Latest memo from the President's Office:

Call for Honorary Degree Nominations 

July 22, 2019

The Senate Honorary Degrees Committee (SHDC) invites nominations for honorary degrees to be awarded at Convocation ceremonies in 2021.  

Through the awarding of honorary degrees, Dalhousie aims to recognize individuals whose accomplishments and achievements will inspire our graduates while reflecting the character and values of the university. SHDC particularly invites nominations of candidates who exemplify Dal’s commitment to diversity, including but not limited to Indigenous peoples (especially Mi’kmaq), members of racialized populations (especially African Nova Scotians), persons with disabilities, women, and persons of minority sexual orientations and/or gender identities (SOGI). Learn more about who is eligible for an honorary degree.  

To make a nomination, please complete the Honorary Degree Nomination Form. Questions may be directed to the University Secretariat at 902-494-3715. Completed nomination forms should be submitted by Friday, September 6, 2019 to:     

Senate Honorary Degrees Committee
c/o Secretary of Senate
University Secretariat, Room 210, Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building
Dalhousie University
6299 South Street, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

Your time and input are appreciated!   


Dr. Teri Balser
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Recent memos: 

Dalhousie Pride – July 12-13 in Truro and 18-25 in Halifax

July 11, 2019

I’m pleased to invite you to Dalhousie’s annual Pride celebrations on July 12 and 13 in Truro and July 18-25 in Halifax. This is a great opportunity to celebrate our diversity and create even more inclusive communities for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals at the university and beyond.

Events kick off tomorrow with the Agricultural Campus flag raising ceremony at noon in the amphitheatre. On Saturday, July 13, Dal will participate in Truro’s Pride Parade.

The flag raising ceremony in Halifax will take place the following week, on July 18 at noon on the Quad. Then, on July 20, join Dalhousie at the Halifax Pride Parade. Students, staff, faculty, alumni, friends and family are invited to help decorate the float and be part of the parade or watch from in front of the Architecture Building.  

Other events include a Dal After Dark film screening of the documentary Gen Silent, a lunch and learn panel hosted by the Queer Faculty and Staff Caucus, and more.  

For more details on all Dal’s Pride events, visit

Happy Pride!   

Dr. Teri Balser
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Invitation to Agricultural Campus Community Day on July 18

July 10, 2019

Our Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill will be hosting its annual Community Day on July 18th. This event is a decades-long tradition and a chance for people to learn about the work being done on the AC to feed and protect our world – and have fun at the same time! There will be research on display, activities for children, tractor-led wagon rides, ice cream, a cash-only BBQ, live music and demonstrations by our championship Woodsmen team.

We are offering a roundtrip bus ride from Halifax to Bible Hill for faculty, staff and students who want to take part in the day. Space is limitedso reserve your spot with Mary-Eleanor Power at  

Supervisors, please encourage your teams to attend this event: it's a great way to connect with colleagues on the AC.

I hope you can make it!   


Dr. Teri Balser
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Review of Dalhousie's International Activities

July 4, 2019

The impact and importance of internationalization continues to grow across Dalhousie, with international initiatives woven throughout many areas of Dalhousie — for example, partnerships and research, student services, experience and mobility, academic supports and global awareness.  

To help ensure coordination across the university and develop a broader strategy, we are conducting a review of Dal’s capacity, capability and requirements related to our international activities.   

Key units will be contacted in the coming days as we enter the information gathering phase of the review. If you would like to learn more, please contact, or consult the attached terms of reference.  

Thank you in advance for your participation in this cross-university review.  


Dr. Teri Balser
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Farewell and thank you

June 28, 2019

As my time as interim president comes to a close, I’d like to thank the Board, and the entire Dalhousie community, for the opportunity to contribute in a small way to the positive momentum of the university. It has been my honour to serve an institution that I hold in such high regard.  

When you’re invited to undertake an interim assignment, it is easy to approach it as though it is a tidy, six-month package. You arrive, do the best work that you can, and at the end of the six months you plan to pack up and leave. What I have discovered is that these assignments are much more complex than that.  

