Through collaboration, shared vision and a devotion to human rights and social justice issues, Brock University’s new President and Vice Chancellor Gervan Fearon shows that he is not only ready to take the reins, but to lead Brock into a better, more diverse future.
With years of experience in senior roles at Canadian universities, the most immediate being Brandon University, Fearon has shown that he is an exceptional leader through his collaborative and innovative methods. Fearon’s ability to utilize the community and its leaders through consultation and teamwork are what has led to some of his greater successes in previous post-secondary institutions.
“There is a wonderful opportunity to engage in consultation across the entire university community,” Fearon says. “To take a look at some of the trends in demographics, what are the needs of the region, what are some of the existing strengths and potential opportunities available to the university, and to be able to say ‘how do those ideas inform the priorities that have already been put forward for the future direction of the university’.”
Not only is Fearon actively conscious of the Brock community singularly, but of its role in relation to the outer region, province, and even country. Particularly, in what ways does the university benefit the surrounding neighbourhoods? How might the university’s platform be used for the greater good of not just the university itself, but the region as well?
“There are lots of examples where we play a really vital role in terms of supporting the success of the region, where it is looking at student education or looking at student placement and future talent, and contributing to research and innovation as well as to the welfare and betterment of the community,” the President explained.
Beyond Fearon’s achievements in collaborative leadership, he has also shown a dedication to social justice; at Brandon, he helped in the creation of new positions for Human Rights and Diversity as well as Sexualized Violence Prevention. When asked if he would bring the same level of dedication and advocacy towards social issues at Brock, Fearon responded reassuringly and to-the-point.
“Without question, I have a strong dedication to social justice,” Fearon says. “And when I say that, it’s important to understand that not only have I served as a university president, but a significant portion of my career was in the public sector dedicated to public service and the public good. My volunteer work over the years also speaks to this focus.”
Additionally, some of Fearon’s career history includes several years as a senior analyst for the Ontario Government, as an executive assistant to the Deputy at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. He has also received a PhD in Economics from the University of Western following his Master’s in Agricultural Economics at the University of Guelph.
While his education and leadership record speaks for itself, one of Fearon’s greatest assets is his genuine dedication to the welfare and betterment of the students in any post-secondary institution. More specifically, his genuine desire to help students realize that their potential doesn’t start when university ends.
“It is so important that students recognize that the years they spend here are an investment into everything that comes after,” Fearon says. “An investment in their education is an investment in their future.”
This advice plays into the collaborative ideals and optimism that make Fearon a successful leader. His addition to the Brock community will hopefully usher the university into an age of innovation, advocacy and growth while continuing to support and prioritize existing programs, like the Human Rights Task Force.
Additionally, Fearon’s dedication to the student body goes to further show that he is a great fit for the future to come.
“Every time I walk by a student, for me there’s a pride that I’m expressing,” Fearon says. “Because I understand that it’s not just about them in this moment, but it’s about their entire future and about the future of Canada, and it’s just outstanding.”