Brock bids farewell to Dean of Humanities and welcomes Associate Dean


THE BROCK PRESS/Christy Mitchell

THE BROCK PRESS/Christy Mitchell

It has been a successful five years at Brock for Dean of Humanities, Dr. Douglas Kneale. Despite being renewed for another term, he will be stepping down from his position in March to take on Provost and Vice-president of Academic position at the University of Windsor.

“This whole decision is bittersweet,” said Kneale. “I’ve loved my time here. I can point out many accomplishments in the last five years and I’m glad I could be a part of such a great team”.

Kneale spent 25 years working as a professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Western before arriving at Brock in June 2010. Among his many accomplishments is the soon to be completed Marilyn I. Walker Centre of Fine and Performing Arts, for which he has passionately laboured since his arrival.

After a generous $15 million donation from Marilyn I. Walker, Kneale, along with many others, helped to secure the Canada Hair Cloth Building in the heart of downtown St. Catharines and transformed it into a facility that would benefit the academic arts community.  It would provide the necessary resources that are essential for Brock’s composite art department to thrive.

He is greatly concerned with the overall student experience. His efforts in improving various departmental structures and facilities exemplify his dedication. Despite having a wealth of responsibility and a busy schedule as Dean, the passion that he has for classroom teaching was something with which he could not easily part.

“The students have been the real pleasure to work with,” said Kneale. “As a Dean, I wanted to be able to keep my hand in teaching and I was able to teach ENGL 1F91. I loved it. It keeps me honest”.  Moving on to the University of Windsor, Kneale will oversee all the curricular and research-related components within the various departments. One of his first tasks will be to create a new school of Humanities, as various buildings clustered around the Windsor downtown, such as the old Windsor Star building, are currently being converted into academic space for the school.

On Jan. 15, Dr. Carol Merriam, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Humanities, was appointed as the Interim Dean following the announcement of Kneale’s departure.

Merriam is a Latin Language professor, whose research focuses on Augustan poetry. She was the Chair of the Classics Department from 2004 to 2007 and has since worked alongside Kneale and Brian Power, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Curriculum, for the last four and a half years. She is looking forward to taking on this new role.

“A major part of this position is supporting the work that goes on within the Humanities for both faculty and students, and ensuring that their research and teaching experience, as well as the student’s experience, is maintained as we go forward,” said Merriam. “The Humanities is in a great position right now with excellent teachers, scholars and graduate programs at both the Masters and PhD level. The key to any administrative role is giving talented people what they need to do their jobs and collectively, we will all succeed.”

Aware of Brock’s current financial status, Merriam is cognizant of the fact that some challenges will inevitably exist in this area.

“The university budget is a situation that we all have to handle together. We have a great team in place in the Humanities and we have equally great people to help navigate the situation. We all play a key role in the success of the university.”

Merriam will also be responsible for overseeing the progress and completion of the Marilyn I. Walker Centre of Fine and Performing Arts. The ribbon cutting is currently slated for May, with the grand opening happening in time for the fall semester.

Merriam’s appointment will commence on Mar. 1 and run until June 30, 2016, during which time the process of finding a permanent Dean will take place.

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