Dr. Aoife Mac Namara, PhD, was appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts July 1, 2022.
Dr. Aoife Mac Namara’s decades of experience in academia — as a student, researcher, teacher and leader — span both Canada and the globe, giving her a deep understanding of the complexities of university culture at home and abroad. She recently served as the president of NSCAD University in Halifax and, prior to that, as dean of Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, and as dean of Emily Carr University’s Audain Faculty of Visual Art + Material Practice. In London, England, Dr. Mac Namara served as director of Contemporary Art at the University of the Arts (Wimbledon College of Art), and as director of Programmes: Art and Design at Middlesex University.
Originally trained as an artist herself, Dr. Mac Namara holds a doctorate in art, design and the built environment from the University of Ulster in Belfast, pursued a doctorate in art education at Concordia University, holds a master’s degree in the social history of art from the University of Leeds, and she holds a master’s in fine art from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.
Dr. Mac Namara is a dedicated champion for entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary collaboration, institutional transparency, decolonization and reconciliation, and equity, diversity and inclusion. As president of NSCAD, she led the institution’s COVID-19 response and transition to remote learning and working — the success of which was recognized by the province’s post-secondary community and used as a model for developing Nova Scotia’s higher-education sector’s reopening framework. During this time, she also led the development of an anti-racist action plan for NSCAD, which received overwhelming cross-university support. Her reconciliation and anti-racism efforts include helping to secure support for the Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery, a first-of-its-kind research hub; and, as part of SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council, advocating for changes to university policies to be more inclusive of Indigenous pedagogies.
As dean of UCalgary’s Faculty of Arts, she is committed to building meaningful relationships between the faculty — and the university as a whole — and its constituents, including students, staff, faculty, community members, industry, government and donors.