Latest memo from the President's Office:

Invitation to IDEA Project Grand Opening Event - October 10 

October 3, 2018

All members of the Dalhousie University community are invited to attend the grand opening of the IDEA Project on Wednesday, October 10th, a historic transformation of our Sexton Campus in the heart of Halifax’s emerging innovation district. 

In two short years, almost half of our Sexton Campus has been either renewed or expanded. New construction includes the Emera IDEA Building and the Design Building, made possible through partnership with donors, industry, students and the Government of Canada. These critical updates to teaching and learning spaces will inspire the next generation of students and researchers to make a lasting impact on our region and our world.

This $64-million investment supports Dalhousie’s threefold mission of teaching, research and service and sets a new standard for engineering, architecture and planning education. 

Program starts at 10 a.m. / Tours of renewed campus to follow
Design Building, 5257 Morris Street

Please be advised that this event will begin with a traditional Indigenous prayer and smudging, which involves the ceremonial burning of sacred medicines.  

For those unable to attend in-person, please consider joining us online at  




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Mi'kmaq History Month

October 1, 2018

Today is Treaty Day, which recognizes the anniversary of the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty. Treaty Day also marks the beginning of Mi’kmaq History Month, promoting public awareness of Mi’kmaw culture and heritage for all Nova Scotians.

On Thursday, October 11, two events will be held on our Studley Campus:

At 9:30 a.m., the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Legacy Space will be officially launched at Dalhousie’s Killam Memorial Library. Legacy Spaces are dedicated to providing accurate information regarding Indigenous history and our journey of reconciliation. All members of our community are welcome and encouraged to attend the opening of this special space. 

Following the launch, the ninth annual Mawio’mi will be hosted on Studley Quad (or in the case of rain, the McInnes Room in the Student Union Building) beginning at 11:00 a.m. I hope that you will join this great celebration of culture, diversity and heritage, which includes a feast as well as Indigenous drummers and dancers.

In Dalhousie’s 200th year, in which we are celebrating our “Year of Belonging,” it is particularly important to recognize and celebrate the legacy of the land on which our university sits, and our relationship with and responsibilities to the Mi’kmaq. Earlier this year, Dalhousie’s Board of Governors approved an Indigenous acknowledgement statement that reads:

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. 
We are all Treaty people.

These words reflect both our past and our future, as we work to incorporate Indigenous education, research and support into the life of our institution. Consistent with these commitments, Dalhousie has adopted the Universities Canada Principles on Indigenous Education (endorsed by both Board and Senate); launched our Indigenous Studies minor and its associated Elders in Residence program; enhanced supports at the Indigenous Student Centre, including the hiring of a new full-time advisor; permanently raised the Mi’kmaq flag in Halifax and Truro; and significantly increased the hiring of Indigenous staff and faculty (nearing full labour-market representation of Indigenous employees). 

Let’s continue this important work in the months and years to come. We are all Treaty people.

Pink Day at Dalhousie: Fostering Inclusion, Together

September 25, 2018

Later today, faculty, staff and students will once again come together to promote a respectful campus community as we celebrate our ninth Pink Day at Dalhousie.

While Pink Day originated from a situation of bullying in a Nova Scotia high school, Dal has broadened the focus of our Pink Day to be about promoting respect and inclusiveness for all of us who are connected to this place of working, living and learning. Having made “Respect” a pillar of my time here as President, I urge each of us that help shape the university to reflect on how we can enrich the experience of being here.

On this Pink Day, I encourage you to contribute to our shared experience by performing acts of kindness.  Gestures small and large make an impact.  Share your thoughts and actions online with hashtag #DalBeKind.

I hope you can attend one of the Pink Day events happening across our campuses today:

  • Agricultural Campus: Cupcakes and apples, Student Commons, MacRae Library, 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: Barbecue, Lower Studley Quad, 12-1 p.m. (rain location: Studley Gym)

Let’s continue the important work of creating a respectful environment we can all be proud of.

Invitation to Homecoming 2018 & President’s 5th Annual Fun Run/Walk

September 24, 2018

Dalhousie’s Homecoming Weekend (September 27-30) is quickly approaching and as the first Homecoming of our third century, this year’s celebration is not to be missed.

Friday, September 28 – Ignite: Dal’s Third Century will be an evening of inspiration and discovery – bringing together change-makers and influencers passionate about new knowledge and ideas. Through immersive storytelling with three of our leading researchers, we’ll explore extraordinary perspectives on some of the greatest challenges facing humanity – food security, debilitating diseases and sustainable energy. For more information, please visit

Saturday, September 29 - I invite you to lace up your sneakers, put on your black and gold and join me for the 5th annual President’s Fun Run/Walk – a three-campus walk, run, jog or stroll through Halifax.

There will be prizes, a post-run brunch, customized bibs, music and Dal 200th water bottles for the first 500 registrants.

REGISTER HERE by September 26th and participate in the run/walk to have your name entered into a draw to win a customized pair of Dalhousie sneakers!

Following the run on Saturday there will be a concert on the quad presented by the DSU, our annual Homecoming football game, a cruise on Tall Ship Silva and more. View the full roster of events on our Homecoming Website.  

I hope to see you at one or more of these events over Homecoming Weekend.

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.

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.