Farewell to Kerry Mummery

The U of A community thanks Kerry Mummery for his leadership as Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation


The University of Alberta is saying farewell to Kerry Mummery, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation on June 30, 2021. Kerry will soon be enjoying a well deserved administrative leave after serving as dean for 11 years. 

"Kerry has been an innovative and ambitious Dean for the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation," says Steven Dew, provost and vice-president (academic). "In pursuing excellence in the Faculty, he has also been a strong leader and advocate for the University of Alberta. I'm grateful for all the advice and guidance he has given me."

"In reflecting on his role as Dean, I believe he has done a tremendous job in positioning our faculty to succeed in a very competitive institution and funding environment," says John Spence, a professor in KSR.

The opportunity to lead the Faculty of KSR was a full-circle moment and opportunity for Kerry to return to where he completed his PhD 16 years prior. During his tenure, Kerry has led the Faculty through an unprecedented period of change and will leave behind many legacies and an international reputation. 

In his early years, he led a massive redevelopment of our building and facilities, including the renovation of lecture theatres and construction of world class sport and recreational facilities that will benefit our campus community and the wider Edmonton community for decades to come. Construction of the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre (PAW) was a massive change to the physical infrastructure of the university. The Alberta Bear statue that sits outside PAW infuses the tradition and history athletics brought to the Faculty, and created a new one for students, faculty and staff.


“One of the most impactful legacies of Dean Mummery’s tenure was the building of Social Street [in PAW]," says Nancy Spencer, an associate professor in KSR. "Prioritizing the development of this building does the important work of bringing people together, creating connection, and a sense of community within KSR and the university at large.” 

Kerry's time is also punctuated by many major academic achievements in the Faculty, including the Mountains 101 Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Kerry was looking for a way to differentiate the faculty and university in the area of mountain studies using something he knew people around the world were familiar with: the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The course has reached more than 65,000 people in 191 countries around the world.

"Dean Mummery recognized the value of interdisciplinary and community collaboration, and how that spirit can elevate not only research but teaching innovation, student experience, and outreach in the broadest sense," says Zac Robinson, an educator in the study and history of mountains.

Kerry Mummery and John Spence on a mountain.png
Kerry Mummery and John Spence


Kerry also spearheaded the development of several online graduate level certificates, including a certificate in Indigenous Sport and Recreation, that offer students a more accessible education and led to increased capacity and reputation for the faculty. He also championed experiential learning by supporting international partnerships, including Play Around the World.

"Kerry has always been an innovative leader," says Nick Holt, incoming interim Dean. "He embraced remote delivery of teaching long before the pandemic. Initiatives like the MOOC and graduate certificates have meant that KSR reaches a global audience and can provide educational opportunities that remove barriers for individuals who may not otherwise have been able to attend the U of A."

"Kerry valued the entire university experience, as not only a formal education, but an opportunity for a person to grow personally," says Christine Ma, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs and Initiatives KSR. "He encouraged students to step outside their comfort zone in order to learn more about the world and people around them as well as learn about themselves, their abilities and the opportunities for them."

Kerry's legacy will live on in the faculty name itself. The Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation was changed to the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation effective January 1, 2018. The change makes the Faculty more inclusive of the diverse, multidisciplinary academics and programming offered. 


Though Athletics and Campus & Community Recreation (CCR) moved out of the Faculty in April 2021, Kerry is proud of the success of both programs under KSR.

"Kerry has been a strong advocate for Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics," says Ian Read, Director of Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics. "As a former coach himself, Kerry was always a strong advocate for coaching and coach education and recognized the important role that post-secondary education can and should play in the development of coaches for our entire country."

"Over the past 11 years Kerry has been instrumental in the drive to increase the number and diversity of recreation and sport facilities on campus," says Cheryl Harwardt, Director of CCR. "Kerry was influential in creating a wellness theme within the programs and services provided by CCR. His advocacy created opportunities to strengthen the role of CCR in student experience and campus life."

Kerry's contributions to the faculty has resulted in excellence in teaching and research that is now recognized internationally— notably in the QS World University Rankings by Subject in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 where the Faculty was top 10 in the world in sports-related subjects. This reputation supported one of Kerry's greatest accomplishments: hiring 12 young extraordinary professors, and appointing three new teaching professors for the first time in the Faculty's history.

“It has been a privilege to work at the University of Alberta and the Faculty, and to work with young people," Kerry says. "I have enjoyed the seasonality of campus and having a sense of renewal every year with the ebbs and flows of students on and off campus. 11 years is a long time, but when you’re in it, you're building on each year and learning from the previous ones. As a dean you get a lot of wins and losses and that's ok you just have to get going again, sport prepared me for this.”