University of Saskacthewan

The University of Saskatchewan has been through considerable changes in its leadership. (CBC)

An experienced manager at the University of Saskatchewan, Ernie Barber, has been named to take up a temporary role as Vice-President, Academic and Provost following the resignation last month of Brett Fairbairn. It will be the second time Barber has done the job on a temporary basis.

Barber will take up the position July 1 and will continue until a permanent replacement is hired. The appointment was announced by Gordon Barnhart, interim president at the U of S.

The Saskatoon-based institution has been through the administrative wringer following a controversy over the handling of dissent over TransformUS, a cost-cutting and reorganizing initiative.

Fairbairn resigned after admitting he had botched the firing of Robert Buckingham from the university's school of public health. Buckingham was initially stripped of tenure. He has since been reinstated.

Barber, who has been at the university for 33 years, is currently managing director of the Global Institute for Food Security at the U of S. He has also been a dean of the university's College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering.

As well, he was interim VP and Provost in 2007-08.

"I look forward to lots of listening, to lots of debate and to making decisions together with the campus community to guide the academic life of the university," Barber said in a statement released Monday.

Barnhart said he is looking to Barber help steady the rocky course that administrators have been on.

"I know he will help us stabilize and move forward over the important year ahead," Barnhart said in the same statement.