President

Dalhousie's 12th President

Dr. Deep Saini began his term as Dalhousie’s 12th President in January 2020, bringing to Dalhousie a compelling blend of national post-secondary experience with international perspective.

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His awards and recognitions include honours from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Sikh Foundation of Canada, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He was featured in India Abroad’s “2011 Power List” and is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

His leadership roles have included governance and advisory roles at national and international levels, presidencies of national professional societies, journal editorships, membership on national and international granting panels, fundraising workshops for university leaders and international trade missions.

He is fluent in English, French, Hindi and Punjabi.

Read Dr. Saini's full profile

Dr. Deep Saini began his term as Dalhousie’s 12th President in January 2020, poised to lead the university into its third century of achievement and impact.

Prior to his presidency at Dalhousie, Dr. Saini served as vice-chancellor and president of the University of Canberra in Australia. A career academic and accomplished researcher in plant biology, Dr. Saini’s leadership blends national leadership and global perspective.

Dr. Saini grew up in India and completed his Master of Science (Honours) in Botany from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, India before moving to Australia to obtain his Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Physiology at the University of Adelaide.

Following graduation, Dr. Saini and his family relocated to Canada for him to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta, where he began an accomplished academic career as a leading researcher in plant biology, eventually becoming Director General of the Institute de recherche en biologie végétale (Plant Biology Research Institute) – a joint venture between Université de Montréal and the Montreal Botanical Garden.

In 2006, Dr. Saini moved into his first senior administrative role: Dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. There, he launched several new programs and increased both operating and facilities funding. In 2010, he joined the University of Toronto as a vice-president and principal of the university’s Mississauga campus, leading major internationalization efforts, overseeing a significant facilities expansion and increasing the faculty complement by nearly 100 academics.

Following six years at the University of Toronto, Dr. Saini was appointed vice-chancellor and president of the University of Canberra in 2016. During his tenure, he successfully led the development and implementation of a new strategic plan, positioning the school as a national leader in professional education and experiential learning, mission-oriented research as well as in equity, diversity, inclusion and access. The University of Canberra rose from being in the top 600 to the top 200 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings during Dr. Saini’s presidency.

Dr. Saini’s awards and recognitions include honours from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Sikh Foundation of Canada, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He was featured in India Abroad’s “2011 Power List” and is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

His leadership roles extend beyond the walls of the academy and have included governance and advisory roles at national and international levels, presidencies of national professional societies, journal editorships, membership on national and international granting panels, fundraising workshops for university leaders and international trade missions. Dr. Saini is also committed to civic involvement and has served on the boards of the United Way and agencies focused on economic development, innovation and commercialization.

Dr. Saini is passionate about accessible education; immersive leadership; engagement with community, industry and government; global fluency; deepening the university’s service to the community; athletics; and philanthropy.

He is fluent in English, French, Hindi and Punjabi.


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