Dear colleagues and friends,
I'm writing to let you know that I am stepping back from my role as director of UAlberta North this spring. At this time of transition, I'm pleased to be able to say that a successor will be announced shortly and that the University's commitment to the work of UAlberta North remains strong.
It's been my great privilege as director to have spent considerable time in northern Canada in the past four years, representing the University, building relationships with a range of partners, and coming to appreciate the aspirations of northerners to shape post-secondary futures and research agendas that reflect their needs and knowledges. It’s been an equal privilege, in return, to host northern community leaders, elders, film-makers, writers, scientists, and policy-makers, and put them in positions to speak for themselves to university audiences. In the process, I’ve learned a great deal about the complexities of many different “norths.”
Within the University, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with so many faculty researchers, students, and deans representing from across all Faculties and Campuses – and to do so with the full support of senior leadership. The University of Alberta engages in northern research with an unmatched breadth and strength, from public health to permafrost, satellites to story-telling, design to digitalization, water (and ice) to wildlife. Much of that work is characterized by a genuine openness to work with communities and Indigenous knowledge-holders. UAlberta North has made it a priority over four years to increase opportunities for students to participate, well-equipped, in on-site fieldwork and internships, to report back to communities, and to present research in local, national, and international contexts. Students, indeed, have been leaders in many of our initiatives.
While I’m looking forward to a sabbatical leave and then a return to teaching in Political Science, I will look for ways to stay connected and will remain a champion within the University for a “north-facing” identity based on long-standing, responsive, and respectful relationships.
About Roger Epp
Roger Epp was appointed the first Director of UAlberta North in 2015. A professor of political science, he has served the University in a number of leadership positions, including founding Dean of the Augustana Campus in Camrose and then Deputy Provost. He is author of We Are All Treaty People: Prairie Essays (2008) and Only Leave a Trace: Meditations (2017), and contributing co-editor of several volumes, including Writing Off the Rural West (2001). He has explored what it means to live, write, and teach with a sense of memory and care, on Treaty 6 land where several generations of his family have lived. He was an invited honorary witness at hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.