I’m Dean of the Faculty of Arts / La Faculté des arts à l’Université d’Ottawa / at the University of Ottawa, the world’s largest bilingual university (French-English), and one of Canada’s top 10 research-intensive institutions. The Faculty of Arts comprises 16 departments, centres and institutes in Languages and Literatures, the Humanities, and the Fine and Performing Arts.
Prior to this appointment I was: Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities and Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities) at Brock University; Director and Project Director at the National Film Board of Canada; Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs (D.I.S.E), at McGill University.
As an academic leader, researcher, and teacher, I have striven for excellence in teaching and scholarship, created structures and mechanisms to support it in colleagues, and developed new programs to cultivate it in students. I have led or helped lead the development and establishment of undergraduate and graduate programs, conference and symposia series, and major research projects. I am also a proud winner of a Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
I am especially interested in how universities are addressing the paradigm shift brought about by the new digital technologies. In my Big Thinking Lecture to the 2013 Royal Society of Canada Annual Meeting, and the 2014 Annual Conference of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as in op-eds in venues including University Affairs and the Globe and Mail, I have called for a conversation that brings us together in the practice of critical reflection and effective communication that has powered the academy in the past and will propel us into the future.
I have worked to bridge the university and its communities, with a special emphasis on the Arts, through the creation of an interactive new media business incubator (the Niagara Interactive Media Generator, now the Generator at One, and Innovate Niagara). As a result of the partnerships I formed with companies, the nearby college and all levels of government, the Niagara region now boasts one of the world’s most advanced interactive media and motion-capture facilities. Projects such as this speak to the potential of humanities partnerships, and the ways in which the Arts can lead the university in community engagement.
My research program is focused on developing best practices for computer simulations for history and history teaching and learning. This research resulted in the publication of books and articles on the use of computer simulations for history and history teaching and learning, and on Canadian cultural history, and its impact has been recognized through awards such as the Ontario Early Researcher Award. I have been fortunate to receive 38 research grants or fellowships as a principal investigator (47 in total), many of them from the Tri-Council, the total value of which is over 12 million dollars. Many of my research projects (such as the Ontario Augmented Reality Network) develop and support university to public- and private-sector technology transfers and partnerships. I created a corporation so that I could train budding interactive media entrepreneurs, and our projects have been supported by the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Ontario Trillium Foundation. Together with colleagues and students I have produced history Web sites, games, simulations, and apps.