Academic Leadership

in the Faculty of Arts

Senior leaders at a glance

Faculty of Arts Dean Richard Sigurdson

Dean

Richard Sigurdson

Leads the students, faculty and staff of the Faculty of Arts. Through university-wide and community engagement, the dean manages priorities that contribute to the vision of the faculty, encourages research, champions the student experience and fosters a culture of excellence. The dean also manages policies and sustains an effective budget.

Faculty of Arts Vice Dean Pascale Sicotte

Vice Dean

Pascale Sicotte

Assists the dean of the Faculty of Arts in the areas of process, policies and plans, and assists with managing human and financial resources that sustain the faculty’s academic programs. The vice dean also provides leadership in the area of equity and diversity.

Associate Dean of Internationalization and Global Initiatives Gavin Cameron

Associate Dean, Internationalization and Global Initiatives

Gavin Cameron

Provides strategic leadership and support for global initiatives and strategic partnerships that increase internationalization activities in the faculty.

Associate Dean, Research, Graduate Education and Faculty Development George Colpitts

Associate Dean, Research, Graduate Education and Faculty Development

George Colpitts

Advances the faculty’s research activities and oversees research, grants and graduate education in the faculty.

Associate Dean, Research and Infrastructure Steig Johnson

Associate Dean, Research and Infrastructure

Steig Johnson

Oversees the Canada Research Chair program, promotes international research collaborations and identifies needs for research infrastructure.

Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement Dawn Johnston

Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement

Dawn Johnston

Provides strategic leadership in areas related to faculty teaching and undergraduate student learning and engagement in the Faculty of Arts.

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs Virginia Tumasz

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs

Virginia Tumasz

Oversees the undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Arts and provides leadership in the areas of curriculum review, student recruitment and advising, and enrollment management at the faculty and university levels. Is the academic director of the Arts Students' Centre.


Senior leaders comprehensive

Learn more about our senior leaders, including brief biographies and each position's terms of reference.

 Richard Sigurdson

Terms of Reference

The dean leads the students, faculty and staff of the Faculty of Arts. Through university-wide and community engagement, the dean manages priorities that contribute to the vision of the faculty, encourages research, champions the student experience and fosters a culture of excellence. The dean also manages policies and sustains an effective budget. 

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • Leads in the communication and implementation of the vision, priorities and strategic planning of the Faculty of Arts.
  • Engages faculty members and staff to choose initiatives and manages priorities that align with the vision of the faculty and the university as a whole.
  • Fosters and encourages a high level of research productivity within the faculty and across faculties by further enhancing and developing excellent research infrastructure and supporting faculty efforts to obtain and maintain research funding.
  • Oversees the implementation of frameworks, policies and initiatives that promote a culture of excellence, innovation and collaboration that impacts all aspects of the Faculty.
  • Develops and sustains an effective budget and organizational structure to ensure the faculty is financially sustainable, and that its educational offerings are of the highest quality. 
  • Leads and supports the conceptualization and implementation of innovative educational programs in line with the university’s overall planning objectives.
  • Communicates the vision to spur fund development and attracts resources from government, philanthropy, and other sources. Stewards these relationships and provides timely reporting and accountability to funders.
  • Nurtures a strong connection to community and demonstrates how this faculty and the university are concerned with addressing the challenges facing the people of Calgary, Alberta, and beyond.
  • Maintains a connectivity to and visibility with faculty, staff and students. Acts as a role model for students, staff and faculty alike.
  • Champions the student experience, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Creates a sense of unity for the faculty and a culture that is inclusive and engaging.
  1. Biography

    Title and home department

    Professor, Political Science

    Education and career highlights:

    • PhD (Political Science), University of Toronto 
    • Master’s (Political Science), University of Manitoba
    • BA (Political Science), University of Manitoba
    • Dean, Faculty of Arts and Acting Provost, University College at the University of Manitoba, and held the Duff Roblin Professorship of Government. University of New Brunswick, where he chaired the Political Science Department as was twice cited as a top teacher by Maclean’s Magazine.
    • Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University College of the Cariboo (which became Thompson Rivers University) – created the first Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Journalism degrees during that institution’s transition to become a degree-granting university.
  2. Research interests

