CDM Academic Director, GNW Trust

CDM Academic Director and Academic Governance and Strategic Planning (AGSP) Committee Member

Job Open Date: December 2, 2019
Job Close Date: January 17, 2020 (open until filled)


Position Title: CDM Academic Director and Academic Governance and Strategic Planning (AGSP) Committee member
Term: Hired by Great Northern Way Campus (GNW Trust) on secondment for a part-time (50%) 2-year term, with option for renewal based on performance review.
Anticipated Start Date: April 2020
Reports To: AGSP Committee Chair
Location: Centre for Digital Media, 685 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, BC


Great Northern Way Campus (GNW Trust) has evolved from three major developments: a 2001 donation of land, a 2006 government grant to establish the Centre for Digital Media (CDM) and the 2013 decision to relocate the Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) campus to the GNW lands.

The vision for GNW Trust is: to transform an underutilized industrial site into a vibrant urban campus community of creators, entrepreneurs and educators, include a world-class CDM, a new ECU campus, public spaces, university-oriented live–work residences, artist studios and work spaces for industry professionals. The site will be a hub for collaboration and innovation between creative sector industries and academia.

The vision for the CDM is: exceptional educational programs and excellent students make the CDM the launch pad of choice for emergence, innovative digital-media-powered firms, entrepreneurial talent, researchers, and world-changing community initiatives.

Currently, GNW Trust employs up to 20 staff, with employees focused on the CDM academic programs, real estate development, and corporate management of the Trust. The academic operations of the CDM, which offers a Masters of Digital Media graduate degree, jointly operated and accredited by all four partners, is currently done in collaboration with Simon Fraser University (SFU) through a Management Services Agreement.

For more information on the CDM, please visit For more information on GNW Trust, please visit


Trust is governed by a Board of Directors and four Committees (AGSP Committee, Audit and Finance Committee, Governance and Compensation Committee, and Real Estate Committee).

Reporting to the AGSP Committee Chair, the CDM Academic Director is responsible for the overall academic vision and leadership to the CDM and general oversight for the academic programs offered by the Trust. He or she will work closely with the AGSP Committee, the four partners’ institutions, industry and the community partners to ensure that the CDM is achieving its Shareholders’ vision. The CDM Academic Director will also sit as a voting member of the AGSP Committee.


The CDM Academic Director will oversee the academic, business and operational affairs of the academic programs. The initial focus for this role will be to review and streamline effective management of academic services within the Trust and in partnership with one or more of the four partner institutions through a new Management Services Agreement. He or she will also provide direction in establishing and implementing new academic program(s) that align with the Trust vision.

The CDM Academic Director will also oversee and direct senior managers including Program Director(s), and provide input into the hiring and retention of CDM staff and faculty.


The CDM Academic Director will have overall responsibility for oversight of the various academic programs with the assistance of a management team and staff and will work closely with the Directors of other business areas in the Trust. The following is a breakdown of specific duties and responsibilities:


  • Preparing and maintaining a business plan, budget and financial projections of the academic programs.
  • Review and streamline effective management of academic services within the Trust in partnership with one or more of the four partner institutions through a new Management Services Agreement (MSA). Recommend the terms and conditions of the new MSA. 

Strategic Planning

  • In collaboration with members of the AGSP Committee, the Board and the four partner institutions, the CDM Academic Director provides direction in establishing and implementing a near-term strategic plan for academic programs that align with the Trust vision. 
  • Strategic academic growth planning. 
  • Recommend new program approvals to the Shareholders. 
  • Recommend approval of major revisions to existing programs. 
  • Implement brand and marketing strategy and oversee communications for CDM community and academic programs. 

Academic Programming and Delivery

  • Oversee and manage academic content and curriculum design, development and delivery. 
  • Ensure protection of intellectual property. 
  • Implement strategic planning, revisions to existing programs and establishment of new programs. 
  • Oversee academic quality assurance and quality improvement. 
  • Oversee industry relations. 
  • Manage admissions targets, and oversee admissions reviews and administration services. 
  • Overseeing tuition and other student fees. 
  • Oversee student services and dispute resolution. 

Financial and Administrative Management

  • Manage annual budgets and oversee tuition and program fees, program funding and processing of program donations. 
  • Oversee compensation rates for academic staff within the PSEC mandate. 
  • Financial accountability for academic programming. 
  • Implements the annual budget and reports progress against the budget to the AGSP Committee and Board on a regular basis. 
  • Oversees the sound utilization of financial administrative systems and ensures the maximum utilization of the financial resources of the Trust are within the objectives, policies, plans and budgets established by the AGSP Committee. 

Operational Management

  • Recruit, oversee, retain and direct senior managers including Program Director(s) and provide input into the hiring and retention of academic staff. 
  • Oversee IT services. 
  • In collaboration with the Director of Real Estate and property manager, oversee and manage academic facilities. 
  • With the Director of Real Estate, provide input to the strategic planning and management of any new academic facilities and student apartments. 
  • Enforce policies, rules, regulations and procedures for academic staff and MSA employees. 


The ideal candidate is an effective leader with a track record of success development and implementing sophisticated strategies, programs and resources to build capacity within an organization. He or she has a demonstrated commitment to innovation, excellence in digital media and possesses strong relationship building and interpersonal skills. He or she will possess maturity, experience and drive of a seasoned academic leader and administrator in the post-secondary sector. The CDM Academic Director will have outstanding relationships skills to work effectively and productively with government, a Board of Directors, Committees, academic and business leaders, and can balance conflicting priorities while moving initiatives forward.


The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications, skills and experience:

  • Comprehensive knowledge and relevant experience in technology and the digital media industry. 
  • Evidence of successful management of strategic planning, academic visioning, including recommending and implementing new initiatives. 
  • Adapts and respects different cultures and has a global perspective. 
  • Demonstrated senior leadership and management skills.
  • Demonstrated skills in academic quality assurance and enhancement. 
  • Knowledge of public and private education systems. 
  • Excellent budgetary and fiscal management skills. 
  • Experience with governance and reporting structures. 
  • Evidence of successful experience in working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders. 
  • Has the ability to exercise a high level of diplomacy and discretion in both internal and external interactions.
  • Experience with institutional, government, industry, media and public relations. 
  • Possesses strong interpersonal and listening skills. 
  • Able to express views, ideas and facts effectively, both orally and in writing. 
  • Creative, enthusiastic and imaginative. 


  • Ph.D. or Terminal degree in a relevant discipline and eight to ten years of related experience. 
  • Specific experience in academic program development, evaluation and administration; strategic business planning; communications and marketing; stakeholder and community engagement, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience. 


Interested candidates are invited to submit their (i) cover letter, (ii) curriculum vitae, and (iii) names of three references by January 17, 2020 to: Wade Parkhouse, Chair of Academic Governance and Strategic Planning Committee c/o: Elena Mitchell, Director of Planning and Strategic Development, GWN Trust

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