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Dr. Cathy Bruce was announced as Trent University's President-designate on February 2nd, 2024. Bruce has held the position of Vice President of Research and Innovation at Trent since 2022 and had previously served as Dean of the School of Education. Photo courtesy of Trent University.

Trent Announces Dr. Cathy Bruce as Ninth President and Vice-Chancellor

Written by
Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay
and
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February 2, 2024
Trent Announces Dr. Cathy Bruce as Ninth President and Vice-Chancellor
Dr. Cathy Bruce was announced as Trent University's President-designate on February 2nd, 2024. Bruce has held the position of Vice President of Research and Innovation at Trent since 2022 and had previously served as Dean of the School of Education. Photo courtesy of Trent University.

Cathy Bruce will be Trent’s ninth President and Vice-Chancellor and will assume her new position on July 1st, 2024 according to a media release from Trent university. Current President, Leo Groarke had previously announced that he would not be seeking a third term in April of 2023, having served in the office since 2014.

Bruce has spent 35 years in the field of education and the past 20 years in higher education at Trent. She holds B.A. and B.Ed. degrees from York University as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. As a scholar, Bruce has published numerous books and her research has primarily focused on approaches to education in mathematics, specifically by researching children’s capabilities to learn complex and abstract ideas. 

One of the highlights of Bruce’s career at Trent prior to taking on the role of Vice-President of Research and Innovation was the founding of the school’s Centre for Teaching and Learning in 2014. 

Most recently, Bruce has held the office of Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Trent University since 2022 and previously served in a variety of roles at the university including Professor, Graduate Director, and Dean of the School of Education.

“This is a pivotal moment for Trent as we undertake some major projects including the development of the Seniors’ Village, new colleges and residences, the Trent Research Farm, and continued expansion of the Durham campus in Oshawa,” Bruce is quoted as saying in a press release from the university.

Her appointment as President and Vice-Chancellor marks the second consecutive time she has been appointed by an internal hiring committee for promotion to a senior administrative position at Trent through “a comprehensive nationwide search.”

The search committee was made up of members of the university’s Senate and Board of Governors, as well as staff, faculty members, and a graduate student.

Bruce will become only the second woman to hold the office of President and Vice-Chancellor at Trent University, something Chair of Trent’s Board of Governors, Debra Cooper Burger suggests “signifies [Trent’s] ongoing commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

The only other woman to hold the office was Bonnie M. Patterson who served from 1998-2009 and was instrumental in the sale of Peter Robinson College 2002 amidst significant student, faculty, and community protest.

Bruce’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for Trent and post-secondary institutions in Ontario and across the country following the announcement from the federal government of a cap on undergraduate study permits. 

This decision by the feds could see a fifty per cent reduction in the number of new international students enrolled at post-secondary institutions across Ontario and comes at a time when Trent had been planning for a 30% increase in international enrolment across its two campuses in Peterborough and Durham in 2024. 

No one from Trent has been available for comment on these topics, however in a February 1st  email to staff President Groarke noted that while the implications of the cap are not known, Trent continues “studying the possible implications and are in discussions with the provincial government to ensure a fair and proper allocation of study permits that acknowledges our strengths and adequately supports Trent.”  

Bruce recognized some of these challenges, again via press release, stating that “Trent has grit and a highly capable community of staff, faculty, Board members, and students. I look forward to the exciting developments on the horizon and to navigating challenges through engagement and creativity.”

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