New Brunswick

UNB's new president focused on mature students, deficit, workplace skills

The new president of the University of New Brunswick is returning to his alma mater with a variety of goals: boosting international student recruitment, promoting the humanities as an area of study, but particularly, bringing in more mature students. 

Paul Mazerolle will be the university's 19th president

Paul Mazerolle was named the next president and vice-chancellor of the University of New Brunswick in January. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

The new president of the University of New Brunswick is returning to his alma mater with a variety of goals: boosting international student recruitment, promoting the humanities as an area of study, but particularly, bringing in more mature students. 

 "There's a great deal of focus on high school graduates, but it strikes me that adult learners are a wonderful population of people who are looking to reskill," said Paul Mazerolle. 

Mazerolle was appointed the next president and vice-chancellor of UNB in January. He'll take up his new post this summer after serving as an administrator at Griffith University in Australia for more than a decade. He graduated from UNB in 1989 with a bachelor of arts in sociology.

He said some universities offer microcredentials for people who may not want to go to university for a full year or several, but still want to pick up a course. He'd like to bring that to UNB.

Besides making UNB more attractive to older students, Mazerolle wants to build on the university's relationship with the various levels of government and ensure that what students are learning will transfer to the workforce.

"The experiences you have at university are broader than the classroom … so I think those kinds of partnerships, experiences you have, whether it's getting involved in student clubs or athletics, those can be very very formative to lifelong learning."

Mazerolle will take office in July. (UNB)

Mazerolle is also becoming president at a time when the university is facing a deficit. He said recruiting more international students could help solve this issue, but that's only "part of the answer."

"There's a fine balance between looking at international student recruitment and intakes as only a revenue source," he said. "I think there has to be very careful balancing between what the university is offering, what are the opportunities for domestic and international students."

In addition to being president, Mazerolle intends to continue his research in criminology.

"I won't be an active researcher, but from time to time there might be chances to lend a bit of my insight or expertise to help others as well," he said.

Profs critical of hiring process 

Some professors were critical of UNB's hiring process for the new president.

Mazerolle was chosen by members of the board and campus senates. A few professors wished there was a chance for the university community to meet the presidential candidates in a town hall-style meeting.

Mazerolle said he understands why the selection process for university presidents is becoming increasingly secretive, but he said he said the process he went through was "very rigorous."

"I understand those voices, that needing for transparency and to have people's voices heard, so we'll obviously be revisiting [the selection process]."

Mazerolle will be the university's 19th president. Current president Eddy Campbell, who has held the position since 2008, will retire from the position in July. 

Mazerolle said it's a "great privilege" to follow in Campbell's footsteps.

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