Dean's Message

As winter term comes to a close and we look ahead to the promise of summer, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for another outstanding year in the Faculty of Arts. Through the dedicated work of our faculty, researchers, students and staff, we continue to advance the faculty’s mission to serve the public good by pushing the boundaries of thinking, creative expression, dialogue, and action.

Our accomplishments this year were many, though there is still much work to do. We strengthened our commitment to respectful relations by launching the Arts Working Group for Indigenous Initiatives (AWGII), which supports ongoing initiatives in the Faculty of Arts intended to increase the presence and sustain the success of Indigenous scholars, staff, and students.

With that commitment in mind, over the course of the year we: engaged with the local Indigenous community through a series of “Stories of Place” lectures highlighting what it means to live, work and study on Treaty 6 lands; entered into faculty-wide discussions regarding the proposed 3-credit Indigenous content core requirement; and, continue to build our capacity in teaching and research through the hiring of Indigenous scholars into tenure-track positions.

To build on the practice of fairness across and among our peoples and disciplines, we struck a Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CEDI). Launched in January, 2019, CEDI has assumed active and advisory responsibility for what is a continuing and pressing set of concerns for our institution.

As we look for ways to ensure our programs are relevant and responsive to students’ interests, we were pleased to announce a number of exciting new developments for 2019/20, including:

  • a new major in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
  • an expanded Criminology program
  • new Certificates in Ethics and Applied Social Science Research
  • the name of the Composition and Theory specialization in both the Bachelor of Music program and the Combined Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education program has been changed to Composition and Sonic Arts, effective July 1, 2019
  • the Theatre Design specialization in the BFA in Drama will now be called the BFA in Drama (Production) as part of a suite of changes to the programs in design, stage management, and production
  • a new MA in Policy Studies (2020)
  • a new BA in Media Studies – now entering the final stage of governmental approval

As a result of our renewed BA and a robust recruitment effort, we enjoyed the largest enrollment in Arts last September that we’ve had for many years, including a 22% increase in self-identified Indigenous students.

And, as always, there was much to celebrate in the Faculty of Arts, including the 50th anniversary of the Department of Linguistics, and the 20th anniversaries of both the School in Cortona and, upcoming in July, the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI).

In April, we welcomed to campus Deb Verhoeven, the University of Alberta’s only Canada 150 Research Chair and in July, we will welcome Shirley-Anne Tate as our candidate for a new CRC in Feminism and Intersectionality. These scholars will strengthen and bring visibility to the University of Alberta’s new signature area, Intersections of Gender – a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary initiative greatly indebted to the foundational efforts of our outstanding researchers in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, past and present.

The way to a successful future is forward. I thank faculty, students, and staff for the important work you do here every day to engage meaningfully and positively with each other, and with the world.

Have a wonderful summer!

Lesley Cormack
Dean of Arts