed for another five years,” he said.

In an interview on Wednesday, MacKinnon said he looks forward to completing the renovation of the former library building as one of his main priorities.

“That will certainly be very high on my agenda and I really want to get that completed,” he said. “We have a consultant working with us at the moment to help lay out a design and some preliminary cost estimates. We’re not ready to announce what it’s going to contain, but it will be a very student-centric, publicly accessible building.”

MacKinnon, who was first hired at UNB as the dean of arts in 2001, said he would also like to “sink his teeth into” another long-term project – to remove all of the temporary buildings still located on the Saint John campus over the next five years.

“Ultimately, I suppose my goal during this term is really to continue to offer and enhance quality programs for students and I want UNBSJ to continue being a great place to work,” he said.

Overall, the university administrator said he hopes to build on what he helped accomplish during his first five years as VP.

“We had a lot of exciting changes on campus and I feel we have laid down a platform here for the future,” he said.

Looking back over the last five years, MacKinnon said there has been some new construction such as the Hans W. Klohn Commons building, an innovative learning facility that was finished two years ago.

“It’s one of the most advanced, environmentally friendly learning commons buildings in Atlantic Canada and it really provides great opportunities for students,” he said.

There was also a major refurbishment of the Canada Games Stadium; Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick has come to the campus with a newly renovated building for the med school and the New Brunswick Community College has established itself at UNBSJ with a new building.

“In the last five years, we have really spent a lot of time on infrastructure development and laying the platform for interaction between these institutions and new partnerships, research and teaching partnerships,” he said.

Looking ahead to the next five years, MacKinnon said he would like to build on a new health cluster of teaching partnerships between the university, Horizon Health, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Community College to develop more research potential.

“Looking at how do we promote both our teaching programs that relate to health and the research enterprise – that is certainly one of our goals,” he said. “We’re working on that. We have interdisciplinary research teams that are coming together.”

MacKinnon said the university will also continue its community-based programming, which includes a volunteer program that sees UNB students tutor/mentor students from Hazen White-St. Francis School. When the elementary school students leave the school and go on to high school, the university brings them to the campus two nights a week for tutoring.

“That’s not only benefiting the students from Hazen White-St. Francis School, I think it’s really beneficial for our students,” he said.

The recommendation for MacKinnon’s reappointment was made to university president Eddy Campbell by the review committee that was appointed last fall to review his performance as vice-president during his first term and to gather feedback from the university community.

The announcement of MacKinnon’s reappointment was made internally at the university earlier this summer. His second term began July 1.

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