On July 1, 2019, Dr. Laura Robinson will return to Acadia University to begin a six year term as the University’s Dean of Arts. Robinson earned her BA (Honours English) from Acadia in 1988 and pursued a highly successful career in academia after completing her MA (English) at the University of Manitoba and her Ph.D. (English) at Queen’s University. She is currently Founding Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences and Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, a position she has held since 2016.
“I am pleased to welcome Laura back to Acadia,” said Dr. Peter Ricketts, Acadia’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “She has an impressive track record in her scholarly research and work as well as in academic administration. Her leadership in establishing new programs and initiatives that respond to emerging priorities such as Indigenous education and inclusion demonstrates her creativity in responding to the many challenges facing the humanities and social sciences. As an Acadia graduate, she has both a deep understanding of our community and culture and a true appreciation for our institutional strengths and opportunities, and I am looking forward to her contribution to our continued success.”
Prior to being named Founding Dean at Grenfell, Robinson was Interim Dean of Arts at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston where she was also a professor in that university’s English Department, as well as chair of the department from 2012-2015. She joined RMCC in 2005. Between 2002 and 2005, Robinson was an Assistant Professor of English Studies at Nipissing University in North Bay following sessional appointments in English at Queen’s and RMCC that began in 1997. Throughout her career she has served the academic community through her membership on faculty and administrative committees and councils, and from 2012 to 2015 she represented RMCC on the Council of Ontario Universities.
Robinson’s academic expertise focuses primarily on the work of Prince Edward Island writer Lucy Maud Montgomery. In addition to several university-funded research awards, she has received funding as an applicant or co-applicant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on three occasions and curated the national and international SSHRC-funded exhibit “The Canadian Home Front: L.M. Montgomery’s Reflections of the First World War” which toured between 2014 and 2018. She is also a consulting editor for the newly-launched open-access interdisciplinary online Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies. As an academic administrator at Grenfell, Robinson championed the appointment of Indigenous scholars and facilitated the development of an Indigenous Studies minor. She also led the implementation of academic partnerships, exchanges and articulation agreements with international institutions. At RMCC, she co-developed a bilingual, team-taught dialogue course, Bridging the Two Solitudes/Rapprochement les deux solitudes: English and French Canadian Literature, that has inspired more bilingual dialogue courses.
For her work, Robinson has received numerous awards including The Colonel, the Honourable John Matheson Award for Academic Leadership at RMCC; Honourable Mention for the David Adams Richards Prize from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick; W.J. Barnes Award for Teaching Excellence from the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Society at Queen’s; and, the A.C. Hamilton Prize for Ph.D. Dissertation of Outstanding Merit from the Department of English at Queen’s.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to Acadia and at such a time in its history”, says Robinson, “I was struck by the energy and excitement on campus when I came for my interview, and I’m very proud to be part of the team that will lead the Faculty of Arts and Acadia into its future while honoring its long-standing legacy of academic excellence.”