Latest memo from the President's Office:

Provost and Presidential Transition Update 

September 20, 2018

It has been a great start to a new academic year at Dalhousie, as we welcome a record number of students to campus and look towards the conclusion of our 200th anniversary year. I sincerely hope you are all enjoying a terrific start to the fall, and are feeling the renewed energy and spirit that our students always bring to campus at this time of year.

As the semester begins, I wanted to provide you with an update on the University’s transition plans for our new Provost and Vice-President (Academic), and a new President.

Provost Transition: Welcoming Dr. Teri Balser

On July 30, I was very pleased to inform you that Dr. Teri Balser has been appointed as Dalhousie’s newest Provost and Vice President (Academic). Dr. Balser is a highly experienced and inspiring academic leader, and you can read more about her background here

Teri has visited campus several times in recent months and will officially take office on Thursday, November 1. In preparation for her appointment, Acting Provost Dr. Chris Moore has done an outstanding job stepping into the role and overseeing the preparation of briefing materials to ensure Teri can hit the ground running. 

A priority of Dr. Balser’s transition is learning about our community and the issues and opportunities at Dalhousie University. She is committed to a listening plan in her first months here, which she and I have discussed, and which will involve engaging a broad range of faculty, staff and students. You should expect to hear more from her in November. On November 20, I will host a campus-wide reception to officially welcome Teri and give you all a chance to meet her in person. 

I am genuinely excited for you to meet Teri, and am certain that you will accomplish great things together in the years ahead. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions on her orientation, please direct them to the Provost’s Acting Chief of Staff Jacquelyn Langille ( who is coordinating the overall transition planning for our new Provost.

Presidential transition update

It has always been an honour and privilege to serve as Dalhousie’s 11th President. While I am excited about my return to physics, the decision is also bittersweet given my great Dalhousie colleagues and all that we have achieved together. In my final months I am continuing to focus on advancing our collective priorities, and that includes working with the Board of Governors and others to ensure a very successful transition to my successor. 

On September 5 you received a memo from Board Chair Larry Stordy that provided an update on the presidential search process. The presidential search committee has been identified, in accordance with the Senior Administrative Appointments Policy, and has held its first meeting. As the process continues, the search committee will share updates and consult with the Dalhousie community, and I encourage you to regularly visit the presidential search page here for further information.

To further support and plan the transition, the Board has also convened a presidential transition steering committee, chaired by Board Vice-Chair Candace Thomas. We have seconded Assistant Vice Provost of Planning and Strategy Leanne French Munn as Transition Project Manager to support and coordinate the work of this committee. Their overall goal is to ensure a successful presidential transition and orientation, and if you have any suggestions or input you would like to share, please contact Leanne at

Finally, I hope you join me in looking forward to an exciting fall that includes the conclusion of our Coast to Coast alumni tour, our IGNITE gala focused on our third century, Fall Convocation, hosting the Royal Society of Canada’s annual Celebration of Excellence and Engagement, and the completion of the IDEA Project on our Sexton campus.

We have much to celebrate as we conclude our 200th Anniversary. Thank you all for your continued work and dedication to our great university.  With your outstanding contributions and support for our great new Provost and President, the best is yet to come.




Recent memos: 

Appointment of Dr. Teresa C. Balser as Provost and Vice-President Academic

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Teresa C. Balser as Dalhousie University’s new Provost and Vice-President Academic. Dr. Balser, who is currently Dean of Teaching and Learning and a John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, will be joining Dalhousie on November 1, 2018.

Dr. Balser (Teri) has more than a decade of experience in senior leadership roles at the faculty, university and U.S. national levels, showcasing her strengths in strategic leadership, student engagement, university-wide planning and innovation. Prior to her current role, she was Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, and Director of the Institute for Cross-Campus Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At each institution, she has been deeply involved in advancing equity and gender work, and currently works with UNESCO on gender equity and STEM education.

Dr. Balser, who has a PhD in soil microbiology from the University of California, Berkley, has published 85 peer-reviewed papers, and her awards and honours include a Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair, the USDA National Excellence in College and University Teaching Award, and being named U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She will have academic appointments at Dalhousie in the Department of Plant, Food and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Agriculture) and the College of Sustainability. 

