June 16, 2021
For Immediate Release
Brantford – Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed Bruce McKay as dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences. McKay, who currently serves as chair and associate professor in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Science, first joined Laurier in 2008.
“I am delighted to welcome Dr. McKay into his new role and showcase his strong academic and administrative skills,” said Tony Vannelli, provost and vice-president: academic. “His experience at Laurier to date, coupled with his reputation as an approachable leader and mentor, will be to the benefit of faculty, staff, students and the entire Brantford community.”
Prior to his role as chair in the Department of Psychology, McKay has held several high-profile administrative positions. From 2018 to 2019, he was the senior advisor to the provost and vice-president: academic, and from 2015 to 2018, he served as the associate dean of student services in the Faculty of Science, where he led an in-depth analysis within the faculty, focusing on student retention and success. He has also sat on a variety of committees, at the institutional, faculty and departmental levels.
McKay is an expert on the behavioural, biological and socio-cultural effects of recreational psychoactive drugs, as well as strategies for harm reduction. His research has focused on alcohol and drug use in undergraduate students. McKay has authored and co-authored many articles on the subject, including for the journals Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Developmental Psychobiology, Behavioural Pharmacology and Neuroscience Letters.
McKay earned his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Calgary in 2006, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
In 2015, McKay was awarded Laurier’s Teaching Award of Excellence and, in 2011, he was recognized with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has also been awarded two Laurier Merit Awards in the Teaching category and three in the Service category.
“I’m very pleased to have been selected as the next dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences,” said McKay. “The Faculty of Human and Social Sciences has a reputation for innovative intramural and online programming, a commitment to student experience and community engagement, and a growing research agenda. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students in the faculty, and with the rest of Laurier’s Brantford community.”
The Faculty of Human and Social Sciences was founded at Laurier’s Brantford campus in 2013 and offers degrees in Criminology, Game Design and Development, Community Health, Health Administration, Leadership, Policing, Psychology and Public Safety.
McKay succeeds current Faculty of Human and Social Sciences Dean Lauren Eisler.
“We are grateful for the work of Dr. Eisler and her dedication to students, always putting their needs and interests first. Her contributions to our entire university community have been incredibly impactful,” said Vannelli.
McKay will formally begin in the role of dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences on July 1, 2021.
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Beth Gurney, Associate Director, Communications and Public Affairs
External Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University