Dean of the Faculty of Arts

April 15, 2016

Dr. Gage Averill Photo: Cherihan Hassun

UBC is pleased to announce that, on the recommendation of President Martha Piper, the Board of Governors has approved the re-appointment of Dr. Gage Averill, Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

Under Dr Averill’s leadership the Faculty has moved from strength to strength, enhancing its research profile and increasing and restructuring its academic programs which attracted a growing number of students, both domestic and international. On the teaching and learning front, the Faculty has expanded its degree programs through partnerships that range from international (the very successful dual degree with Science Po) to in-house (the equally popular dual degree with Sauder BA/Master of Management); and from niche programs like the Bachelor of Media Studies, to professional masters programs such as the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs. The development of these programs has started from a student-centred approach incorporating experiential learning opportunities and clarity around learning outcomes. Together, these initiatives have drawn an increasing number of students to Arts programs, enhanced the international flavor of the Faculty and diversified and strengthened its financial resources.

On the research front, UBC Arts is (by the measure of per-capita share of Tri-council funding) the most research intensive Arts Faculty in the country. Over the last five years, the Faculty has invested in a research grants facilitator and created in-house research awards. The results include an increase in SSHRC funding (which nationally has declined) and the award of the only Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) outside the STEM and Medicine fields. In addition, the Faculty has grown through the acquisition of the Iona Building to house the Vancouver School of Economics, freeing up spaces previously occupied by Economics for new possibilities, through the building of the Audain Arts Centre, and by bringing into the Faculty the Chan Centre for Performing Arts, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, and the Institute for Asian Research.

Over the next few years, Dean Averill will be building on these successes. Goals include further expansion of both traditional academic offerings, and lifelong learning activities; investment in the Arts and Culture District; and leadership in the humanities in Canada building on our spectacular location that includes our First Nations connections and Asia-Pacific proximity.  

Dr. Averill will be taking a one-year administrative leave from July 1, 2016 before commencing his second term as Dean in July 2017. UBC is grateful to Dr. Kathryn Harrison, Professor of Political Science, who will be serving as the Acting Dean during this time.  Dr. Harrison brings several years of administrative experience, having served as Associate Dean Strategy and Communications (2008-2011) and currently serving as Associate Dean Faculty and Equity since 2015. UBC is confident that the Faculty will continue to excel during the next several years under the leadership of Drs. Harrison and Averill. 

UBC would like to thank members of the President’s Advisory Committee for their time and commitment, and for its deliberations that culminated in the unanimous recommendation to the President that the appointment of Dr. Averill be extended.

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