Arriving at a place like Dalhousie, you are reunited with parts of your past and you realize how much they mean to you in the present. Returning to the university I graduated from exactly 50 years ago this spring has been a powerful reminder of what a dynamic, exciting and special place this is.

The university’s strengths are many, but a few warrant specific mention. Dal’s stature and reputation across the country are excellent and, I would argue, greater than is sometimes appreciated locally. As the postsecondary environment becomes increasingly competitive, the value of a positive reputation cannot be understated.  

Another great strength is our people. Since my arrival, I have been thoroughly impressed by those I have had an opportunity to meet — and I know that is only a small sample of the community. The researchers, faculty, staff and students I’ve had the privilege of getting to know are remarkable. Not only are they dedicated to their own work, but also to the betterment of the university, the region and the world.  

Which leads me to a final strength that should not be overlooked: Dalhousie’s capacity to be a catalyst and a convener for the good of all. Be it Dalhousie’s leadership in ocean or health research, its commitment to the performing arts, or its contribution to Nova Scotia’s innovation ecosystem, to name just a very few examples, the university is integral locally and impactful globally.  

The future of Dalhousie is unlimited, as is the potential of the province and region that it calls home. I look forward to seeing how this community that I have so enjoyed being a part of continues to build on its success in the years to come under the immediate leadership of Dr. Teri Balser and, in the new year, with Dr. Deep Saini.

Very best wishes,  

Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Impact: Updates from our 2014-2019 Strategic Direction - June 24

June 5, 2019

We hope you will join us for Impact: Updates from our 2014-2019 Strategic Direction on Monday, June 24.   

As we wrap up our five-year Strategic Direction, this is a chance to come together to celebrate our successes, highlight progress made towards our goals, and review the steps we are taking toward the next strategic plan. This session is also an opportunity to answer your questions and hear your feedback about the plan and its future.

The Town Hall will take place on Monday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building – Scotiabank Auditorium on the Studley Campus in Halifax. We recognize that not all members of the Dalhousie community will be able to attend in person and hope that you will join us online for the live webcast at Webcast viewing locations will also be available at the Agricultural Campus and Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.  

Questions are welcome in person, by email (, or via Twitter (use #DalTownHall). We'll aim to address as many as we can.

This event will be an opportunity to hear about some of the achievements of our faculty, staff and students over the past five years. We hope you will attend, either in person or online, and we look forward to your feedback.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Teri Balser
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Invitation to Strawberry Jam on June 26

May 29, 2019

This year we will hold our seventh Strawberry Jam (formerly Strawberry Social) – an annual event to celebrate our successes.   

Please join us on the Quad in front of the Henry Hicks Building on Wednesday, June 26 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. There will be a strawberry-themed menu and live entertainment.

Supervisors, please encourage your teams to attend this event: it's a great way to connect with colleagues across the university.

If it rains, we'll move to the Great Hall at the University Club.

I hope you can make it.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Appointment of Dr. Joseli Macedo as Dean, Faculty of Architecture and Planning

May 23, 2019

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Joseli Macedo as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning for a five-year term, commencing July 1, 2019.

Dr. Macedo joined Dalhousie earlier this year as a Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning’s School of Planning. Prior to her arrival at Dal, she was Professor and Head of the School of Design and the Built Environment at Curtin University. She has held academic, administrative and professional appointments at the University of Florida, CEPT University, Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná, and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná.  

Dr. Macedo earned her Bachelor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Universidade Federal do Paraná (1985), M.C.P. in City Planning (1992) at the University of Cincinnati and Ph.D. in International Development Planning (2000) at the University of Florida. She brings more than 20 years of teaching experience at undergrad, Master’s and Doctoral levels in the United States, Brazil, India and Australia to the role, as well as extensive experience in new course development, multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural programs, and student and scholar exchange programs.  

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Joseli Macedo on her appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie.  

