Feb. 3, 2020
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed Gavin Brockett, associate professor in the departments of History and Religion and Culture, as the acting dean of the Faculty of Arts. He will succeed Richard Nemesvari, who is concluding his five year term as dean, after which Richard will continue his teaching at Laurier and his research responsibilities as the general editor of the Cambridge University Press Edition of the Novels and Stories of Thomas Hardy. Brockett’s one-year term begins July 1.
“Dr. Brockett has made significant contributions to Laurier’s Faculty of Arts throughout his career,” said Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president: academic. “We are confident that he will bring his ideas and dedication to students to the role of dean and to the benefit of arts education at Laurier.”
Brockett joined Laurier in 2006 after earning degrees at the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and the University of Chicago. With wide-ranging expertise in Muslim history and identity, both in the Middle East and worldwide, he has taught courses and supervised undergraduate and graduate students in the departments of History and Religion and Culture.
In 2014, Brockett was named a Laurier Teaching Fellow for his innovative teaching methods, including facilitating field courses in the Middle East and connecting Laurier students to students in Turkey through videoconferencing. He has also been consistently supportive of students involved with International Students Overcoming War (ISOW), a student-led and -funded initiative that provides full scholarships to international students fleeing violence. The project began as an idea sparked during one of Brockett’s first-year seminars in 2013 and he has been ISOW’s faculty advisor ever since.
Brockett is currently the associate dean of student affairs and learning in the Faculty of Arts. He has also held roles as the co-coordinator of the Muslim Studies Option and as a global engagement liaison, where he supported student experiences abroad through internships, volunteering, field courses and more.
“I look forward to leading the Faculty of Arts as we make important contributions to addressing today’s challenges,” said Brockett. “I have been privileged to work closely with Dr. Nemesvari over the past four years, and I am committed to implementing the Faculty of Arts Strategic Plan that he has worked so hard to establish during his tenure.”
Nemesvari joined Laurier in 2015 after serving as dean of the Faculty of Arts at St. Francis Xavier University since 2010. As Laurier’s dean of arts, he has spearheaded many projects and initiatives, including leading the creation of the faculty’s 2020-2025 strategic plan to align with the Laurier Strategy: 2019-2024.
Also under his leadership, the faculty created C3 Innovation Labs, a hub of experiential learning opportunities for students interested in working closely within the community on innovative solutions to complex social problems. In 2016, Laurier was named a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U for its leadership in social entrepreneurship and innovation.
“We are grateful to Dr. Nemesvari for his leadership as dean of arts,” said Mancuso. “He has helped to evolve the Faculty of Arts, offering students opportunities to learn and grow, all within a supportive community. His leadership on the Faculty of Arts strategic plan has helped establish a clear vision for the road ahead.”
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