January 16th, 2021

U of L appoints Helstein Interim Vice-Provost

By Jensen, Randy on June 5, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


The University of Lethbridge has filled a key position in its senior leadership group by appointing Michelle Helstein to the role of Interim Vice-Provost, for a three-year term.

Helstein, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, has been assuming more administrative responsibilities over her tenure at the U of L and is regarded as a strong leadership voice for the institution moving forward.

“Dr. Helstein brings an excellent perspective to our group,” says Erasmus Okine, provost and vice-president (academic), in a news release. “Her ability to see the broad picture and articulate the university’s vision for the future is exemplary. She is respected greatly by fellow faculty members and has handled deftly any and all administrative responsibilities she has assumed over her years at the U of L, including the recent leadership role as a leader of the Emergency Operations Centre.”

A graduate of Augustana University College and the University of Alberta, Helstein began her academic career at the U of L in 2003. She quickly established a reputation as a strong researcher, focusing on breaking down the notion of sport and popular culture as simply innocent, playful and not worthy of study by highlighting the significant impact and use of popular sporting culture within larger social, political and economic processes.

“I believe strongly that administrative work is about service,” says Helstein. “Through my many roles on this campus, I have built a set of experiences and skills that position me exceptionally well as interim vice-provost to support the work of my colleagues, our students and this institution in our collective efforts to create meaningful teaching, learning and research environments.”

Helstein played a prominent role in the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, acting as a co-director of the Emergency Operations Centre and helping guide institutions through a rapid pivot to online learning and the closure of its Lethbridge and Calgary campuses.

“While other administrative roles I have held allowed me to work with colleagues across faculties, my work on EOC has truly highlighted how necessarily interconnected all the segments of our campus are and how it is only through collaboration and co-ordination across units that we can effectively move through such challenging circumstances,” says Helstein. “This is a recognition and a demonstrated commitment I bring to the role of interim vice-provost, as our campus continues to navigate unprecedented times as the intersections of the COVID-19 pandemic, newly introduced metrics and a difficult provincial budget.”

Helstein’s interim vice-provost role will commence on July 1.

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