Top academic official at TRU stepping down as provost, vice-president

TRU mum after VP quits

The top academic official at Thompson Rivers University is stepping down suddenly with no indication as to why — at least publicly.

In a letter to all university faculty and staff on Tuesday, TRU President Brett Fairbairn said Christine Bovis-Cnossen will end her term as university provost and vice-president academic at the end of the month.

A TRU spokesman refused to answer any questions about the departure of Bovis-Cnossen when contacted Wednesday by Castanet Kamloops. Bovis-Cnossen similarly turned down a request for comment.

The unexpected move came as a surprise to many at the university.

Bovis-Cnossen has played a significant role at many TRU events in recent years. Prior to Fairbairn’s arrival at TRU in 2018, she served for a time as interim president and vice-chancellor.

“It was a significant contribution to the university and supported a smooth transition in leadership for which I’m grateful,” Fairbairn said in his letter to staff.

“I thank Christine for her service during an important time in TRU’s development and wish her well in the future.”

Bovis-Cnossen had been at the university since 2015.

TRU Faculty Association President Tara Lyster said she was surprised to hear about the departure.

“I didn’t have any indication prior to the announcement that this was happening,” she told Castanet Kamloops.

“We appreciate the work Dr. Bovis-Cnossen has done working with TRUFA, so we are going to miss her.”

Provost is the highest academic office at TRU. The provost provides academic leadership and oversight to the entire university. From a faculty perspective, Lyster described the provost job as an important one.

According to public records, Bovis-Cnossen was paid more than $211,000 in 2019, plus an additional $25,000 in expenses.

TRU spokesman Todd Hauptman said the university would not be providing any comment other than to confirm Bovis-Cnossen is leaving the university.

“We understand you reached out to Christine and she declined an interview,” he said.

“Respecting this, TRU will also not be discussing specifics regarding her departure. Our focus at this time is on a successful transition of duties and planning for an interim provost.”

The departure of one of the highest-ranking officials on campus comes at a potentially challenging time for TRU, with students set to return for in-person learning in three months.

“It’s a very big job and it’s the middle of the return to campus and the pandemic,” Lyster said.

“It’s interesting.”

Fairbairn said in his letter the university has coverage for provost duties lined up for most of the summer. He said the search for a new provost will likely begin in the fall.

Hauptman would not say whether Bovis-Cnossen was staying on as a TRU faculty member.

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