Thompson Rivers University

TRU chooses new provost after national search

March 14, 2022

Dr. Gillian Balfour has accepted the position of TRU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, effective July 1. She currently serves as the vice-president and academic dean of King’s University College at Western University in London, Ont., a position she has held since August 1, 2020.

Balfour will be an outstanding leader for TRU. Her skills and experience as an academic leader are well-aligned with TRU’s vision and values, and her record of accomplishment and field of research as a faculty member is an excellent fit for our institution, said TRU President Brett Fairbairn.

“This appointment is welcome news, coming as TRU completes its integrated strategic planning. The next 10 years will require focus, effort and vision as we work to fulfill our strategic change goals. Having a permanent provost in place will help guide TRU’s development in these important areas,” he said.

“I also want to thank Interim Provost Donna Murnaghan for her service, noting her crucial leadership helped TRU immensely through the last several months. Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to the search committee members, who invested much time and effort. Their recommendations were instrumental to this decision-making process.”

Balfour completed a PhD in sociology at the University of Manitoba where she focused on critical socio-legal studies and feminist criminology. Her research interests include a critical analysis of restorative justice and sentencing law reforms intended to address over-incarceration of Indigenous women; victim impact statements in sexual assault cases; and the effects of carceral feminism on the punishment of Indigenous women.

“The opportunity to share the academic and research vision of TRU is an honour and responsibility. I am excited to be joining the community and being on campus amidst the beauty of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and the T’exelc within Secwépemc’ulucw territories. Thank you for your support, and trusting me to be a part of an important time of change and renewal for TRU,” said Balfour, who is currently writing an archival study of discipline of Indigenous women in Canadian women’s prisons.

Prior to her time at King’s University College, she was associate dean of Trent University Online, and full professor of sociology with a focus on socio-legal studies and criminology. While at Trent, she was a member of Canada’s Walls to Bridges collective that provides prison-based learning for incarcerated and non-incarcerated students.

Balfour grew up on Songhees territory. She is looking forward to returning to B.C. and enjoy running and cycling on mountain trails again. Kayaking is the next big adventure.

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