President and Vice‐Chancellor
Vancouver Island University
Dr. Ralph Nilson has been the President and Vice‐Chancellor of Vancouver Island University (VIU) since 2007. Under Dr. Nilson’s leadership, VIU is evolving as a values‐based institution that supports faculty and staff to create an exceptional learning environment for students. VIU has become recognized as a national leader in advancing reconciliation through partnership with First Nation communities, advocating for and investing in transformational change. As the leader of a regionally engaged university, Dr. Nilson works closely with Indigenous communities and local/regional governments, businesses and
non‐profit organizations to ensure relevant, responsive and innovative educational programs built on relationships of trust, mutual respect and inclusiveness. His continued engagement on issues of population health supports the developmental focus of his work on the social determinants of health and in particular his emphasis on education as key to addressing issues of inequity. Dr. Nilson also emphasizes the importance of the University in international outreach and in particular building a global connection to the local region. VIU has recently attained enrolment of more than two thousand international students from over ninety countries annually which ensures VIU is a portal for, and regional leader in, international contributions to awareness, dialogue and nation building.