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Joel Ward, RDC President & CEO, Recognized by Colleagues with National Distinguished Service Award

Date posted: 
Tue, 06/11/2019
Joel Ward (middle) receives CICan Distinguished Service Award

The leadership of Red Deer College President and CEO, Joel Ward, has been recognized by his peers and colleagues as he received the College and Institutes Canada (CICan) Distinguished Service Award.

The CICan President’s Leadership Network Distinguished Service Award is presented to a current or past college President in honour of his or her exemplary leadership qualities at an institutional level as well as with stakeholders, the community and other post-secondary education leaders. Ward’s colleague Stuart Cullum, who is Olds College’s President & CEO, nominated him for this award. All Canadian College Presidents then unanimously voted for Ward to receive this prestigious award.

In choosing Ward as this year’s award recipient, the Canadian College Presidents identified they have been impressed with his commitment to ensure high quality and progressive programming that prepares all learners, including those in underrepresented groups, for the future and guarantees that smaller communities have the same educational opportunities found in larger city centres.

“Joel Ward is a trusted leader with a wealth of knowledge and experience accumulated over his many years of services within Canada’s college and institute system,” says CICan President and CEO, Denise Amyot. “Under his tenure, RDC has grown and evolved, but he has truly marked his career in his dedication to the betterment of the system as a whole and of the communities that our institutions serve.”

Ward’s retirement marks the end of his 27-year career in post-secondary education. He began as an instructor and Associate Dean of the School of Business at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He later enjoyed the roles of Vice-President Academic and then President at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba, before beginning his tenure at Red Deer College as President in 2009.

Joel Ward is currently in his tenth and final year as President and CEO at Red Deer College as he announced his plans for retirement this past fall.

As President of RDC, Joel Ward has led a number of instrumental initiatives positioning RDC for current and future success and growth, including:

  • successfully advocating the Government of Alberta, with support of central Albertans, for RDC to add its own degrees to its current complement of credentials, becoming a comprehensive regional teaching university.
  • adding sixteen new programs across a full range of credentials and disciplines to the College’s offerings, meeting students and industry needs, during the past decade.
  • construction of new facilities on RDC’s main campus that opened during the last year, such as the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, new Residence and Alternative Energy Lab. In addition, opening a downtown campus, home of RDC’s Donald School of Business, and the Welikoklad Event Centre have brought to life Ward’s vision for providing all students with unique practical learning opportunities, while also welcoming community members to a variety of contemporary facilities that will be used by everyone for decades to come.

“Being designated a University by the Government of Alberta is perhaps the most significant development in our College’s history. It could not have happened without the support of our students, our communities, our partners and the commitment and vision of Boards of Governors, past and present. To have had the honour of being the President through this work has been my greatest joy and accomplishment,” says Joel Ward, RDC President & CEO. 

“To lead this great College for the past ten years has been an honour and a privilege, and to be recognized by my peers from across Canada with this award was most certainly unexpected but sincerely appreciated.”

Photo courtesy of CICan. Individuals in photo, from left to right are: Stuart Cullum, President & CEO, Olds College; Joel Ward, President & CEO, Red Deer College; and Michel Tarko, President & CEO of the Justice Institute of British Columbia and Chair of CICan’s Board of Directors.

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For additional information contact:

Shelley Newman    
Communications Strategist – Corporate   

Brent Forster
Communications Strategist – Corporate