Teri grew up in Massachusetts, and is thrilled to be returning to the Atlantic coast to join the Dal community. In her own words: “Moving to Halifax is in many ways like making a homecoming… I've had the opportunity to live and work globally, and have seen many places. What really strikes me about Dal is the way the university walks its talk — I've been so impressed by the commitment to social justice and inclusivity, along with cutting edge research and education across a range of important areas. This is a special place, and I am looking forward to working in partnership with our students, alumni, faculty, staff and community to tell the Dal story, and do what we can to make the world a better place.”

Dr. Balser’s appointment is the result of a thorough search process, which had terrific interest from excellent candidates locally, nationally and internationally. Her hiring comes with enthusiastic support from the search committee, which included representatives from administration, faculty, students and the Board. The committee, as part of its consultation with the Dal community, also engaged Officers of Senate on the selection of Dr. Balser as Provost, and who were supportive of her appointment.

With Dalhousie’s current Provost, Carolyn Watters, set to return to the Faculty of Computer Science at the end of July, I am pleased that Chris Moore, Dean of the Faculty of Science, has agreed to serve as Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic until Dr. Balser assumes the role on November 1. Sandra Walde, currently Associate Dean in the Faculty of Science, will serve as Acting Dean of the Faculty. Both will provide exemplary leadership during this transition period.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Balser to Dalhousie, in wishing Dr. Moore and Dr. Walde well in their acting roles, and in once again thanking Dr. Watters for her outstanding service as Provost over the past seven years. 



On Track Microbursary Launch

March 23, 2018

Faculty and staff,

I’m excited to announce the launch of Dalhousie’s new On Track microbursary crowdfunding campaign.

This initiative will provide quick access to small emergency bursaries up to $500 for students when they need it most. We know that financial struggles are one of the most common reasons students fail to complete their degrees, and we want to help address this.

Currently, the On Track initiative seeks to improve student retention rates through coaching and study support. Now, with the addition of microbursaries, On Track will make an impact on student finances.

My wife Mona and I are pleased to announce that we will personally match every gift made to this project up to $50,000. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for upwards of 200 bursaries for the 2018-2019 academic year.  

We want students to have somewhere to turn when they need urgent support. Personally, from our own time as students, we remember the impact even small financial gifts had on our studies.

Student success, student retention and equity of access are core values at Dalhousie. The On Track microbursaries will help students who experience an unexpected financial crisis stay on the road to academic success.

Please join in supporting this campaign. To learn more and make your own gift, please visit



President Florizone reappointed for second term

Nov. 30

To members of the Dalhousie community,

Earlier this year, in accordance with the University’s Senior Administrative Appointments Policy and Procedures, Dalhousie’s Board of Governors formed a Presidential Review Committee to evaluate Dr. Richard Florizone’s presidency and make a recommendation regarding his reappointment at the conclusion of his current term.

On behalf of the Board of Governors and the Presidential Review Committee, I am very pleased to announce that the Board has unanimously approved Dr. Florizone’s reappointment as President and Vice-Chancellor effective July 2019, based on the enthusiastic recommendation of the Committee.

The review engaged students, faculty, staff and the broader community, and included reflection from Dr. Florizone on his own performance. Throughout the process, the Committee solicited input from all members of the Dalhousie community, and a number of external stakeholders, including government, private sector, and academic leaders from across the region. The Committee received a great response to its solicitation, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Throughout the first term of his presidency, Dr. Florizone has inspired students, faculty, staff alumni and the community to collaborate in achieving historic success for the university. Some of our shared achievements include the largest federal research grant in Canada in 2016 for the Ocean Frontier Institute, full program accreditation of all of Dalhousie’s programs, record fundraising and enrolment, and Dal faculty being recognized with Canada’s top science prize in three of the last four years. His term was not without its challenges, but Dr. Florizone’s leadership through them has been steadfast, in particular his commitment towards academic values and excellence, partnership, and building a more respectful, diverse and inclusive university community. The conclusion of his current term will see the revitalization of our Sexton campus, the opening of a new fitness centre, and the celebration of our 200th anniversary — all initiatives that speak to the collaborative vision that Dr. Florizone has set out for Dalhousie.

