Scott McAlpine suddenly leaves role as president of Douglas
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On June 17, New Westminster media outlets revealed that Scott McAlpine had left his position as president of Douglas College. Specific reasons are currently unknown, but Douglas’ director of marketing and communications Dave Taylor states that “personal reasons” and “other opportunities” were behind his departure.
McAlpine had been president of Douglas College since August 2009, which the New Westminster Newsleader reports followed a 20-year career at Alberta’s Grande Prairie Regional College.
“Dr. McAlpine oversaw the college during a period of growth and change,” says Taylor. During McAlpine’s time at the college, much of the New Westminster campus was updated and renovated, new programs were introduced, and further opportunities for international studies became available.
Taking over the role of interim president is vice president Kathy Denton, who will run the position until further notice. Taylor states that Denton’s career with Douglas College has lasted 20 years, “so we’re lucky to have someone with such a history with the college.”
Denton states that this is not the first time she has held the position of interim president, but that this will be her longest duration filling the role. Denton will remain in the position until a new president is hired, with recently appointed executive director of research and academic administration Thor Borgford taking on the role of interim vice president.
“[Hiring a president is] going to be a board process … so it will depend on their scheduling,” says Taylor. “There won’t be another board meeting until September now… so the search will probably begin in September for a new president. It usually takes a while … several months at a minimum.”
Denton added that she would like to remain available to the students, as McAlpine was, and continue with the president dinners. Denton also stressed that no future changes are planned for Douglas that were not already in progress prior to McAlpine’s departure.
“We’re lucky to have Kathy Denton,” says Taylor. “She’s been a professor here, she’s been a chair of a department, a dean, and as well as the vice president, so she knows the college extraordinarily well.
“Whenever there’s change in leadership, there’s going to be questions, and so it’s great Kathy’s available to help guide us through this time.”
McAlpine’s leave was sudden, and came as a surprise for those not directly involved with the situation. There are of course many questions left unanswered, the most pressing of which being, “why?”
“If you look at any of the colleges or universities in BC,” says Taylor, “you’ll see that presidents come and go. What’s important is that people understand there’s a great leadership team here: the senior management.
“It takes a lot of people to run an institution the size of Douglas College, and we’re lucky to have a very committed team of senior leaders who are excited about the direction the college has been heading the last few years.”
Both Taylor and Denton stated they and the faculty wished McAlpine well in his future endeavours.