December 27, 2010

WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER

Fr. Timothy Scott looks back on 13 years of accomplishments at St. Joseph’s College.

CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

After 13 years at the helm, Father Timothy Scott is stepping down as president of St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta, effective June 30, 2011.

Scott started teaching at St. Joseph’s College and Newman Theological College in 1995, and became president of St. Joseph’s College in January 1998. During his presidency he has seen significant growth in the college faculty, and student enrolment has also increased steadily.

“The faculty has grown considerably. There were only three tenured professors here when I started, and now we have a total of nine professors either tenured or on the tenure track. That’s a major shift,” said Scott.

“Our professors are more engaged in the university than they ever were in the past.”

STRONG CONTRIBUTOR

More than ever, the college is viewed as an important contributor to the academic life of the U of A. Professors are publishing articles and books and hosting conferences that garner considerable attention.

“We’ve always had a strong emphasis on teaching at the undergraduate level. But with the university as a whole there’s a greater interest today in the research and publication component which is quite noticeable at the college,” said Scott.

Also during his presidency there have been major improvements to the building, an expansion of the residence with 14 women in Kateri House and a thriving campus ministry.

“The campus ministry is more varied. There is a strong interest in faith and spirituality on the part of students, and we’re responding to that in an important way,” he said.

Last summer Scott was elected to the general council of the Congregation of St. Basil. He will move to Toronto and devote his time to administrative matters in the religious order, with a special responsibility for university communities, vocations and the apostolate of Christian education.

“Our motherhouse is in France, and since I’m French speaking, I’m responsible for our relations with that community. As well, I have a particular interest in vocations and Christian education, two pieces that are kind of in my portfolio with regard to the order,” said Scott.

Among his fondest memories are the strong liturgical life of the worshipping community on campus, the college’s annual gala and other fundraising activities, and hymns and readings at the basilica every Advent.

GRATITUDE

In announcing his departure, he expressed his deep thanks to the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Archdiocese for their collaboration. Maintaining and furthering those relationships are crucial for his eventual successor.

“The key challenge is to maintain a creative relationship with both the University of Alberta, where we do our academic work, and with the Archdiocese of Edmonton,” said Scott. “Our relationship with the archbishop and the archdiocese are very important, and that needs to be cultivated obviously.”

Scott acknowledged that finding suitable people to head Catholic colleges in Canada is difficult, as it’s a specialized job that few people are able and willing to do.

The college’s board of governors has struck a search and selection advisory committee to find a suitable candidate for the presidency. The Basilian Fathers plan to present a candidate for president. It is desirable that a priest from the order be recruited.