Universities Canada board director
Gillian Siddall was appointed president and vice-chancellor of Lakehead University in July 2023. Dr. Gillian Siddall first joined Lakehead University in 1998 in a tenure-track appointment in the department of English. She went on to become the founding director of Lakehead’s teaching and learning centre before serving as dean of the University’s faculty of social sciences and humanities for six years.
Before becoming Lakehead University’s president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Siddall served as president at Emily Carr University (ECU) beginning in 2018.
As ECU President, Dr. Siddall led a number of initiatives, including developing the university’s first equity, diversity and inclusion action plan; advancing the university’s commitment to reconciliation and Indigenization through curriculum, research and increasing the number of Indigenous faculty and staff; initiating ECU’s first climate action plan; and advancing ECU’s international ranking into the top 25 in the world for art and design education.
Prior to her term as ECU president, Dr. Siddall served as vice-president academic and provost at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD University) for three years. Dr. Siddall is an advocate of Indigenization, Reconciliation and decolonization within the university sector. She holds an honours BA and MA in English from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in English from the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Siddall’s area of research is Canadian literature, with a focus on musical improvisation, both within and outside literary contexts. Publications include Negotiated Moments: Improvisation, Sound, and Subjectivity (co-edited with Dr. Ellen Waterman, Duke University Press 2016); A Musical Interface for People with Severe Physical Disabilities (co-authored with Pauline Oliveros, Leaf Miller, Jaclyn Heyen, and Sergio Hazard); Music and Medicine (2011); I want to live in that music: Blues, Bessie Smith and Improvised Identities in Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees; Critical Studies in Improvisation (2005); Nice Work if You Can Get It: Women in Jazz (co-authored with Ajay Heble). in Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance and Critical Practice (Routledge 2000).
Dr. Siddall is also a jazz vocalist, choral singer and co-founder of the Guelph Jazz Festival.
Dr. Siddall is a director on the board of Universities Canada.