Next Dean of Native Studies Announced

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I am pleased to announce that at its June 23 meeting the Board of Governors approved the appointment of the next dean of the Faculty of Native Studies. Dr. Chris Andersen has been appointed for a five year term, effective July 1, 2017. Currently serving as interim dean of the faculty, Dr. Andersen joined the University of Alberta 17 years ago, becoming a full professor in 2014.

As interim dean, Dr. Andersen has played a central role in creating an Indigenous Institutional Plan and has managed unprecedented growth in the recruitment of faculty and staff in the Faculty of Native Studies. Over the last year, he worked with his team to hire three new faculty members, an advancement officer, a coordinator for the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research, and an online Cree language coordinator. Under his leadership, Indigenous Canada, the University of Alberta’s latest MOOC, was launched earlier this year. He is also guiding a new PhD program in Native Studies through the governance approval process, in addition to leading the development of a new online Master of Arts in Native Studies.

Prior to being interim dean, Dr. Andersen served as the associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Native Studies from 2011 to 2014, which included overseeing the graduate studies program. He led the drafting of the faculty’s PhD program proposal, building on earlier work that he also spearheaded in 2006 developing a Master of Arts degree in Native Studies. In 2005, he led the creation of the Faculty of Native Studies’ Annual Research Day to promote and enrich its internal research culture.

An alumnus of the University of Alberta (PhD in Sociology) and Queen’s University (M.A. and B.A in Sociology), Dr. Andersen is a highly respected Indigenous studies scholar in Canada. His research examines racialized understandings of Indigeneity in Canadian courts and the broader society, Aboriginal statistics and demographics, and urban Indigenous identities, with a particular focus on Métis. His most recent book, Métis: Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood (2014), was nominated for the 2016 Canada Prize of the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences and won the 2015 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s Best Subsequent Book Award. He was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in 2014.

Dr. Andersen has a proven capacity to build collaborative relationships across diverse communities both within and outside the university. Throughout his career, he has been committed to promoting and legitimizing Indigenous studies within the global academy, including serving as a founding member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Executive Council. He is currently serving as editor-in-chief of aboriginal policy studies, an online, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal which he helped to found in 2011.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Andersen on his appointment. My thanks to the members of the Dean Selection Committee for their hard work and commitment, as well as all those who participated in the selection process.

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)