Lakehead University announces the new Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities

July 5, 2017 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, ON

Lakehead University has appointed Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Birmingham as the new Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Dr. Birmingham is currently a full professor and Chair of English at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, North Dakota with allied faculty status in the Department of Women and Gender Studies. Dr. Birmingham has held several administrative positions at NDSU, from Director of Upper Division Writing to Associate Dean.

“I look forward to meeting members of the Faculty and getting to know departments, their students, their needs, and their dreams. Lakehead has an exciting vision for the future, a future I’m thrilled to be a part of. I still wake up each morning amazed and grateful that I will have the opportunity to serve as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Lakehead University,” Dr. Birmingham said.

As part of her work at NDSU, Dr. Birmingham has been deeply involved in the work of institutional transformation around issues of gender equity on her campus. She was a member of the FORWARD team, a grassroots group of women faculty members who collaborated to receive a grant of $3.75 million to recruit, retain, and promote women. Dr. Birmingham has published and presented on programs to support women’s academic careers.

Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic), said Dr. Birmingham has spent much of her career developing curriculum that marries more traditional disciplinary content with an entrepreneurial twist, preparing students for engaged citizenship and social action. “Her experience and dedication in supporting students and faculty will be a valuable asset to the Faculty.”

Dr. Birmingham will be moving to Lakehead with her husband, Kevin Brooks.  They have collaborated to raise five children: Caity, Griffin, Makeer, Deng, and Agot.

She will begin serving as Lakehead’s Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities on July 1, 2018.

Over the course of the upcoming academic year, Dr. Birmingham will participate in a transition that includes several visits to Lakehead and leading Faculty planning sessions starting January 2018.

In the interim, Dr. McPherson is pleased to announce that Dr. Rhonda Koster has been appointed Acting Dean effective July 1, 2017. Dr. Koster will work closely with Dr. Birmingham throughout the year to ensure a smooth transition.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans for his commitment to the Faculty as Interim Dean,” Dr. McPherson said. 

“Dr. Jobin-Bevans has provided excellent leadership, furthering the University’s academic and strategic priorities. He has worked tirelessly to extend community engagement, outreach, and to grow philanthropic activities. I would like to personally thank Dr. Jobin-Bevans and wish him much success in his new role as Principal, Orillia campus.”

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Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit

Elizabeth Birmingham