I would also like to recognize and celebrate Christine Macy for her commitment and thoughtful service to the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, where she served as Dean for eleven years.  


Peter MacKinnon, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Dalhousie's Inaugural Alumni Days

May 16, 2019

I am thrilled to introduce the inaugural Dal Alumni Days.  

Dal Alumni Days will take place from Thursday, May 30 to Sunday, June 2, with events ranging from thought-provoking lectures to inspiring celebrations.

On May 30, as part of the Open Dialogue Series, Edward Snowden, former American intelligence officer and fugitive, will join 650 alumni, students and friends for a sold-out event on campus via livestream from Moscow, Russia. The conversation will focus on our rights and responsibilities when it comes to privacy and will be moderated by Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and internationally recognized security policy expert, Dr. Frank Harvey.  

Then, on May 31, you’ll have the opportunity to attend one of two lectures:  

  • Health: Hear from four of Dalhousie’s world-leading researchers from the Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health who are tackling diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and childhood obesity through cutting-edge work and innovative approaches. 
  • Immigration: Join experienced immigration representatives from Dalhousie’s Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Health, Management, and the university’s Legal Counsel Office for a conversation on innovative, practical, and actionable ways to strengthen Atlantic Canada’s immigration system and build more inclusive communities.

Later that evening, celebrate the Aurum Awards at the Lord Nelson Hotel. The award ceremony and reception will honour four outstanding alumni for their achievement and innovation, community engagement and leadership, and contributions to the social and cultural well-being of society. The 2019 Aurum Award recipients are:  

  • Heather McNeill (LLB’94): Heather has dedicated her career in law to helping others, working with Dalhousie Legal Aid and the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative. 
  • Anirudh Koul (BCS’07): Anirudh and his team developed a talking smartphone app that helps people who are blind or low vision get descriptions of the world around them.  
  • Dr. Sura Hadad (DDS’03): Dr. Hadad has gone above and beyond to give back to the community, including offering free dental care to Syrian refugees from her Halifax-based dental clinic, donating to local shelters, sponsoring a family in Iraq, and volunteering overseas. 
  • Megan Leslie (LLB’04): A passion for social justice has guided much of Megan’s career. Now, as President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, she is focused on restoring vital habitat and reversing the decline of wildlife species nationwide.

Alumni Days will conclude with two receptions over the weekend:

  • On June 1, attend an East Coast Kitchen Party at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery.
  • On June 2, join Dalhousie’s Chancellor, The Hon. A. Anne McLellan (BA’71, LLB’74) and the Women’s Division for a Champagne Social at Shirreff Hall.  

For a full listing of events and to register, visit  


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice Chancellor

Unveiling of new ceremonial object

May 6, 2019

Our first Spring Convocation ceremony is coming up this Friday, May 10 at the Agricultural Campus. You’re invited to attend in person or tune in online to see the unveiling of Dalhousie’s new ceremonial object.  

The new object was designed for use at Convocation and will replace the existing university mace, which will be retired at this week’s ceremony. The new object will be used to signal the start and end of each future Convocation ceremony.

Dalhousie is one of the first universities in North America to replace its traditional mace with a new ceremonial object. A mace re-visioning committee was established in 2016 as part of the university’s Strategic Initiative on Diversity and Inclusiveness to create a new object that reflects the current diversity of the Dal community and its values, while still paying tribute to the university’s history and heritage.

The new object was designed and created by artists Alan Syliboy of Millbrook First Nation and Mark Austin of Colchester County with guidance from the university and in collaboration with a team of artists and craftspeople from diverse communities across Nova Scotia.

This Friday’s ceremony takes place at 2:00 p.m. at the Langille Athletic Centre and can be viewed online via webcast.

If you have any questions, please contact Christina Coakley in the Registrar’s Office at  

I hope you will join us for this exciting occasion.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice Chancellor

Invitation to Spring Convocation

April 25, 2019

Convocation ceremonies are Dalhousie’s most prestigious events. Dalhousie will soon host seventeen Spring Convocation ceremonies that will take place on Friday, May 10 at the Langille Athletic Centre at our Agricultural Campus in Truro and Monday, May 27 to Saturday, June 1 in the Dalhousie Arts Centre’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.   

