Dr. Paula Burns
President and CEO
Dr. Paula Burns, the eighth president and CEO of Lethbridge College, is a collaborative leader who invests her commitment, passion and energy to advance education and to support and create a safe and respectful learning environment for all students and staff. Paula is a lifelong learner and appreciates the many opportunities she has to interact with students, employees, industry partners and the community at large.
With a commitment to collaboration, inclusiveness and community engagement, and a strong focus on the student experience and student success, Paula is leading Lethbridge College to be bold and innovative while ensuring the college’s mission of inspiring and facilitating learning and innovation to meet economic and social needs is front of mind.
Paula is an active community leader and participant who attends a variety of community events and gatherings year round, from presenting awards of excellence to local members of the Canadian Home Builders Association, to supporting local and international Rotary projects at their annual fundraiser. She is a supporter of the fine arts community and is an enthusiastic outdoor athlete and fitness advocate. Paula can often be found participating in various cycling competitions and fundraising golf tournaments.
Paula is currently a member of the Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta and a director on the Board of Directors for Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). She recently rejoined the International Advisory Board for the Chair Academy, which is a leadership development organization for higher education and organizational leaders globally. She has also served as a member of CICan’s Indigenous Education Committee who launched the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes in 2015, and is a past member and past chair of the Board of Directors for Economic Development Lethbridge. Paula was named YWCA Woman of Distinction in the category of lifetime achievement by the YWCA Lethbridge and District on Feb. 9, 2018.
Paula came to Lethbridge College in February 2013 from NAIT, where she previously served as provost and vice president academic. She has brought a wealth of experience with her, having worked with and in a variety of departments across post-secondary institutions – from teaching to curriculum development to leadership.
Paula got her own start in higher education as a college student at Fanshawe College in London, ON, where she earned her Respiratory Therapy diploma in 1987. From there she went on to the University of Waterloo, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1996; Central Michigan University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Education in 1999 with a specialization in community college leadership; the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, where she earned her PhD in 2005; and Royal Roads University, where she earned her executive MBA in 2010 with a specialization in leadership.