Introduction Letter from the Interim President

Dear Quest Community,

Hello, and let me introduce myself as Interim President for those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to get to know me yet.  My name is Marjorie Wonham and I’ve taught here at Quest for six years as a Life Sciences Tutor. My research is on biological invasions and marine biology, using empirical and mathematical models.  When I got the opportunity to work at Quest, I was absolutely excited because of the interdisciplinary mission of the university.  I am happy to be back on campus and welcome the opportunity to serve the Quest community as Interim President, as the search for our next President begins.

My apologies for the delay in sending this letter as I get up to speed in my new role. I have just returned from sabbatical in Argentina and Chile and have had to hit the ground running.  Quest is an independent, interdisciplinary university that is unique in Canadian higher education because of our commitment to exemplify the future of undergraduate education. We think differently and more importantly we do things differently.  We ask students, faculty, and staff to continually reinvent ourselves and to perpetually revolutionize our curriculum in pursuit of innovation and excellence in undergraduate learning.

The recent transition in leadership is part of this process as we move forward into the next decade and position ourselves on the cutting edge of higher education in North America. Finding the right President to move Quest into the future is a significant task and of utmost importance to the Board as they initiate a search for Quest University Canada’s next President. We are fortunate to have Chancellor George Iwama share his expert perspectives on the evolving landscape of international and Canadian higher education and offer sagacious advice based on his extensive experience at the highest levels of university administration.

In the next two weeks I will be conducting briefings and meetings with all of the constituent groups in the Quest community. An Interim President webpage will update everyone about my progress in this new role, as I work to lead the Quest community in our transformative academic mission and promote Quest’s revolutionary educational model. In the meantime, we continue with our hands-on, experiential teaching and active research this summer and into the next academic year, crossing disciplinary boundaries and finding creative answers in the collaborative way that only happens here at Quest.

An example of the tremendous potential for academic collaboration that we value so highly is the award-winning paper on motivational values and conservation success in and around protected areas co-authored by second year Quest student Elijah Cetas and Social Sciences Tutor Maï Yasué.  Elijah received support as a Quest Summer Fellow and researched over 200 articles to complete the project with Maï as his mentor.  He was awarded the Society for Conservation Biology’s Rising Star Award for the best student-led paper published in the journal Conservation Biology, beating out the work of Master’s and Ph.D. students in the competition.  This is a testament to the close faculty-student working relationships at Quest and the path-breaking, interdisciplinary research that happens here because we choose to be different from other universities.

I look forward to sharing my sabbatical research about marine biology in Pablo Neruda’s poetry and the relationships among penguins, octopuses, whales, and sheep in Patagonia, but that might have to wait for now because I have quite a bit to do in the interim.  Please keep up the hard work and stay tuned for more information about the transition.