Dr. Airini
Provost and VP Academic

Provost and VP Academic
University of Saskatchewan

Prof Airini is the Provost and Vice-President Academic at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). Airini joined the USask in February 2021 and holds a professorial appointment in the College of Education. Her three-decade career is defined by her leadership internationally and domestically in areas of equity in higher education, Indigenous advancement, and converting research and policy into improved education outcomes.

Airini has more than 20 years experience in senior academic administration at world-class universities internationally, and most recently, Airini was Dean of the interdisciplinary Faculty of Education and Social Work at Thompson Rivers University (BC, Canada). Airini holds academic appointments in three countries – Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (NZ).

Airini has led education strategic planning in developing countries, with government budget value of $97.4 million. She currently advises the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Airini was awarded Canada’s prestigious Alan Blizzard Award for collaborative teaching: the highest such award for excellence in higher education teaching and learning in Canada. Airini served as an Executive member of the Association of Canadian Deans of Education and co-led the first national network of Canada’s Women Deans of Education.

A Fulbright Scholar, Airini’s research looks at how education success for all can mean all. Airini’s research and development initiatives have directly shaped 21st century education systems to close gaps in education success at school and post-secondary levels. This work has attracted $22.5m in funding since 2002.

Airini is the author/co-author of more than 100 research articles, books, and reviewed papers and reports. Airini received the top national research award for New Zealand for collaborative research in education, and the University of Auckland’s excellence in equity award. Airini is a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand. UBC recognized Dr Airini as an Outstanding Alumni and Indigenous Woman Leader.

Airini earned a BA in religious studies and a Master of Education from the University of Canterbury, an MBA from Massey University, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia. She has credentials as a trained teacher and learning the Indigenous language of NZ during two years of night classes.

Dr Airini is a national representative in two sports, a multisport eventer, and is one of only 40 selected from around the world to race The Yukon 1000 – the world’s longest canoe race from Whitehorse to Alaska, paddling 1000 miles in nine days or less, on the Yukon River.