Happy New Year and welcome back! I hope each of you had a wonderful winter break and are returning to campus invigorated for a new year.
This is an important year for Canadians, as we are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. This is a complex anniversary, coming as it does at a time when we are trying to come to terms with settler communities’ relationships with Indigenous peoples, who were in these territories long before the signing of the BNA Act in 1867. In part because of this, a number of jurisdictions have named this year of commemoration as 150+, something I urge us in the Faculty of Arts to do.
Arts is well placed to interrogate this anniversary and I hope many of us will take part in discussions and celebrations. We started with an event on January 18, “Canada @ 150,” organized by the Department of History and Classics, which featured undergraduate research and contributed to the wider community’s understanding of Canada’s history. We cut a cake and acknowledged our complex and important history and its milestones.
UAlberta will be marking the year by sharing the achievements and ideas of students, faculty, staff and alumni who have contributed to the nation’s history and development. As one of the university’s oldest faculties, our people have figured prominently in Canada’s legacy. But in addition, as social innovators, the humanities, social sciences and fine arts are well positioned to ask what Canada should be in 50 years’ time. Be sure to watch both our Faculty website and the UAlberta’s Canada 150 site for fascinating stories as we ask important questions of Canada’s history and future.
I hope these stories will inspire you, knowing that an Arts degree offers so much potential to contribute to not only your personal development, but the development of your community and your country.
My best wishes for a productive term.
Dean of Arts
2016 State of the Faculty Address