Faculty and staff are invited to join the Academic Procession. Hoods, gowns and caps must be reserved by May 6 for the Truro ceremony and by May 15 for the Halifax ceremonies. This can be done by visiting  

We encourage you to attend Convocation whenever possible. It means a great deal to the students to see you there and share in this important accomplishment. If you are unable to attend, the ceremonies will be available for public viewing via webcast.  

May 10 at 2:00 pm: Faculties of Agriculture and Graduate Studies

May 27 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Medicine and Graduate Studies

May 27 at 12:30 pm: Schulich School of Law and Faculty of Graduate Studies

May 27 at 4:00 pm: Faculties of Arts & Social Sciences and Graduate Studies  

May 28 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Architecture & Planning, Dentistry and Graduate Studies

May 28 at 12:30 pm: Faculties of Computer Science and Graduate Studies

May 29 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Engineering and Graduate Studies

May 29 at 12:30 pm: Faculties of Engineering and Graduate Studies

May 29 at 4:00 pm: Faculties of Engineering and Graduate Studies

May 30 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Health and Graduate Studies

May 30 at 12:30 pm: Faculties of Health and Graduate Studies  

May 30 at 4:00 pm: Faculties of Health and Graduate Studies

May 31 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies

May 31 at 12:30 pm: Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies

May 31 at 4:00 pm: Faculties of Science and Graduate Studies

June 1 at 9:00 am: Faculties of Management and Graduate Studies

June 1 at 12:30 pm: Faculties of Management and Graduate Studies

If you have any questions concerning Convocation, please contact Christina Coakley in the Registrar’s Office at

I hope you will join us in recognizing and celebrating Dalhousie’s newest graduates.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice Chancellor

AVP Communications and Marketing

April 2, 2019

I write to advise that Catherine Bagnell Styles, AVP Communications and Marketing, has resigned. In our discussions, Catherine expressed sincere gratitude to Dalhousie for bringing her home to Nova Scotia for a position that has been a rich combination of opportunities, challenges and rewards.

Catherine joined Dalhousie in 2010. Since that time, we have benefitted from her vision, enthusiasm and expertise. Of particular note is the important strategic work done in partnership with the Registrar’s Office and faculties on recruitment marketing, Dal’s reputation research that informed both marketing and strategic planning, and the depth and breadth of our recent 200th anniversary celebrations.

With the successful conclusion of the 200th, Catherine has decided to take this opportunity to consider other interesting career options. Please join me in thanking Catherine for her contributions to the university community and wishing her all the best in the future.

As we prepare to search for Catherine’s successor, we have engaged the support of Janet MacMillan of NATIONAL Public Relations. Janet brings a wealth of experience with her and will provide strategic counsel and leadership to the university and Communications and Marketing team in the short term.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice Chancellor

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 18, 2019

On March 21, Dalhousie will observe the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This date, first recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 to mark the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre, is particularly poignant this year.  

On Friday, we woke to the news of horrific acts of violence committed at two mosques in New Zealand. This news was devastating for people around the world and on our own campuses. On behalf of the Dalhousie community, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were injured or killed, and to all Muslims affected by this senseless attack. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.  

I encourage people to support one another during this difficult time. Resources are available on campus for students, including Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services and Multifaith Services. Staff and faculty resources can be accessed through Dalhousie’s Employee & Family Assistance Program.  

This tragedy strengthens our resolve to work together in building a respectful and inclusive community where everyone feels welcome.  


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Call for nominations: President’s Award for Advancement of Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness

March 12, 2019

I am pleased to announce the call for nominations for the President’s Award for Advancement of Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness (EDI) is now open.

