Office of the Dean

Vice-Provost & Dean

Heather Zwicker

Vice-Provost & Dean 

Dr. Heather Zwicker began her term as the Vice-Provost and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) at the University of Alberta on July 1, 2017, after serving as the Interim Vice-Provost and Dean since July 1, 2015. She is a recognized scholar in the field of cultural studies and an award-winning teacher. Her current research, the collaborative Edmonton Pipelines, uses urban theory to produce digital maps representing citizens' experience of Edmonton. To learn more about Dean Zwicker's commitment to graduate students and staff, click here.

Title & Department:

  • Professor, Department of English

Education & Career Highlights:

  • PhD, English, Stanford University
  • BA (Hons), English, University of Alberta
  • Vargo Teaching Chair, University of Alberta
  • Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta
  • Associate Dean (Graduate Studies), Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta
  • Associate Chair (Graduate), Department of English & Film Studies, University of Alberta

Teaching and Research Interests:

  • Literary analysis, social impact of concepts, ways of mapping city representations (particularly Edmonton)

Responsibilities as Vice-Provost & Dean:

  • Provides strategic leadership to the Faculty
  • Works collaboratively with the departments on solutions to issues in graduate studies
  • Works with fellow graduate deans across Canada
  • Advocates for graduate students whenever possible

Awards & Recognitions:

  • 3M National Teaching Fellowship, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE)
  • Teaching Matters! Student's Union Award for Student Engagement, University of Alberta
  • Maureen Irwin Award for Community Engagement
  • Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Alberta

Public Contributions:

  • Founding Board Chair, Exposure Festival
  • "Edmonton: Northern City," a talk at the Edmonton Heritage Council inaugural conference
  • Jury, Edmonton Arts Council
  • "Reading Edmonton," a talk for PAGES: A Learning Forum for Supporting Readers through Partnerships, Edmonton Public Library
  • Member, Make Something Edmonton
  • Juror. Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
  • Member, Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts

Personal Interests & Hobbies:

  • Swinging kettlebells, travelling to new places, creative writing, Scandinavian TV

What's your fondest graduate school memory:

  • I really loved the period before defending my thesis proposal, when I read as broadly as I possibly could, and imagined a dozen different dissertation projects.

Favourite thing about the University of Alberta:

  • The people! Our campus community, like the city and province we're a part of, is full of "can-do" attitude, and the friendliness and collaboration are both genuine and infectious.

If you could tell graduate students to read one book, what would it be:

  • It's hard to choose a single book that would speak to grad students across our disciplines, but I am a big fan of The New Yorker. It's got some of the best writers in the world today, who are interested in all kinds of topics: medical advances, geopolitical turns, economics, literature and the arts, material culture, video games, prisons, football, zoos, geography, feminism: you name it, you can read it in The New Yorker, and you'll be smarter because of it.

Advice to graduate students:

  • Nobody has all the answers - and that's a good thing. It's the beginning of knowledge, driven by your curiosity, and it just continues to expand.

Click here to go to Dean Zwicker's faculty page at the Department of English & Film Studies.