Go to page content

Dean appointed

Dr. Jennifer Simpson appointed in humanities and social sciences

Teaching and Learning

By Jennifer Batten

The search committee for the role of dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has completed its work and recommended Dr. Jennifer Simpson for the position.

Dr. Jennifer Simpson
Photo: Submitted

President Gary Kachanoski has accepted the recommendation; the Board of Regents approved the appointment on July 6, 2017. Dr. Simpson will begin a five-year term effective Oct.  1, 2017.

Multiple leadership roles

Dr. Simpson comes to Memorial University from the University of Waterloo, where she is currently chair of the Department of Drama and Speech Communication and has served in multiple academic leadership roles.

A scholar with expertise in higher education, communication, critical pedagogy, and issues of race and equity, Dr. Simpson has an interdisciplinary background that draws on disciplines in both the humanities and social sciences.

She has demonstrated deep and ongoing commitments to the significance of the humanities and social sciences to student learning, knowledge creation, and public practice.

‘Ideal candidate’

In addition to her tenure as department chair, Dr. Simpson currently serves as chair of the steering committee for the University of Waterloo’s English Language Competency Initiative; has directed the design of recruitment tools for the university’s Faculty of Arts; and has served in two acting associate dean roles.

“Dr. Simpson’s teaching, research and leadership experience make her an ideal candidate for the position of dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).

“Her knowledge and capability in strategy and vision development, coupled with her focus on addressing the obligations higher education has to equity and the public good, will serve the faculty and the university well. I look forward to welcoming her to our university and province.”

Academic activity and appointments

Dr. Simpson’s scholarship has been noted for its careful integration of theory and practice, its attention to important social concerns, and its examination of systems of privilege and discrimination.

Her work has focused on the role higher education plays in public life, as well as contemporary forms of race and colonialism in Canada and the United States. She is the author of Longing for Justice: Higher Education and Democracy’s Agenda (University of Toronto Press, 2016), and I Have Been Waiting: Race and U.S. Higher Education (University of Toronto Press, 2003).

She has also published articles in journals including The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies; the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication; the Journal of Homosexuality; and the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research.

Dr. Simpson has previously held academic appointments at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Portland State University. Her formal education includes a PhD in interdisciplinary studies from from Northwestern University, an MA in theology and ethics from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and a BA in political science and philosophy from California Lutheran University.

Dr. Arthur Sullivan is serving in the role of interim dean of Humanities and Social Sciences effective July 1, 2017, until Oct 1, 2017.

Following a call for nominations and expressions of interest, and in consultation with the faculty, Dr. Golfman recommended the appointment of Dr. Sullivan to the role of interim dean. The recommendation was accepted by the president and approved by the executive committee of the Board of Regents on June 19, 2017. Dr. Sullivan is an associate professor of philosophy at Memorial.


To receive news from Memorial in your inbox, subscribe to Gazette Now.