Future of OC president’s old role unclear

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Incoming Olds College president Stuart Cullum says it’s too early to say if his current role ñ chief innovation officer ñ will continue after he takes his new office July 1.

During an interview with the Albertan, Cullum said he’s still mulling that over.

He said supporting and fostering innovation at the college is already a responsibility of the college’s leadership team. Also, as he moves into his new role, he’ll likely continue to work on that file.

Development of the Werklund Agriculture Institute, which will specialize in smart (computerized) agriculture, will also be part of those efforts.

Creation of that institute is part of the $16-million gift from entrepreneur David Werklund and his partner Susan Norman, announced earlier this spring.

ìI’d say that leadership in innovation is something that, as executive leaders, we all take responsibility for. So even though I was the chief innovation officer, all of my colleagues had innovation as an inherent part of their mandate,î Cullum said.

ìSo innovation doesn’t leave me. I still need to be thinking innovatively and aligning those priorities. And it really already is a part of me — the mandate of my leadership team that I will be joining.î

Cullum was asked if that means the chief innovation officer position will be eliminated.

ìThat is still to be determined. I’m going to take some time to determine what exactly the structure is going to look like at the executive level. So it’s too early to say what the roles will look like, but it’s safe to say that the executive roles will look a little bit different,î he said.

ìWe have strong people at that senior level, so I’m excited about that. But the structure will look different; I just don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. I need some time to get into the role and really flesh that out.î

Cullum, 44, came to Olds College in November 2016. Previously, he served as vice-president of academics and chief operating officer at Lethbridge College, vice-president of agriculture at Northlands in Edmonton, and an executive director at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Olds College announced Cullum’s appointment last week.

He said he applied for the position of president because ìI thought it was a good time and a good fit.î

ìI’ve been engaged in leadership at the post-secondary level for a number of years now and I’ve also been engaged in the agriculture sector formally in the past role and just continued to take an interest in that sector,î Cullum said.

ìOlds College is focused on agriculture and the fact that it was such a strong institution with excellent fundamentals ñ teaching, learning and applied research ñ it was a great opportunity, and I just felt compelled to throw my name in the hat.î

“I’m going to take some time to determine what exactly the structure is going to look like at the executive level. So it’s too early to say what the roles will look like.”STUART CULLUMINCOMING OLDS COLLEGE PRESIDENT

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.