Tier 2 Canada Research Chair - Emerging Technologies for Digital Learning and Open Education



Tier 2 CRC - Emerging Technologies for Digital Learning and Open Education

The Opportunity

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University (AU) invites applications from exceptional emerging scholars with demonstrated potential for leadership and international recognition in the field of Emerging Technologies for Digital Learning and Open Education to be nominated for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) appointment.

The successful candidate will be supported to prepare a nomination for the April 2025 CRC Program deadline. The successful candidate will receive a full-time, tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor upon successful nomination of the CRC (anticipated start date November 2025).

This interdisciplinary research program responds to the dynamic developments in digital technologies, (e.g., Artificial intelligence [AI], Open AI [e.g., ChatGPT], smart devices, remote labs, etc.) and their continued impacts within educational contexts. AU is seeking a unique, interdisciplinary researcher to explore pathways for integrating emerging learning theories into the open, digital education landscape in equitable and ethical ways. The Chair will conduct original research in blended and online learning that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, engaging with and responsibly operationalizing ethical, unbiased digital technologies to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.  

Both the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) and the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) support accessible learning and innovative research, with state of the art virtual and place-based facilities. The Chair will be supported by both Faculties, ensuring access to funding opportunities (e.g., CFI to support infrastructure needs, and other tri-agency grants), facilities, infrastructure, partnerships, and connections to industry. This includes both place-based and digital-first research through physical facilities, equipment, IT infrastructure, and personnel.

The Chair will support several programs at the graduate level in FHSS with opportunities for potential contributions in FST. In FHSS, these include the Doctor of Education in Distance Education (EdD); Master’s in Open, Digital, and Distance Education (MEd); and Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS). FHSS also offers a graduate diploma in Heritage Resource Management and a Graduate Diploma in Legislative Drafting. The position also aligns with several aspects of various undergraduate programs within FHSS. In FST, the Chair may support the current Master’s program in Information Systems (MSc IS), as well as the undergraduate programs in this Faculty. Additionally, the Faculty also has new graduate programs approved by the government (Master’s of Science in Earth Systems Science and Master’s of Architecture) and is currently developing a PhD in Computing and Information Systems.

We are seeking a visionary leader to establish and lead our exciting new Research Chair in the “Innovations in Education” focus area of our emerging Strategic Research Plan (launching fall 2024). This signature area will advance the learner experience and redefine the future of open and distributed education through the development, strategic deployment, and ethical and equitable use of emerging technologies. As a driver of this research area, the Chair will challenge pedagogical norms to innovate new learning and educational pathways that are rooted in interdisciplinary research, equitable by design, digitally-enabled, and support lifelong learning. The Chair’s transformative research will have a far-reaching influence, impacting local communities and contributing to the achievement of select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including quality education, reduced inequalities, good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, and global partnerships. Applicants are asked to speak to the way their proposed research plan would further advance discovery and impact in this signature research area.

CRC Eligibility Criteria

The Canada Research Chair Program seeks to attract and retain a diverse cadre of world-class researchers to reinforce academic research and training in Canadian post-secondary institutions. Tier 2 Chairs are intended for exceptional emerging scholars (i.e., candidates must have been an active researcher in their field for fewer than 10 years at the time of nomination) who:

(a) are excellent emerging world-class researchers who have demonstrated particular research creativity, activity, output, and impact,

(b) have demonstrated the potential to achieve international recognition in their field in the next five to ten years, and

(c) have the potential to attract, develop, and retain excellent trainees, students, and future researchers.

The chairholder must demonstrate an original, innovative, and high-quality research program. Chairs are tenable for five years and renewable once.

Applicants who are more than 10 years from having earned their highest degree (and where career breaks exist, such as parental, family or extended sick leave, clinical training, etc.) may have their eligibility for a Tier 2 Chair assessed through the program’s Tier 2 justification process. Candidates are encouraged to highlight how alternative paths and/or interruptions have impacted them in their applications. Please consult the Canada Research Chairs’ website for full program information, including further details on eligibility criteria, www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca. AU recognizes the legitimate impact that leaves (e.g., family leave, leave due to illness) can have on a candidate’s record of research achievement. These leaves will be taken into careful consideration during the assessment process.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in AU’s CRC Program

The Canada Research Chairs Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan and target setting methodology guide AU’s efforts toward inclusive excellence and aims of increasing representation of the four federally designated groups in the University’s CRC program. These four groups include: women and gender minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and racialized individuals.

