As a new month arrived, so did changes in the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Monday, July 1 marked the start of Kate Bezanson’s term as Associate Dean, Undergraduate, as she stepped away from her position as Chair of Sociology. Bezanson takes over from Angela Book, who served in the role for the past three years and now resumes her duties as Associate Professor of Psychology.
Social Sciences Dean Ingrid Makus thanked Book for her outstanding contributions to the Faculty.
“Notably, her work on recruitment and retention initiatives, new program development and revamping the academic integrity processes has significantly improved the student experience,” she said. “Angela’s unfailingly cheerful demeanour, dedication to carrying through on tasks and ability to offer innovative solutions to problems make her an outstanding University administrator. We will miss her in the Dean’s Office.”
Makus said it’s fortunate that “another excellent candidate” agreed to take on the Associate Dean role for the next three years.
“Kate has demonstrated her ability to work collaboratively with individuals across the University,” she said. “She brings multiple talents and experiences to the role, including successful terms as a departmental chair and in University-wide administrative roles, including participating in Senate.”
The Dean’s Office also saw the recent appointment of Dawn Zinga as Associate Dean, Graduate and Research after she served as interim for the past year.
“We are grateful for her willingness to be part of the team,” Makus said. “Dawn has excelled at supporting graduate students, assisting faculty with research grant proposals and working with units across the University to promote Faculty priorities.”
Being part of the University’s senior administration was never one of Book’s goals. Initially, she accepted the role of Associate Dean, Undergraduate out of a sense of duty and service.
“I wanted to do my part,” she said.
Once in the position, she enjoyed the opportunity to work on retention and recruitment, and to celebrate student success.
Book felt having an impact on the University and seeing change happen as a result of those efforts was particularly gratifying.
“We worked very collaboratively, which was both pleasant and more effective in the long run,” Book said of her colleagues in the Dean’s Office.
The past three years taught Book valuable lessons, including “how many people work hard every day to ensure that our programs run smoothly,” she said.
She also learned not to take inevitable conflicts personally.
“You have to work through the process that exists. I learned to work with people from all over the Faculty with a more objective, process-based approach.”
Like Book, Bezanson sees the Associate Dean position as an opportunity to serve the Faculty and the University.
As Chair of Sociology, she developed valuable transferrable skills such as curricular development and planning, leadership, dispute resolution, and team- and culture-building. She also learned “the value of finding ways to foreground the often invisible work department members do that contribute to our collective successes.”
Recently completing a Master of Laws degree in constitutional law gave Bezanson a taste of student life again and reminded her of the “exhilaration and trepidation” that a university education can inspire.
She is “excited to work with a remarkable team of department chairs and directors in the Faculty, to serve its students, staff and faculty, and to support and build the diverse and dynamic programs it offers.”
Makus echoed the sentiment, expressing pride in the new team that will be helping to move the Faculty forward.
“I am thrilled to work with such accomplished, enthusiastic and talented women to carry out the strategic goals of the Faculty and the University.”
Both Book and Bezanson approached the changes with mixed emotions.
“Such transitions are always bittersweet,” Bezanson said. “It has been my privilege to be Chair of a tremendous department with wonderful colleagues, staff and students.”
Book called working in the Dean’s Office a “fabulous experience” that she is going to miss.