    • The politics of nationalism, specifically national identity and how it affects public policies on immigration in different countries.
    • As author of Jacob Burckhardt’s Social and Political Thought (U of T Press, 2004), he was the first to study Swiss cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt as an influential political thinker.
      • Canadian political parties, leaders, and issues of multiculturalism, first nations and immigration.
  3. Contact

    403.220.6151
    sigurdso@ucalgary.ca
    Twitter: @ R_Sigurdson

Pascale Sicotte

Terms of Reference

The vice dean assists the dean of the Faculty of Arts in the areas of process, policies and plans. The vice dean assists with managing human and financial resources that sustain the faculty’s academic programs. The vice dean provides leadership in the area of equity and diversity.

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • With the dean, designs, develops, and implements the faculty's academic and strategic plans. Documents, publicizes and archives processes, policies, and plans.
  • Assists heads and directors in managing the human and financial resources that sustain the faculty's academic programs.
  • With the dean, works on the promotion and tenure process, new faculty and headship searches, the merit system, study and other leaves, collective agreement and policy interpretation, and grievances.
  • With the Human Resources Partner, advises heads on academic searches, appointments, reviews, and workload policies.
  • With the Finance Partner, allocates annual funding for teaching and learning activities.
  • With the Associate Dean - Teaching and Learning, establishes and maintains indicators of faculty teaching performance for merit and promotion.
  • Is responsible for the review, revision, and approval of the faculty's teaching plan.
  • Chairs the faculty’s Equity & Diversity Committee that leads efforts and coordinates initiatives to advance equity and diversity within the faculty.
  • May serve as the dean's designate for faculty members' concerns and grievances at the decanal level.
  • Oversees external reviews of Faculty of Arts academic programs and units in accordance with the University's Quality Assurance Process, including providing guidance to heads and directors for the self-study process.
  • Coordinates with the Deputy Provost with regards to review matters and the implementation of report recommendations.
  1. Biography

    Title and home department

    Professor, Anthropology and Archaeology

    Education and career highlights

    • PhD, Anthropology
  2. Research expertise

    • Field work in Rwanda, working with mountain gorillas and in Ghana, working on black and white colobus in the community forest of Boabeng-Fiema.
    • Influences on female dispersal decisions and female and infant strategies against male infanticide in non-human primates.
  3. Responsibilities

    • Assists the dean of the Faculty of Arts in the areas of process, policies and plans
    • Assists with managing human and financial resources that sustain the faculty’s academic programs.
    • Provides leadership in the area of equity and diversity.
  4. Contact

    403.220.2272
    sicotte@ucalgary.ca

Gavin Cameron

Terms of Reference

The Associate Dean Internationalization and Global Initiatives provides strategic leadership and support for global initiatives and strategic partnerships that increase internationalization activities in the faculty.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Chair the Faculty of Arts Internationalization Committee;
  • Serve as the Faculty’s representative on the VP-International’s Council of Associate Deans and Directors International;
  • Implement and promote the faculty’s Internationalization Strategy;
  • Collaborate with departments and programs and with University of Calgary International (UCI) on establishing strategic global partnerships with universities outside of Canada;
  • Negotiate partnership agreements such as articulation, dual, and joint programs as well as summer schools at the undergraduate and graduate levels that bring international students to the Faculty of Arts;
  • Help establish and oversee the pathway programs (IFP) for incoming international students; and
  • Oversee the management of international student and faculty experiences (such as student exchange or study abroad programs).
  1. Biography

    Title and Home Department

    Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

    Education and Career Highlights

    • Ph.D (International Relations), University of St. Andrews
    • M.Litt (International Security Studies), University of St. Andrews
    • BA (Hons) (History), University of Nottingham
  2. Research Interests

    • International security
    • Terrorism and counterterrorism
    • Nonproliferation of nuclear weapons
    • Intelligence
  3. Contact

    403.220.7060
    gcameron@ucalgary.ca

George Colpitts

Terms of Reference

The Associate Dean, Research, Graduate Education & Faculty Development advances the faculty’s research activities and oversees research, grants and graduate education in the faculty.