Established in 2018, the award celebrates outstanding efforts of faculty and staff in advancing equity, diversity and inclusiveness at Dalhousie University. It recognizes that not only are these guiding values for us as an educational community and workplace, but essential institutional strategic priorities ­— ones supported by committed, dedicated people across the university. Last year’s inaugural recipient of the award was the Imhotep’s Legacy Academy outreach initiative.

New this year, two awards may be given out: one to an individual and one to a group (either a formal university unit or an informal group of faculty and staff). Nominations are welcomed and encouraged for individuals and groups in all university areas. Nominations must refer to activities that occurred between April 17, 2018 and March 11, 2019. Nominations can be received from current faculty, staff and students. Prior winners cannot be nominated again the same category.

The deadline for nominations is April 12, 2019, and full details on the nominations process can be found on the Human Resources website. The award will be presented at Dalhousie’s annual Legacy Awards event in June.


Peter MacKinnon

Support for Community Following Ethiopian Airlines Crash

March 12, 2019

I am deeply saddened to share with our community that two recent Dalhousie graduates were among those killed in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Angela Rehhorn and Danielle Moore both graduated in 2017 from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Science and were travelling to Nairobi to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly.

Angela graduated with a double major in Marine Biology and Sustainability and is remembered for her excitement, optimism and drive to change the world through her conservation efforts. Danielle graduated with an honours degree in Marine Biology with a minor in Ocean Sciences. She was described as an exceptional student, kind and friendly, and deeply devoted to advocacy work.

The airline crash took 157 lives from around the world, and I recognize that staff, faculty and students may have connections to others lost on Sunday. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to anyone in our community who is impacted by this tragedy.

Students are reminded of the resources available through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services, including Multifaith Services. Staff and faculty resources are available through Dalhousie’s Employee & Family Assistance Program. I encourage anyone struggling during this difficult time to reach out and access support.


Peter MacKinnon

Discussion on Diversity & Inclusiveness at Dalhousie

March 11, 2019

We are pleased to invite our university community to attend a Discussion on Diversity and Inclusiveness at Dalhousie on Monday, March 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the McInnes Room in the Student Union Building.

This event has been planned in response to feedback from and in collaboration with students, and will have a student focus; however staff and faculty are welcome to attend. It provides an opportunity to discuss the significant progress that has been made on Strategic Priority 5.2, Dalhousie’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Strategy, and hear from members of our community.

The evening’s discussion will include a presentation from Strategic Priority 5.2 co-leads Jasmine Walsh (Assistant Vice-President, Human Resources) and Barb Hamilton-Hinch (Assistant Professor, School of Health and Human Performance) followed by a World Café-style facilitated discussion with senior administration and members of the Strategic Priority 5.2 Steering Committee. Attendees will be encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives on how we can continue to move our equity, diversity and inclusiveness efforts forward at Dalhousie.

At Dalhousie we strive to build a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness, one in which everyone feels they truly belong. A great deal has been achieved over the past several years, but there is more to do!

We hope to see you on March 18.


Peter MacKinnon
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

Teri Balser
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Invitation to Dalhousie's 3 Minute Thesis Competition - March 13, 2019

March 8, 2019

All members of the Dalhousie community are invited to attend the annual 3 Minute Thesis competition, coming up on Wednesday, March 13 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the McInnes Room in the Student Union Building.  

Attending the 3 Minute Thesis Finals is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the ground-breaking research being conducted by graduate students across the university. From Musicology to Medicine, English to Engineering, our graduate researchers are producing work that has the power to transform our thinking and change the world.  

Participants will be challenged to share their research in just 180 seconds and judged on the clarity and engagement of their presentations. The evening promises to be both informative and inspirational. I hope you will be part of the experience.   

If you are not able to attend the final, I encourage you to take in some of the Preliminary Heats on Tuesday, March 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers in the Student Union Building.  


Peter Mackinnon

International Women's Week at Dalhousie

March 4, 2019

Today marks the first day of International Women’s Week at Dalhousie, with International Women’s Day falling on Friday, March 8 across Canada. This week is an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of women on our campuses, in our community, and worldwide.

