Acadia fulfills pledge to hire three Indigenous and three Black faculty members
Three Indigenous and three African Canadian scholars are joining the faculty of Acadia University. The new hires are in recognition of the systemic underrepresentation of Indigenous and Black faculty at Acadia.
"Our goal is to eliminate the feeling among students and employees that they lack representation and change the visible look of Acadia,” said Dr. Dale Keefe, Acadia’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “We will know we are successful when students and colleagues no longer tell us that they don't see a faculty member who looks like them, or that there isn’t a colleague who shares their experience working at Acadia.”
He added that the University is committed to recruiting and ensuring the success of new scholars from equity-deserving groups.
Earlier this year, the University launched open searches for three Mi'kmaw or Indigenous scholars and three African Nova Scotian or African Canadian scholars. The cluster hire resulted from a Memorandum of Agreement between the University and the Acadia University Faculty Association as part of bargaining for the 16th Collective Agreement. The cluster hire aligns with Acadia’s strategic priority to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.
In late 2022, a Mi’kmaw and Indigenous Scholars Hiring Committee and an African Nova Scotian and African Canadian Scholars Hiring Committee were formed. Both committees included three faculty from different faculties and two representatives from the relevant communities. As equity representative, Claudine Bonner, Acadia’s Vice-Provost, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, served on both committees. The committees were chaired by Dale Keefe, Acadia’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic.
Both committees consulted with all relevant academic units to appropriately match potential candidates with the needs of individual academic units and programs. The two representatives of the Mi'kmaw community consulted with the joint Indigenous, Association and Board Council (IABC) to confirm that the relevant applicants were Indigenous.
“I thank both search committees, my executive assistant, the departments, heads, directors and the deans for all of their hard work and dedication during this hiring process,” Keefe said. “With their help and support, this hiring process was successful.”
MEET THE SCHOLARS
Between April and May 2023, 16 candidates came to interview on campus. They met with Academic Units and programs, deans, and the Acadia University Faculty Association. They also delivered a public presentation on their academic activities and research interests and interviewed with the selection committees.
Following this rigorous process, all six positions have now been filled. The following individuals are joining Acadia:
- Starlit Simon, Associate Professor, began July 1, 2023, with the Department of Languages and Literatures and the Department of Sociology. She is a Mi’kmaw from Elsipogtog First Nation and a full-time PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick in the Faculty of Education.
- Kim Borden Penney, Associate Professor, began July 1, 2023, with the Women’s and Gender Studies program. She is a descendant of Black Canadians and Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, whose roots reach back to the late 1600s. She received her doctorate from the University of Toronto.
- Martin Morrison, Associate Professor, began July 1, 2023, with the School of Education. He is a member of the African Nova Scotian communities of Danvers and Southville and is a PhD candidate at Mount Saint Vincent University.
- Amanda Peters, Associate Professor, will begin July 10, 2023, with the Department of English and Theatre. She is a writer of Mi’kmaw and settler ancestry. She has a certificate in creative writing from the University of Toronto. She graduated from the Master of Fine Arts program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Shelley Price, Associate Professor, will begin December 1, 2023, with the Manning School of Business. She has an MBA in Human Resources and a PhD in Management from Saint Mary’s University.
- Fikir Haile, Assistant Professor, will begin July 1, 2024, with the Department of Politics. She is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University.