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • Promotes research and creative activity, oversees graduate studies, and fosters faculty development and career opportunities in the Faculty of Arts.
  • Advances the faculty's culture of scholarship, enhancing the scholarly productivity of our faculty members, promoting excellence in research and teaching, and facilitating and coordinating scholarly activities.
  • Manages the SSHRC mentorship program and serves as a key resource for junior faculty members and graduate students, providing assistance for the development of independent research programs.
  • Chairs the Committee of Graduate Chairs.
  • Oversees all matters relating to graduate education, including graduate enrolment planning, administration of funds to support graduate activities, graduate program development, and governance matters.
  • Is responsible for the faculty's role in onboarding and mentoring new faculty members.
  • Manages the faculty's strategy for the nomination of faculty members for external awards, and for the faculty's programs to recognize and celebrate success.
  1. Biography

    Title and home department

    Professor, History

    Education

    • PhD, History
  2. Research interests

    • Environmental history, First Nations history and Northern and Western Canadian history
    • Conservation and preservation policies regarding resource trade (e.g., farming, fishing and the fur trade)
  3. Responsibilities

    • Promote research and creative activity, including overseeing faculty grant applications
    • Oversee matters relating to graduate education and works with departmental graduate program directors in planning and promoting graduate studies at the University of Calgary
    • Oversee new faculty development and onboarding, and awards for members of the Faculty.
  4. Contact

    403.220.3291
    colpitts@ucalgary.ca
    Dustbowl on the Canadian Prairies

Steig Johnson

Terms of Reference

The Associate Dean, Research and Infrastructure oversees the Canada Research Chair program, promotes international research collaborations, identifies needs for research infrastructure and manages external review processes.

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • Manages and oversees the Canada Research Chair (CRC) program and support systems for large grant applications.
  • Coordinates post­ award grant management services.
  • Chairs the Faculty's Research and Scholarship Committee and takes the lead in strategies to increase research capacity by supporting and creating research platforms of international prominence.
  • Works closely with the vice dean, heads, directors and the Finance Partner to assess and oversee infrastructure needs for research and teaching and develop guidelines for efficient use of space.
  1. Biography

    Title and Home Department

    Associate Professor, Anthropology and Archaeology

    Education and Career Highlights

    • PhD, Anthropology
  2. Research Interests

    • Behavioural ecology and community ecology of nonhuman primates
    • Biogeography and conservation biology of Malagasy strepsirhines
    • Hybrid zones and evolutionary divergence
  3. Responsibilities

    • Promote research and scholarly activity; oversee faculty grant applications and Canada Research Chair nominations. 
    • Oversee matters pertaining to Faculty infrastructure and facilities
    • Chair the Faculty’s Research and Scholarship Committee
  4. Contact

    403.210.6192
    steig.johnson@ucalgary.ca

Dawn Johnston

Terms of Reference

The Associate Dean (Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement) (ADTLSE) provides strategic leadership in areas related to teaching, learning and student engagement in the Faculty of Arts.

Leadership activities include developing, promoting, implementing, and evaluating initiatives that advance these areas. The ADTLSE builds and maintains relationships between the Faculty of Arts and other faculties and units in the University of Calgary to develop and advance initiatives related to teaching, learning and student engagement.  

The ADTLSE chairs the Teaching and Learning Committee and the Student Engagement Committee and reports directly to the Dean, Faculty of Arts.

The position is housed in the Arts Students’ Centre, where the ADTLSE has an office and administrative support. 

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • Oversees all areas of teaching support, including workshops/colloquia, mentorship, instructional technologies/active learning;

  • Administers faculty-level interdisciplinary academic programs, including the Arts and Science Honours Academy.

  • Oversees faculty-level awards, nominations, and grants to recognize effective teaching and other contributions to the learning and teaching environment .

  • Responsible for curriculum renewal and flexibility across departments, programs and units in the Faculty of Arts.