The national theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #InnovateForChange. Innovation and technology can help empower women and girls. There is a growing digital divide, however, and women are still underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. This year’s theme challenges us to decrease barriers facing women in STEM and use the power of technology to create a more equal society. Celebrate the women making a difference in STEM (or any other field) on Friday using #InnovateForChange. 

Several events featuring members of Dalhousie’s community are planned for International Women’s Week, including:

  • The Office of Human Rights & Equity Services will host a two-day panel titled “Femme the Future: Global Perspectives,” which will discuss panelists’ individual and collective visions, locally and globally, on gender equality.
  • Dr. Alice Aiken will moderate a panel on Canadian Women in Research, including Dr. Debbie Martin, Dr. Ingrid Waldron and Dr. Christine Chambers. 
  • Dr. Rita Orji will provide the keynote at an event celebrating women across the diversity spectrum in STEM.

To learn more about events happening during International Women’s Week, visit the Human Rights & Equity Services website

As part of our Strategic Direction, Dalhousie has a collective commitment to foster a culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. I encourage all members of our community to attend International Women’s Week events and contribute to these important conversations about gender equality.  


Peter MacKinnon

African Heritage Month at Dalhousie

January 31, 2019

Tomorrow marks the start of African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia. Having recently proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent, Dalhousie University joins with all Nova Scotia in acknowledging, reflecting on and celebrating the many contributions that People of African Descent have made to our campus and our communities.

This year’s theme for African Heritage Month at Dalhousie is “Sankofa: Our History is Your History.” It recognizes how the story of African Nova Scotians and individuals of African descent is woven through the past, present and future of this province and our university. It can be found in efforts across Dalhousie — from longstanding programs like the Transition Year Program and the Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative in Law to current initiatives like the Lord Dalhousie panel and the development of a new African Nova Scotian strategy for the university.

The various African Heritage Month events on campus this month represent an opportunity to reflect on the month’s themes and highlight the important role individuals of African descent have had — and continue to have — in the ongoing story of Dalhousie University. A few highlights include:

  • Feb. 4 - African Heritage Month launch event: African Heritage Month launches at Dal with an event honouring trailblazers in our community, with flag raising to follow. 12-2 p.m., Council Chambers, Dalhousie Student Union Building.

  • Feb. 8-9 - The First Annual Black Research Symposium: This two-day event is an opportunity for Black scholars and persons doing research on Black issues to showcase the research being conducted in the community from all disciplines. Friday - 7-9 pm, Kenneth C. Rowe Mgmt Building; Saturday - 11-3 pm, Tupper Link.

  • Feb. 11 - Black Women in Leadership: Fighting for Change - The Dalhousie Black Student Advising Centre presents Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard as she shares her story as a social worker, teacher, an activist and senator, and how she has used these positions to combat racism and advance the interest of people of African descent. 6-8 p.m., Room 307, Dalhousie Student Union Building.

To learn more about events on campus and in our community, visit the Human Rights & Equity Services website.

Thank you to the many groups and individuals who have been involved in planning African Heritage Month at Dalhousie. I encourage all members of our campus community to take part and I look forward to seeing you at events throughout the month.


Peter MacKinnon

Beginning My Term as Interim President

January 28, 2019

I am pleased to be here, in service to the Dalhousie community, as interim president and vice-chancellor. To return to my alma mater in this capacity is both meaningful and humbling.

I have spent much of my first two weeks meeting various individuals and groups, learning more about Dalhousie and our campus community. This includes our senior leadership team, the DSU president, several deans, the mayor of Halifax, members of our Elders in Residence program and co-chairs of the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. I had the opportunity to salute our stellar student-athletes at the Academic All-Canadians luncheon and help celebrate the opening of the new home for the Dal-led Imhotep’s Legacy Academy outreach program on our Sexton Campus.

It is already clear to me that this is a special community, made up of people who are passionate, committed and talented. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during my short time here.