Dr. Florizone began his presidency by engaging the community in 100 Days of Listening, a process that sought input on a way forward for the university and informed our strategic plan, Inspiration and Impact. Looking ahead, Dr. Florizone continues to work on advancing the priorities set out in the plan, including student retention and success, research excellence, diversity and inclusion, and catalyzing Dalhousie’s impact on the broader community.

As Chair of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors and the Review Committee, please join me in congratulating Dr. Florizone on his reappointment. Under his leadership, Dalhousie is very well-positioned to begin an inspiring third century.


Larry Stordy

Issues of respect, inclusion and community

October 23

To members of the Dalhousie community,

It has been a challenging week for Dalhousie University, as we confront very serious issues of respect, inclusion and community.

Let us be clear: at Dal we abhor racism, gendered violence and Islamophobia, and we know we have to strive every day to challenge these. Our essential values are equal dignity of all persons, freedom of expression and inquiry, intellectual integrity and respectful relationships.

As we address specific incidents, let’s stay committed to these principles, with justice and fair process. Dr. Arig al Shaibah shared her memo with you on Friday, and she and Provost Watters will provide further updates at Senate later today.

These are difficult conversations, but through them we will build a stronger Dalhousie.


Richard Florizone

Mi’kmaq History Month at Dalhousie

October 2: 

October is Mi’kmaq History Month. Beginning with Treaty Day on October 1 — a day which commemorates the key role of treaties between the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq and the Crown — the month celebrates Mi’kmaq culture and heritage and reaffirms the historic presence of the Mi’kmaq who have lived in our region for thousands of years.
A number of events are taking place on campus in both Halifax and Truro throughout October. These include:
Mawio’mi – Monday October 16
Our eighth-annual Mawio’mi kicks off at 11 a.m. with food and craft vendors. The Grand Entry at noon will usher in an afternoon of dancing, drumming and singing (ends at 3:30 p.m.). All are welcome to attend. The theme of this year’s gathering is “walking towards reconciliation.” The Mawio’mi will be held on the Studley Quad in Halifax. (Rain location: McInnes Room, Student Union Building.)
Opening of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Legacy Room and NCTR Hub Launch – Monday, October 16
(Edit: These events have been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.)
Public lecture with Daniel Paul — Monday, October 23
Daniel Paul’s acclaimed book We Were Not the Savages is this year’s Dal Reads selection. Dr. Paul will be on campus for two events this month: a public lecture on Monday, October 23, and the launch of a new biography about his life, written by Jon Tattrie, on October 18.
For more events — including a flag raising in Truro, guest speakers, a blanket exercise and more — visit Dal’s Mi’kmaq History Month website.
Mi’kmaq History Month reminds us that we are all treaty people, and that we work, study and live on traditional Mi’kmaq territory. We’ve made progress here at Dal with the launch of an Indigenous Studies Minor, the permanent raising of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag in both Halifax and Truro, the launch of our Elders-in-Residence program and the hiring of a full-time Indigenous Student Advisor, but our work is far from over. Let’s use Mi’kmaq History Month not just to celebrate, but to consider the important work ahead to make Indigenous education, research and support even more vital to our institution.


Respect Week (September 25-29) at Dalhousie

September 25: 

Dalhousie is hosting its third-annual Respect Week, kicking off today and running until September 29.

Respect Week is a campus-wide initiative celebrating the importance of respect, inclusion and safety. It includes a range of educational and inspiring lectures, workshops and social events, all focused on the importance of a respectful living, learning and working community. You can view the full listing of events on the Respect Week website.

Respect Week also includes the university’s annual “Pink Day” celebration on Thursday, September 28. Pink Day began to counter bullying that was rooted in homophobia and linked to attitudes and behaviours that facilitate or perpetuate gender-based violence, misogyny and transphobia. It is an opportunity to wear our values “on our sleeves” and let it be known what we stand for. I encourage everyone to wear pink this Thursday or pick up a “Dal Respect” pin and show your support.