In accordance with AU's CRC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and program equity targets, this opportunity is designated for a candidate who self-identifies as a racialized individual. Recognizing the importance of both intersectionality and allyship, the committee welcomes applicants who also self-identify as members of women and gender minorities, Indigenous, or persons with disabilities. As you proceed through this application process, you will be encouraged to complete a confidential self-identification form.


  • PhD in a relevant discipline.
  • Demonstrated potential for innovative and scholarly research and the ability to develop an externally-funded, high-quality, and internationally recognized research program.
  • Demonstrated potential for outstanding teaching and supervisory contributions.
  • Ability to foster and role-model a collaborative, equitable, and inclusive approach to research and supervision, including engaging in mentorship within and beyond the immediate activities of the Chair.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Please indicate in your cover letter if you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or neither.

This role is based in Alberta, Canada. The successful candidate will be required to travel for face-to-face faculty meetings and AU gatherings. Employment at Athabasca University requires residency within Canada.


How to Apply

Applicants should submit the following in one single PDF file:

  • A cover letter indicating areas of research experience and excellence, also indicating if you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or neither.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • A research statement that summarizes your research activities and outlines your research program plans for the proposed CRC (maximum 3 pages).
  • A description of your teaching interests and experiences as well as thesis and dissertation supervisory experience (maximum 2 pages).
  • A statement that identifies your strengths and experience in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in your discipline.
  • Names of three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation later in the search process.

The closing date for the opportunity is July 19, 2024.

If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Katherine Frank (kfrank@kbrs.ca) or Lauren Wright (lwright@kbrs.ca). Completed applications can be submitted online using the "Apply Now" button below. Alternatively, applications can be emailed directly as one PDF to Lauren Wright at lwright@kbrs.ca.

Educational credentials will be verified before an offer of employment is extended. An offer of employment is conditional upon verification of educational credentials.

All educational credentials must be recognized in Canada.  

E-Transcripts shared directly from your Post-Secondary Institution via email are acceptable.

WES may be used to verify international educational credentials. Processing time for verification of international qualifications may take up to one month. Please plan accordingly.

Athabasca University is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation, persons of any gender identity and expression, and members of visible minorities.

Athabasca University and KBRS will provide support in the recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that considers an applicant’s accessibility needs. If you require accommodation to participate as a candidate in the recruitment process, please contact accommodate@kbrs.ca or communicate your needs to Lauren Wright, Executive Recruiter at lwright@kbrs.ca.

About Athabasca University

As Canada’s leading open university, Athabasca University’s approach to accessible yet transformative education and research is truly distinctive. Its academic mission is to remove barriers to post-secondary education for learners, regardless of their age, location, career, or educational background.

Based in the beautiful region of Athabasca, AU is one of four Comprehensive Academic and Research Universities (CARUs) in the province. AU is a public, board-governed, open, and online university serving more than 35,000 students across Alberta, Canada, and around the world.

With Faculties spanning health, science, humanities and social sciences, and business – AU provides more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs in ways that are uniquely accessible and responsive to today’s demands of life and work.

AU seeks to be an agile and inclusive workplace in which all team members can grow, make their highest contribution, and each make a difference to our academic vision and mission. AU is strongly committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and to? Indigenous Peoples and communities, and conciliation.  

Led by President Dr. Alex Clark, AU is embarking on an exciting new chapter in strategic planning. Drawing from five decades of growth in distance and online education, we aim to reinforce our position as Canada’s foremost innovator in open learning. With the recent formation of an inclusive Senior Leadership Team dedicated to empowering every team member to contribute and thrive, AU stands poised for an exciting and ambitious next stage of development.

Committed to open access and digitally enabled lifelong learning, Athabasca University (est. 1970) is Canada’s only public and research-intensive open university offering fully accredited distributed learning from its online virtual campus. Athabasca University bridges the learning, scholarship, and research environments to transform the social, economic, and environmental wellness of citizens, their families, their communities, and their places of work in Alberta, Canada, and around the globe.

The university’s steadfast commitment to equality and inclusive lifelong learning is demonstrated through its proactive and systemic dismantling of barriers that stand between diverse individuals and their personal learning goals. With a global presence, Athabasca University welcomes people who prefer the university’s innovative and digital-learning environment from urban, rural, and remote locations everywhere. As a leader in inclusion, Athabasca University enables learners from underserved populations, those from Indigenous ancestry, those who by choice or through life circumstance cannot attend a place-based university, and those attending place-based post-secondaries who crave increased flexibility and control. An inspired and willing partner within Alberta’s adult learning system, AU collaborates with a wide array of stakeholders to amplify the opportunities and success for learners and their communities.