Dr. Shannon Leinen has been named the provost of York University. She has served in this role in an interim capacity since June 1, 2023.
In announcing the appointment, President Sam Smith stated, “While serving as interim provost, Dr. Leinen has demonstrated incredible gifts in leadership, organization, and team building. I appreciate her ability to think strategically and creatively and her drive to make York University the best it can be.”
“When she was named interim provost last June, Dr. Leinen tackled the looming challenge of finalizing the self assessment documents for our 10-year comprehensive review with the Higher Learning Commission combined with the task of organizing the campus community for the accreditation team's visit in October. She did a masterful job. I could not have found anyone who loves this place and supports our mission more than Dr. Leinen. I am fully confident in her ability to perform at the highest level as our provost."
In her most recent roles at York University, Dr. Leinen has served as the dean of online learning and academic initiatives for York University Online and chair of the Elijah A. Levitt School of Business since 2020.
Reflecting on her appointment as provost and her experience in an interim capacity, Dr. Leinen said, “York University has shaped me personally and professionally. Stepping into the role of provost is not just an honor, it's humbling. It is exciting to be in a leadership role walking alongside others who are focused on preserving York’s mission to transform lives through Christ-centered education. In the few short months I've served as interim, I have felt the YU community surround me professionally in ways that exceeded my expectations and I am grateful for the vote of support from the faculty, staff, students, trustees, and President Smith."
Leinen’s ‘York Experience’ began in August 2004 when she moved from her hometown of North Platte to enroll as a first-year student. She completed her bachelor’s degree three years later and went to work for York University as an admissions counselor in 2007.
In her capacity as an admissions counselor, Leinen quickly attracted the notice of co-workers and supervisors with her strong work ethic and capacity to respond well to the many unexpected twists surrounding student recruiting. She was promoted one year later to assistant director for admissions and served many roles in that capacity. In 2009, she stepped into a York University classroom for the first time teaching communication coursework, concurrently serving as the assistant women’s soccer coach. In 2012, Leinen was offered and accepted a tenure-track professor appointment in the university’s communication department.
Leinen left YU in 2015 to be the director for Concordia University-Nebraska’s MBA program. During her five year stint with Concordia, she also served as administrator of their online, fast-track degree completion program. She returned to York in mid-2020.
Dr. Leinen holds the M.A. from Gonzaga University, M.Ed. from Concordia University-Nebraska, M.B.A. from Harding University, and received her Ph.D. from Regent University. Her studies have ranged from communication and leadership to instructional technology and curriculum to business ethics. She is currently working on doctoral studies in organizational leadership and health care administration.
Reflecting on the recent Higher Learning Commission (HLC) self assessment and visit, Leinen said, “During the visit, we came together to share with the HLC the accomplishments and growth of the past decade. The collaborative, dedicated, and innovative spirit displayed by our faculty, staff, and students left an impression, affirming that our journey towards educational excellence is on the right course, meeting and exceeding industry standards!”
Looking ahead at the future of York, Leinen added, “The university continues to evolve and stay a relevant academic institution with fantastic faculty. We are constantly evaluating our curriculum as we embark on a mission to shape and add innovative programs to the catalog that will not only meet the needs of tomorrow, but also inspire and empower the next generation of trail blazers who will proudly include York University on their resume.”
Shannon and her husband, Jared, who is also an alumnus of York University have three children, Graham, Sidney and Maisy. Jared has worked at York University since 2010, and currently serves as registrar.