From the Provost’s Desk: Announcing the New College Deans

Brenda Hemmelgarn, Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell and Marvin Washington named new college deans.

College Deans Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell and Dr. Marvin Washington

From left to right: Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, Dr. Marvin Washington

Today I am excited to share that we have appointed permanent new leadership for each of the three colleges:

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn will take on the position of College Dean and Vice-Provost of the College of Health Sciences for a five-year term effective July 1, 2023. Dr. Hemmelgarn will also retain her role as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell will extend her college leadership role as College Dean and Vice-Provost of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CNAS) for a five-year term effective February 1, 2023.

Dr. Marvin Washington is returning to the University of Alberta as College Dean and Vice-Provost of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) for a five-year term effective July 1, 2023.

Building upon the strong foundations that our interim deans have developed over the past year and a half, I look forward to working together with each of the new college deans to enrich teaching, research, interdisciplinarity and community engagement within and across the three colleges and the university.

Brenda Hemmelgarn, College Dean and Vice-Provost, College of Health Sciences

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn has led the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (FoMD) since January 2020, helping it to navigate both restructuring and the global pandemic. Under her leadership, the faculty completed and has begun implementing its strategic plan, Vision 2025: a five-year roadmap for the future. Highlights of Vision 2025 to date include implementing the wâpanachakos: Indigenous Health Program, expanding the Office of Rural & Regional Health, and recruiting both a chief wellness officer to create a culture of health and well-being in FoMD as well as a social accountability lead.

Dr. Hemmelgarn has served for more than 35 years in various roles across health care, academia and administration. She earned her bachelor and master of nursing degrees from the University of Saskatchewan before going on to complete a PhD in epidemiology and biostatistics from McGill University, followed by an MD from McMaster University. Dr. Hemmelgarn additionally completed subspecialty training in nephrology at the University of Calgary, and continues to practice clinically to maintain front-line experience in health care and an in-depth perspective on health-care issues. She is a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Hemmelgarn’s research expertise focuses on using administrative and other secondary data sources to improve patient-oriented research, patient engagement, and integrated knowledge translation, and to move forward positive change in health policy and practice. She has received more than $20 million in funding as a principal investigator and has more than 500 peer-reviewed publications as an author or co-author. Dr. Hemmelgarn established the world-renowned Alberta Kidney Disease Network and is a founding member and co-team lead of the Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration.

Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, College Dean and Vice-Provost, College of Natural and Applied Sciences

As interim dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences since July 2021, Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell’s collaborative approach has helped faculty and staff to successfully navigate an extraordinary amount of change. Working in partnership with college leadership and the Council of Deans, she has helped to consolidate academic and administrative processes at the college level, encouraging closer collaboration within and between units. In her prior role as Dean in the Faculty of Science, she guided faculty and staff through a time of significant change. During this time, Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell became known for fiscal stewardship and strategic planning, collaboration and transparency, and capacity to foster a strong sense of community through initiatives like ‘Mornings with Matina’.

Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell received her bachelor and master of science degrees in biology from the University of Regina, and her PhD in zoology from the University of Western Ontario. She completed post-doctoral training at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to the U of A she spent 16 years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she most recently was the head of the Department of Biology.

An internationally recognized scientist, Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell’s research program centres on the biology of acoustic communication in wild bats and mice. Her lab’s work led to the discovery that North American deer mice regularly use ultrasound to communicate. Her research is the basis for her outreach program “Bats and Mice in Your Backyard”. Originally from Alberta, Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell is actively involved in the local STEM community. She is director on numerous boards including the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and Telus World of Science Edmonton.

Marvin Washington, College Dean and Vice Provost, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Dr. Marvin Washington returns to the U of A 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. Dr. Washington is also a Fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management.

Dr. Washington 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, Dr. Washington’s 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, Dr. Washington 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, Dr. Washington 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.

Dr. Washington 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.

I would like to thank interim deans Dr. Joseph Doucet (CSSH) and Dr. Greta Cummings (CHS), who will complete their respective terms on June 30, 2023. Their leadership has been critical to establishing the college model, and they have laid excellent foundations for their successors to build upon.

I would also like to acknowledge members of the College Dean/Vice Provost Selection Committees for their hard work and recommendations in these important decisions.

Please join me in congratulating all three deans and welcoming them to their new roles.

Verna Yiu
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)