Nfld. & Labrador

College of the North Atlantic gets new boss amid big challenges

Bill Radford says these are 'challenging and exciting times' for the school.

Bill Radford, formerly vice president academic, was given the promotion on Wednesday

Bill Radford takes over as new president of the College of the North Atlantic, after the loss of one of its programs and harsh criticism of its teaching standards and money management. (Submitted)

The College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has a new president, who takes over after two interim leaders and a scathing review of its programs and infrastructure.

Bill Radford, the college's former senior vice president academic and chief learning officer, was appointed to the role by the Newfoundland and Labrador government on Wednesday.

"These are challenging and exciting times for the province's public college," said Radford in a statement issued by the college and the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour.

"Together we will guide this institution forward to ensure our programs meet the needs of students, and also the demands of a changing labour market."

The College of the North Atlantic has 17 campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador. But many of its programs and infrastructure were given a failing grade in a recent report. (Submitted)

Radford was in the news most recently in June, as he stickhandled CNA's loss of its respiratory therapy program.

While he blamed "decades of neglect," he was criticized by students for defending the college's decision not to tell them the program had been on probation when they enrolled.

In March, the government released a so-called modernization plan for the college, along with a review that revealed courses and teaching standards had not kept up, the college had been operating with deficits and there was little accountability.

CNA is a Crown agency and has 17 campuses across the province, plus one in Qatar.

Radford's appointment follows two interim presidencies held by Bob Gardiner and Elizabeth Kidd.

Gardiner, an assistant deputy minister in the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, replaced Ann Marie Vaughan, whose contract ended July 31 2016 and was not renewed by the provincial government.

Elizabeth Kidd took over Gardiner's post in March 2017 and will now resume her former post as vice president of corporate services as Radford steps in as the new president.