Appointment of Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

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I am pleased to announce that Dr. Heather Zwicker has been appointed vice-provost and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, effective July 1, 2017. The Board of Governors approved her appointment on May 12, 2017.

A member of the Department of English and Film Studies, Dr. Zwicker joined the University of Alberta in 1993, becoming a full professor in 2012. In addition to her dedication to excellence in research and public intellectualism, Dr. Zwicker is deeply committed to teaching at all levels, and has received several awards including a Vargo Chair and the 3M National Teaching Fellowship. The focus of her Vargo Chair was on professional development for graduate students. Her record as graduate supervisor is exemplary; through her mentorship, several students have achieved major scholarships and honours for their work.

In 2003, Dr. Zwicker began taking on administrative roles of increasing responsibility. She was associate chair (graduate) in EFS from 2003–2006 and associate dean (graduate studies) in the Faculty of Arts from 2009–2011 before moving onto a three year term as the vice-dean for the Faculty of Arts. As vice-dean, she was responsible for the major cross-faculty consolidation of five operational responsibilities: human resources, administration, technology, space/facilities, communications, and finance.

Since 2015 Dr. Zwicker has provided transformative leadership as interim vice-provost and dean of the FGSR. Her leadership is defined by key fundamental priorities, including supporting high-quality student work; ensuring strong supervision and mentoring; offering professional preparation for both academic and non-academic careers; increasing and supporting diversity, including indigeneity; promoting resilient graduate student mental health, and providing superlative service to departments.
She has built a strong team, bringing on board new associate deans, a vice dean, an assistant dean, and a financial officer. Under her leadership, the team has streamlined awards activities, launched two new IT systems, jump-started program reviews, and overhauled the Graduate Teaching and Learning Program. Students are her priority; in addition to enriching professional opportunities for graduate students across campus, she has ensured that student cases are resolved quickly, fairly and consistently.

Dr. Zwicker’s research seeks to understand concepts that explain the world we inhabit. Key areas of exploration have included nation (especially Northern Ireland), stereotype (in particular, pre-9/11 stereotypes of Irish terrorists), the local (with an emphasis on Edmonton writing), public intellectualism (pursued through graduate seminars designed for non-academic tracks, and through writing for larger audiences), gender, and digital humanities. Her current project, Edmonton Pipelines, is a multimedia collection of maps, narratives and scholarly reflections on the city, urbanism and space in a digital era.

My thanks to the members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Dean Selection Committee for their hard work and commitment, as well as to those of you who participated in the selection process.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Zwicker on her appointment.

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)