Dr. Brooke Milne (PhD), a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, has been appointed dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
Dr. Airini (PhD), USask provost and vice-president academic, announced the appointment in late April after an extensive search process. Milne will begin a five-year term as dean starting Aug. 1, 2023, with a concurrent position as a professor in the USask Department of Anthropology.
“I am honoured and excited to be taking on this role to lead the largest, most diverse College of Arts and Science in Western Canada, which is renowned for its excellence in interdisciplinary teaching and research, and where students are engaging in transformative learning opportunities to tackle the world’s wicked problems, showing us that the University of Saskatchewan is truly the university the world needs,” said Milne.
An anthropological archaeologist, Milne has spent nearly three decades applying interdisciplinary approaches grounded in the social sciences, the natural sciences and the humanities to explore the long-term human occupation of the Canadian Arctic. She has a deep commitment to reconciliation and decolonization.
“I am inspired and motivated by the genuine and impactful commitment of the college and the university to live the principles of reconciliation, collaboration, community, EDI and diversity in knowing, learning, and being,” she said.
Milne also has a track record of successful academic leadership roles across two U15 universities: the University of Manitoba and the University of Alberta.
She first served as the graduate chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba from 2011–13. From 2016–19, she was associate dean (social sciences and humanities) in that university’s Faculty of Graduate Studies, where she oversaw a large and diverse portfolio of academic units.
From 2019–22, Milne served as vice-provost and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) at the University of Alberta, where she was responsible for pan-institutional advocacy and leadership in graduate education. In her role, Milne also oversaw all central graduate academic administrative processes, as well as academic standards, regulations, and policies for graduate programs. She led the design and consultation of a new model of graduate program administration within FGSR and across the University of Alberta as part of the institution’s academic and administrative restructuring efforts.
Milne earned her PhD in anthropology from McMaster University. She holds a Master of Arts from Trent University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Waterloo. She was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at Western University, and has previously held teaching positions at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Manitoba.
“I was born in Manitoba and have deep family history on the prairies, so I feel it is a homecoming of sorts having the chance to move to Saskatoon,” Milne said.
Milne has published on diverse topics in high-impact journals, including the Journal of Archaeological Science, Archaeological Prospection, the Journal of Field Archaeology, and the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. She is a respected instructor and has been nominated twice for the Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Manitoba.
Milne has worked to develop programming and content to tangibly and impactfully operationalize equity, diversity and inclusion. Two recent examples include her efforts working with the University of Alberta’s vice provost Indigenous programming and research to establish the university’s first SAGE Pod (Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement) in 2020, and the partnership between FGSR and the University of Alberta’s Black Graduate Student Association to establish in 2022 the new Graduate Student Engagement Awards to support graduate students who identify as Black, African-Canadian, African-American, Afro-Caribbean or Afro-Latino.
Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), the current dean of the College of Arts and Science, will conclude her term on June 30 after eight years in the position. Bonham-Smith will return to her research and teaching role in the Department of Biology following an administrative leave.
Dr. Bram Noble (PhD), the College of Arts and Science’s vice-dean research, scholarly and artistic work, will serve a short term as interim dean starting on July 1.