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Kwantlen Polytechnic University names Dr. Diane Purvey provost and vice president academic

Kwantlen Polytechnic University names Dr. Diane Purvey provost and vice president academic

Mon, Jul 4, 2022
Dr. Diane Purvey

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has appointed historian Dr. Diane Purvey as its new provost and vice president academic.

Purvey had been serving in the role on an interim basis since October 2021. Before that, she had been dean of the Faculty of Arts at KPU since 2012.

“The enjoyment of education and its purpose and value is foundational to what I bring to my work and what I intend to bring to the position of provost and vice president academic,” says Purvey. “Every day we must remember the thrill of discovery, something that our students experience all the time. Faculty engaged in scholarly activity know what this feels like, as do faculty involved in experiential learning projects and apprenticeship training in particular.”

Purvey’s first experience of KPU dates back to the early 1990s, when she was a non-regular history instructor after completing her master’s degree at the University of Victoria. She gained instructional experience from several post-secondary institutions in this period before settling into teaching at the University College of the Cariboo (UCC) in 1998. She became an assistant professor when UCC became Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in 2005 and an associate professor in 2008.

In 2000, Purvey completed her Ph.D on Canadian families in the postwar era from the School of Social and Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her career in administration started that same year as she became chair of the bachelor of education program at UCC. She became coordinator of TRU’s master of education program in 2006 and chair of its School of Education in 2011, before the move to KPU.

With 21 departments when Purvey led it and the most students, the Faculty of Arts is the largest academic division at KPU. The Faculty of Arts was the result of a merger in 2012 and Purvey oversaw not only the creation of standardized processes for the new entity but the addition of new initiatives along the way, such as the popular Arts Speaker series and City Studio, a partnership with the City of Surrey.

At its spring convocation, KPU recognized Purvey with its distinguished leadership award. The program noted, “Dr. Purvey is an inspirational leader – she leads by example but is unparalleled in her will to lead, mentor and support others. She is trusted and well respected, authentic, intentional and empathetic towards the diverse needs of students and faculty.”

In her new role, Purvey identifies action on reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization, striking the right balance on teaching delivery models in the post-COVID-19 era, anti-racism, and equity, diversity and inclusion as some early priorities.

“Being accessible and open as an institution – and as individuals – is the approach I have chosen,” adds Purvey. “I believe these values are and should continue to be foundational to KPU.”

KPU’s current five-year academic plan concludes in 2023 and creating the next one will be one of the first tasks for the new provost, says Alan Davis, KPU’s president and vice chancellor.

“Dr. Purvey brings a passion for teaching and learning and scholarship,” he says. “She brings an emotional intelligence and clear thinking to the job. She has very good judgement about when to slow things down and when to move ahead.”