Celebrating 50 years of training
Ranjan Patro, Campus Director, Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus
Ranjan brings a great deal of experience to his new position. He started his career with College of the North Atlantic at the Labrador West campus in 2002 as a physics instructor and moved to the Happy Valley-Gosse Bay campus in 2005 to continue in this role. Over the years he has served in a variety of other faculty roles, including lead instructor for the First Year Engineering Technology program and physics liaison for the CAS Transfer program; his most recent role being Instructional Coordinator at the campus. In these roles he has demonstrated a single-minded dedication to teaching excellence and exceptional service, always making student success the focus of his efforts.
Prior to joining the college, Ranjan started his career working as a post-doctoral research fellow and sessional lecturer in the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography at Memorial University. He also served a one-year stint as a visiting Assistant Professor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook.
Ranjan is an avid researcher who has undertaken a number of research projects in collaboration with the mining industry and the farming community in Goose Bay, where he lives with his wife Subhadra and two young children, Alpita and Ayush.
Craig Baker, Senior Campus Director, Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus
Craig’s most recent position was as a temporary administrator at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus. With the exception of a two-year period from 2013 to 2015 where he took on the role of Training Coordinator for the Muskrat Falls Project with Nalcor, Craig has been at the campus since 2007.
Craig’s educational background is extensive, having completed a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science, a Bachelor of Education in High School Methods and a Diploma in Adult Education from Memorial University. In 2006, Craig completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Theoretical and Applied Geographic Information Systems through distance education from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Most recently, Craig completed a Master’s program from St. Francis Xavier University in Administration in Policy focusing on meeting Aboriginal needs in post-secondary education.
Elizabeth Kidd, Interim President, College of the North Atlantic
Ms. Kidd joined CNA as Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Operating Officer in June 2016. Since that time, she has provided leadership for a range of corporate services that include finance, budgeting, human resources management, information management and technology, facilities and asset management, occupational health and safety, business continuity, emergency management, residential services, food services, procurement and contracting, quality management, and risk management.
Ms. Kidd is a Certified Professional Accountant who came to CNA from her most recent position as Vice President, Corporate Services with College Boreale.
Trudy Barnes, Associate Vice President CNA – Q
Ms. Barnes began with the college in 1986 at the Clarenville campus as a Computer Studies Instructor and has held a variety of positions with CNA since. Her most recent position was as Campus Administrator with the Prince Philip Drive campus for the last seven years. Prior to that she spent five years at the Qatar campus and was Chair of Programs during its growth period from 200 students with one building to 2,000 students and 21 buildings. Her 30 years with CNA includes program development, cooperative education, Academic Council, contract proposals, Internal Academic Audits, Policy and Procedures review committee, annual planning, articulation agreements, MOU negotiations, and most recently leadership of the largest campus in CNA-NL.
Ms. Barnes is excited to be working with CNA – Q again as she had a wonderful experience in Qatar and is committed to the project.
Dr. Michael Long, Associate Vice-President, Applied Research and Innovation
Dr. Long brings a wealth of experience to this role having been actively engaged in Canadian and international higher education for over 22 years. Most recently Dr. Long was the Director of Applied Research with Lethbridge College where he supported industry engagement and R&D activity overseeing projects ranging in scope from aquaponics, water quality and environmental science to virtual reality, irrigation, early childhood education and the scholarship of teaching and learning that involved dozens of industry partners.
Prior to his role with Lethbridge College, Dr. Long was the founding Chair of the Office of Applied Research at College of the North Atlantic’s Qatar campus where he led the growth of applied research activity from very humble origins into a vibrant and industry-engaged enterprise. He negotiated contracts, sub-awards and technical service agreements with institutions from 14 different countries, established an externally funded research chairs program, organized international roundtable forums on applied research between Canada and Qatar and co-chaired one of the largest TVET conferences ever organized (Global Innovators 2013 – in partnership with UNESCO) with delegates from 43 countries.
