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Richard Sigurdson reappointed dean of the Faculty of Arts

Message from Provost and Vice-president (Academic) Dru Marshall


Richard Sigurdson has been reappointed for a six-year term as dean of the Faculty of Arts effective July 1, 2016

May 11, 2016

I am pleased to announce that Richard Sigurdson has been reappointed for a six-year term as dean of the Faculty of Arts effective July 1, 2016.

In February of this year, Sigurdson indicated his willingness to be considered for reappointment. An Advisory Decanal Review Committee was established to consider Sigurdson’s performance during his first term as dean and the appropriateness of his reappointment. The committee invited and reviewed commentary from those within the faculty and from the external community. Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide input. The committee also interviewed Dr. Sigurdson. Following the process, the committee recommended renewal, and President Elizabeth Cannon was pleased to accept that recommendation.

Sigurdson began his first term as dean of the Faculty of Arts on August 1, 2012. Prior to joining the University of Calgary, Sigurdson held senior leadership positions at the University of Manitoba where he was dean, Faculty of Arts from 2004-2011 and acting provost, University College from 2005-2011.

Sigurdson earned his BA and MA from the University of Manitoba and his PhD from the University of Toronto. He has served as professor and chair, Political Science at the University of New Brunswick; chair of Philosophy, History and Politics and acting dean of Arts at Thompson Rivers University, and has also taught at the University of Victoria and the University of Saskatchewan.

When Sigurdson began his first term as dean in 2012, the Faculty of Arts was relatively new, created through the amalgamation of four formerly separate faculties: Social Sciences, Humanities, Communications & Culture, and Fine Arts. The main focus of Sigurdson’s first term was to fully consolidate this new faculty which is home to approximately 380 full-time faculty, 120 staff, and approximately 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Since 2012, Sigurdson has implemented new processes, actively recruited nationally and internationally renowned academics to key positions, and provided the needed leadership and support to students, faculty and staff to ensure the newly formed Faculty of Arts would succeed.

During Sigurdson’s first term as dean, there was a clear focus on academic renewal, with nearly 100 new academic appointments completed, and searches or renewals of nine Canada Research Chairs successfully concluded. These appointments will help advance scholarship and research within the faculty.

Sigurdson’s emphasis on community outreach and alumni engagement has resulted in the creation of Dean’s Advisory Group of community leaders and influencers, and a Faculty of Arts Alumni Strategy in 2015. These new initiatives, along with Sigurdson’s tireless efforts to promote the Faculty of Arts across the Calgary community and beyond have resulted in a record-setting $10.2 million in funds raised for the faculty in 2015-16.

Sigurdson has also led the establishment of a new annual faculty awards ceremony and created three new teaching excellence awards, two new awards to recognize outstanding contributions by staff and a new award for excellence in internationalization.

As dean, Sigurdson has placed a specific emphasis on building strong relationship with students. He has provided mentorship to student leaders from both the Students’ Union and the Faculty of Arts Student Association (FASA), has prioritized attending student events, and actively utilizes social media as a platform to connect with the student body.

In addition to his work as dean, Sigurdson has also co-chaired the University’s United Way Campaign for the past three years. This past year’s campaign resulted in an astounding $562,035, due in no small part to Sigurdson’s enthusiastic efforts.

I would like to thank the members of the Advisory Decanal Review Committee, which I chaired, for their diligent work and contribution to this process. They are: John Reynolds (Vice-President Research representative), Pascale Sicotte (Faculty of Arts representative), David Hodgins (Faculty of Arts representative), Hendrik Kraay (Faculty of Arts representative), Barbara Schneider (Faculty of Arts representative), Lawrence Harder (GFC representative), Alice Woolley (GFC representative), Nancy Pollock-Ellwand (decanal representative), Shelley Wind (MaPS representative), Donna Keene-Oshosky (AUPE representative), Jen Tokarek (SU representative), Danica McDonald (GSA representative), Kent Donlevy (Faculty Association representative), and Gordon Currie (community representative).

Please join me in congratulating Richard Sigurdson on his reappointment.

Dru Marshall
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)