Dr. Heather Duncan has been re-appointed to a second term as Brandon University’s Dean of Education. The re-appointment was confirmed at the most recent meeting of BU’s Board of Governors.
“I am delighted by Dr. Duncan’s re-appointment,” said BU Interim President Dr. Steve Robinson. “She has been a devoted and inspiring leader as Dean of Education, bringing thoughtfulness and energy to the role. Both across the campus and in the community, she is a welcome presence and a tremendous positive force for education. I am very much looking forward to her next five years.”
Dr. Duncan is a BU alumna whose entire career has been spent in education. She began her first term as Dean of Education at Brandon University in 2013, and has also taken on the roles of acting Vice-President Academic (2014-15) and Associate Vice-President Research (2016-18) during that time. Prior to that she was Associate Department Head of Professional Studies, a large graduate department at the University of Wyoming, and also served as a high school principal at Erickson Collegiate in Manitoba, and a high school chemistry teacher in Scotland.
Dr. Duncan’s Ph.D. in educational administration is from the University of Saskatchewan, her master’s degree is from Brandon University, and her bachelor’s degree in pure science is from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She was editor of the Rural Educator Journal from 2009 to 2014. Her research interests include distance, rural and indigenous education, professional development, and leadership — areas in which she has published and presented widely.
During the first five years of Dr. Duncan’s term as dean, the Faculty of Education has accomplished a lot, and she is quick to say that much of that credit goes to faculty and staff members.
“I count myself very fortunate to continue to work with such a dedicated and professional team of educators and staff that has put in tremendous effort to make the Faculty of Education an excellent environment for student learning,” Dr. Duncan said. “Across all our programs, Physical Education, Joint Department of Music Education, the After-degree in Education, the Integrated, PENT, and Graduate programs, we have seen tremendous student and faculty success. I congratulate every member of the team, thank them very much for their support over the past five years, and am looking forward to the future.”
Under Dr. Duncan’s leadership, the Faculty of Education has restructured the organization of departments so that faculty now has ownership and provides leadership in its curriculum areas. One priority has been enhancing the student experience. The faculty initiated its first Academic Plan for Education in 2015, with the mission statement “Your Learning is our Passion: We mentor educators to thrive as caring and engaged innovators in diverse communities.” This mission statement has guided their actions in revising the Integrated B.A./B.Ed. program to engage and support beginning students, in embracing new delivery modes for our master’s program to accommodate the needs of students in remote areas, and in building strong partnerships with school divisions and Indigenous communities.
Dr. Duncan says that the Faculty of Education’s goals for the future are to continue to build relationships and partnerships with external community members; to continue to revise programs so that the teachers developed at BU are well equipped to meet diverse societal needs; and lastly to continue to develop graduate and postgraduate level programming. After a period of extensive hiring, the faculty’s research base has grown, several of its members hold tri-council grants, and the faculty sees itself well-positioned and highly equipped to deliver additional quality programs.