Dr. Bernadette Ardelli to oversee research and graduate studies in new Vice-President role

A woman stands in front of a wall with a Brandon University logo
Dr. Bernadette Ardelli

Research and graduate studies will get new prominence at the highest levels of administration at Brandon University (BU), with the appointment of a new member of the senior leadership team.

Dr. Bernadette Ardelli has been appointed to the newly created role of Vice-President (Research and Graduate Studies), with her five-year term to begin on January 1, 2024. Dr. Ardelli has been at BU for 17 years and has proven to be an accomplished educator, researcher and administrator, having been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science in 2018.

“I am delighted to have such a gifted leader in this vital new position,” said Dr. David Docherty, BU’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “Dr. Ardelli is a longtime contributor to Brandon University. She has been a committed advocate for her faculty, while also being able to harmonize her vision with the goals of the entire university. It is truly exciting to find that the best person for the job was already right here.”

The portfolios of research and graduate studies were previously separate roles that were secondary responsibilities for administrators. Bringing them together under a single new senior position will increase emphasis in both areas. The areas are complementary as research is a major component of most BU graduate students’ education.

“It is truly exciting to find that the best person for the job was already right here.”

Dr. David Doherty, BU President and Vice-Chancellor

Ardelli says forging even closer connections to the community with BU’s research and graduate programs is of particular importance.

“We need to tell our stories. You’re so busy as a researcher that you don’t always have the time to promote yourself,” Dr. Ardelli said, adding she’d like to see support for endowed chairs beyond the Canada Research Chairs program. “I want to get the stories out there so they can be helpful to people in the community. Once people see what we’re about, they can see the value of investing in BU researchers.”

Dr. Ardelli is encouraging continued efforts to build on the success of BU researchers in having their research published, but she would also like to see an increased emphasis on implementation strategies, which benefits people directly. She adds that events such as conferences and speakers are also a great way for BU to build its relationship with the community, and continue to build its profile.

Dr. Ardelli earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at University College of Cape Breton, then a Master of Science and PhD in Zoology from the University of Guelph. Before coming to BU, she was a Senior Researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University’s Institute of Parasitology. 

She joined BU in 2006 and has taught or developed 15 courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Ardelli has been a Principal Investigator or Co-applicant for projects that have generated more than $1.2 million in research and lab funding for BU. As Dean of Science, she has been involved in program enhancements, integration of Indigenous perspectives into teaching, and development of the Faculty of Science Wall of Distinction, recognizing excellence and diversity among alumni. Dr. Ardelli has also been active with both the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Research Manitoba in reviewing grant applications.

“That sort of exposure will be useful for me to assist faculty when they’re trying to get over hurdles,” Dr. Ardelli said. “When I came to BU we didn’t have the funding that a big university like McGill has, but by sharing our experiences and our resources we achieve great things here.”

Dr. Ardelli is also invested in the success of students and would like to see more of them get recognition for their accomplishments. As evidence that BU students can excel at the highest levels, she points to the example of Cody Koloski, who came to BU from Rossburn, Man., and earned BSc and MSc degrees before becoming a Vanier Scholar at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

As Canada’s finest regional university, BU contributes significantly to the education and skills of Westman’s workforce as well as the knowledge base on issues that are important in Manitoba and beyond.

“Our research footprint and our graduate programs have grown significantly, which is a real credit to the people who have been overseeing those areas. In particular, I commend Dr. Heather Duncan, who has done remarkable work as Associate Vice-President of Research in addition to her other duties,” Dr. Docherty said. “Continued growth and development in research and graduate studies are important elements of our strategic plan, and I’m looking forward to the new initiatives that Dr. Ardelli will be putting in place to achieve those goals.”


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