While I am no stranger to being a university president, I expect my time at Dalhousie will teach me a great deal. That has certainly been the case already with regards to concerns raised about my most recent book, University Commons Divided. I have shared a statement on this subject with Senate this afternoon, which can be seen in full, below:

I would like to begin my president's report by acknowledging the concern that has arisen around some of what I wrote in my most recent book. I have been troubled by this concern and would like to offer my perspective.

Many of the issues I wrote about are contemporary and contentious. Some are discussed in depth; others are mentioned for limited illustrative purposes. I wrote about them for purposes of discussion. I welcome that discussion, and I appreciate the perspectives that have already been shared with me.

The book is about many subjects: university governance, crisis management, academic freedom, freedom of expression, religious freedom and discrimination, and other topics. While I stand by my discussion on these topics, I wish to comment on one matter that has raised concern. I have been interpreted by some as condoning blackface. I do not condone blackface; and I did not condone blackface in the book. I regret any interpretation to the contrary, and the distress it has caused.

I will conclude this part of my report by saying that I am pleased to be at Dalhousie, and to contribute and support the mission of this fine university, including strategic priority 5.2: to foster a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. This goal and this value has been part of my life for a very long time. During my presidency at the University of Saskatchewan, I was pleased to champion the priority of diversifying our student body, greatly increasing the number of Indigenous students on campus and enriching our campus culture.

I am here to serve Dalhousie University during this period of transition. We have a remarkable leadership team, from our VPs and deans to members of our Board and Senate and I look forward to working with them, and all of you, to support this great university. Thank you for the opportunity.   


Peter MacKinnon


December 31, 2018

As both 2018 and my presidency draw to a close I want to share this message of reflection and thanks. It truly has been an honour and a privilege to serve as the 11th President of Dalhousie University.

In recent weeks I’ve been asked to recall my most memorable moment at Dal, and each time the same image comes to mind: shaking hands to congratulate every student as I present them with their hard-earned degree after they cross the stage at Convocation. Sometimes they are there surrounded by their family and friends, and other times they are entirely alone, but I am always struck by the joy and pride in their eyes. 

The moment lasts less than thirty seconds yet reflects years of hard work, study and investment by the student and their family. I’ve experienced it thousands of times, and it is always electric. That moment is a testament to the power of higher education to transform lives, and to the continuing importance of Dalhousie’s mission.

I hope you share my pride in what we have achieved together in strengthening that mission over the past five and a half years. Enrolment, research income and fundraising are at all-time highs. We strengthened academic programs and infrastructure across all four of our campuses. We built bold new partnerships like IDEA, the Ocean Frontier Institute and Ocean Supercluster that attracted hundreds of millions of dollars to support teaching, research, innovation and entrepreneurship at Dalhousie and across Atlantic Canada. And we made significant, measurable gains in diversity and inclusiveness, towards a Dalhousie where all truly belong.

Together we showed that we could do well while also doing good. We strengthened our university while also making advances vital to our region and the world.  These truly were collective achievements, made possible by all of us working together. As I am so fond of saying: nobody does anything alone. I would therefore like to share my sincere thanks to all of our students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni, members of the Board and Senate, donors and supporters. Look at what we have achieved together. Thank you Dalhousians, for these collective accomplishments.

Like our proud graduands crossing that Convocation stage, we should be confident in our continued success but not take it for granted. We must continue to think big, fulfilling our responsibility and potential as the leading research university in Atlantic Canada. We must always strive to bring people together in new ways, with kindness, respect and shared purpose.  We must live up to our special responsibility to the people of Mi’kma’ki, and to the African Nova Scotian community.  And we must always be guided by our mission and values, both in seizing opportunities and in rising to our challenges.  

As I offered in my Bicentennial Address earlier this year, Dalhousie must continue to strive to be intelligent, inclusive and inspiring. To be a place that develops ideas, knowledge and talent to build a better world. Where we reconcile our past and draw on the diverse strengths of all people. Where creativity, courage and compassion are inspired. Where the best of our region connects with the best in the world, for the benefit of all.