One of Dr. Long’s great strengths, however, lies in his infectious enthusiasm and his ability to rally support and resources for quality ideas that solve problems. “I always tell people I have one of the best jobs in the world because almost on a daily basis I am talking to someone about an amazing idea or a business they’ve cultivated; my role is to help that person make the idea real or the business better. And now, I have the opportunity to do this for people in my home province with people from my home province – and beyond! This personal investment in the success of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians adds a whole new level to one’s engagement.”
In addition to his work in research administration, Dr. Long has experience teaching at both college and university levels. He holds undergraduate degrees in English and Education from Memorial University, a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto and a Doctorate from the University of Oxford.
Dr. Long hails from St. John's but spent his formative years on the Burin Peninsula before returning to town. He and his wife, Nissrine, and their two sons - Michael and Mason - live in St. John's and look forward to the gardening challenges the island has to offer.
Deidre Dunne, Director of Human Resources
Ms. Dunne has over 18 years of direct human resource management experience and has been working with College of the North Atlantic since April 2003 when she was hired as the Manager of Employee Relations.
Prior to joining the college, Ms. Dunne was working within the public school system in Northern Virginia and was responsible for managing employee relations issues in the Fairfax County School District, which was the largest school district in the United States. Before that she was managing human resources and any employee-related issues including employee and volunteer recruitment for the Vikings! 1000 Years event that was held in 2000 and the Canada Winter Games in 1999.
Ms. Dunne brings considerable experience to this role, both inside and outside the college, including a Bachelor of Business Administration (Human Resources) from Bishop’s University.
Ms. Dunne has been an active member of the Kippens Volunteer Fire Department for the last eight years and is currently the Deputy Chief of the department. She has always been active and continues to compete in various competitions including the fire fighter combat challenge. She also plays hockey and is the happy hockey mom of her active 9-year-old daughter, Rayen. They reside just outside Stephenville in the community of Kippens.
Darin Brooks, College of the North Atlantic Registrar
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Darin lived in rural communities in both Saskatchewan and British Columbia before moving to Newfoundland in 2009. Darin brings over 20 years of experience in academics and information management industry, and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from University of Northern British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan. Darin has provided leadership both to the college community and the business community, through college community and external projects, as well as through student-led research, and has developed and strengthened relationships between the college, universities, communities and industry. Darin’s knowledge, skills and attributes will be valuable assets to the Office of the Registrar and to our entire College of the North Atlantic community.
Darin is married to Marla Riehl, a sociology instructor and writer, and they have a blended family with children in both Newfoundland and British Columbia. Darin enjoys playing bass guitar, is learning to play the accordion, loves ballroom dancing with his wife, and says that he has “an unnatural obsession with geo-statistical analysis of data”.
Chris Patey, Dean of Industrial Trades
Chris began his employment with College of the North Atlantic as a Student Development Officer at the Labrador West campus in 2001 and joined the Seal Cove campus in 2004. Throughout his career with CNA, Chris has devoted much of his time to student services and student success. Always one to put his best foot forward, Chris has been an active member of the Campus Leadership Team, Campus Marketing Team, Provincial Recruitment Team, Career Fair Committee and he was also the Provincial Coordinator of the college`s Virtual Job Fair. This unique project was offered in partnership with Memorial University and successfully connected students and alumni throughout the province with employers from across the country.
Most recently, Chris served as the Campus Director at Seal Cove campus in Conception Bay South. Having served a number of years at a campus with strong industrial trades offerings, Chris believes in the value of skills training and of the college in the community.
Before joining the college, Chris completed a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University. He was employed at Grenfell Regional Health Services as a part of the Human Resources Management team in Medical Services and also with Human Resources Development Canada as the Youth Ventures Program Coordinator in St. Anthony. During his time at the college Chris has completed a Master’s of Business Administration Degree at Memorial University, along with courses in adult education, by doing evening and distance courses after work.