  • With Vice Dean, establishes and maintains indicators of faculty teaching performance for merit and promotion.  Works closely with departments to review and evaluate existing indicators, and ensures that they are clear and transparent.

  • Assists Associate Dean – Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs as needed, on matters including advising, discipline and appeals.

  • Stays current with pedagogical approaches, technologies, policies and ideas by attending conferences and reviewing literature.

  • Initiates and maintains communications (including social media) between the Arts Students’ Centre, Heads, faculty, staff, and students for teaching support and consultations on issues and initiatives.

  • Oversees the Faculty of Arts’ contributions to university-level plans and priorities for teaching and learning, including the Eyes High goals; the Academic Plan; and the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

  • Works with the Office of the Provost (Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning), the Teaching and Learning Centre and representatives of other faculties on teaching-related initiatives, programs, and committees outside the Faculty of Arts.

  • Advises the Dean on resource needs for the development, promotion, and evaluation of teaching-and-learning-related initiatives and programs.

  • Oversees the Faculty of Arts’ Co-operative Education Program.

  • Leads the Student Engagement team and mobilizes efforts to support and energize student activities, both academic and extracurricular

  • Provides leadership and operational liaisons with student organizations, including FASA and the SU Arts reps

  • Collects and analyses quantitative and qualitative data on student engagement, through instruments such as NSSE surveys, workshops, focus groups, etc.

  • Develops a strategic plan for improving student engagement, including experiential learning

  • Works with departments, including Heads, to analyze these data and to develop and implement this plan

  • Performs other ad hoc duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Dean

  1. Biography

    Title and home department

    Teaching Professor, Department of Communication, Media and Film

    Education and career highlights

    • Ph.D. (Communications Studies), University of Calgary
    • M.A. (Communications Studies), University of Calgary
    • B.A. (Hons.) (English and Women’s Studies), Memorial University of Newfoundland
  2. Research and teaching interests

    • Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture
    • Food Culture
    • Popular Culture and Pedagogy
    • Television Studies and Critical Media Studies
    • Activism and Media
  3. Contact

    403.220.3199
    debjohns@ucalgary.ca

Virginia Tumasz

Terms of Reference

The Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs oversees the undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Arts and provides leadership in the areas of curriculum review, student recruitment and advising, and enrollment management at the faculty and university levels. The Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Student Affairs is the academic director of the Arts Students' Centre.

Specific duties and responsibilities

  • Responsible for administration of undergraduate programs in the faculty.
  • Responsible for the faculty’s calendar entry, including faculty and program regulations and requirements.
  • Chairs the Faculty of Arts Curriculum and Academic Review Committee.
  • Represents the Faculty of Arts on GFC’s Calendar and Curriculum Subcommittee.
  • Academic Director of the Program Information Centre; supervises and works closely with the Administrative Director of PIC.
  • Responsible for all student affairs, including recruitment, admission, enrollment management, academic advising, enforcement of faculty and university regulations, academic and nonacademic misconduct cases, complaints, assessment of transfer credit, academic standing, and approval for graduation.
  • Leads the faculty’s Strategic Enrollment Management Team.
  • Responsible for contact with and engagement with alumni/ae.
  1. Biography

    Title and home department

    Senior Instructor, Religious Studies 

    Education and career highlights

    • MA & PhD, Temple University (Religion)
    • Graduate exchange program, Universität Hamburg
    • BA (Religion, Women’s Studies), Florida State University
    • Department Head, Department of Religious Studies
    • John Templeton Foundation Award for New Courses in Religion and Science
    • University of Calgary Faculty Association Good Servant Award
    • Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award 
  2. Research interests

         •  Whiteheadian process philosophy and theology, philosophical theologies, religion and science

  3. Responsibilities as associate dean

    • Undergraduate program administration and student advising (Academic Director of PIC)
    • Calendar entry, including faculty regulations and program requirements (Chair of CARC)
    • Student affairs, including enforcement of faculty and university regulations, rulings on academic misconduct, academic review
    • Enrolment management
    • Alumni relations
  4. Contact

    403.220.3580
    tumasz@ucalgary.ca