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New beginnings

Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo leaving stronger Labrador Campus and community

Campus and Community

By Courtenay Griffin

As announced on May 29, Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, first vice-provost of Labrador Campus and dean, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, will leave her position to take on a new role of provost and vice-president, academic, at Acadia University, effective Aug. 15, 2024.

Since arriving in 2016, Dr. Cunsolo has been a vital part of Memorial’s leadership team.

Deeply focused on supporting and engaging with the people and communities in Labrador, she has proven to be a respected and transformative leader who has led the creation of the Labrador Campus of Memorial University, including its northern-focused and Indigenous-led programming, infrastructure and governance.

“We are sad to see her go, but thrilled for Dr. Cunsolo as she begins this new adventure,” said Dr. Jennifer Lokash, provost and vice-president, academic. “Acadia is fortunate to be gaining such a respected, thoughtful, kind and inspirational leader.”

Visionary leadership

Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo with one of her brood.
Photo: Submitted

An active researcher with an emphasis on community partnerships and wide-ranging knowledge dissemination, Dr. Cunsolo is internationally renowned for her groundbreaking work on climate change, mental health and ecological grief and anxiety.

As a leader, she has focused on institution building, Indigenization and equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, and northern sovereignty over research and education, including enhancing access to university education for Labrador and the North.

“Dr. Cunsolo has worked with the campus team and communities in Labrador to collectively build a supportive and inclusive campus that has become an important and unique part of Memorial,” added Dr. Lokash.

While her accomplishments and contributions to Labrador and the Memorial community are too numerous to list, major highlights of her impact include leading the growth of the university’s presence in Labrador; working with partners in Labrador and throughout Memorial to establish the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies; acquiring an 80-acre farm and implementing a vision for the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems as a community-led research, education, community and wellness hub; and leading the official establishment of Memorial’s newest campus.

She has also seen the campus student population grow exponentially with the development and launch of the Arctic and Subarctic Futures Graduate Program and, most recently, the undergraduate Bachelor of Arctic and Subarctic Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program, which is welcoming its first cohort this fall.

Love for Labrador

“I am so incredibly grateful for my time in Labrador with Memorial University. Working with an incredible team and community partners to develop a full campus has been an incredible privilege and a true honour,” said Dr. Cunsolo.

Labrador Campus and communities made a tremendous impact on Dr. Cunsolo both personally and professionally, she says.

“I am very proud of what we have done together, and I am excited for the campus to continue its growth to increase access to university education in Labrador and continue to develop programs, research and infrastructure that meet the needs and priorities of Labrador and the North, and reflect Innu and Inuit peoples, lands, waters and cultures,” she said. “Labrador Campus has become a vital part of Memorial’s place in the North, and it will always have a very special place in my heart.”

Dr. Cunsolo will be leaving her position at Memorial after July 5, 2024.

Information about an interim appointment and ensuing search process will be shared as it becomes available.

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