Keith Williams, Campus Director - Carbonear campus
Keith brings a wealth of experience to his new position. He comes to CNA from Assiniboine Community College in Manitoba where he has held the positions of Director of Adult Learning and Chairperson of Agriculture and Environment since 2012. Through these positions Keith provided leadership and strategic guidance in setting new pathways for post-secondary education and employment for students. He also has extensive experience in administering projects in a range of areas including, improving student success, cultural and community activities, applied research and strategic partnerships with external stakeholders.
Prior to his time in the prairies, Keith used his educational training in the fields of agriculture and forestry to travel the world, all the while accumulating an impressive list of experiences with a broad range of companies and post-secondary institutions.
Keith’s career began teaching Adult Education in a First Nations community in Northern British Columbia. He then worked as an instructor at Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario and North Island College in British Columbia. From there, Keith took an instructional position at College of the North Atlantic-Qatar. His positive experiences at CNAQ inspired him to seek short-term work abroad, so after leaving Qatar Keith worked on various agriculture-related development projects in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Guyana, and most recently, Honduras.
Keith’s educational experience is as diverse as his work experience, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Plant Sciences (Agriculture) from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and his Masters of Science (Biology/Forest Ecology) from the University of Northern British Columbia. Before entering the classroom, Keith earned his Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and has recently completed his Certificate in Public Administration (Program Evaluation) from the University of Victoria.
Keith is an academic leader, applied researcher and community developer with extensive experience providing educational guidance, program development, and consulting services in Canada and abroad. He is a passionate individual who has shown a commitment to education, lifelong learning and community engagement, and is eager to use those experiences in his new position.
Keith and his wife, poet and artist Basma Kavanagh, are both from rural Nova Scotia and are excited about returning to the east coast and contributing to the regional prosperity of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jamie Best, Campus Manager - Bonavista campus
Jamie comes to College of the North Atlantic from New Brunswick where most recently he was an instructor in the Technology, Trades and Apprenticeship department at New Brunswick Community College and also a part-time lecturer at St. Thomas University delivering economics, political science and related courses to first year students. During his time with NBCC, Jamie held various positions in the provincial college system, including Chair of the NBCC Research Ethics Board, Department Head of four different departments at NBCC, as well as instructor positions in the School of Business and the School of Continuing Education. Jamie has also held the position of Program Head with the School of Business at Aurora College in the Northwest Territories.
Jamie’s educational background is extensive, having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Business from Memorial University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick, and a Master of Educational Foundations – Administration from the University of New Brunswick. Jamie is also a graduate of the NBCC Instructor Development Program.
Jamie has remained active in the community having been a director and executive member on the Board of Directors for the Community Business Development Corporation in Miramichi City, New Brunswick since 2004. Jamie has also volunteered with a variety of business-oriented not-for-profit organizations throughout New Brunswick and has more than 10 years of experience as a supervisor and manager in the seafood processing industry.
Jamie says through his roles on various boards and committees, he has gained valuable experience in both profit and not-for-profit sectors and is eager to bring those experiences to the Bonavista campus. He is a committed professional who believes in making education available to all students and is looking forward to being a member of the CNA team, and to being part of a community of leaders who are driven by learning excellence and the socioeconomic development of the Bonavista region.
Brad Pilgrim, Campus Manager - St. Anthony campus
Brad began his career with College of the North Atlantic in 2005 as an Academic Communications instructor at the St. Anthony campus. In 2013, he took a two-year position at CNA-Q in Doha, Qatar and upon his return to Newfoundland in 2015 he began working at the Corner Brook campus. Brad has had the opportunity to teach a variety of program areas during his time with the college, including Industrial trades, Engineering, Information Technology, Business, General Studies, Comprehensive Arts & Science and ABE levels 1, 2, and 3. Brad has also been an active member of numerous college committees.
Before joining CNA, Brad completed his Bachelor of Arts (English major, Sociology minor) and a Bachelor of Education (Post-Secondary) at Memorial University, and he has also received his Post-Secondary instructor’s certificate from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is currently completing a Master's of Adult Education with research in leadership and rural community development from St. Francis Xavier University.
