Sean Van Koughnett is the Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) & Dean of Students at McMaster. His leadership philosophy has been molded through his experience as a high performance athlete and a career dedicated to improving the student experience in higher education.
Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award
Sean arrived at McMaster in 2013, having established a track record of excellence, leadership and innovation in his varied pursuits. A competitive basketball player in his student years, Sean won silver at the World University (FISU) games in 1993, was one of the final cuts from the 2000 Canadian Olympic team, and served as five-time co-captain and MVP of the University of Waterloo Warriors basketball team. Turning his leadership to higher education, he founded Velocity, a program for student entrepreneurs, which now houses North America’s largest free startup incubator. He then launched the University of Waterloo’s Student Success Office and became its inaugural director.
As AVP (Students and Learning) & Dean of Students at McMaster, Sean fosters an engaging, challenging and supportive experience for our students. He has contributed to strategies to meet increasing student need in Athletics & Recreation, Housing/Residence Life, the Registrar’s Office, Student Accessibility Services, Student Conduct & Community Standards, the Student Success Centre, and the Student Wellness Centre. As a collaborative leader who excels at developing people, Sean is a key mentor and role model for the Wilson Leaders.
Associate Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award
Liz is a proud Mac grad (’98 and ’05) whose career has centred on developing people, whether as an educator, career advisor, writer or manager. She brings to her work her own experiences as the recipient of transformative award programs, including the Rotary Ambassadorial Award and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant. Through her work with thousands of clients in non-profit, college and university settings, she has seen how support and mentorship help people achieve their potential. Benefiting from informal mentorship herself, she developed award-winning alumni career programming at McMaster, established staff career advising at the University of Waterloo, and became Assistant Director of the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Career Action, where she led her team through the university’s largest reorganization to date. She has also been a regular contributor to the University Affairs Careers Café blog since 2010.
“McMaster has always developed great leaders, and it is a privilege to cultivate the potential of our next generation. I look forward to working with our Wilson Leaders, and to providing them with the guidance and experiences that will challenge and inspire them.”
— Sean Van Koughnett, Director of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award