Meet the Dean

Dr. Suzanne Curtin joins Brock University as the Dean of Graduate Studies after spending the past fifteen years at the University of Calgary, where she served most recently as Associate Dean (Students) in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. She also held the position of professor in the Department of Psychology, as well as Linguistics. Prior to joining the University of Calgary, she was an assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh,

Besides her academic achievements, Curtin’s other affiliations include serving as a full member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute; affiliated member of the Language Sciences initiative at the University of British Columbia; and a board member at the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta.

Curtin’s own research has centred around infant speech perception and lexical development with a recent focus on the interface between early perception and social communication in typically and atypically developing populations.

After graduating from McGill University with an Honours BA in Linguistics (1996), Curtin went on to do graduate work at University of Southern California where she received her MA in Linguistics (1998) and a PhD specializing in Psycholinguistics (2002).

An interview with the Dean

I was attracted to the position here at Brock for a number of reasons. First, the strategic plan puts graduate students in the forefront. This is incredibly important not only for research but for creating innovative programming and degree structures that can have great impact on industry, healthcare, business, education, and communities.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has been led by Dr. Diane Dupont for the past couple of years. Under her leadership, the faculty’s role has evolved to one that supports students and program above and beyond a purely administrative role. She and the FGS team have created a foundation that we can build on to create innovative opportunities for our graduate students.

Finally, Graduate Education has changed dramatically since I was graduate student. The focus on professional development, mental health and wellness, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, transforming traditional theses, entrepreneurship, internships and co-ops, and stackable credentials, to name a few current trends, is really exciting. I am looking forward to working with programs and faculties, the GSA, and the senior leadership team to help translate these trends into practice and policy at Brock.

My hope is that the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is an innovative faculty with a transformative approach to graduate education that supports diverse students and programs across campus.  We will strive to create a positive experience for all students by working to create a safe, professional environment that values inclusion and transparency. I want FGS to help students excel by providing professional development programming and opportunities throughout their degree programs and help to create an engaged graduate community so that all of our students succeed in their future career goals.

Right now, my short-term goal is to facilitate access to resources and supports for students to adapt to the current situation, which has significantly changed how many programs are delivered and how students meet their requirements – practicums, research progress, etc.  I think recovery from the impact of Covid-19 is going take quite some time and we will see the impact months and even years from now. So, my goal right now is work with the Brock community so we can think creatively about how to best support our students.

In the long term, my focus and goals will include removing barriers to admission and providing supports for underrepresented groups. I want to work with programs to create transdisciplinary opportunities and innovative degree structures that allow for flexibility. I would like to re-examine our policies and procedures through an EDI and mental health and wellness lens to see how we might be creating barriers and make changes if appropriate. I also want to work with partners to ensure our students have access to safe, ethical spaces. And a big focus is to ensure that graduate education is firmly embedded in Brock University’s vision.