Brandon University names Dr. Balfour Spence as Acting Dean of Arts

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An accomplished researcher and scholar devoted to community engagement will become Acting Dean of Arts at Brandon University.

Dr. Balfour Spence assumes the role starting Aug. 15, 2021, and has been appointed to a two-year term.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Spence to the Dean’s office in the Faculty of Arts and I thank him for agreeing to serve an extended term,” said Dr. Steve Robinson, BU’s outgoing Vice-President (Academic & Provost). “This is a busy time at BU, as we transition back to more in-person learning, and as we welcome a new Provost. I know Balfour will provide the right balance of vision and guidance to the University’s largest faculty.”

Dr. Spence is currently a Professor in the Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies Department at BU where he applies over 30 years of active academic research and scholarship to the delivery of the ADES program. He has worked extensively throughout the Caribbean region as an academic researcher and practitioner in disaster risk management and spent short stints working in this capacity in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Before joining the staff at BU in 2008, he taught for 16 years at the University of the West Indies. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Geography and Economics at the University of Manitoba, with a research focus on food security issues in the Caribbean region and completed Community Disaster Management Planning certification in Japan.

Dr. Spence has published extensively on a wide range of disaster and environmental management issues and has amassed over 70 publications/technical reports in these fields, along with nearly 60 presentations at conferences.

He has also been active in graduate research supervision and has to date supervised/examined 17 PhD and over 30 Masters Dissertations. He has worked as a consultant in environmental and disaster risk management for numerous international, regional and national development agencies, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO), World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), European Union, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and CARICOM.

“My experience spans both arts and sciences, and I am focused on building synergies between academic research and social, economic and environmental resilience — a focus that I aim to bring to the Dean of Arts office as well,” Dr. Spence said. “I am humbled and honoured to serve, and I bring a vision for enhanced growth and development of the Faculty of Arts based on teaching, learning, scholarship and community engagement.”

Dr. Spence takes over the office from Dr. Reinhold Kramer.

“Our deep thanks and gratitude are extended to Dr. Kramer for his guidance over the past few months, as well as to Dr. Lisa Robson, who served for almost two years prior,” Dr. Robinson said. “Their careful stewardship, wise counsel, and thoughtful leadership have been invaluable during these challenging times.”


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