Steve Patten Appointed Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts, effective July 1, 2020

Commitment to core values and mission to continue under new leadership

Donna McKinnon - 24 March 2020

On March 24, Steven Dew, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), announced that Dr. Steve Patten has been appointed Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts for a two-year period, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.

This followed an earlier announcement that Dr. Lesley Cormack was departing the University of Alberta effective June 30, 2020 to take up the role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. 

“I am honoured to have been asked by the Provost to serve as the Interim Dean,” says Patten, who acknowledges that these are “anything but normal” times. 

“Weathering the COVID-19 crisis, managing challenging fiscal realities, and responding to anticipated restructuring within UAlberta and across the sector will require diligent commitment to our core values and mission, working collaboratively, and putting people first.”

Dr. Patten holds a PhD in Political Science from York University. In 2001, he joined the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, with research interests in contemporary politics in Canada and Alberta, the changing nature of partisan politics, public policy and governance, and how particular ideological agendas and approaches shape the quality of democracy in Canada.

Following a series of progressively responsible roles, Patten joined the Dean’s executive in 2016 as the Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Arts. In this role, he works with faculty researchers to advance their research agendas, secure funding, and draw university and public attention to the success and contributions of research in the social sciences, humanities and fine arts.

In 2018, Patten established the Signature Areas of Research and Creative Collaboration to support existing and emerging networks of interdisciplinary research excellence across the Faculty of Arts. 

“Our faculty is home to important research and creative activity and we want the signature areas to recognize this while fostering productive new research exchanges and relationships, as well as enabling related teaching innovations,” explained Patten at the recent Celebration of Research event, at which the final two (of seven) Signature Areas of Research and Creative Collaboration were announced.

“This is truly a time of significant transition for our Faculty,” says Patten, who will be working closely with Dean Cormack and her team to manage the transition.

Prior to Dean Cormack’s announcement, Dr. Patten was to have begun a term as Vice-Dean on July 1, 2020 as Mike O’Driscoll moves into his role as Convener of Congress 2021, the national celebration of scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

In an email following the announcement, Patten thanked Dean Cormack and Vice-Dean Mike O’Driscoll for their “continued strong leadership” and his colleagues across the Faculty of Arts  for “their work and dedication in serving our students, and advancing invaluable research and creative activity.” 

Announcements about other upcoming vacancies in the Faculty’s Associate Dean positions will be forthcoming.