Kristen Craig takes the next step in academic leadership at the institution that helped launch her career 21 years ago

February 2024

Back in her student days, Kristen Craig knew she had a mind for business. While the world prepared for a technological revolution in the new millennium, she crunched the numbers and readied herself for a career in the 2000s by pursuing accounting and IT business diplomas at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Little did she know she would one day become dean of Sask Polytech’s School of Business.

“Through my learning journey at Sask Polytech, I was able to set myself up for success in the programs and in my career. The applied learning in each of my programs gave me a leg up. I was ready,” she says.

Her passion for numbers led her to join the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as an auditor, where she gained experience and pursued advanced accounting education. Five years after joining the CRA, Craig returned to Sask Polytech as an accountancy instructor.

“There are two things to being an instructor. There’s the industry knowledge you share, while the other taps into my own experience as a student. I wanted to give back, which was inspired by the care and dedication my instructors had shown to me. Their inspiration has remained with me for two decades,” she says.

When she joined the faculty, she had the opportunity to work with her previous instructor, Doug Rempel. The two became office mates.

“We constantly communicated all day. We had the joy of bouncing ideas off each other all the time. She’s become a great friend,” he says. “We met through Sask Polytech. Our careers paralleled each other. It gave me the privilege of continually working with her.”

As their professional lives progressed, Craig continued to draw inspiration from Rempel who became her mentor.

“He was instrumental in helping me build my leadership capacity,” she says.

He adds, “The biggest joy of my career was when Kristen was acting associate dean while I held the position of acting dean at the School of Business in 2019 and 2020.”

While they worked together, Rempel took time to share a few valuable lessons.

“At Sask Polytech, we have never faced a challenge we cannot solve. We work together on solutions. We allow everyone to have a bad day. That goes a long way. Communication is key. Don’t be afraid of questions. Overcommunicate so everyone knows what you’re thinking and your direction,” Rempel shares.

Craig has taken these learnings and ran with them. Now at the helm of the School of Business, she’s ready to continue advancing post-secondary education at every level.

“I want to serve. I want to be in a position to give back and not forget where I came from. I remember what it was like to be a faculty member and a student. I give back by being an advocate for faculty and students while creating a path forward for our school and for our programs to remain relevant in industry. I’m still grounded. It’s important for me to keep connected,” she says.

Rempel is certain Craig will lead the school with dedication and success.

“This is Kristen’s sixth role at Sask Polytech. I feel strongly that the experience she brings to the School of Business is invaluable,” he says. “I’m proud of her career growth. She’s the right person at the right time to advance the School of Business. She will do a great job.”

Craig adds, “I feel grateful for the opportunities I received, both as a student and in my career at Sask Polytech. In my lifelong learning journey, I’ve been fortunate to have various roles in the organization and understand the complexity of these roles and the importance of higher education. Everything I’ve done along the way has set me up for success and led me to the next step in my career. Every opportunity at Sask Polytech has helped me to continue growing and it all started from a decision to study here as a student.”

Sask Polytech's Business diploma offers students the chance to choose between eight specializations to help them become tomorrow's accountants, financial officers, marketing managers, insurance brokers, human resources specialists, sport managers, municipal administrators and entrepreneurs.