There are also Pink Day events on Thursday across campus:

  • Agricultural Campus: Cupcakes and apples, Cox Institute Foyer, 10-11 a.m.
  • Carleton Campus: Cupcakes and apples, Tupper Link, 10-11 a.m. 
  • Sexton Campus: Cupcakes and apples, Alumni Lounge, 10-11 a.m. 
  • Studley Campus: BBQ, Lower Studley Quad, 12-1 p.m. (rain location: Studley Gym)

Respect Week reminds us that all forms of assault, harassment, discrimination and bullying are unacceptable — whether they be on campus, online or at home. Building a more diverse and inclusive campus community is an important part of our Strategic Direction. Let’s continue the important work to create a safe, respectful environment we can all be proud of.

Welcome to a new academic year

September 5, 2017:

It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you all to a new academic year at Dalhousie, with all the energy and excitement that brings.  I hope that you have had a terrific summer of work and discovery, as well as rest and play.

I would like to extend a special welcome to our newest students and faculty. I have had the chance to meet some of you in recent days, and know I speak for all of Dalhousie when I say how excited we are to have you join our community

We enter this year with great momentum on many fronts. Dal earned the largest federal research grant in Canada last year to launch the world-leading Ocean Frontier Institute, and our award-winning faculty have won Canada’s top science prize — the Herzberg Medal — in three of the past four years. The campus community came together last year to witness the permanent installation of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council flag on our Halifax and Truro campuses, and our women's volleyball team won the AUS championship for the fifth year in a row.

But this year promises to be even more special than usual, because in 2018 Dalhousie celebrates 200 years of academic excellence — a rare milestone among universities in Canada. During our bicentennial year we will celebrate our first two centuries of achievement, thank those who have made it possible, and dream about what’s next. We will be opening our doors, sparking new discussions and inspiring the next generation of leaders with exciting international speakers, celebratory events, community activities and much more. Stay tuned for more information in the months ahead.

This fall will see the launch of Law, Justice and Society, a new four-year interdisciplinary Major and Honours program for Bachelor of Arts students. And our new fitness centre is expected to open its doors to the community next spring, one of several exciting building projects slated for completion during our 200th.

This year presents a tremendous opportunity to build on Dal's 200 years of excellence. Let’s inspire each other, push our boundaries and make a difference in our communities locally, nationally and internationally.

I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming days and weeks and wish you all the very best as we enter Dal’s third century together.

Appointment of Alice Aiken as Vice-President Research

August 17, 2017: 

After an intense and competitive international search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Alice Aiken as Dalhousie University Vice-President Research for a five-year term commencing September 1, 2017.

Dr. Aiken is currently Dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Health. A proud Dal alumna (BSc’94 in Physiotherapy), she is past President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and spent 10 years as a faculty member in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queens University. A veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (serving first as a ship’s navigator in the Royal Canadian Navy, then as a physiotherapist), her research in health services and health policy has a unique focus on veterans and their families. She is co-founder and former Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, a consortium of over 40 Canadian and seven international universities, and her awards and honours include the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and induction into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.  

As Dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Health, Dr. Aiken has led the development of a visionary strategic plan set to position the Faculty as a national leader in health research and education. She is an exceptional team-builder, passionate about university research and has a strong understanding of Canada’s broader research landscape. Her ability to engage across disciplines and build strategic partnerships will serve her well in helping Dalhousie expand its reach and impact as one of Canada’s leading research institutions.

A search will be undertaken for a new Dean of the Faculty of Health in the coming months. In the interim, Dr. Brenda Merritt has agreed to serve as Acting Dean. A faculty member in the School of Occupational Therapy since 2005, Dr. Merritt is a past recipient of the Faculty of Health Teaching Excellence Award, with a research program focusing on the impact of chronic health conditions, injury and/or key determinants of health on people’s ability to participate in daily life activities.

Thank you to the members of the search committee for their thoughtful and diligent work over the past several months. I also want to acknowledge Dr. John Newhook for his service as Acting Vice-President Research. Dr. Newhook’s knowledge, insight and experience have been invaluable in helping ensure continued success of Dalhousie’s research operations over the past several months. My thanks to Dr. Newhook for his continued, steadfast support of research and innovation at Dalhousie.

In today’s world of change, challenge and opportunity, the research mission of the university is as important as ever. As Atlantic Canada’s leading research university and a member of the U15, Dalhousie is both proud and especially obliged to advance that mission. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Aiken on this important appointment, as we work together to advance knowledge and innovation for Dalhousie, Nova Scotia, Canada and our world.