Marvin Washington

College Dean & Vice Provost, Social Sciences and Humanities

Dr. Marvin Washington is the college dean and vice provost of the University of Alberta’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities, which brings together the combined strength of the faculties of arts, business, education, and law. It represents a total of 500 faculty members and 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Marvin serves in this position after a period of time at Portland State University where he was a professor of management and undergraduate capstone coordinator. He is a former professor and past chair of the Department of Strategy, Management and Organization at the U of A’s Alberta School of Business, and has also served as associate dean of the Executive Education Program and the Alberta Health Services Executive Leadership program. Marvin is also a Fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management.

Marvin earned both his master’s and PhD in organization behavior and sociology, as well as a bachelor of science in industrial engineering, from Northwestern University. A highly respected academic, his research, teaching and consulting practice focus on processes of organizational and institutional change. Throughout his career he has worked with numerous businesses and organizations on strategy, change and leadership, with clients including Bayer, SportChek, the City of Edmonton and other government agencies. Additionally, Marvin is the author of three books on leadership and organizational change: Pack Leadership: Lessons from the Wild Dogs of Africa (with Stephen Hacker), Successful Organizational Transformation: The Five Critical Elements (with Stephen Hacker and Marla Hacker), and Lead Self before Leading Others (with Stephen Hacker).

As a leader, Marvin is renowned for his ability to build relationships and connect people. Among numerous other examples from his career, his work to help found the Indigenous Partnership Program (2014-2019)—a combined community program between the Faculty of Native Studies and the School of Business—exemplifies this strength. The program connected Indigenous leaders, elders, consultants and non-Indigenous business professionals to build relationships and shared understanding, develop coalitions across and beyond Alberta, and engage in critical dialogue about the path forward.

Marvin is also a highly regarded educator, having taught undergraduates, graduates and executives during his 12-year tenure at the U of A. He has won two MBA awards for teaching excellence and was awarded the 2013 McCalla Professorship for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Alberta. He was also the recipient of the University of Alberta’s Last Lecture Series in 2017, which recognizes the professor that students and alumni feel was the most impactful during their time at the U of A.