Brad says it has been an amazing opportunity to work in his home town of St. Anthony, internationally at CNA-Q and at the Corner Brook campus during his time with CNA, and he is extremely proud to be able to go back to his home town where he believes the college is the heart of the community. He is very honoured to have an important role in helping the campus and the community grow and prosper.
Brad and his wife Laura, a school teacher, have three children, Dylan (6), Emily (3) and the newest addition to the family, Kristian, born October 15, 2015.
Heidi Staeben-Simmons, Director of Public Affairs
Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, is pleased to announce that Heidi Staeben-Simmons has been appointed to the position of Director of Public Affairs. She will assume her new position with the college on March 9, 2015.
Mrs. Staeben-Simmons has 16 years of direct communications management experience and comes to the college from Western Health where she has been the Regional Director of Communications, and later Regional Director of Corporate Communications since 1998.
Prior to that, beginning in 1992, she was an associate producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Corner Brook.
In this new position, Mrs. Staeben-Simmons will provide alignment across the operating units in public affairs and government relations, including reputation stewardship, relationship management, issues management, media relations and crisis communications.
A long standing member of the International Association of Business Communicators, Mrs. Staeben-Simmons brings considerable experience to this new role, which combined with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, makes her an ideal candidate for the position.
She currently resides in Corner Brook with her husband Clyde. They have three children – Heather, Claire and Kyle.
Robin Walters, Vice President, Industry and Community Engagement
Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, is pleased to announce that Robin Walters has been appointed to the position of Vice President, Industry and Community Engagement.
In this new role, Mr. Walters will oversee the college’s strategic partnerships and international programs (including the Qatar project), as well as applied/contract research, alumni relations and fundraising.
Mr. Walters has a long history with College of the North Atlantic, most recently serving at the Dean for the School of Industrial Trades – the college’s largest academic school, as position he’s held since November of 2011.
Prior to that, beginning in April of 2009, he served as Administrator of Academic Projects where he advised on program and capacity building for the institution and developed new partnerships with industry and other external stakeholders.
He served as the acting Dean of Industrial Trades from November 2007 to May 2008, and before that was Campus Administrator, first at the Labrador West campus from 1997 to 2004, and then in the St. John’s region (responsible for programs at Seal Cove, Ridge Road and Prince Philip Drive campuses), until 2009.
Mr. Walters began his tenure with the college system as a chemistry instructor in 1987 and prior to that was a faculty member at Memorial University in the chemistry department.
He holds of Master of Science, Chemistry from Memorial as well as a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education, also from Memorial.
He is married to Bridget and has two children, Gavin, who is completing his first year at Memorial University, and Shannon, who is currently in Grade 11.
Dr. Chris Mercer, Associate Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management
Dr. Chris Mercer has been appointed to the position of Associate Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management. In this position, Dr. Mercer will oversee all areas of enrollment management including the recruitment and registration functions.
These are areas of the institution with which Dr. Mercer is very familiar, having previously served as the college’s Manager of Recruitment and Enrollment, and most recently as Registrar.
Dr. Mercer’s tenure with the college spans nearly 20 years. He first began working with the institution in 1995 as a Learning Disabilities Specialist, the same year he completed his Masters in Educational Psychology.
He assumed the role of Guidance Counsellor from 1996 until 2011 when he was seconded to the role of coordinator for the college’s Provincial Assessment Norming Initiative. At the completion of that project, he took over duties as the Manager of Student Recruitment and Enrollment. He served in this role for two years before taking over the duties of the Registrar, a position he’s held since April of 2013.
In addition to his work at the college, Chris has served in leadership positions at the local, provincial and national levels, including President - Canadian University & College Counselling Association, Director – Canadian Association of College and University Student Services, and Chair – Stephenville Primary School Council. Chris is a registered Psychologist and a certified Level 7 Teacher in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A lifelong learner, Chris completed a Bachelor of Education in 2000, earned his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Leadership in 2009, and achieved his Black Belt in Taekwondo in 2014. He frequently presents at conferences, and has written articles for higher education publications. He is married to Dale McLean and they have three children Sarah, Amy, and Noah. Chris is an accomplished singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist.