Provost & Vice-President, Academic

Dr. David W. Barnett

David W. Barnett

Dr. Barnett received his D.Sc. in Electrical Engineering with a certificate in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University, St. Louis, an MSc degree at the University of Washington and a BSc degree from Bradley University, both in Electrical Engineering. He is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and a senior member of IEEE.

After completing his doctoral studies, Dr. Barnett was an Electrical Engineering faculty member and subsequently Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Saint Louis University, where he led the development of an innovative and successful program. In addition to his research in biomedical signal processing and electrophysiology, Dr. Barnett worked on electromagnetic signature analysis while in the aerospace industry before embarking on an academic career.

Dr. Barnett moved to Thunder Bay to join Lakehead University as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in July 2012. During his service as Dean, the Faculty of Engineering continued to build its nationally recognized transfer pathway from college technology programs while also increasing direct entry and international enrollments, developing new graduate programs, and expanding its research profile.

Since taking on the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) role, Dr. Barnett led the development and implementation of the University’s 2018-2024 Academic Plan through a consultative and transparent process. He has demonstrated experience and ongoing commitment to building programs, pathways, partnerships, and services that support student success.

Position Overview

The Provost and Vice-President Academic serves as Lakehead University’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Academic Officer (CAO). As Lakehead’s senior Vice-President, represents Lakehead at councils, meetings, and conferences. The Provost also takes the lead on implementing strategic priorities – such as international recruitment and institutional internationalization – and leads and manages external relationships and partnerships with other universities, colleges, and institutes.

As Chief Operating Officer, the Provost works in close collaboration with the President to ensure the integration of internal and external priorities, initiatives, and operations. A key aspect of this role revolves around leading effective internal institutional planning and ensuring that decision management and assessment processes are in place and functioning well. Other roles the Provost holds as CEO include Vice-Chair of the Executive Team Working Group, Vice-Chair of Senate, and the President’s designate in her absence.

The Provost, in the capacity of Chief Academic Officer, leads the direction of Lakehead’s academic mission and priorities, academic decision-making processes, and promotes institution-wide collegiality and cooperation. This encompasses developing and implementing the Academic Plan, allocating academic resources, leading implementation plans, and ensuring that academic budgets reflect academic priorities.

Fostering excellence and innovation in Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Student Support Service, External Ministry Reporting and Compliance, and Academic Program Quality Assurance and Accreditations are key CAO responsibilities.

In addition, the Provost ensures that all academic units contribute to the success of Lakehead students and the University, that student services meet student needs, and that academic programs remain relevant and offer high-quality instruction.