In a world of complex challenges and opportunities, the mission of Dalhousie University is more important than ever. I have the utmost confidence that our extraordinary leadership team, faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and partners will work tirelessly to propel us forward and ensure our continued momentum. With your exceptional talent and commitment, the best is yet to come. 

With sincere thanks and best wishes,


Annual Dalhousie Carol Sing: Thursday, Dec. 20th

December 6, 2018

As our 200th year winds to a close, and the start of our third century approaches, the upcoming holiday season offers an opportunity for reflection and celebration. I invite you to join me at this year’s Annual Dalhousie Carol Sing on Thursday, December 20th from 12-1:30 p.m.

Jacqueline Warwick, Director, Fountain School of Performing Arts, and I will lead spirited renditions of classic carols, Hanukkah songs and other holiday favourites. I encourage you to bring your friends and family as we come together to enjoy what has become a highly anticipated holiday tradition.

Singing will begin at noon in the Sculpture Court of the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. As in past years, a light lunch will be provided following the musical portion of the event, as well as door prizes and the United Way 50/50 draw.

I hope you can take a few moments out of your day to join me for my final Dalhousie Carol Sing. I look forward to seeing you there.

Happy holidays!


Public discussion and engagement session with Scholarly Panel to Examine Lord Dalhousie's History on Slavery and Race

December 3, 2018

Senate Chair Kevin Hewitt and I invite and encourage all members of the university community to attend a public discussion and engagement session with members of the Lord Dalhousie panel.  

Monday, December 10 | 7p.m.
Marion McCain Building, Scotiabank Auditorium

Dr. Afua Cooper, chair of the Lord Dal panel, will share preliminary findings and draft recommendations for discussion and input. This initial public consultation is to review the panel’s findings and gather feedback from the community.   

Guided by scholarly inquiry and dialogue with the community, it is our hope that the panel’s work will both shed light on our history and help us respond to this legacy in order to build a stronger, more inclusive university that fully reflects our history, values and aspirations.

To learn more about the Scholarly Panel to Examine Lord Dalhousie’s History on Slavery and Race, view the Terms of Reference here and visit Dal News.  

I hope you will join us for this important conversation. 



Dalhousie Census - Be counted!

November 19, 2018

Today we are kicking off our fourth annual Dalhousie Census. The census provides us with vital information about our community, which helps improve the university’s programs, supports and services related to diversity and inclusiveness.

The “Be Counted” campaign will run from November 19-30, encouraging all Dalhousie faculty, staff and students to complete the census. Watch the census video to learn more.

You can complete the census by visiting and following the steps to fill out the Faculty/Staff Census or the Student Census. (If your primary affiliation is as a student, choose the Student Census.)  

Your information will be confidential. The census data is not shared with your manager/supervisor and it is not attached to your employee or student record. If you completed the census since 2015, and you have no changes to your self-identification, you do not need to complete it again.

The data collected from this year’s census will be compiled in early 2019 and will be made available as part of the Employment Equity Annual Report on the Be Counted website.  

If you have any questions about the census, please email or call 494-6672.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the Dalhousie Census, helping us build a better Dalhousie. Be counted! 



Welcome reception for Dr. Teresa C. Balser, Provost and Vice-President Academic

November 8, 2018

On November 1, Dr. Teresa C. Balser began her role as Dalhousie University’s new Provost and Vice-President Academic. It is my pleasure to invite you to a reception welcoming her to our community:

November 20, 2018
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Steele Ocean Sciences Building Atrium
1355 Oxford Street

Dr. Balser was most recently Dean of Teaching and Learning and a John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She has more than a decade of experience in senior leadership roles at the faculty, university and U.S. national levels.

Dr. Balser achieved her PhD in soil microbiology from the University of California, Berkeley. 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.

Please join me on November 20 to welcome Dr. Balser, learn about her vision for Dalhousie and have the opportunity to ask us questions.

I hope to see you there. 



Invitation to IDEA Project Grand Opening Event

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  



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.