As the Faculty of Arts & Science prepares to embark upon bold initiatives amid unprecedented budgetary and health challenges, Dean Matt Letts is pleased to announce that our students, faculty and staff can turn to a team of three talented Associate Deans. Drs. Jennifer Copeland, Harold Jansen and Janay Nugent are each accomplished researchers and educators and possess a complementary set of skills, experiences and administrative strengths that spans the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The newest member of the Dean’s Office team is Dr. Janay Nugent. An accomplished historian, Janay has emphasized her commitment to our Liberal Education mandate, the importance of curiosity-driven research, as well as the responsibility to deliver a high-quality educational experience for U of L students, including an expansion of work-integrated learning opportunities in all disciplines. Dr. Nugent will jump right into busy portfolios, including Outreach, Communications, Work-Integrated Learning, Strategic Enrolment, Calgary Campus and Timetabling.

A strong voice for the Humanities as well as transdisciplinary work across the academy, Janay has extensive service experience at the department, faculty and university level, as well as in the Lethbridge community, including five years on General Faculties Council, three years on the Board of Governors, in addition to important contributions to the Liberal Education Advisory Council, the Indigenous Campus Strategic Plan, the Agility program and the Institute for Child and Youth Studies.  Most importantly, Janay adds to the remarkable depth of teaching expertise in the Dean’s Office, as a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award and the ULSU Teaching Excellence Award, as well as serving as a Board of Governors Teaching Chair and a Teaching Fellow with the Teaching Centre.

“In these uncertain times, there are a lot of challenges facing post-secondary education and the Faculty of Arts & Science, but it is these challenges which form the reasons for why I am excited to transition to the position of Associate Dean. Post-secondary education prepares our students to be engaged members of our communities, as well as adaptable and creative contributors to our rapidly changing economy. Curiosity based research is essential to this training and the mandates of our institution. I strongly believe in the value of post-secondary education and the extraordinary work of my colleagues, and I want to do my part in helping the institution address the challenges that we face. I look forward to joining the incredible team in the Dean of Arts and Science office, and working with our faculty, staff, and students, to ensure the future success of the University of Lethbridge.”

Dr. Jennifer Copeland came to the Dean’s Office as an Acting Associate Dean in March 2020, bringing with her a wealth of expertise in research performance, teaching and administration. A Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, Dr. Copeland is a leading, international scholar in the fields of exercise physiology, sedentary behaviour, healthy ageing and stress resilience, supported by well over $1.5M in extramural funding, including CFI, CIHR, SSHRC, AIHS, Mitacs and the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund.  With this background, Jennifer also provided expert service as Acting Associate Vice-President Research during the 2019-20 academic year. As a continuation of this work, Jennifer is currently assisting with the development of the U of L CRC EDI Action Plan.

In addition to her senior administrative appointments, Dr. Copeland has served for five years on the General Faculties Council, for three years on the Board of Governors, for two years on the University Budget Committee and has a teaching background that includes a teaching award nomination. These roles and successes have provided Jennifer with a deep understanding of bicameral governance and strong working relationships with faculty, senior administration, students and the university community.  Jennifer’s background is ideally suited to take on the Research, Graduate Studies and Space portfolios. For the past four months, she has also been working on New Programme Initiatives and Curriculum and Admissions during a challenging period of rapid change. Jennifer looks forward to continuing in these roles as Associate Dean.

“I’m delighted to join the exceptional team in the Dean’s office and to help foster the continued success of the Faculty of Arts and Science. The university is stronger when people work together, and collectively we have a deep pool of talent, expertise, and creativity to draw upon as we face these challenging times. I am excited to work with faculty and students in this new role.”

Dr. Harold Jansen is the most experienced of the team of Associate Deans, having served in this role in successive and continuous appointments for the past two academic years. A Professor and former Chair of the Department of Political Science, Harold is an accomplished scholar and prominent public intellectual in the fields of Canadian and Alberta Government and Politics, with a focus on party finance, electoral reform and the impact of the internet on political communication. His research has been repeatedly supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, including the Insight and Standard Research grant programs.

A stalwart supporter of teaching excellence, Dr. Jansen has served as Board of Governors Teaching Chair and as a Teaching Fellow. He is a recent past recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, the ULSU Teaching Excellence Award, and was even recognized for his popularity among students in Maclean’s Guide to University and Colleges. Harold’s service contributions have been comprehensive and impactful. They often relate to supporting the student experience through the promotion of liberal education, teaching quality, technology in the classroom, effective use of space, teaching development, learning evaluation, experiential learning and more. He has served on General Faculties Council, the Arts & Science Executive Committee, on committees related to Academic Quality Assurance, and was key to the development of the Global Citizenship Cohort, under the leadership of former Dean Cooper.

As an Associate Dean, Harold has been best known for skilful management of the Timetabling and Academic Scheduling, Communications, Outreach, Strategic Enrolment and Space portfolios. With Dr. Michelle Helstein’s move to the Vice-Provost role and the arrival of Dr. Nugent and Dr. Copeland, we have decided to shift portfolios and ensure that there are multiple individuals with expertise in each.  Dr. Jansen’s teaching expertise and administrative experience are ideally suited to his new portfolios, which will include Student and Faculty Issues, Academic Advising, the Global Citizenship and Indigenous Student Success Cohorts and Internationalization.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Matt, Jennifer and Janay in tackling the challenges and opportunities before the Faculty of Arts & Science. I know we all share the same commitment to helping our faculty and students excel.”

Despite the headwinds facing the faculty in the midst of severe reductions to the Provincial Operating Grant and the impacts of the ongoing pandemic, Dean Letts is optimistic about the ability of the Faculty to confront these challenges with such a talented group of Associate Deans. Matt believes that the Faculty of Arts & Science has helped the University of Lethbridge become the best student-focused research-intensive university in western Canada that promotes liberal education and experiential learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level – a university that outperforms its peers in terms of research and creative outcomes – and that the new group of Associate Deans will help our faculty, staff and students to emerge stronger than ever from the present environment.

“We have a lot of momentum to face the upcoming challenges, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with such a talented new team of Associate Deans. They collectively have an unbelievable skill-set in teaching, remarkable and complementary successes as scholars, and extensive administrative experience and acumen. We are all committed to supporting the core teaching and research missions of the University and to the principles of transparency, liberal education, collegial governance, equity, diversity, inclusion, indigenous student success and internationalization. I think we are well-positioned to address our first task of collaboratively examining Faculty of Arts & Science governance and developing a Strategic Plan that will help us to overcome this difficult moment and bring us to new heights.”

Dr. Harold Jansen and Dr. Jennifer Copeland began their three-year terms as Associate Dean on July 1, 2020. Dr. Janay Nugent begins her new role as Associate Dean on August 1, 2020.