Laurier names new acting dean of arts

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Laurier’s faculty of arts has announced that the current dean of arts, Richard Nemesvari, will end his five-year term and associate dean of student affairs and learning Gavin Brockett will replace him as acting dean for a one-year term starting on Jul. 1, 2020.

Brockett, an associate professor in the department of history as well as the department of religion and culture, joined on as faculty at Laurier in 2006, and since then has also been named a Laurier Teaching Fellow, is co-coordinator of the Muslim Studies option and a global engagement liaison for Laurier International.

His work with ISOW, a student-led and student-funded initiative that provides full scholarships to international students fleeing violence to come to Laurier, began due to an idea from one of Brockett’s first-year seminars in 2013. Brockett has been the faculty advisor for ISOW ever since.

Brockett is currently the associate dean of student affairs and learning in the Faculty of Arts.

He has also facilitated field courses in the Middle East, as well as video conference calling to connect Laurier students to students in Turkey.

“It has been a privilege to serve as associate dean for the past four years. This has provided an invaluable opportunity to get to know both colleagues and students in arts. I look forward to the next year and to leading the faculty of arts at a time when the challenges are many,” said Brockett in an email statement.

“We have a newly minted strategic plan for the faculty and that will help us to make difficult decisions and set priorities. Dr. Nemesvari has done a fine job leading the faculty for the past five years, and I am grateful for the example he has set as I prepare to assume my new responsibilities.”

It has been a privilege to serve as associate dean for the past four years. This has provided an invaluable opportunity to get to know both colleagues and students in arts. I look forward to the next year and to leading the faculty of arts at a time when the challenges are many.

– Gavin Brockett, incoming acting dean of arts

Though an exciting transition for Brockett, his succession of Nemesvari will leave big shoes to fill, as he has created many projects in the last five years at Laurier.

Prior to joining Laurier in 2015, Nemesvari served as St. Francis Xavier University’s dean of arts from 2010 to 2015.

One of the major projects implemented during Nemesvari’s time at Laurier was the C3 Innovations Lab, an experiential learning hub which allows art students to engage in social entrepreneurship as well as work with the city for class credit and as networking and real-world experience.

This project that spearheads social change led Laurier to be named an AshokaU Changemaker Campus in 2016, a designation which signifies a leader in social innovation in higher education that less than 50 campuses globally have earned.

Nemesvari will continue to teach at Laurier in the department of English, as well as fulfilling his research responsibilities as the general editor of the Cambridge University Press Edition of The Novels and Stories of Thomas Hardy.

Though Brockett’s acting term is only for one year, there are many new initiatives and collaborations in store to ensure Laurier’s faculty of arts continues to operate at a high level.

He will work with the department as the strategic plan shifts to best serve the current interests of the students.

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