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New hires reflect Faculty of Arts growth

Thirty-one new faculty members welcomed at MacEwan Hall event

Laura Hynes, assistant professor of voice in the School of Creative and Performing Arts, is one of 31 new faculty members who were welcomed to the Faculty of Arts at a MacEwan Hall cocktail reception on Oct. 14. Photo by David Jerusalem

By Heath McCoy 

The Faculty of Arts is hiring new faculty members and doing so strategically to continue its ever expanding range as a modern research and teaching institute.  That was a key message delivered by Dean Richard Sigurdson as he introduced 31 new recruits to the faculty at a Wednesday cocktail reception at MacEwan Hall.

“It’s tremendous that we’re able to hire so many new faculty members across so many disciplines this year,” said Sigurdson, in an interview prior to the event. “I really don’t think there’s another Arts faculty in Canada that’s doing this kind of hiring.”

Sigurdson added: “We’re not simply filling holes when former faculty members leave. Rather, we’re strategically repositioning ourselves to pursue new research initiatives and opportunities for growth.”

As an example of this recruitment strategy, Sigurdson cited two new members in the Department of Political Science, Roberta Rice and Daniel Voth, who are part of a “mini-cluster” dedicated to international indigenous studies.

“They’ll contribute not just to political science, but also to other interdisciplinary programs, in particular, international indigenous studies,” says Sigurdson.  

An expert on indigenous people in Mexico and Latin America, Rice will also take part in the Latin American Research Centre. Voth’s research focus, meanwhile, is on indigenous politics in Canada.

“These are the first two in a larger group of hires we’re planning, focusing on aboriginal issues, learning and research,” says Sigurdson.

Another new recruit is Mushegh Asatryan in the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures. As the first assistant professor hired in the department’s recently established Arabic Language & Muslim Culture program, Asatryan, who has a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University, emphasizes the Faculty of Arts’ dedication to building and expanding that program.

Sigurdson also points to a large group of six new hires in the Department of Psychology who are adding to the University of Calgary’s Eyes High focus on brain and mental health research.

With immigration such a hot button news topic of late, Sigurdson cites Pallavi Banerjee in the Department of Sociology as a key recruit as well. Banerjee is an expert on immigration policy and the integration of immigrants, with a particular focus on women from the developing world.

The faculty’s recently established School of Creative and Performing Arts is also benefiting from prominent new hires with Marie France Forcier and Laura Hynes coming aboard as assistant professors in dance and voice respectively.

“Most universities in Canada are not hiring assistant professors in the areas of dance and vocal training, but we conducted full international searches in both cases,” says Sigurdson. “We were able to recruit two top notch talents to add to our creative and performing arts strengths, as well as to our critical analysis and research in these areas.”

Sigurdson adds: “We created the School of Creative and Performing Arts a couple of years ago now, and clearly the message has gone out across Canada and North America that the University of Calgary is the place to come for researchers, performers and teachers in the creative arts.”

Here is a complete list of the new faculty members by department:


Susanne Cote



Dick Averns

Communication, Media and Film

Ryan Pierson

Tamara Shepherd

Gregory Taylor


Anthony Camara

Derritt Mason


French, Italian, Spanish

Marie-Andrée Bergeron

Moustapha Fall



David Goldblum

Scott Jasechko



Glenn Wilkinson


Linguistics, Languages and Cultures

Mushegh Asatryan

Lena Schuett

Irina Shilova

Jan Sueselbeck


Political Science

Mark Baron

Jack Lucas

Roberta Rice

Daniel Voth



Vedran Lovic

Cara MacInnis

Sheri Madigan

Richelle Mychasiuk

Melanie Noel

Simon Spanswick


School of Creative and Performing Arts

Marie France Forcier

Laura Hynes



Pallavi Banerjee

Ian Brodie

Matt Patterson