A farewell message from VP & Principal Canadian Programs, Arden Henley

This week Arden Henley announced his plans to move on. The news has been hard to accept since without exception, across all campuses in Canada, he has been recognized as “the heart and soul” of CityU Canada. His leadership, vision, and community based counsellor’s approach will be missed, as will his powerful ability to articulate a story. With gratitude, we share his farewell…


CityU Friends and Colleagues,
‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’ [i]

There is a time to begin and a time to end. There is a time to hold fast and a time to move on. This is my time to move on. My tenure as Vice President and Principal of Canadian Programs will end on June 30, 2018 and I will commence a six-month sabbatical. At the end of my sabbatical I will return to the university in a part time, advisory capacity.

In leaving you in my present capacity, I want to share some thoughts about the meaning and purpose of CityU in Canada, in fact CityU worldwide:

First and foremost, the nobility of CityU’s mission of giving people a chance to learn who would otherwise be turned away. There are so many people worldwide providing leadership to their communities, excelling at their chosen professions or simply making a decent living for their families because of what we do and who we are.

Second, the combination of an insistence on relevance and bringing practitioners to the classroom empowers students and invigorates education. Practitioner focused education is critical in preparing graduates who know ‘what to do on Monday morning’, but also in contributing to practice informed knowledge, an arena in which speculation and research informed knowledge are tested in the day-to-day lives and relationships of people.

Third, our commitment to the success of each and every student: when challenged about our high rates of graduation by mainstream university colleagues, as if failure was somehow a measure of success, we have always replied that, “We are deeply committed to the success of each and every one of our students. Our students’ success in their chosen programs of study is our success, while, at the same time, so are their obstacles, setbacks and suffering.”

To those of you I have not met or only met in passing, I am sorry that I missed this opportunity. As a leader I have become painfully aware that my work has been a reflection of both my gifts and my failings. For all those ways that I have failed to meet your expectations or frustrated your hopes and ambitions, directly or indirectly, I apologize.

About leadership I will say this – on the administrative side, it is like being a pot maker. Good soup requires a serviceable, clean and ideally attractive pot, as well as the right ingredients and skillful application. On the more visionary side, it is a matter of being a speaker of dreams and teller of stories on behalf of a community. Every community needs its story to be told both to the community itself and to all the other communities with which it interacts.

In the end, thanks to each and every one of you. No community, no leader.

With care,


[1] This quote comes from a song written by Pete Seeger, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) based on the first eight verses of the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Turn! Turn! Turn! became an international hit in late 1965 when it was adapted by the American folk rock group, the Byrds.

Arden Henley, Ed.D, RCC
Vice President and Principal, Canadian Programs