Lesley Cormack

Cormack: New dean of arts & social sciences

September 7, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Lesley Cormack brings a real sense of history with her from Edmonton as she begins her new job as dean of SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“I’ve learned over the last 10 years about how universities work in different settings,” says Cormack, formerly the University of Alberta’s history and classics department chair and former arts faculty associate dean of student programs. “Hopefully, I can apply some of that at SFU.”

This past summer, when she wasn’t shuttling between Edmonton and Vancouver looking for a new home, or attending countless hours of meetings with her new colleagues, Cormack gave a lot of thought to the future, and the work that awaits her.

“My impression is, the financial situation will be a challenge. I also feel the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is not seen as being as important to the whole university as it should be,” she says. “There’s fabulous work being done in the faculty and we need to do a better job of getting the word out.”

A science and technology historian by training, Cormack is an interdisciplinary scholar by disposition and an academic’s academic at heart. “I believe very strongly that universities should be run by academics and that faculties should be run by people who care about the core work of the faculty—that is, teaching and research.

“I care deeply about teaching and I’m an active researcher as well. So I feel it’s important to step up to the plate and ensure that all the disciplines and faculty members can function well together.”

Cormack’s husband Andrew Ede, who is also a science and technology historian, has joined her as an SFU faculty member. And their two teenage boys are settling in to make new friends at a new school with a new life on the coast. “It’s all very exciting,” says Cormack. “It’s a great move for us.”
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