Acadia names Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo Provost and Vice-President, Academic

“It’s my sincere privilege and honour to be joining Acadia University and to be returning to the beautiful lands and waters of Mi’kma’ki.”

Wolfville, NS – Acadia University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Jeff Hennessy, today announced the appointment of Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo as the Provost and Vice-President, Academic (PVPA). Dr. Cunsolo will begin her six-year term on August 15, 2024.   

"I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo as Acadia University’s next Provost and Vice-President, Academic," says President Hennessy. "Ashlee is a driven academic leader who brings an extensive and diverse wealth of experience that will help to advance Acadia’s offerings to students, faculty, staff, and the community at large. She has dedicated her career to improve our understanding of highly relevant areas of Canadian life, including Reconciliation, Indigenous-led healing, climate change, and mental health.” 

“She has proven to be a visionary, a change-maker, and a relationship-builder, all of which lend tremendously to the liberal arts education that students value at Acadia."  

Dr. Cunsolo comes to Acadia from the Labrador Campus of Memorial University in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where she serves as the founding Vice-Provost and the Dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, and also oversees the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems.  

Dr. Cunsolo’s career at Memorial University began in 2016 when she joined as the Director of the Labrador Institute. Together with Indigenous leaders and academic partners, she led the creation of a full campus of Memorial University, including an academic unit, a research, education, and wellness farm, and place-based, Northern-focused, and Indigenous-led undergraduate and graduate programs. She previously taught and conducted research at the University of Guelph, McGill University, and Cape Breton University.  

As a former Canada Research Chair (Tier II), her research is both award-winning and internationally renowned. Dr. Cunsolo specializes in climate change and mental health, ecological grief, Indigenous health, and socio-cultural determinants of health.  Her research reflects her passion for justice-oriented, anti-racist, anti-colonial, and change-making environmental education and institutional change.  

Dr. Cunsolo earned her Bachelor of Arts, Honours, Distinction, in International Development Studies in 2004 and a PhD in Rural Studies in 2012 at the University of Guelph.  

“It’s my sincere privilege and honour to be joining Acadia University and to be returning to the beautiful lands and waters of Mi’kma’ki,” says Cunsolo. “I have long admired your amazing institution and am inspired by the leading-edge, student-focused, and community-driven educational environment that makes Acadia so special. I look forward to working with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners to build on Acadia’s current momentum of revitalization and innovation, and to celebrate, promote, and strengthen the university.” 

The role of PVPA at Acadia was previously held by Dr. Dale Keefe from 2019 to 2023. When he resigned from the position in July 2023, Dr. Kate Ashley, then the assistant Dean of Arts, stepped up to support the university as the Interim PVPA.  

“Acadia owes its gratitude to Dr. Kate Ashley, who put her hand up when it was most needed,” said Hennessy. “Kate has been critically involved in big strides during her short time as Interim PVPA, including our announcements of a School of Nursing building and the establishment of Africentric Bachelor of Education program in partnership with the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute.”  

“I am grateful for the many efforts that have brought us to this exciting point in Acadia’s journey, and optimistic about what we can accomplish together.”  

The PVPA Search Committee is comprised of Board, student, faculty, and staff representatives. The process included interviews, a public on-campus presentation, and group meetings with Acadia’s community.  

For all inquiries, please contact us at: media.relations@acadiau.ca 

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