Dr. Elaine Popp is named Durham College’s next President

Durham College Board Chair Dr. Gail Johnson Morris announced today that Dr. Elaine Popp has been appointed Durham College’s (DC) next President. Dr. Popp’s term begins on March 1, 2024, and follows the conclusion of current President, Don Lovisa’s tenure.

Following an extensive executive search and rigorous selection process, the DC Board of Governors unanimously endorsed Dr. Popp’s appointment as its sixth president.

“Dr. Popp is an impactful, proven and strategic post-secondary leader; her skills, knowledge and experience will continue to drive innovative programming and build on DC’s strong best-in-class reputation,” said Dr. Johnson Morris. “During her tenure as our Executive Vice President, Academic, Dr. Popp’s innovative and creative solutions have ensured that Durham College’s students have rich opportunities for experiential learning while also strengthening industry partnerships. Her results demonstrate that she is the ideal leader for Durham College.”

With more than 24 years of successful and progressive post-secondary sector experience in Ontario, Dr. Popp has led DC’s core teaching and learning business as Executive Vice President, Academic, for eight years. During this time, she has repeatedly demonstrated her passion for student success and her rare ability to leverage higher education’s emergent trends to create relevant programming that meets student needs and anticipates industry expectations.

Working with DC’s high-performing teams, Dr. Popp has spearheaded the launch of several successful strategic frameworks for DC, including the Academic Plan, Enrolment Management Plan, Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan and the five-year New Program Development Plan. These frameworks emphasize how she leverages the importance of systems thinking, effective planning and thoughtful resource management to achieve DC’s mission – Together, we’re leading the way.

Under Dr. Popp’s strategic leadership, with her teams, she:

  • Launched 50 new cutting-edge academic programs, including the college’s six applied degree programs;
  • Introduced new work-integrated learning opportunities by adding co-op or work terms to 30 programs;
  • Established five applied research centres supporting DC’s recognition as one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges;
  • Demonstrated DC’s dedication to quality assurance during our most recent College Quality Assurance Audit Process, where DC was awarded the highest result possible; and
  • Thoughtfully and responsibly increased domestic and international student enrolment.

“I am incredibly honoured and excited to have the privilege of serving as DC’s next President. I am passionately invested in the success of DC, and how we can build upon the strong foundation that has been established and shape an even more sustainable, people-focused, equity-driven college and foster meaningful connections with the local community and broader global society,” said Dr. Popp. “I am committed to the college, its employees, students, alumni, community, and partners. I deeply care for DC and our shared goal of making meaningful contributions through the work we do.”

As a testament to her in-demand leadership and deep roots in the college sector, Dr. Popp serves as Vice-Chair of the Coordinating Committee of Vice-Presidents, Academic (CCVPA), member of the executive committees for CCVPA and the Coordinating Committee of Vice-Presidents, International (CCVPI), the Chair Academy Advisory Board, and the College of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Coordinating Committee. Dr. Popp has also contributed provincially by serving on the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association, Ontario Colleges Library Services, Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer, and the Ontario College Quality Assurance Service Boards for the maximum terms.

A proven lifelong learner and distinguished academic, Dr. Popp holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science, Honours Biology and Kinesiology from York University. She came to DC after holding several academic and leadership roles, starting as a Faculty member, moving to Program Coordinator, Associate Dean and Associate Vice President, Academic at Humber College, and contributing as Program Head for the University of Guelph-Humber.

Keenly attuned to provincial priorities, policy, needed advocacy, risks, and emergent opportunities, Dr. Popp is the right choice to build upon DC’s position as a post-secondary education leader today and as we evolve in the future.