PFM Executive Search Places Provost for Emily Carr University of Art + Design

September 11, 2019 – Canadian search firm PFM Executive Search has recruited Trish Kelly as vice president academic and provost of Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. Partner Shelina Esmail and associate partner Jennifer Madden led the assignment for the recruitment firm.

“Trish impressed the search committee with her dedication to student empowerment and excellence, and her vision for Emily Carr as a center of academic excellence in a broader social and cultural context,” said Emily Carr president Gillian Siddall. “She has been a valued member of our faculty for many years, and in that time has made significant contributions to developing the research culture and graduate education programs at Emily Carr.”

Ms. Kelly’s appointment comes after an extensive international search. The position provides educational leadership to all academic faculties, as well as the school’s Ron Burnett Library and Learning Commons, continuing studies and the Libby Leshgold Gallery.

“We’re at a moment of great potential at Emily Carr where so much is viable,” said Ms. Kelly. “I’m looking forward to working together with faculty, students and staff to facilitate transformation and change.”

Well Qualified

“I’m really excited about open conversations, ensuring that we build community, and in creating a really generative space for student learning,” she said. “We’re helping students to achieve their best selves, not only as artists and designers, but also citizens. We’re contributing to more than just their skills at making; we’re really helping them to contextualize their practice in a broader social world.”

Ms. Kelly joined Emily Carr as an associate professor in the faculty of culture and community in 2011, and served as assistant dean of the faculty from 2012 to 2015. She has taught first-year undergraduate courses on through to graduate studies. In 2016, Ms. Kelly received the Ian Wallace Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence and innovation in teaching.

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Ms. Kelly has served on Emily Carr’s senate and the board of governors, as chair of the Curriculum Planning and Review Committee and on numerous other committees. In 2017, she was appointed associate dean of the master of fine arts program, and has worked closely with leadership in the Jake Kerr Faculty of Graduate Studies to develop new programming and professional opportunities.

A Strong Background

Before Emily Carr, Ms. Kelly worked in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and in the honors program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at DePaul University.


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She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an master’s degree from Tufts University, after beginning her graduate work at Harvard University. She went on to obtain a doctorate in art history from the University of British Columbia.

Related: Academic Search Recruits Provost for Gonzaga University

Her area of research is contemporary art history, including minimal art and abstraction, art and activism, alternative art networks and duration in new media production.

Respected Recruiters

PFM, based in Vancouver, serves a wide range of industries, working with private, public and not-for-profit organizations to fill senior-level executive positions. Among the roles the firm has recently filled include: director of technology services, infrastructure and enterprise applications for Vancouver Airport Authority, chief executive officer for the BC Trucking Association and chief financial officer for InTransit BC.

Ms. Esmail joined PFM 20 years ago as research director and became an associate partner in 2008. Before joining PFM, she was a senior research and marketing analyst for Colliers International in Vancouver and California.

Ms. Madden joined PFM in 2005 as manager of communications and business development. She has also served as a research associate, consultant and senior consultant for the firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia.

Related: Spencer Stuart Recruits Provost for American University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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