With much anticipation and, admittedly, a healthy dose of trepidation, I assumed the deanship of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in July 2018. FASS has been my intellectual home for my entire career, so to be tasked with the honour of leading it for a five-year term is both an exhilarating opportunity and a significant responsibility. Let me begin by thanking my predecessor, Dr. Wallace Clement, for his leadership of FASS between 2016-2018. The faculty has no more ardent champion than Wally. His unwavering enthusiasm for FASS, coupled with his generous mentoring and support as I transitioned into my new role, are deeply appreciated.
The pages of this edition of FASSinate brim with stories that reflect what I experience on a daily basis as dean: Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton is a vibrant, eclectic and welcoming environment in which faculty and staff work tirelessly to offer our students the very finest in undergraduate and graduate education.
This has been a landmark year for research and teaching achievements across the humanities and social sciences at Carleton. Noteworthy among the countless research achievements of our faculty members is Dr. Stephan Gruber of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies whose $5.5 million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will advance his work on climate change by establishing a Permafrost Partnership Network for Canada. Profiled in this FASSinate is Dr. Zoe Todd, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology and the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies and recipient of a highly competitive New Frontiers Research Funding grant to explore conservation issues and human-environment interaction from a unique, interdisciplinary perspective. Film Studies professor Dr. Laura Horak earned an Ontario Early Researcher Award to support her work on transgender film and media studies. Dr. Joshua Shepherd (Philosophy) was named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, a rare achievement for a humanities professor. Our faculty ranks were enriched by the arrival of three new research chair holders: Dr. Shireen Hassim, Dr. Carmen Robertson and Dr. Ellen Waterman. You can learn more about the research profiles of these extraordinary scholars in this edition.
Designing meaningful teaching and learning opportunities to challenge students intellectually to ensure they are well-equipped for their post-graduation careers remains a central priority for every FASS instructor. This year, FASS students benefitted from an array of experiential learning opportunities, including study abroad programs in Greece, Italy, and Israel, to name a few, with plans underway for upcoming study abroad courses in Cuba, Nepal, and Ethiopia. Indigenous knowledge sharing for the entire campus was facilitated brilliantly by the innovative Learning Bundles developed by Dr. Kahente Horn-Miller. Students made an impact in their communities in multiple ways, including, for example, through social justice campaigns to end youth homelessness and support dislocated urban populations.
In the midst of an exciting academic year, however, FASS endured heartbreaking loss with the unexpected passing of two beloved faculty members: ﬁrst, Dr. Marc Hewson, an award-winning professor in our English department and a driving force behind our professional writing program; and, a few months later, Dr. Pius Adesanmi, a globally recognized public intellectual, professor of English, and the Director of the Institute of African Studies. We continue to mourn the deaths of these cherished colleagues and celebrate the legacy of their outstanding contributions to scholarship and teaching.
Since June 2018, a top priority for FASS has been transforming the former Dominion-Chalmers United Church into the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre (CDCC). Acquiring a downtown location for arts, performance and learning is a proverbial game-changer for our faculty and Carleton University more generally. To launch our new partnership with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and continue the tradition of Dominion-Chalmers as a premier performance venue, our initial capital projects involved a stage expansion to accommodate larger ensembles and the restoration of the historic 5,200-pipe Casavant organ. Completing these projects conﬁrmed Carleton’s commitment to expand and deepen our collaborations with the Ottawa arts scene and explore new possibilities for community engagement. We were fortunate indeed to appoint Mara Brown as CDCC’s ﬁrst Director. Mara’s background in arts management and heritage conservation made her the ideal choice for this post, and it is exciting to watch her animate CDCC with energy and vision. My personal thanks to the many donors whose ﬁ nancial support has been critical to CDCC’s initial successes. Indeed, I am grateful to all those whose generous contributions facilitate so many of FASS’s important initiatives.
This year also marked signiﬁcant changes in the Office of the Dean of FASS. Most notably, we feted Susan Jameson, the Executive Assistant to the Dean, as she transitioned to retirement after a remarkable 43 years of outstanding service to Carleton. Joining ODFASS as Susan’s successor is Cheryl Murphy. Also new to ODFASS is Dr. Peter Thompson who began his appointment as Associate Dean (Academic), replacing Dr. Richard Mann who returned to his faculty position in the College of the Humanities.
As we look ahead, FASS is poised for another great year. Our undergraduate enrolments are strong across the faculty, and our doctoral programs are growing. We look forward to implementing the Calls to Action that will ﬂow from the Carleton University Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee. As the campus community imagines its future through a comprehensive strategic planning exercise, FASS will ensure the continued centrality of the humanities and social sciences to the university’s core mission.
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