Faculty of Social Sciences welcomes new dean


Lois Harder is a dedicated advocate for the rights of people and as a political scientist, she expertly navigates the areas of citizenship law, social policy, gender and equity.

As incoming dean, she brings her skills in academic scholarship, leadership and music to the Faculty of Social Sciences, beginning a five-year term on July 1. The faculty thanks Graham Voss for his outstanding leadership as interim dean.

Harder spent the last three years as the principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta. She built and led a high performing team that enhanced the reputation of the college through increased community engagement and collaboration.

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Harder as Dean of Social Sciences this year,” says Valerie Kuehne, Vice-President Academic and Provost. “Through her innovative leadership and expertise, she will be a valuable addition to the Deans’ Council and to the faculty. Further, her passion for building an equitable and just society will be a tremendous asset to the university community.”

Harder is thrilled to be joining UVic because of its known strengths in Indigeneity, global citizenship, gender studies and the environment.

“UVic certainly makes its mark with impressive researchers, institutes, and projects in these areas, and shares this expertise with students through fantastically innovative courses and co-op opportunities,” says Harder.

In addition to her academic work, Harder is an avid amateur musician, playing violin in a piano trio.

“Playing the violin is restorative and it brings a different way of thinking,” explains Harder. “It’s like a workout for my brain.”

Harder says her approach to knowledge, to research and to leadership is about bringing people together to share complicated hard thoughts, but thoughts that make everyone excited because they’re so rich.

“Building trust is absolutely critical to successful leadership, as are respectful relationships – especially in moments of disagreement,” adds Harder.

In the fall, Harder is especially looking forward to interacting with more people and sharing the excitement of being on campus.

As dean, her greatest hope is that, “the faculty, students and staff will work together to foster a supportive community; a community where we generate and share mind-blowing ideas and feel empowered to imagine, to risk, to reflect and try again.”