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Dr. James Currie

James Currie

Dr. Currie models the belief that good academic self-governance requires strong scholars to accept service in administrative roles. Since joining The University of Winnipeg as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 1988, he has served in numerous roles: Department Chair; Associate Dean of Science; Dean of Science; Acting Dean of Graduate Studies; Acting Dean of Kinesiology; Deputy Provost; and Vice-President, Academic and Provost. He became Interim President and Vice-Chancellor at The University of Winnipeg on August 1, 2020.

Dr. Currie has also served on the boards of several community organizations, including the UWSA Student Daycare, Whiteshell Keswick Fellowship, Crux Mathematicorum, Prairie Isotope Production Enterprise, and Judo Manitoba. 

Dr. Currie’s research is at the intersection of mathematics and computer science. It has been funded continuously by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) since 1990. He has approximately 75 publications in peer-reviewed journals, many of which are co-authored with students.

In 2008, Dr. Currie received the University's Erica & Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship. In 2009, along with Narad Rampersad and Michäel Rao, he announced the solution to the long-standing mathematical enigma Dejean's Conjecture.

In addition to pure research, Dr. Currie has provided professional consulting to industry and government, and has published technical reports on issues such as the allocation of search and rescue helicopters, the security of proposed identification protocols, and on-farm food safety.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics, which is currently notable for its excellence and diversity, and for its high percentage of researchers holding NSERC funding, thrived under Dr. Currie’s leadership. While serving as Chair,  the department grew from 10 to 16 members and there was an increase in interdisciplinary collaboration. With the Department of Biology, he worked on a joint peer-tutoring study that led to the University’s present-day Math & Science Tutoring Centre. With the Department of Physics, he started a joint seminar on Quantum Computing. This led to UWinnipeg’s ongoing connection to Ontario’s famous Perimeter Institute. 

As Associate Dean of Science, and subsequently Dean of Science, Dr. Currie was a strong voice for academic excellence amidst rapid campus change and expansion. In particular, he facilitated a smooth transition as several departments moved into the Richardson Science Complex. 

As Deputy Provost, Dr. Currie spearheaded changes reducing the presence of administration on committees such as Academic Planning and Senate Executive, with the goal of increasing meaningful faculty participation in governance. He also streamlined the University’s team sport offerings, and facilitated new leadership for Student Services and for the English Language Program, to better connect those units to the academic core. The University honoured Currie, while Provost, with the University’s 2019 Robin H. Farquhar Award for Excellence in Contributing to Self-Governance. 

Where time has permitted, Dr. Currie has continued to teach — from Basic Calculus, to more advanced courses targeting students in Education, Applied Computer Science, and Mathematical Finance. He continues to mentor undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers.

Dr. Currie completed his PhD in Mathematics at the University of Calgary at the age of 25. Prior to that, he completed his BSc and MSc at Carleton University, where strong mentoring allowed him to publish articles in research journals as an undergraduate and as a master’s student. This experience prepared him for the culture at The University of Winnipeg, where the importance of working with young scholars and providing opportunities to students has long been recognized.