Philip Steenkamp – a former senior public servant and deputy minister in several B.C. and Ontario ministries – will bring extensive leadership and a deep understanding of the academic environment to the role of vice-president, external relations and communications, the University of British Columbia announced today. UBC’s Board of Governors approved his appointment for a five-year term starting Dec. 1.
“UBC is delighted to welcome a gifted communicator and collaborative relationship builder with a long track record of success,” said interim UBC President Martha Piper. “Our academic and administrative leaders look forward to working with Philip Steenkamp to renew our community connections during this historic centennial year and the years beyond.”
In his role, Steenkamp will be responsible for fostering the university’s reputation as a globally influential university and will head up key areas including government, community and corporate relations, communications, marketing, media relations, campus planning, and ceremonies and events.
In support of UBC’s commitment to broad-based engagement, Steenkamp will also take the lead on establishing meaningful partnerships with external stakeholders – encompassing federal, provincial, and municipal governments, community and business leaders, and First Nations governments, as well as provincial and national university associations.
“I’m honoured to join the leadership of an innovative research and learning community that is embracing bold new ways of thinking,” said Steenkamp. “UBC is advancing a civil and sustainable society that will serve the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world, and it is a privilege to help support that vision.”
Steenkamp’s most recent position was vice-president, external relations, at Simon Fraser University.
His 17-year career in public service includes a number of posts. In B.C., he has been deputy minister of advanced education; regional economic and skills development; tourism, culture and the arts; aboriginal affairs, and social development in the Premier’s Office. In Ontario, he had concurrent responsibilities as deputy minister in the ministry of training, colleges and universities, and the ministry of education. He was widely recognized by his colleagues for his powerful strategic-thinking skills, collaborative style and ability to get results.
Steenkamp was also president and CEO of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games secretariat. He has served on a number of boards, including the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, the Immigrant Employment Council of BC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and as the Canadian representative on the OECD’s Education Committee.
The 53-year-old Steenkamp holds an MA and PhD from Queen’s University, Kingston, and a BA and BA honours from the University of Natal, Durban. His field of research and most of his teaching was in African history.
UBC is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. As the second largest university in Canada, UBC attracts more than 59,000 students from 140 countries on two major campuses. With over 15,000 faculty and staff, and 300,000 alumni, UBC has an annual operating budget of $2 billion with more than $500 million in research income.