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Greeting our new recruits

Annual New Faculty Welcome Event to be held Thursday, Oct. 5

Jennifer Leason, an assistant professor in Anthropology and Archaeology is one of 27 new recruits to be welcomed at the annual New Faculty Welcome Event, Thursday, Oct. 5. Photo courtesy Jennifer Leason

By Heath McCoy

A newly appointed Ethnic Studies Chair in the Department of Sociology, a rising star researcher in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, and a bold bolstering of our International Indigenous Studies program. These are but a few of the highlight hires being welcomed to the Faculty of Arts at the annual New Faculty Welcome Event on Thursday, October 5th (2:30 p.m.).

At the cocktail reception, to be held in the Dining Centre’s Alberta Room, Dean Richard Sigurdson will welcome 27 new recruits to the Faculty of Arts, along with the newly appointed writer-in-residence for the Canadian Distinguished Writers Program (CDWP), Denise Chong.

“Once again this year we are welcoming a large cohort of new faculty members that represent the wide diversity we’re so proud of in this faculty,” says Sigurdson. “We’ve made hires in areas ranging from psychology and economics to the performing arts.”

Notable hires include professor Abdie Kazemipur, the newly appointed Chair of Ethnic Studies in the Department of Sociology. “It’s terrific to recruit him,” says Sigurdson. “He’s a highly productive and well-known scholar who researches the socioeconomic experience of immigrants to Canada. He also investigates social and cultural developments within the Middle East and the way that effects immigration, all of which is so relevant today.”

The faculty has also hired its first director for the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures (SLLLC), which was newly established last year. Mark Conliffe, a professor of Russian language and literature, is both a highly accomplished academic and an administrator, notes Sigurdson, having served previously as an associate dean in Oregon’s Willamette University.

Sigurdson is particularly proud of expansions made to the faculty’s International Indigenous Studies cluster, wherein hires from across the faculty greatly enhance the program’s interdisciplinary strength. With three new recruits, the cluster is now eight researchers strong.

These include assistant professors Rain Prud’homme-Cranford (English) who teaches indigenous and transindigenous literature, Jennifer Leason (Anthropology and Archaeology) who investigates maternal health in indigenous communities and Adam Murry (Psychology), an industrial organizational psychologist who focuses on First Nations communities.

“All three of these researchers are really pushing boundaries and adding to our cross disciplinary strengths in Indigenous Studies, crossing many areas of the humanities and social sciences,” says Sigurdson.

The dean is also excited about the prospects of Brandy Callahan, an assistant professor in psychology whom he predicts will make a big mark in the field of neuropsychology.
Callahan’s research is aimed at improving the early diagnosis of dementia and neurodegenerative disorders in aging adults.

Here is the full list of our new Faculty of Arts faculty members:

Anthropology and Archaeology

  • Jennifer Leason
  • Ben McKay


  • Trevor Stark

Classics and Religion

  • Craig Ginn
  • Joy Palacios


  • Alexander Jakobsen
  • Dimitri Migrow


  • Christian Olbey
  • Rain Prud’homme-Cranford


  • Denis Clark


  • Joe Kadi
  • Yoshiki Kobasigawa


  • Brandy Callahan
  • Kathleen Hughes
  • Joshua Madsen
  • Adam Murry

School of Creative and Performing Arts

  • Christine Brubaker
  • Sarah Kenny

School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures & Cultures

  • Mark Conliffe
  • William Bennett
  • Eleonora Buonocore
  • Rachel Friedman
  • Miao Li
  • Dimitrios Skordos


  • Joshua Curtis
  • Abdie Kazemipur
  • Naomi Lightman

Also including: Writer-in-Residence (Canadian Distinguished Writers Program)

  • Denise Chong