In 1943, an Assistant to the President was appointed to share some of the administrative load placed on this office. When Dr Walter Hugh Johns was named to the office of Vice-President in 1955, he continued in his position as Dean of Arts and Science until 1957, when he assumed the office full-time. In 1963, the title was changed to Vice-President (Academic).
As the University continued to grow, more Vice-President portfolios had to be created to accommodate the ever increasing amount of administrative work that needed to be done.
In 1967, the Board of Governors approved changes in the University administrative structure which were intended to decentralize the administrative burden and delegate broad areas of responsibility. As a result, the Offices of the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) and the Vice-President (Facilities and Services) were created.
Assuming roles once held by the President, the Vice-President (Academic), and the Research Grants and Contracts Office (which was in existence from 1969 to 1981), the office of the Vice-President (Research) was developed in 1981 to coordinate and promote research conducted within the University of Alberta.
In May 2000, the Board of Governors approved the split of the Research and External Affairs portfolio and created the position of Vice-President (External Relations).
As the University of Alberta enters its centennial year, there are five Vice-Presidents:
- Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
- Vice-President (Research)
- Vice-President (Finance and Administration)
- Vice-President (Facilities and Operations)
- Vice-President (External Relations)