Oct. 13, 2016

Jay Cross appointed director of the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation

Message from Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall
Dr. James (Jay) Cross, the inaugural director of the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation at the University of Calgary.

Dr. James (Jay) Cross, the inaugural director of the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. James (Jay) Cross as the inaugural director of the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation (CDCI), effective Oct. 11, 2016. Dr. Cross brings a wealth of experience as a creative and well-respected educator, researcher, innovator and leader to his new role in shaping the future of the CDCI. 

As the director, Dr. Cross will play a key leadership role in guiding the development of transformative CDCI learning experiences where students from diverse programs will collaborate in exploring solutions to pressing and complex world issues. The foundation of these learning experiences is inquiry-based, interdisciplinary Global Challenges courses for first-year students who will be immersed in authentic, interdisciplinary inquiry experiences where teaching, learning and research are deeply integrated. The first course in the program launches in January, 2017 and will involve students in investigating the challenge of “Feeding Nine Billion People” under the guidance of faculty mentors.

Many in our community will know Dr. Cross from his previous roles as the founding director of what is now called the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health, founding associate dean (research) of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and as associate vice-president (research). As a highly accomplished interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and innovator in animal and human health, Dr. Cross is ideally positioned to lead a flagship program that will provide learning experiences though which University of Calgary students will develop the knowledge and skills to engage in rigorous inquiry to generate creative and innovative solutions to challenges experienced in their local and global communities. He has a strong track record in leading initiatives that bridge science and its connections to society, and apply research to problems ranging from human infertility to enhancing the sustainability of the livestock industry. In all of his work, Dr. Cross is well known as a generous collaborator, a skilled community-builder and leader who enables others to succeed.   

His formal education includes a doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) from the University of Saskatchewan and a PhD in reproductive biology and molecular biology from the University of Missouri. Dr. Cross is a leading researcher in reproductive biology, whose work has been recognized by his peers numerous times over the course of his career, most recently in his appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015. In equal measure, he has made significant contributions to the development of educational programs and has led initiatives that engage colleagues from diverse disciplines and industry partners alike to use research to enhance practice in multiple fields. A common theme in Dr. Cross’ diverse contributions is a commitment to asking important questions about things that will make a difference in the world, and finding ways to answer those questions — a commitment reflected in the vision for the CDCI.

Dr. Cross has a deep appreciation for how discovery, creativity and innovation form a complex synergy informed by scientific, social, historical, artistic, philosophical, economic and spiritual perspectives. His approaches to teaching and research demonstrate his commitment to cultivating interdisciplinary teams who value different ways of thinking. “There are important challenges both locally and globally that can become opportunities if we inspire and enable our youth, the next generation of innovators, and we empower the diverse perspectives of the university to work with our communities and entrepreneurs to understand the barriers to innovation.”

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the members of the Advisory Search Committee, for their contributions to the extensive search for this position. The committee included Carol Berenson, Taylor Institute; Andre Buret, vice-president (research); Nancy Chick, Taylor Institute; Carolyn Emery, Faculty of Kinesiology; Sam Hossack, graduate student representative; Natasha Kenny, Taylor Institute; Alicia Lunz, undergraduate student representative; Ken MacMillan, Faculty of Arts; and Lynn Taylor, vice-provost teaching and learning (chair). I also would like to acknowledge the ongoing work of Dawn Johnston (Arts) and Leslie Reid (Science) who, as the Global Challenges Steering Committee, have been working tirelessly to prepare for the launch of the first Global Challenges course in January 2017.

Please join me in wishing Dr. Jay Cross every success as the inaugural director of the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation.


Dru Marshall
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)